Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

I'm so excited about so many things this week. I feel like I've been walking around with an ear to ear grin on my face. The Lord loves me, every day - I know that is a truth. But when things are going as peachy swell as they are this week, I have to marvel at how He get's excited to show me in tangible ways.

So, wow, where do I start? Ok - for the first one I'll keep it simple. If you live in Eden Prairie, you need to go to the EP Center and gush and stare at the ginormous poster for Wolverine: Origins that's hanging outside the AMC. You'll see me there, staring up at it like a little kid in front of the Grand Canyon. Completely in awe.

Dear lord am I glad they finally ditched that stupid Bride Wars poster too. Those chicks were getting a-noy-ing!!! First of all, what bride wears no jewelry, no veil, nothing? Puhleeze!! I mean, really they just annoyed me because Bride Wars was probably the lowest specimen of the lowest genre, in my opinion. A romantic comedy about women itching to get hitched. So itching, matter of fact, that they'd sabotage the wedding of their own friends for self-serving reasons? Hopeless, annoying, I-Can't-Live-Without-Getting-Married women. It's this kind of stereotyping that makes our gender appear so desperate and trivial. Sadly, it's this kind of behavior that generates stereotypes. Double Ew.

I know I said I'd keep it simple. And here I am diatribing about some stupid Bride Wars poster. Just trust me - the Wolverine poster is HOT! Smokin' hot. Like one of those creepy Calvin Klein ads but for comic book geeks!! Shiver.

Ok, secondly - I am loving being a Pampered Chef consultant. When I signed up, I really did think that it was going to be another failed attempt at a second job, in which I spend more money than I make on things I don't need. But so far, so good. In less than a month I've completed all the goals I set for myself initially. I've been working more than I expected, but it doesn't feel like "work". I've hosted two parties (besides my own Open House), and have a really high show average so far. The kind that is not expected of beginner consultants. Granted, I have amazing friends who are willing to host, and that really helps! So, here's a big shout out to the Johnson/Coulon girls & Katrina. Thank you guys!!

Seriously, I'm really enjoying being part of this growing business. The Pampered Chef company is really good to it's consultants, and my coach, Lisa, is a rock star! She's totally patient with me when I email her twenty million times a day. And the spark of passion I've had for cooking has been completely reignited as I bask in the excitement of trying out new products and recipes.

Speaking of recipes - one of the main reasons for this post, including one of the most exciting thing I've discovered lately is this: I've completely recommitted myself to going Gluten & Dairy Free. Part of my motivation is that I had a really, really bad reaction to some gluten this week. The kind of reaction that seriously sent me over the edge in a way I haven't experienced in a long time. I experienced everything from short term reactions (intense pain, throwing up, a migraine within hours) to long term ones (continued migraine, irritability, joint pain and stiffness, inability to concentrate for two days). This really threw me for a loop, and I was both angry at myself for thinking I could just be "normal" as well as frustrated at feeling so icky.

So, immediately the next day I recommitted to doing the whole Gluten/Casein (another word for dairy) free thing. It was like God answered my prayers, because that same day I found one of the best blogs I'd read in a long time. Karina's Kitchen - Recipes from a Gluten Free Goddess. I'm pumped to try her GF/CF Coconut Carrot Cake tonight. Yum!!

Not only does she have very well written posts, visually stimulating pictures of all her recipes, and great links, but she also tests GF/CF products and reviews them. No more bean-tasting bread, with her recommendations on baking mixes!! I must say, Karina is quite the food writer. She paints beautiful pictures, with her words, of her life in Santa Fe, her deep love for her husband and family, and her enthusiasm for being Gluten Free. She's the kind of writer I'd enjoy reading, even if she wasn't speaking on something so relevant to my own life.

In addition to finding Karina's site, I also received, via Amazon (oh, Amazon, where would I be without you??), my copy of the Kid Friendly ADHD/Autism Cookbook. Now, for those of you that really do know me, you'll know that in addition to being painfully ADD at times (oh look, a bird), I also, despite my extensive culinary background, have the same taste in food as a 14 year old boy. Chicken wings, chicken strips, tater tots, pop. I'm good. I could live off that. Oh, how I long for the days of pepperoni pizza with ranch dressing! Such fond memories.

Truly though, the reason for buying this book was more for my nephew Nathan, who really is a 8 year old boy with Autism and ADHD, than for myself. But that's not to say I won't be using A LOT of the recipes in the book. I am really pumped to read it (even though I'm trying to pound through Watchmen, before I go see it Saturday).

For months and months now, I've been trying to convince my mom of the importance of cutting out all fast food from their diet and going GF/CF, to benefit Nathan's high functioning autism. Like most GF baking mixes, this has met with mixed reviews and left a crappy taste in my mouth. Stubbornly she won't even try, though the words of "oh, that's such a great idea" mask her reluctance with an insincerity I see right through. After reading Jenny McCarthy's very moving books, especially "Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism", I'm convinced more than ever of the link between a GF/CF diet and combating (though for now, not healing) the symptoms of autism. How much better could Nathan be functioning through the simple steps of a few diet changes? That's not to discount the commitment and discipline it takes to truly live a GF/CF life. But I'm convinced that even a few steps in that direction could have a strong positive impact on him.

Autism is an issue that is so dear to my heart, and one I'm highly sensitive to. Because of Nathan, and my overwhelming love for him, and my desire for him to have a rich, fulfilling, healthy life, I've taken up this cause with fervor and great heart. Last year I participated in the Minnesota Walk For Autism, that occurred in September, at Canterbury Park. I was able to raise $400 to help research a cure, aid parents struggling with autism, and promote awareness of this mysterious disease. I plan on being there again this year, walking, and showing love and support to those who autism profoundly affects.

One of the statements that has stuck with me about Autism, through the walk, and my reading on it, is this "Autism is not a dead end diagnosis. It is the beginning of a journey into faith, hope, love, and recovery.", from Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. I have not yet begun my journey into dealing with autism on a daily basis, though lately I keep asking God for the chance to. More than anything I wish for lately, more than trivial things like Wolverine posters and new Gap jeans and finding new recipes to try, I really hope and pray and wish for my mom and Nathan to move out here with me, to Minnesota. In some ways it would be a death sentence to life as I know it, but after six years, six long, restorative, healthy years away from my unhealthy, dysfunctional family, I am ready to take on this challenge and welcome them into my life again. Not for my mom, not for me, but for Nathan.

When I stop to reflect on him, on who he is, his creativity and quirks and general awesomeness, I want so much to be part of his life. Not enough to disobey the Lord, though, for I know, in my heart, that Minnesota is where I'm supposed to be, and so I would not move back to Los Angeles to do it. How do I balance the conflict of wanting (and needing) to live out here, with the guilt and longing of wanting to be part of this little boy's life? Obviously his parents have never stepped up to the plate, and never will. Even my mom, who has taken on the raising and care of this little boy all alone, still struggles with the weight of this load. I can't imagine how hard it must be. How much harder would it be, then, if I were to move home to do it? Home that I ran from, to escape the madness, the hatred, the intolerance, the ingrained depression, the extreme, emboldened, willful dysfunction. That is not where I was supposed to be, and though I don't know the answer of where Nathan's supposed to be (yet), I can only imagine the wonderful ways his life would open up if he could just live out here, and share with me the joy of a life away from all that. A big, fat, Christ filled, Gluten & Dairy free life. Heeheeh!

These are prayers, I guess, too. Prayers that one day he'll be able to come out here and visit, and maybe even move here too. Prayers that I would keep on the right track with eating well, and treating my body like the temple it is. Prayers that I would do well with my new Pampered Chef venture. And just prayers of thanksgiving and praise for all the ways God is good to me, every day. In this walk with Him, there is so, so much to be excited about. Yay!!

1 comment:

China Doll said...

I have faith in you! Faith that not only comes from a love for you and a knowledge that you have extreme capabilities, but also from a trust in God that he can and will continue to strengthen you and keep you in His will!