Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting Past Pinterest Perfect

So, I was sharing with some of my friends just the other day my thought process in doing nice things for others. This is literally how it goes...

I should say 'hi' to my neighbor.
You know what I should really do, I should make some sort of homemade gift. 
I should make her some of that all-natural cleaner that I make.
Oh, that means I should probably go to the Health Foods store to get more essential oils. 
Do I really feel like dragging all three littles in with me?
I am envisioning many broken small glass bottles of oil puddling on the tile floor in aisle three. 
Oh, you know what,  Dan has the extra car seat in his car at work.
I guess I'll have to go some other time. 

And so, I just don't do anything.

Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds so hilarious/neurotic when you say it out loud, does it not?! It reminds me of those children's books, If you give a Moose a Muffin! 

My question is, how do you combat this sort of analytical paralysis. How do we move forward and skip the homemade gift and literally just say 'hi' to our neighbor?

Not that homemade all-natural cleaner is not totally awesome....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank YOU!!! One MILLION views!!!

I am so grateful for the people who have followed along these last few years and for the feedback I've received from so many! I am super duper excited to announce that Little Fellows blog has exceeded my goal mark of 1,000,000 views and counting!

I've been dreaming of what I would do when this day came. I am doing a little happy dance right now! In light of hitting the mark, I am working on a revamp of the blog and also planning to kick it up a notch with a full editorial calendar set for 2015.

Some new goals are 1-2 posts per week, exciting new crockpot recipes and better quality photos.

I also would be foolish to say that I have done this all on my own. I feel that God specifically gave me this task. I hope that I can continue to encourage someone on a weekly basis. Thank you so much for the times that you have actually read my writing. That means the world to me. My heart is so full of gratitude.

Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dear Girl, it is time to open up.

I know your hesitation. I can see your pain. Sweet girl, you are beautiful still.

It is so hard for you to share the burdens that you carry around your shoulders, so heavy, so obviously there. You have been badly mistreated, time and time again. You know that you are drawn to that type.

But this time, it is different. You are surprised and even confused by the way he treats you. You are sure he will not love you. Just give it time. Time for the truth and the burdens and the baggage to get unpacked, then surely he will not love you.

But this time it is different. He gently slides the backside of his hand across your brow pushing back the few hairs that have come untucked and put them back in their place. His touch is gentle this time. His heart is steady and he feels safe.

His heart belongs to the One that you know. The one true God. The One that will always be there.

And He says, "My dearest, it's time to open up. You have carried this weight for far too long. You are beautiful and precious and radiant and you will become stronger because of this. Open up to me. Open up to another. Open up to a life more abundant. Yes, YOU deserve the best."

We are all mistreated or carry pain that we cover up and try to bury deep in our hearts. God wants us to uncover it and to heal. He is our ultimate healer. It is time to open up, my dear friend. Your life is waiting and it will be wonderful. Believe it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scrappy Burlap Fall Wreath

Continuing my simple inspiration challenge, I was feeling more creative and in the mood to make something relatively simple, but festive and fun. So, I made this "Scrappy Burlap Fall Wreath". Every once in a while my Fine Art education gets trumped by Arts and Crafts. :) There is certainly a feeling in the rustling breezes around here and I am in the mood to celebrate my favorite season-Fall!
I was surprised with how simple this project was. I have seen these made before and so I went to the store only with a vision in my head. I found this wire wreath base at Jo-Ann's for only a couple of dollars. Originally I had envisioned regular brown burlap, but happened upon a whole shelf of interesting colors and patterns. I fell in love with this burnt orange glinted with gold glitter. I knew it would look striking against our black front door. I think knowing your front door makes all the difference in wreath choice. I always love a good contrast. 

I chose the 18" wreath frame and bought 1.5 yards of burlap. I cut the fabric into roughly 4"-5" strips.  I also bought a small wooden letter 'D' and some bits of flora and golden leaves to accent the letter.


Then all you do is tie the strips in half all over the wreath until they are all bunched up next to each other and hardly enough room left to tie on the wire. Pretty simple! The strips don't even have to be the exact length, I preferred them all a little bit different. I used a hot glue gun to adhere the little bits of flora on one spot of the wreath and then also glued the letter on top of that. This part is a little tricky but it just takes some trial and error.And that is basically all you do!

I'm proud of myself for actually carving out an afternoon to make something! I think that is so important to MAKE the time as a Mommy. I hope you make time this week to do something you LOVE.

        Happy Fall,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Simple Inspiration Challenge

One of the hardest things that I have found to maintain about myself since becoming a mother 5 years ago, is to keep making art. 

Part of the problem is that I always have grand ideas for paintings or projects that I just never seem to find enough time to complete, or start for that matter. 

I'm stripping it down and lowering my expectations (a common theme?). I am challenging myself to simply notice and allow myself to be inspired in small manageable moments. Anytime I have a moment where something strikes me as beautiful or interesting, I am going to try and capture it either by a photo or a rough sketch or some sort of small way of studying it further. 

This morning I pulled into our Pediatrician's office parking lot and noticed the field was full of beautiful grasses all bursting in crimsons, ochres and chartreuses. It was a moment where I had a couple extra minutes and so I took a photo.

That is a simple inspiration. And a beautiful one.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Real About Arthritis

Adjust your expectations. "When you get rheumatoid arthritis, you have to adjust your expectations and so does your spouse," Flynn Peters says. The spouse with rheumatoid arthritis may be in bed part of the day and can't contribute to running the household like she did before becoming ill. Everyone must realize the change and adapt, or resentment and more stress will build. If you set realistic expectations — perhaps the spouse with RA agrees to do more on days when feeling better — neither of you will be set up for disappointment.

I just read this in an article this morning. How fitting, as I fell asleep last night at 5:30pm. It describes the exact scene in our home. I have been so frustrated with not being able to keep up with cooking, dishes, laundry and everything. Sometimes I feel like I just can't do it all. And alas, I just can't do it all. 

Some people may not even know that I have rheumatoid arthritis. I guess this is a way to help them, especially my family, understand better. This past 6 months I've been on a diagnosis odyssey. I went back to to the drawing board to make sure the symptoms I'm having are in fact arthritis, although I was once diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis several years ago. The symptoms of pain and fatigue (among others) have become strong enough for me to decide it is time to really do something about it. So I began with my primary care physician. We took lots of general blood tests and when my levels were there for an auto-immune disease we began following the trail taking more specific testing until she finally referred me to a Rheumatologist in South Bend. They would have even more specific testing available. So that is what I did. Along with the examination, it was determined that I have what is called a negative rheumatoid. Which basically means some of the levels are not showing up in my blood work, so it may be a different kind of arthritis, but it is treated as rheumatoid. 

I never, ever thought that I would have some sort of chronic illness, but alas I do. The hardest part in all of this is that to most people, I appear perfectly normal. It is a silent secret that I feel pain in my hands, wrists, knees and now elbow most of the day, though some days are better than others, it is always there. I don't say this to make you feel sorry for me. I don't want that at all. I just need others to know that I may need a little extra help now and again. Also to lower their expectations in some ways. I guess, for myself included, I just need to receive a little more grace when I can't do it all. I need to slow down and accept this new challenge for what it is.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The problem with the real world...

... is that it never quite compares with the illusion in my mind. 

The place in my mind where my house looks like a pin on pinterest, all white and modern and gorgeous. Where I imagine myself primped and in my best little sundress, my hair glimmers with sun flares and palm trees surrounding me. 

When the hardest choices I have to make are which trendy corner cafe to eat lunch, which weekend to do which fun thing? Or what on earth am I going to do with another couple hours of free time?

Instead, it is continually doing things that I don't want to do. 

Waking up when I'd rather sleep in, to dress and feed three little munchkins so they can make it to school on time. Then consequently clearing all the dishes and wiping counters only to sigh, disgruntled over another small mountain of rainbow plastic dishes growing in the sink. 

It is pulling back dirty hair barely brushed.
Slinking on my black yoga pants for the fourth time this week and touching up with a bit of mascara and powder. If the children stay occupied longer, I brush my teeth.

The real world is all about doing things you don't want to do. Even though my season now is raising small children, there will be other kinds of demanding work in other seasons. We all have to do work. 

The particularly challlenging part about this sort of work is that its hard to measure its success, like a mountain of rainbow plastic dishes that never seems to stay clean and put away long enough.
But as the good book says, we reap what we sow. We are sowing everyday. Sowing seeds in the hearts and minds of those little people entrusted to us. The rainbow dishes may seem insignificant, but we are sowing there too. Our home and our habits are a big part of who we are and how our kids will behave when they are on their own. 

The reaping will be evidence of our hard work. What kind of fruit will there be when the time comes?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sage Advice From My Grandmother (On Her 85th Birthday!)

Lately I've been feeling discouraged. You know the feeling....like you just can't catch up or catch your breath. Mostly I've been worrying about all of our bills and all of the things that my children need.

I'm reminded of a recent conversation I had with my sweet Grandma Gigi. I asked her how she managed with eight children on one income and she responded by saying, "Whenever you are arguing or worried about money or whatever it may be- imagine yourself on a stage. You rise above whatever it is and you are suddenly looking down and watching it all play out. Imagine what will happen next in the story. That always seemed to help."

This has stuck with me and I have practiced removing myself and gaining a better perspective many times since. It's such a simple mental exercise, but so powerful. Thanks Grandma for your wisdom. Your example gives me courage and strength.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


I sat in my icy, cold A/C minivan, parked along the circle drive to Stewart Elementary waiting for them to return. The list for classroom assignments just posted against gridded glass, I waited to see their faces. Jovie babbled behind me in blurts and gaps of silence.

I studied as children of all ages marched and skipped, twirling their summer dresses as they went always holding the hand of a grown-up, usually a mother. The excitement was real. The mothers hugging and laughing and collecting in pools of conversation only to burst away in a hurried manner. School is about to begin.

I couldn't quite see Cal or Jack around the corner, and I wasn't sure if all five of us got out if we would look too much like rookies with my first Kindergartener. So I waited for them. My cheeks all clammy and cool partly from the humidity of late August and partly from the nerves I suppose.

I watched mothers who wore too much makeup and dyed their hair too blonde, entertaining a brood of young boys, quite clearly the "popular mom". I watched another mother with daughter close beside her, timid and with few words of response to the other parents skitter across the sidewalk. I watched a  bubbly, large woman squeeze her daughter several times into her great bosom, picking and swiping her daughters bangs and tucking in her bra straps beneath her small neon yellow tank top.

I wondered about myself. Who am I as a Mother? Who will I become as I age? How will I love my children as they grow and change? How will I love myself? My husband? Have I done a good enough job so far?

I shift the air vent to the left and up, away from my cold cheeks. I catch a glimpse of the boy that was once that little baby I held so close. His face is bright and sweat across his brow sharpens the ends of the hair stuck to his forehead. He skips a little too, still holding onto his Daddy's hand.

I think of my life's work. Pouring hours into worry... Did he eat enough? Is he eating healthy enough? Should I give him organic baby food? Should I let him cry it out? When to discipline and when to let it go? Am I giving him everything he needs? Is he learning enough?

I think of the way God led me through every hard decision. Guiding me, nudging me and giving me the strength to do the hardest job I've ever had to do. I remember the days I closed the bathroom door and cried. Blubbering and wiping tissues all stained black in a neat little pile on the counter beside me. Audibly asking God for help in short command sentences. I remember how I stood up, pulled up my big girl pants and went back to work. Mom work. And how always, the strength came, even if it was just enough. It came.

The sliding door zips open and three happy fellas pile in. The idea of Miss Crockett seems a vague notion to his wandering eyes I can tell, but I also see a child on the brink of discovery and new worlds. The unknown is calling to him and I am so proud of his bravery.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Need Girlfriends When You're a Mom

1. You can text each other when you're bored. (Think silly photos and youtube links)

2. You can trade off watching each other's kids so you can go to the grocery store ALONE. *gasp*

3. You can go out to eat at half the cost with a girlfriend. (As opposed to going out with your husband) Plus, no sitter costs because the kids can play with Daddy at home. (You know build forts and fires and stuff.)

4. You can go hang at a girlfriend's house instead of Target when you just "need" to get out of the house. This saves you money and sanity.

5. You can travel somewhere special like Paris or London. For only the cost of one person instead of two. Think of the possibilities here people!

6. You can vent. And then go home to your family feeling much lighter.

7. Your friends make you dinner. When you have a new baby, or they bring soup when someone is sick.

8. You can trade clothes! Think about that wedding next month, there's bound to be a little black dress just collecting dust in someone's closet. You can feel pretty and fresh for a night at no cost to you!

9. You can color each other's hair on the cheap. And other beauty regiments, waxing maybe?

10. You can trade DVDs. Downton Abbey Season 1-4 anyone?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Beauty of Average

We live in a brick ranch built in 1968. In a neighborhood of similar brick structures, all sprawled out generously on a lovely plot of land that was once two generations ago a vineyard. The other homes can be seen from just about every view in our house. Average upkeep, hydrangeas, evergreen bushes, occasional summer lillies. The lawns are let go on average about a week sometimes a few days past, but never longer. You can always count on the comforting drone of a mower from some direction, on either side or across the street.

   The neighbors that occupy the homes are a little quirky, but steady. They are even a little predictable and yet to me they are fascinating. We live with the town pediatrician, the judge, the retired minister, a couple of teachers and several engineers. Not a bad line up. Here we all are in American middle class, tending and caring for average homes, walking our dogs or strolling our kids. I never knew how friendly the average neighborhood could be. Everyone stopping to chat as they pass around the great circle drive.

   It dawns on me that I've always been fascinated with and even admired folk like this. People who do important work and choose to live rather simply. They choose to have an average American standard, tending and caring so vigilantly. I admire them. Steady. These are the kind of people who choose a path and stay with it, even if the times are changing or others are moving up and up and up. They remain. Committed.

   Its true that some of the world looks down on people who choose average. You see I think there is a difference between "being" average and "choosing" average.

   In fact, my entire young life, people all around me encouraged my dreaming, my high achieving goals, praised my fruitful endeavors, even persuaded my college degree path. I grew up believing that I was going to change the world. I believed it in every fiber. Ironically, so did many other people my age.

My husband was also praised and persuaded. His rebellious and self-important high school years proved to me that we could be an unstoppable duo. It may have been what drew me to him in the first place, that he believed also. Just like I believed. Watch out world.

Fast forward to my 30 year-old self, lying on my knock-off memory foam queen bed somewhere in seventies suburbia. The kids finally quiet, lying in their own hand-me-down twin beds, doors shut. Freedom. A lonely songbird sings his evening song just outside my window in the overgrown hedge that presses close to the house, the summer light turning a dusky blue.

I'm starting to give up the fight. The drive and the fight that was in me for so long. And it feels incredible.

Like a junkie coming off some addiction that claimed her life for decades. I'm all sweaty and shaky and still find myself at the kitchen sink, hands soapy and warm and gazing out the back window at our perfectly average, flat, grass-patchy yard- imagining perfection. Imagining that my average life exists between narrow cobblestone streets in Italy, immersed, drinking a real cappuccino at the quaint neighborhood bar. Sitting outside, my perfectly painted crimson nails glisten in the dappled sun with every sip drawn to my lips.

I know because I was there, once. An entire blissful semester that left me with the most hammering hangover. Always dreaming of going back to paint that magical olive grove on the hill in Umbria once more. I was just a college girl, emphasis on "girl". But I saw things, tasted things that most people dare not dream of until they are much older and in the way of money.

I went on a prayer and a whopping student loan. And so here I am scrubbing last nights lasagna off a 9x13 Pyrex pan imagining I'm that once not-so-average girl in Italy.

The trouble is twofold. One hand is an escape from dullness. Another hand is the desire for beauty. Neither is wrong. I'm coming off this high and realizing there is work to do. That life is not about the Italian streets of my memory, but it's about making an honest living. Working hard, everyday. Making a plan and sticking to it. Steady.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lonely Mothers

They never tell you how lonely you will become as a mother.

Of course, the ironic thing is that you are not physically alone.

In fact, I've never been so near other little humans in my life. Always pawing and pulling on shirts and lifting up their chubby arms to get raised and plopped on your hip. Sweaty, sticky "jam hands" (as a friend of mine once said) always searching across skin as if to learn in blindness the mold of mother. Lips pulled, hair grabbed, eyes poked, and then sweet heads resting, breathing against your chest so close to your beating heart-always.

Sometimes I just want to get away. To breathe slowly and deeply, to escape the shortness of breath that so easily consumes my days. It skips and catches with every little step they miss. Every little movement thrown off. Every collision.

And yet, even with the contact, the questions and answers, the smiles and the heart tugging. Being a mother is lonely. It's ok to say it, to admit it. The correlation of your facebook activity proves it. We are deprived of higher level conversation.

Some days I just want to learn something new. To read some fascinating article and then have someone to discuss it with. I dream of going back to school, learning intimate details of specific subject matter. Then I dream of traveling with my husband, immersing myself in a new culture or language, meeting all sorts of interesting people along the way. Then I dream that I have a live in nanny that keeps me company.

None of these dreams are that far off. But some days I realize that all I really need in the world is a friend. A friend to come over and sit with me in my stinky and cluttered house. Hoodies and yoga pants and drinking a cup of sweetened mint tea. To shout over the hoopla of small voices and sword fights. To share the endless task of making lunch and cleaning up.

And when that happens... That is when you are living an open life. But for now, it is ok to accept that at times it is a lonely season. Behind the facebook screen is a life that is totally normal and even dull at times. The value of the season is hard to find when it is so close to you, grabbing you with sticky jam hands.

Trust me Momma, you are fine. Don't be afraid to dream or call a friend for now. Live an open life.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Even the Small Things

Yesterday morning my four-year-old son bounded into my bedroom, while I lay asleep, exclaiming, "This is the BEST DAY EVER!" He had found the new set of crayons and Disney 'Planes' coloring book on the kitchen table, as I knew he would. 

He could hardly contain his joy, immediately nesting into the space between my legs on top of my bed covers. Carefully selecting his first color, he awed over the beautiful array of fresh, sharp colored tips. The five different oranges and greens all neatly packed together.

I couldn't help but smile. What a lesson to us grown people. That happiness is truly in the small things in life. Let us not grow old and tired of small things, but find the wonder and beauty in even these. The problem lies in how we view it, life. So let's savor a single piece of dark chocolate, sit quietly and earnestly over a warm cup of chai tea with a friend, walk through a crunchy, sparkling new snowfall. 

Let us not become so inundated with extravagance, that we forget the satisfaction of the ordinary pleasures of life.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Making the Most of my Mommy Margin

This year I've made a commitment to changing some of my habits. Mainly, what I do with my "margin".

If you haven't been listening to the sermons at First Church in St. Joseph, I recommend them! You can listen to any of them here.

"Margin" is defined as the space between our load and our limit.

This season of staying home with the kids has been a very heavy load. In more ways than one! (mom humor insert here)

I've realized that my margin was very small. I was hitting my limit on almost a daily basis. And really, who doesn't as a stay-at-home Mom? It is honest, hard work that is hard to quantify or measure.

In the way that the dishes were all cleaned and put away and after two meals every dish we own is in the sink once again. Or the toddler is throwing yet another temper tantrum after your "Come to Jesus" talk only minutes before.

I so desperately need my margin to restore me, so I can keep going.

So I am exchanging some of the ways that I spend my "margin" or free time. One exchange is Target for Southshore Health Club.

This is nothing against Target. I do love you so, with your cutesie picture frames and shabby chic throw pillows with birds on them. I love spending mindless minutes adoring the newest seasonal platter or ice bucket, but after leaving the doors, how do I feel?

Still. Exhausted. And sometimes guilty for that needless splurge.

Instead, I go to Southshore. (Membership gift! Yes!) I drop the kids off in the nursery (PTL for that) and pretend I know what I'm doing in the gym for 15-20 minutes. My breathing gets a little heavier and the elliptical tells me I burned like 58 calories! Woo-hoo! This is coming from someone who has always hated the idea of just running. Ew.

Even if my total trip is under an hour, I feel:


That is the opposite of Target. So I must choose this. Why? 

Because it helps me to be the Mom I need to be when we pull back into the garage and back into our comfy pants for the remainder of the day. I am less snippy and impatient. I have just a few more ounces of energy than I did before.

 How is this of spiritual worth? I think that God is glorified when we take care of ourselves physically too. I am learning that it is often a physical expression of the state of my heart and my soul.

I get that not everyone can make this change. But what change can you make? Is there a sacrifice worth making to make the best use of your margin?

I am still learning. I would love to hear about your margin too.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Give Your Gift

"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another."  1 Peter 4:10

Two questions for today:

1. What is your gift? 

2. How will you use it to serve another well?

The last two-three years God has been revealing to me just how important this is! It's huge! There are so many spiritual gift tests available, which can be helpful tools. It is also important to have the gifts confirmed in you by others around you. 

Once you have confidence in them, embrace them! Run with them! Get creative in ways you can use your gifts. 

For me, I have Creative Ability, Teaching, and Encouraging, among some other lesser gifts.

I chose to concentrate in these areas with ministry. I made a decision to lead a girls small group, so that I can use my teaching and encouraging. I am embracing writing and videography for my creative outlets in the church. It becomes a sort of filter for the decisions I make, for what things I say 'yes' and to which I say 'no'. 

Find another, seek them out and serve them well today.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A GF Toddler Dip Plate

Sometimes the simplest ideas get overrun by routine. 
 I am on my 23rd day of going gluten free. I still feel great. Although I think I have experienced some wicked withdraw symptoms. (i.e. mood swings etc.) I feel better than ever. My head continues to be clearer everyday. It's strange, I can think so much better. AND my creativity is coming back to me! I have had a looong dry spell. I even picked up my guitar and painted something all in the same day. Ok, it was just a little picture frame that I painted turquoise, but still. It excites me.

Since I've been eating mostly salads for lunches I've realized how much bread and unhealthy processed foods my kids eat. So today I thought to myself, "I'm just going to make them one colorful plate of veggies and make it fun and have dipping sauces to dip things."

We do eat a lot of carrots or tomatoes with meals, but I've never made that the meal before. I happened to have a lot of random veggies I needed to finish off anyway, so it made for a great way to clear out the fridge too. 

 I gave them two saucers one with ranch and one with red pepper hummus. Since it was all finger foods, there were no forks to wash or extra plates. Bonus! 

It's the little things. I want my kids to be excited about eating healthy. Sometimes I think it helps just to put it in front of them and make it fun.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dining Room Remodel; Whitewashing the Fireplace

We bought a new home! A super-seventies ranch! Woo-hoo! This is the first post of several, with before and after pics of some of the remodeling work we have done. 


This is our "family room" adjoining our kitchen. This photo was taken when we first purchased the home. The cabinets on the right were hanging over a bar in the kitchen. The carpet was super dirty and stinky and it just felt sort of crotchety. Yes, crotchety.

I love the space and we want to be able to host dinner parties so we decided to turn this into a large dining room, sort of a great room feel I suppose. The french doors on the right lead out to the enclosed back porch and then the backyard. 


Here, you can see the bar and we removed the hanging cupboards that were above it. I think it really opened up the space and makes the kitchen seem larger. We have since painted the cupboards, but that is for another post! The next step was to paint the entire room top to bottom as well as whitewashing the fireplace and spray painting the lovely brass guard.

Here I am starting to paint, no turning back! We better like this!

To whitewash a brick fireplace, you make up a mixture of half water, half white paint, preferably a flat or eggshell so there is more of a matte finish. Paint into all the crevices with an old brush. It is pretty watery and sloppy so take precautions with tarps and tape where needed. At first it seems very white, but after awhile the brick soaks in the paint and you can still see the texture and slight color of the brick. We were very happy with the results!

After the fireplace was all painted, I taped off the guard, and used newspaper to make a barrier all around and on the glass front and spray painted it with an oil rubbed bronze spray paint. It is very dark, almost black. I painted the room a very, very pale cool gray called tundra. I wanted the room to stay a light color because it doesn't get much sunlight and we decided on a darker wood floor. I also taped and painted our french doors black for a more modern look.

Here you can see the fireplace all painted. And the wood floor going in. Dan did a fabulous job on it! It is an engineered locking hardwood floor, called Vintage Hickory. It has a hand carved look and little dents in it, to give it that vintage look. We weren't sure how it would look, but once it started covering a larger area on the floor, we fell in love! It took probably about 3-4 full days of hard work on my hubby's part. Good job Daniel!

Here is the new look! We love it. It feels more like us now. Ahhh. Next up for this room is to paint the built in on the right of the fireplace (probably a darker gray) and wire our lamps above the table into the ceiling, as well as several can lights in this room, particularly above the fireplace. I think adding the lighting will really bring this room into this century. By the way, that table from Ikea seats like 16 when you put in the leaf. It's huge. Come over for dinner there is plenty of roooom! (P.S. better quality photos next time)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A new year! A new diet? Going Gluten Free

I admit it. I judged them. I thought it was crazy. I thought it was a fad. I didn't understand how a "natural" derivative of wheat could cause so many health problems. And then....I tried it.

Many people don't know, but I have been having all sorts of health problems over the last 8 years. Mainly severe joint pain and inflammation. Also, fatigue and stomach pains at almost every meal. In the last couple of years it has become close to debilitating. I wake up and can hardly walk or open anything or even hold a coffee mug my hands are so swollen and in pain.

Today is my sixth day on a strict gluten free diet and I feel so great. I'm not jumping to conclusions until my 30 day trial is complete, but oh. my. goodness. I feel amazing. My joints in my hands and wrists were less swollen by day three. My husband even commented on them. My belly is less bloated and I haven't had any stomach issues, at all. This is big people.

I can't tell you how many times I have prayed for this, or had people pray over me for this. I must acknowledge that God has been leading me to figure this out. I still have a lot of blood work and labs to sort through as I do have an auto immune disease, we are trying to pin down, if it be different from the psoriatic arthritis I was originally diagnosed with. But we are on a path to healing and this is everything to me. I feel like I am hopeful for the first time in years.

I would love to hear of anyone else that has gone gluten free and how you determined that helped you. Also any tips for good meal ideas. Right now I pretty much eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch and soup for dinner....every day. So that might get old soon.

Hooray for feeling better, here's to a great new year.