Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Epiphany Inspired By Life

I'm going to delve into a very emotional topic. Just fair warning. This is a very personal account and I have no reason to embellish or lie. This is my story and I've stuck to it for 13 years. Take it or leave it, but I hope that it inspires or helps you find answers to the questions you have not easily Googled.

*Deep Breath*

I haven't always been so strongly against abortion. I didn't really have a feeling about it one way or another. It just wasn't on my radar. I was raised in a Christian home, but it wasn't a topic discussed specifically. So when my husband and I got pregnant for the first time, it wasn't under duress that we found out. We were in a good place so feeling trapped or overwhelmed wasn't something we experienced with the knowledge that we were about to have a baby. We were overjoyed.

I am Type I Diabetic and so considered high risk. We were trying to get pregnant so I was keenly aware to any changes and would immediately take the home pregnancy test. It took some time to get pregnant and I was starting to worry it wouldn't happen for us. But it did and we were ecstatic. I went to the doctor and confirmed it really early (barely 4 weeks), but this was a doctor appointment made just a week prior. I had to travel to see specialists and there were lots of tests early on and we told our parents. I know, they say to wait just in case, but we were too excited and couldn't imagine anything bad happening.

At about my 6th week, I woke up at about 4am, in a pool of blood. We knew what it meant and I immediately started crying. We called the ER to let them know we were on our way. Luckily, that was about 5 minutes because we lived in a small seaside town. The doctor was kind, and very gentle. She forlornly gave me the news. I had to come back the next day for an ultra sound and then D&C. They allowed me to clean up, gave me scrubs to wear home, and we left.

We lived in a cute little cottage on the water. To get to it, we had to walk down a boardwalk from the parking area. We walked in silence. My heart was torn up. I couldn't cry anymore. I was thinking in my head that I just wanted to drink whatever we had in the house and obliterate the pain. I wanted to black out and forget. This is what it feels like when someone says they feel "gutted". I felt empty where my heart should be. I kept hearing this voice in my head and thought I was going crazy.

"I'm still here!"  "It's okay! I'm still here!"

Soft and quiet. I was instantly mad at God. I said in my head, "Years of never hearing you despite begging to hear your voice and NOW you want to talk? Go away!" But the voice didn't go away until I fell asleep. Crying again. I never drank a thing. I was too tired. The effort felt like too much.

Later that morning I had a whole day to simmer in my grief before I went to my appointment the next day. My parents came by to console me. My husband's parents brought flowers. My husband was commercial fishing at that time, and was working to prep the boat, so he was busy during the day. I was alone. Half sad. Half angry. It wasn't fair! I heard that voice still pleading they were "still here" throughout the day. I think it was the only reason I didn't take the opportunity to drink again. I slept off and on.

The next morning my husband dropped me off at the hospital and told me he would be there for the appointment as soon as he could. He had to go to the boat, check on some things and let the rest of the crew know what was up. I trudged to the waiting room and sat. Soon I was brought back to the ultrasound room. The tech was very solemn and kind. I laid there. Waiting to hear that, yes, my baby was dead....

"Wait... I think... there's.... THERE'S A HEARTBEAT! THERE'S A BABY STILL THERE!!"

I almost fell off the table. He jumped up, told me he had to get the doctor and ran out. I was in shock. I started to cry and right then my husband walked in. The look on his face was fear because he thought my tears meant something worse had happened. When I told him, "WE'RE STILL PREGNANT!!" I saw him tremble slightly before he rushed to me. The doctor came in with a full smile and tears in her eyes. She told us that this happens far more often than people realize and her experience taught her to always do an ultrasound to verify there is no life before proceeding with the D&C. She explained that we had most likely had twins and one, for whatever reason, died. I was sent home on temporary bed rest. 

Our First Born, Russell

Seven months later, I gave birth to Russell. My smiley sweet boy. It was when I was holding him for the first time, something happened. I don't know how to describe it, except like a spark going off right between my eyes, but in my head. I heard the voice, "I'm still here!". It was a memory, but from familiarity. I looked at this new baby boy and it struck me that HE had been reassuring me that he was still alive. I just didn't realize it consciously.

So early on, in the womb, his spirit was present. I have no doubt it was him trying to talk to me and in some way, I think he was the only reason I didn't fully give up.
When Russell was 3yo, he started verbalizing about a sister in heaven. We had never told him he was a twin. So this was amazing to us. Family swore to us they hadn't mentioned it. They didn't see the reason for it. To this day, around his birthday, he'll make a comment about his sister in heaven. So how has this shaped my feelings about abortion?

Life is precious. There is a soul from the very beginning. You cannot convince me otherwise. You can believe me or not. But this is my personal experience and for the rest of my life, I will speak out against the horrors of abortion. Thank you for listening to my story. I hope you found the answers to the difficult to answer questions you had. I hope I inspired you. I hope you take the time to think about this issue, and at least, research more deeply and ignore the emotional shouts from either side of this issue. Seek the truth urgently. The truth, truly will, set you free. 
  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Good Morning, I Love You!

I've been on a long health journey. I have Type I Diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that doesn't go away with diet or exercise. A cure would be required to eliminate it, and 40,000 people a year are diagnosed. Between 20-60 children die a year from something called "Dead In Bed Syndrome" which is a complication of T1D (Type I Diabetes). It's a scary disease to contend with. My second son also has it. Coupled with Hypothyroidism, it makes gaining weight super easy and losing it a constant battle.

I've found different tricks that work for me to get optimal blood sugars and in turn, help me to slowly lose weight and maintain. Increasing my energy is also a plus. So lets start from the top of the day!

So I start my day, minutes after waking up, checking my blood and taking my insulin shots, I drink a glass of lemon water. The recommendation is a full lemon squeezed into a glass of water. Keeping up with a supply of fresh fruit can be hard, so I just get lemon juice and follow the directions for making lemonade (minus the sugar). Two tablespoons of lemon juice for 3/4 C. of water and a couple ice cubes. I take this with my morning meds but make sure you check to make sure you don't have medications adversely affected by citrus. Drink this on an empty stomach to purify and detox the body, at least 30 min before eating breakfast. This is also purported to jump start the metabolism.

Next, it's time to think about breakfast. Reports state that eating fruit first thing in the morning is more optimal for utilizing the nutrients in the fruit and distributing the sugars through the day. I get my two servings of fruit knocked off the list doing this. I have apples chopped up with a drizzle of nut butters and cinnamon. Here is my "recipe":
Coconut Manna is blended coconut meat. It's basically a nut butter.

 Nutty Apple Breakfast
  • 1 large apple or 2 small apples chopped into bite size pieces. 
  • 1Tbsp coconut manna 
  • 1Tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1tsp cinnamon
 Place chopped apple in a bowl and set aside. In a small microwave safe bowl add butters and cinnamon and microwave for 20-40 seconds until melted. Stir well and drizzle over apples. Enjoy!

It's delicious and filling. The ratio of protein, fat and fruit sustain me until almost one in the afternoon!



With this lovely concoction, I drink a large mug of green mint tea (about 2 cups). I also have my water bottle handy so I continue taking in fluids. The goal is to drink 64oz by the afternoon.

Now we're on to lunch. I avoid all grains at lunch time. It helps me prevent an inevitable blood sugar spike prior to dinner time that can make me feel sluggish. So lots of veggies and protein. I've taken to making veggie soups that I can add whatever protein I have on hand. Today, I made a wonderful veggie soup and topped it with a few strips of grilled chicken and a sprinkle of cheese.

Here is the recipe for the soup so you can make your own. It would pair well with ground hamburger, chicken, and I even had some with leftover pulled pork and it was awesome! It nearly fills a 6 quart crock, so consider cutting it down if you don't think you'll be able to eat it all within a week.

Classic Veggie Soup
approx 45min to prepare
Ingredients:
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 10 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 mini bell peppers, diced 
  • 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 Tbs tumeric
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika  
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with garlic & peppers, w/liquid
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans, drained
  • 2 quarts spicy tomato juice
  • 14oz beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped 
  • salt and pepper to taste
 Saute onions, carrots and celery until onions start to sweat and turn translucent. Add peppers, soup mix and spices and stir well, allowing spices to toast for 5 min (stirring constantly). Add rest of ingredients except cabbage. Bring soup to a boil and add cabbage. Push down the cabbage into the liquid and cover. After about 10 min, check to make sure it is just simmering (increase or decrease heat if necessary), stir well and cover. Cook until the celery is tender. Remove bay leaves before serving. This freezes well, and if you like to share with others, it would be a wonderful meal to split with another household.

Dinner can be difficult due to my family not being quite on the same restrictive diet as me. Often times, I just have some of the protein if it's gluten free. Then I pile half my plate with salad. I will allow for starchy veggies at dinner and even allow for multi grain tortilla chips in a small amount. I try to keep my carb intake very low as this helps me reduce my insulin need which is what causes weight gain if overused.

I try to be done eating by 9pm and so far, I am usually done by 8pm. I then sip 4 cups of green tea up until bedtime. Now, this might be too much caffeine for some, but I've found that it doesn't affect my sleep, but I cannot sleep much after 6:30-7am and will be up and getting the day started before everyone else, which is an accomplishment if you have thyroid issues. My theory, is that I metabolize the tea slower at night and the affect of caffeine doesn't hit me until early morning. I don't tend to start drinking the tea until after 9pm and don't usually finish until 10:30-11pm. Check out this article about the benefits to drinking green tea. It's truly fascinating: 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea

So there you have it! That's how I am managing my conditions and health/weight with diet. Exercise isn't my focus just yet, but I do stair climbing and other strength exercises. No cardio until spring/summer. Then I jog/walk. I hope these give you some ideas for a healthy day!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Middle East Conflict: Maps Don't Lie

This is my best attempt at recreating a cached website that I found after the creators abandoned it for one reason or another. It's possible they created a better page and this info is found elsewhere with a better design, but the information is sound and I didn't want it lost. So here it is:

Israel: The Most Disputed Piece of Real Estate On Earth
Unlike Islam's Koran, which commands Muslims to force the entire planet to submit to literal control by Islam, the Jewish Torah promises the children of Israel a modest and reasonable allotment of land. Israel  in RED , is a democratic nation 1/19th the size of California, surrounded by 22 hostile Arab/Islamic dictatorships with 640 times her size, 60 times her population and ALL the oil.  How dare Arab propagandists call Israel "expansionist". How dare anyone believe them! How can Israel, which occupies one-sixth of one percent of the lands called Arab, be responsible for the political dissatisfaction of 22 Arab countries? How can the 13 million Jews in the world (almost 5 million fewer than they were in 1939!) be blamed for the problems of the 250 million Arabs, who have brotherly ties to 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide?

Israel  is an oasis of Western Democracy and Judeo/Christian morality in the middle of an otherwise totalitarian Arab/Muslim Middle East. For over 55 years since she became a nation in 1948, Israel has sought peaceful coexistence with neighbors dedicated to her destruction. Thus far only Egypt and Jordan have formalized a peace treaty. In reality, these two peace treaties are questionable.

Only 1/640th the land mass occupied by the 22 Arab States.
Is Israel REALLY "taking over" the Arab Middle East?
Israel is one of the tiniest nations on earth. Only about 8,000 sq. miles, 2½ times the size of Rhode Island and only slightly larger than the Canary Islands!.  It is only 260 miles at its longest, has a 112-mile coastline, 60 miles at its widest, and between 3 and 9 miles at its narrowest!  A very high-powered rifle could launch a projectile right across the country! This is particularly frightening when one considers that 65% of Israel's population is within this 9 mile wide section (Tel Aviv).  Yet Arab propagandists call Israel "expansionist" and the "aggressor" against all Arab peoples.  For those unfamiliar with the Arab interpretation of "aggressor," it means one who dares fight back against Arab aggression!!  So even though Israel may have fought only defensive wars, the mere fact that she resisted total destruction is viewed as an "act of aggression." This is highly illogical and quite frankly, insane. Unfortunately, Israel doesn't have the luxury of picking her enemies!

a. 3 miles wide here
b. Golan Heights
c. Sea of Galilee
d. Jordan River:
Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea

e. 1967 "Green Line": the 1949 armistice lines separating Israel from its heartland of Judea-Samaria when Jordanian forces illegally annexed it. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel regained that land... at which time the world began referring to Judea and Samaria as the "West Bank" in order to try to erase any Jewish connection to this historically Jewish land!

f.  9 miles wide here
g. Tel Aviv
h. Jerusalem
i.  Dead Sea
j.  Gaza Strip


The surrounding 22 Arab countries are 640 times larger than tiny Israel yet they expect Israel to turn over all the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and half of Jerusalem... territory they lost after they started the 1967 war!

Need More Proof?  The photo below shows a west-east view of Northern Israel's Hula Valley (a---b). The photo is from atop the Menara Cliffs, just above Kiryat Shmona (a).  In the opposite direction (not shown) is Lebanon. Along the entire top of the photo (light blue area) is Syria with the Golan Heights rising up from the Hula Valley. The distance from Kiryat Shimona  (a)  to base of Golan Heights (b) is only 3 miles! It's no wonder that underground bomb shelters are everywhere!

For those who wish to have Israel relinquish Judea and Samaria ("West Bank") so that the Arabs can form a SECOND Arab "Palestinian" Nation (the first being Jordan), take a close look at the map (below right).  Notice the 2,200 foot high Judean Mountains running North to South 60 miles along the entire length of the West Bank.  A Palestinian sniper (of which there are many) or a rocket launcher would have a bird's eye view of Israel's most densely-populated areas. Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport would also be just a few short miles from the edge of a West Bank Palestinian nation!  Israel's capital city of Jerusalem would be nearly encased within Palestinian territory, jeopardizing its ability to survive an attack.  In effect, Israel would be reduced to a defenseless nation 9 to 25 miles wide at areas separating Israel Proper from enemies on her eastern flank!  Also, if the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were joined to form a continuous "Palestinian" land mass, Israel would be cut in half! (below left)
Look again at the above-left map.  If Arafat (or his successors) and his murderous, Nazi terrorist thugs ever take possession of Judea-Samaria ("West Bank") and Gaza and call it their State, how will these two SEPARATE land areas (West Bank + Gaza) be connected?  Will there be some underground tunnel?  Some overhead bridge?  Or will the Arabs simply demand a land corridor connecting these areas... in the process, cut Israel in half!  This is a prescription for Israel's suicide and the Arabs know it! 
  
No nation is required to arrange the terms of her own suicide.  Any peace-making must be at the negotiating table and not upon an autopsy table!  If Israel were to turn over land of this magnitude, they would be signing their own death certificates.  The Arabs of Judea-Samaria will just have to find some other place to pitch their tents... preferably in East Palestine (a.k.a. Jordan) or in any of the other 21 Arab Nations that surround Israel!

Tiny Tiny Tiny tiny

 Israel would fit INSIDE nearly every U.S. state!  In fact, tiny Israel would fit into the United States (Alaska & Hawaii included) 768 times! Israel could fit into Florida SEVEN times! 

The United States is a country surrounded by two vast oceans and two friendly countries, Canada and Mexico. Yet the United States Government has the nerve to tell Israel what it must, and must not do, for her own survival or in the name of some phony "Road Map" for Middle East Peace! Keep in mind that the United States has still not placed its U.S. Embassy in Israel's 3,000 year old capitol city of Jerusalem so as not to "offend" the Arab worlds' collective sensitivities!  Well, I say it's about time for the United States government to show some backbone. It is our calling as a nation, to protect the nation of Israel. If we fail, we will effectively be furthering our own destruction.

How Does Israel's Size Compare To Other Countries? Click Here!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Deep Pot Chili

A really hearty chili is a must for cold winter days. It can be served up on it's own, with frito chips (my kids love that), or over potatoes. It's a gluten free option that's easy to make and warms the bones after working (or playing) all day in the snow. Let's dig in!

Hearty and Delicious

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds ground sirloin or chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 14 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Two 28-ounce cans diced Italian tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken, beef stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 19-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 19-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cinnamon 
  • 3 large jalapeƱo chiles, seeded and minced (this is only if you want more heat)
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Sour cream, for serving 
  • any shredded cheese desired, for serving
  • frito corn chips if desired, for serving


Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half the ground beef in large chunks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone, about 3 minutes; keep the meat in large chunks. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

  2.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion, garlic (and jalapenos if wanting more heat) and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder and smoked paprika and cook over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is glossy and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock and the cooked beef and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the kidney and white beans, chipotles, oregano and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Reheat before serving.

  4. Serve the chili in bowls, topped with a generous sprinkling of cilantro (and cheese if desired). Pass the sour cream at the table (and throw in some corn chips if feeling frisky!).

Make Ahead

The chili can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 2 months
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