Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New Chapter Starts....

We have a new year.  I have a new life and a new "normal."  

My last thirty years (although I go back way further than that) can be described as BF (Before Fred), WF (With Fred), and now AF (After Fred).  Each segment a new and different chapter in my life.

In my BF years, I lived either with my children around or alone, moved across the country to California, gave seminars, and started college at age fifty.  It took me five years of working days and going to school nights, but I graduated with honors and my AA degree.  I had the opportunity to go on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera where I parasailed in Mazatlan, went horseback riding in Puerto Vallarta, and snorkeled in Cabo San Lucas.  My girlfriend and I went to Hawaii where we parasailed, then climbed Diamond Head.  

In my WF years, two very independent people tied the knot with each one straining against the rope to retain his or her independence.  Together, we traveled to Italy, rode a flume in Hawaii, flew over a volcano, saw Mayan ruins, saw a glacier calving (breaking off), flew in a glider, owned a restaurant, played golf, drove across the country and back for an indescribable six-week trip, and drove across one more time to settle in North Carolina. During these years, I flew in a hot air balloon alongside the Rockies, went skydiving at age sixty, started writing and publishing books, and lost a husband.   

Now I enter my AF years where the pages are still blank, the chapters waiting to be written. As a very dear friend of mine wrote, “We know as one story ends, another begins.  The pages are numbered; when the story starts we never know who will shine or become a treasured character we will remember for the rest of our lives."

One thing I’ve learned in life is to not look back with regret, but to look forward with anticipation.  

I wish each of you a Happy New Year with all the wonder and anticipation that this year may bring.

Quotation of the Day:  To rejoice in life, to find the world beautiful and delightful to live in....  Edith Hamilton

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

To Fred

This year is winding to a close.  We just have to do Christmas and New Year’s and before we know it, it will be a brand new year, 2015.  

For myself, I have one more thing to get through--my husband’s memorial service on Saturday the 27.  Fred passed away on December 16 from cardiac arrest.  He was sixty-six.  

As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, we moved from California to North Carolina last year to be nearer to family.  Fred wanted to make sure I was close to my family in case something happened to him.  He knew that with his health history, he would most likely not outlive me.  

I am so glad we made this move, had a year to get settled and get to know people, and get established in a church.  We even bought me a car so I wouldn’t be saddled with driving his truck.  It would appear that God waited until everything was in place before taking Fred.  

Family is everything at a time like this.  My daughter Cyndi has been a mountain of help and I’m glad we’re only fifty minutes away instead of three thousand miles away.  Her husband, Bill, is taking over the process of selling the truck and some of Fred’s firearms. My daughter, Tammy, and her husband, Curtis, will be arriving from Connecticut at any moment to stay with me at least through Christmas and Saturday’s service.  I await their arrival with eager anticipation.  They, too, will be a help and a comfort to me.  My son is here in spirit since he’s not able to make the trip from Connecticut.

Fred supported my writing and so I dedicate this blog post to him.  Rest in peace, Fred.

Quote of the Day:  Lives of great men all remind us
                               We can make our lives sublime.
                               And, departing, leave behind us
                               Footprints on the sands of time.  Henry Wads-worth Longfellow

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wheat Belly?

I trust you all had a healthy and heartfelt Thanksgiving. We certainly enjoyed our day with family. That is after all, one of the reasons we moved to the East Coast.

Fred and I did cheat a bit on our diets on Thanksgiving. What diets, you say? Well, one of Fred’s doctors recommended a ketogenic diet which is high protein and fat and very low carbs. Another of his doctors recommended he read a book called Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. (You knew I had to bring in a book somewhere in this post, right?)

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Fred went on the ketogenic diet, eating meat or eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In those two weeks, he lost thirteen pounds and his blood sugar stabilized to the point he needed far less insulin. He has since lost another seven pounds. He’s also beginning to lose the inflammation in his hands that have plagued him for so long.

At the same time, I started reading Dr. Davis’ book and began cutting wheat out of my diet. Do you have any idea what it means to cut wheat out of your diet? It means, no bread, rolls, bagels, English muffins, doughnuts, pasta, pizza, cereal, gravy, cake, pie, cookies, chips, tacos (not a big loss to me), pretzels, biscuits, pancakes, hot dog and hamburger buns, etc. etc. etc. There are very few items on the store shelves that don’t have wheat in them.

Why no wheat? According to Dr. Davis, wheat “is not the same grain our forebears ground into their daily bread. . . Wheat strains have been hybridized, crossbred, and introgressed to make the wheat plant resistant to environmental conditions. . . .reducing the proud ‘amber waves of grain’ of yesteryear to the rigid, eighteen-inch-tall high-production ‘dwarf’ wheat of today.” The result is, although today’s loaf of bread may look and even taste like what our grandmothers made, there are biochemical differences that our bodies have not adapted to in the fifty or so years that wheat has been genetically modified.

So what? So, today’s wheat can pack on the pounds, increase blood sugar, cause bone fragility, inflammation, heart disease, affect your sight, your brain tissues, your skin, peripheral neuropathy, and more.

Basically, Fred and I are on the same diet; by avoiding carbs, he’s avoiding wheat. I wish I could say that I, too, have lost twenty pounds since we started, but I can’t. I can say, however, that the scale is going down a little every day and I’m seldom hungry. 

If you have celiac disease, then you know about gluten. But for us who don’t have celiac disease and never realized that bread, even if it’s called whole grain or high fiber bread, is worse for us than a Snickers bar, we need to watch what we eat. Look around and you’ll see many wheat bellies, of which I have one, and so does Fred, but we’re doing something about it.

I'm not preaching, I'm just saying if we see results, we must be doing something right.

Quote of the Day: O beautiful for spacious skies/For amber waves of grain. Katharine Lee Bates