My 39th year

Hello hello! We are at the END of September. Can you believe that?! I certainly can’t. I keep saying it over and over, but I can’t really believe how fast it feels this year is flying by. Before I know it we will be celebrating Christmas and then the arrival of 2020. C-R-A-Z-Y.

I’m sitting here doing a little bit of prep work for the coming week; it’s going to be pretty busy one for me. On top of the normal month end / quarter end / reporting that comes with an old month and a new month, I’ll be busy prepping for an even busier week following this one. So as I’m sitting here sketching out some plans to make it all happen, I’ve somewhat drifted to the personal side of things. This week I will celebrate my 39th trip around the sun. C-R-A-Z-Y.

Birthdays aren’t really a big thing to me anymore. It’s really just another day. (It’s a day I can have a cupcake with literally no shame.). They do, however, make you take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re headed. For the first time in many years and months, I really like the direction I’m going. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t remotely how I thought my life was going to be. It isn’t what you plan when you’re fresh out of high school or college. But I believe there is a purpose for all of it. The best is definitely yet to come.

So I’m making some goals for the month of October, month #1 of year 39. Some of them are ambitious and will challenge me. Some of them are “minimums” just to get me in the habit of doing some new things. All of them will make me a better Sarah for whatever my future holds.

I challenge you to set a few goals for this coming month. Strive and stretch and grow and reach. What else can we accomplish by the end of this year?

TODAY I LOVE: kettle corn from the fall festival
SONG OF THE DAY: “A Safe Place to Land” by Sara Bareilles

random friday stuff: vol 7

Hello, my friends! Is everyone putting on their favorite music and having a mini dance party? No? Just me? Give it a try. I guarantee you’ll smile: if not out of happiness then at your pure silliness.

Here are some random things I’m stewing on this week:

  • I cannot stop listening to all things Foy Vance. If you like folk/blues/rock you’d love him. Go ahead and check him out!
  • My birthday is next week and I’m already thinking about some kind of treat I will allow myself. If you can’t break the elimination diet for cake on your birthday THEN WHAT CAN YOU BREAK IT FOR?! It will probably make me feel miserable, but I will suffer for the cause.
  • I haven’t run much at all this week due to falling in a hole while on a run Monday morning. I was oh so graceful. I rolled my ankle and then hit the ground. It’s been bruised most of the week but it’s going down now. All that to say, I’ve missed it! I’m looking forward to getting back out there and setting some goals for October. I’d like to be able to go more than 3 miles without sounding like a dying cow. πŸ™‚
  • All my reading friends don’t throw things at me, but I’m FINALLY getting around to reading “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. I know, I know, I’m very late to the party.
  • Jeans that are too big are just as awful as jeans that are too tight. Right now I’m in the middle of every size of jean I own. I’ve also learned that high-waisted skinny jeans are likely what it felt like to be wearing a full-body corset.
  • I’m still thinking about the Downton Abbey movie. I want to go see it again. Yes, it’s pure fluff. But unlike so many movies and tv shows you see these days, you leave it light-hearted and smiling. I’ll take some more of that please.

Ok, that’s enough for today. I hope everyone has a splendid weekend!

TODAY I LOVE: the tiny pink pineapple lamp I have in my kitchen
SONG OF THE DAY: “Unlike Any Other” by Foy Vance

goals, direction, and starting to see light.

Seeing the light arriving

Greetings, my friends! And Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend. It has been raining off and on yesterday and today and honestly it’s been nice to chill for a hot minute. I did quite a bit of socializing this week and was oh-so-ready for a day to be a hermit and recharge.

I do apologize that my writing has been so sporadic lately. I certainly didn’t intend for this to blog to only be used when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Now that I’ve made great strides crawling out of the dark place, I guess I’m trying to decide which direction to take this thing now.

First things first, some updates. This week will be Week 6 of my elimination diet. As I said in my last post, I’ve been adding things in and taking them out for a few weeks now. Even though I do believe now that most of my health issues are being caused by something other than food, it has been very enlightening to find out what foods do cause a reaction of any kind in my body. I *think* I’ve found out this week that dairy actually increases my heartburn. This makes me very sad, as cheese is practically one of my love languages. Anyway, the experiment continues. After that first week I’ve managed to maintain my calories at my normal level. Cravings are gone. I sleep well (for the most part). I don’t have a headache everyday. All that to say, I’m going to keep this experiment going for a while.

Beginning September I started running again. I’ve also added in yoga (in addition to strength training.) I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m not sure what finally made the switch flip in my brain, but I’m looking forward to workouts again rather than seeing them as a chore. I’m also looking forward to setting some goals for each of those areas for October. I haven’t set any kind of athletic goal in AGES! This is great mental progress for me.

So, where do I go from here? Someone told me this morning, “Every time I see you you’re always smiling! It makes me smile.” I guarantee the gal who said it had no idea how much it effected me, and probably not even for the reason that you’d imagine. I think maybe after all these months I’m finally figuring out that it really is all up to me on my perspective of things. I’m not in control of anything and I need to stop trying to grapple for it like a lifeline. I can’t control what people think of me, I can rarely control what happens to me. The one thing I can control? My perspective. If I can do that then the lows won’t be so low. The highs are even higher. And every thing isn’t nearly so dark. Life is quite a lot sweeter when you let it happen.

I’m looking forward to this week. I’m going home this weekend for our fall festival. I haven’t been back to it in probably 15+ years. This would normally probably cause me anxiety…but it’s going to be ok. I’m going to choose to look at is as an opportunity to enjoy some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus the parade! Band nerds unite! What are you looking forward to this week?

TODAY I LOVE: dry shampoo (seriously gals, am I right?!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Alice from Dallas” by Foy Vance

heartburn.

I changed my hair color this week. I needed change. I am obsessed with it. Red!

Hello all. I know I’ve been MIA the last several weeks and I’m sorry for that. Life has been happening.

Lots of life has been happening. Real life with hard emotions, big decisions, love, loss, and forging forward. And with all that stuff, I just needed to turn inward and work through it. I’m still working through it and that’s ok. At any rate, I don’t want to talk about it, but it all leads me to where I am this day.

The anxiety/stress/emotional drain of all the things made all my symptoms (acid, nausea, etc.) return. Therefore, as food as been constantly the same with no changes in 4 weeks, I think it is safe to say my issues are something else (not entirely food related.) So, although this extreme diet didn’t give me the results I was ultimately looking for (solving my health issues), it DID help me know that with that variable constant, it is something else in my body that is wrong.

I’ve slowly started adding some food back into the rotation. I cannot tell you how very wonderful that first cup of coffee tasted. Best cuppa ever. It does, however, give me heartburn. It has been fascinating adding food back in and monitoring what it does to me. For instance, either gluten OR sugar make my sinuses stuff right up and make it hard to breathe. I ate at cookie and within an hour my sinuses were swollen. WEIRD. I haven’t had another one to test it again.

My next steps on my health journey will be to get back in touch with my doctor and see what’s up. Ulcer? Overactive hiatal hernia? Yeah, I don’t know. I do know this: I have GOT to get my stress/anxiety under control and managed.

I added yoga into the mix this week. I’ve never really given yoga fair shake and I kinda feel bad about that. I found an app that has yoga “classes” and I’m hoping by adding this at the end of my day and focusing on the breathing and the mindset, it will help me mentally just as much as physically. I’m about as flexible as a concrete pole, so we shall see how this goes. πŸ˜€ I’ve been practicing this habit for a week now and I can definitely say it has helped me mentally. I do it right when I get home from work, consciously trying to let out the bad and in the good and LET. THINGS. GO.

Thanks for hanging with me. I still have the note “Not Today” taped to one of my computer monitors at work. I’ve been staring at it a lot this week, remembering why I put it there in the first place. Not Today. Not Today. Today I will not give into all the feelings that brought me to the bottom.

TODAY I LOVE: savasana (corpse pose in yoga)…I can do this one.
SONG OF THE DAY: “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” by Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

sing with me

I love concerts.

I’m sitting here at home doing some work that I couldn’t get finished during the day. It was a very, very busy day. Lots of meetings that were important and required work and engagement on my part. So anyway, I’m working here at home and I’m singing. Because that is what I do. I thought for fun I’d jot down a few of my favorite sing-a-long songs that I happened to sing this evening. Maybe you’ll find one you like.

Here you go…

  • “Rich Girl” by Lake Street Dive (perfect warm up tune)
  • “Push” by Matchbox Twenty (come on high school friends…old skool)
  • “No” by Meghan Trainor (this requires dancing and hand gestures)
  • “Teenage Dirtbag” by Walk Off the Earth
  • “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” by Mel McDaniels (come on, I am a country girl.)
  • “Take Me Home, Country Roads” The Mountainman (fantastic harmonies. Show your stuff on this one.)
  • “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile (you REALLY have to sing loud on this one.)
  • “99 Problems” by Hugo (this is a great thumping Jay-Z cover)
  • “Shake” by Nathaniel Ratliff and the Night Sweats (this is for your dance break…give those vocal chords a rest.)
  • “Better Man” by Leon Bridges (the captain of smooth…this will get you back to singing and swaying)
  • “Found / Tonight” by Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda (because HARMONY PARTS and HAMILTON and DEAR EVAN HANSEN)
  • “What If This is All the Love You Ever Get” by Snow Patrol (this song is so stripped-down that you can sing so passionately and LOUD)
  • “Girl” by Maren Morris (everyone needs a girl anthem)
  • “Like a Girl” by Lizzo (dance break!)
  • “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” by The Secret Sisters (Ok, this is a hard shift from Lizzo, but this is putting the day behind you and moving on. Sing sweetly and find the harmony.)
  • “Goodbye Road” by Johnnyswim and Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors (this one is a tearjerker. A great encore for your performance.)

Gah! I almost hate giving music lists because I love SO. MUCH. MUSIC. If anyone actually saw my music library I’m sure they would think I was a nutcase. (Maybe I am. And that’s ok too.)

Have a great evening everyone! Sing a song for me.

TODAY I LOVE: when reports all tie together
SONG OF THE DAY: “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” by The Secret Sisters

changing my perspective

Just me…starting to find clarity in the fog

There are so many different directions I thought about writing this post. It has been a week of so many different reflections and observations. Which do I pick?

Last week I told you all how I was beginning an Elimination Diet this week. Well, I did started it. Y’all…it’s not easy. There are more things that you CAN’T eat versus what you can. It makes business lunches and social lives very difficult. I wouldn’t be surprised if I refuse to eat ground turkey for YEARS after this is all over.

The point of this post is not the diet, but I do want to give a few physical things that have happened over the course of these last 7 days. I’ve still been measuring and tracking what I’m eating, not to control (diet) but to make sure I’m getting enough calories. It is a lot tougher than you think trying to get enough calories when all you can eat (for the most part) is veggies, fruits, and turkey. I’ve ranged between 1,300-1,600 calories each day. My one 1,600 calorie day was a huge achievement. I was pleased. πŸ™‚ So, things I’ve noticed so far…I sleep very well. Sound. My legs haven’t ached. I haven’t taken an allergy pill all week. No Pepto and I’ve been able to lessen the antacid to just 1 pill a day most days. No bloating. The downside: major, major, excruciating headaches. I think I’m going on day 4 of the headache from hell. I’m sweating more than usual. It’s weird and GROSS. Working out was hard. Very hard. Honestly, it’s all been hard. And I don’t foresee it being easier next week. Or the week after that.

It’s only been one week, but I already have things I’m learning about myself and the people I surround myself with, and I’m not talking physical things. I’m learning who is really with me and who isn’t. I’m learning that I am very strong and when I set my mind to something, I have the discipline to do it 100%.

This morning in church the message was on perspective. I’m not going to go into the religious side of things, because that’s not really what this blog is about, but the overarching topic of “perspective” is definitely going to be something I use as a tool for this coming week. I can continue to look at all the things I cannot do or cannot eat or how very miserable I am, OR I can try to look at it differently.

I’m able to do this; I have healthy wholesome food at my disposal. I’m taking my health in my own hands. This type of fast is really helping me zero in on WHO and WHAT matters. The things that make me happy are all the more sweeter.

Week 2, here I come.

TODAY I LOVE: fresh peaches from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Burden” by Foy Vance

you’ve been eliminated

Yo! Does anyone remember that show from back in the 00’s called “The Weakest Link?” I loved it. It was so stressful but her catchphrase was so awesome. You just waited for the clipped “goodbye” at the end. (Go watch Youtube. You’ll thank me later for the nostalgia.)

Ok. Anyway. I don’t know if any of you recall this post from back in June. I had mentioned I was feeling like crap but trying some things to see if it made me feel better. Guess what? It hasn’t worked.

For the last several months I’ve been walking ball of nausea. (Before any of you smarties try to ask me if I’m pregnant – NO. Not funny and not possible.) I have heartburn that could probably burn down the Rocky Mountain National Forest. I should start investing in Zantac, and Tums, and Pepto Bismol. It is horrible. I feel horrible almost 24/7. Something has to change because I can’t keep living like this. When I was in Colorado last week I went through 2.5 BOTTLES of Pepto. I was gone 5 days. I’m fairly certain if you cut me open my blood would be a viscous candy pink a la Pepto.

I have decided, with my doctor’s approval, that I’m going to take the drastic step of an elimination diet for my next step. Sure, I could probably skip this and go right to all the medical tests but I have reasons for wanting to do this first. I’ll explain why in a bit.

The diet itself consists of 3 weeks of very strict food restrictions. No dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, VERY little meat (only turkey or wild game), veggies (but no nightshade vegetables), fruits (but no citrus fruits), no wheat/oats/grains/rice/gluten. The only oils allowed are coconut oil and cold-pressed olive oil. No spices other than salt and black pepper.

After the 3 weeks I can add one food group (example dairy) for a day. After that day is up, I have to follow it up with 2 days of the “control” (elimination) diet to monitor for symptoms and reactions. On day 4, I try another group for a day. Repeat. This whole experiment will take me 6-8 weeks to complete.

Why am I doing this? I mean, it’s going to suck so bad. For one, I’d like to not pay for what I’m sure would be expensive medical tests if I can take care of it myself. If this tells me what I need to know without the $1,000+ price tag, well yay me. If this experiment doesn’t give me answers THEN I will get the tests. But at least then I can say I tried all I could. Secondly, what if it gives me clues to other things too? Headaches, bloating, sinus issues? I could just have a food trigger that I know nothing about.

I’m not even remotely excited about this. I’m going to be a very grumpy hermit (at least initially.) I am excited, however, to think about not wanting to barf all day long. Most people have no idea that as they are talking to me I’m just trying not to puke. That is no way to live. Taking Pepto with me on the trails in the Colorado mountains last week – no way to live.

I’ll try not to obsessively write about it here, but I will periodically keep you updated on how it’s going. I’m making my body my very own science experiment. Come on discipline and willpower, I need you now.

If you’ve done this before and have any tips or tricks – SEND THEM TO ME NOW. Pleaseandthankyou.

TODAY I LOVE: bread. I’m eating bread before I can’t.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Eagle When She Flies” by Dolly Parton