Cleanse Update, Day 4

 

Guilty!

Confessing my sins.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of up and downs. For the most part I did very well. The shakes went down well, I took my walk, I even took a long soak. I planned every single detail of what I would do in the evening. YET…..

I cannot tell a lie. Despite all of my efforts, I cheated. (Argh!) Last night we had decided to do steaks, fingerlings and steamed broccoli for dinner. I was doing just fine until I got in the kitchen. All of the sudden I felt like I’d literally been struck in the heart with a horrible feeling…deep sadness mixed with a little anger. It felt like a vice grip on my heart. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I felt like someone had just hurt my feelings in the cruelest possible way.

I tried everything. I stopped what I was doing and prayed for strength. I ate a salad. I went out for a short walk. I sat down and tried to be rational about where the feeling was coming from. I even tried to write about it. Nothing came.

When my hubs came in from walking the dog, he took one look at me and he knew what I was contemplating. At first he said he was not going to say a word because whatever words he chose would be wrong. Then he reminded me that I had been working the plan like a pro and that the only person imposing the no wine rule was me. (It isn’t part of the actual “plan” I am on- I threw it in.) I kept telling him I refused to fail. Yet there I sat in misery. He told me it isn’t wrong for me to indulge one day a week. I know that. Two glasses of wine is a far cry from falling down drunk over consumption. Still, in my heart I felt a total failure.

My brain urged me to go immediately to the kitchen and stuff my face with dinner. My stubbornness refused. “I. Don’t. Wanna.”

So there ya have it. I had one glass of white wine. I had one glass of red wine. Then, I had dinner and it was delicious.

I could spend the day feeling like crap because I cheated (I do feel crappy about it) or I can do something constructive. Today I am right back on the plan and because I indulged last night, I will accompany the hubs to the gym today to do my penance. Oh, how I hate the gym!

I remain determined to stay the course and so I will push forward and not allow last night to fester into more failure. ❤️

Progress, not perfection, right?

 

 

Tenskwatawa

All of my friends and family know I pay attention when the great spirits beyond start to invade my space! The other night I turned over in bed to see a Native American….

 tenskwatawa
All of my friends and family know I pay attention when the great spirits beyond start to invade my space!  The other night I turned over in bed to see a Native American -in full regalia-standing in the doorway.  For a split second our eyes met and then he disappeared.  I closed my eyes, made a mental, “what was THAT” note and tried to fall back asleep.  Just a few minutes later I looked over my shoulder to the foot of the bed and felt his presence there again.  In my mind I said, “What is your name?”  Instantly I heard, “Tecumseh”and I made another mental note: “look up Tecumseh in the morning.”
During the next few moments I knew instinctively that he was praying for me. In his eyes, I saw great compassion and understanding. I was not afraid.

The next morning, still scratching my head, I decided to do a little research to see if I could find this person in history.  Of course, it was easy as “Tecumseh” is in fact, a prominent figure. He was the Native American Leader of the Shawnee.

When I looked through the pictures I found in my research,  I was startled to find that it wasn’t “Tecumseh” I saw, but rather, his brother, Tenskwatawa, who had stopped by for a visit.  I believe he used the name, “Tecumseh” because it was easy for me to remember (and to spell) and because apparently wherever Tecumseh is mentioned, his brother is also mentioned.

What I found about him is profound (to me).  Tenskwatawa, was apparently born a klutz, same as me.  LOL.  What I remembered about seeing him in my room was a distinctive marking over his eye.  The history books say that he was so bad at fighting, his brothers refused to teach him hunting techniques and that the mark on his face came from a wayward arrow that hit him in the eye.   He spent a good part of his life learning the ways of his tribe’s medicine man but he was not received within, as a prophet, until much later in life.

This takes me back to a Bible phrase, I am constantly referring to: ” A prophet is not without honor, but in his own home town.”

He spent a huge part of his life as an alcoholic.  Finally in later years, while smoking a pipe, he went into a trance.  His family thought he was dead and so began to prepare for burial when suddenly he awakened and began to relate his experience of visiting with “The Master of Life”.  He urged his people to return to their old ways and if they did, they would have, “an open door”.  The whites called him, “The Prophet”.  His name literally meant, “The Open Door”.

Apparently he lead a great deal of people for a long time but ended his life with only a few friends and family and apparently back in the bottle again.  Interestingly, the  places he lived and settled are places I frequently pass on the way to Chicago and so forth.

What does all this even mean in the large scale of things and why am I taking my time to write it all out for you?

I won’t relate every single detail of his message to me.  Suffice it to say he spoke to exactly what is going on in my life and he also foretold to me what could happen to me if I don’t get off my duff and start living my life back in the light.

I didn’t ask him to come to me.  I didn’t even know he existed prior to this visitation.  But I remembered him and took the time to find out who he is.

This is happening to all of us ALL the time.  Whether you believe this was an actual visitation or just a dream, it makes no difference, because the message I received was loud and clear.  You are ALSO receiving constant messages through your experiences and dreams.  It’s important to recognize these are messages to learn from.  Nothing happens at random in this Universe. All of heaven is standing at the ready to help each one of us, we need only ask, believe and receive.

I’ve been doing a whole lot of surrendering lately.  The more I pray for God’s will in my life, the more the signs appear to point me in the right direction.  The more I count my Blessings, the more abundant my Blessings are.

The same is true for you.  I promise.

 

 

Cleanse Update, Day 3

For a long time I covered myself, guarded my personal thoughts and generally hid anything important to me because people in my immediate circle frowned on my sharing. In retrospect I know it’s the conforming to other people’s ideas of how I should live and what I should share that has held me back and down and covered up in evening cocktails. Not any more.

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Extra. Extra. Read all about it! I made it through Wednesday and Thursday, the hardest two days of the work week for me! I am so pleased and happy to report that it wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined it might be. Steady as she goes!

The absolute key for me is being prepared. Thursday’s are sometimes really draining for me; which can trigger hard emotions; which in turn trigger me to want to run home and unwind with alcohol. Knowing this, yesterday morning I made a mental note of what steps I would take in order to NOT come home and pour myself a drink.

Let’s just be brutally honest here. I have no problem giving up two meals per day and replacing them with protein shakes. I don’t miss the food one bit. The Usana plant-based protein shakes are fun and easy for me. I like crafting different flavors each day. (This morning I added a tiny bit of almond butter and coconut water to the cappuccino flavor package and the result was delicious.) What I don’t like is not being able to enjoy my wine with dinner. I do not like it at all. So far though, with careful planning, it hasn’t been the huge issue I thought it would be.

Yesterday’s visit with the Parental Units was fun. We talked mostly about all of the dogs in the family and I shared a lot of photos and videos of the animals with them. We also shared a lot of silly stories from years past and the conversation stayed upbeat. (Thank you, Lord.)

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That’s not ketchup, it’s Sriracha. Overdid that a little bit!

On the way home I stopped at the market and picked up some more yogurt and some bath salts and even a little hard candy, just in case I needed it. I admit to feeling pretty crabby by the time I got home. Vodka crossed my mind a time or two or fifty, but I powered through and went to the kitchen to prepared dinner. (Last night we had Mahi Mahi and it was delicious.) Once I’ve eaten dinner and am satisfied, the crazy, wanton thoughts usually subside.

 

We played with the dogs and watched movies until bedtime and it was lovely.

This morning I was rudely awakened with the fact that today is Friday. Friday is always homemade pizza and wine night in our household. I love Friday evenings at home. While I was in the kitchen making my shakes for the day, I was feeling high anxiety thinking about what tonight might bring. One side of my brain kept telling me how much I need to stay the course and the other argued that it’s just one night a week. Yeah, right. It’s NOT just one night a week. If I were to allow myself one cheat night, what’s to stop me from two? I can’t do that.

What helped tremendously was when my beloved hubs came into the kitchen and told me how proud he is that I am sticking to my guns on this cleanse. We decided dinner tonight will be the two filet mignon he brought home a day ago and we’ll make some organic fingerlings and steamed broccoli to go with them. Although it’s not the fish we’d talked about doing, somehow, his encouraging words and the fact that we are switching up our menu brought me comfort. I don’t know why my brain thinks I need to have wine to celebrate the end of the work week. I don’t. There are plenty of other things to do.

You know what else helps? Being able to write this out, publish it and not care who might see it or what he/she may think. Many people I don’t even know have sent me private notes of support and encouragement. I appreciate it so much. Even if no one said a word, having a place to journal thoughts and feelings and ideas is a positive thing.

For a long time I covered myself, guarded my personal thoughts and generally hid anything important to me because people in my immediate circle frowned on my sharing. In retrospect I know it’s the conforming to other people’s ideas of how I should live and what I should share that has held me back and down and covered up in evening cocktails. Not any more.

I took my Day 4 selfie. I still look really tired and despite the fact that my sleep is getting increasingly better, I still feel really tired. I imagine it will take many more nights of uninterrupted sleep to actually feel and look rested, so I refuse to be discouraged.

I remain encouraged. I will stay the course! (And I might even find my way to the gym tomorrow. We shall see!) ♥


Lime-Marinated Mahi Mahimahi-mahi

Ingredients:

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pinch salt

2 tablespoons lime juice

Zest of 2 limes

2 (4 ounce) Mahi Mahi fillets

Directions:

Preheat a grill pan at medium heat, coat with olive oil (I also use real butter)

Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and grated lime zest together in a bowl to make the marinade.

Place the Mahi Mahi fillets in a zip lock bag, add the marinade; allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook on the preheated grill pan until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Garnish with the twists of lime zest to serve.

 

 

 

 

Is this my life?

What I know beyond a doubt is the surest way to add more pain to your life is to assume you know it all and to not question the reality of your assumptions. Open, honest and clear communication is the secret ingredient in all effective, loving relationships.

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Remember when I promised to reveal why Thursday’s are often very hard for me?

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my 84 year old mother over the past months.  It comes as a welcome opportunity to really explore the past, to ask questions about why certain things happened the way they did and to share funny quips and stories. These days, even when I may not feel like going over there to sit and talk for three or four hours, I go any way, because I know for a fact, that the days are running out.  I have to take my opportunities where they come.

Once upon a time, I shared everything with my Mom.  We were the closest of any of the relatives in my immediate family…and then somehow things turned upside down.   I still struggle to figure out what changed so much that I ended up estranged from her for over three years.  I’m grateful the lines of communications have been opened again for many years, yet sad that some things are never going to change and are outside of my control.

A while ago on a Thursday, we had a tough few hours talking about events of the past.  I was floored when out of nowhere she dredged up one of her perceptions of an event I have absolutely NO recollection of.  (I’m not even sure it really happened.)  The saddest part of all is that this is something she’s held over me for more than thirty years, (I was a senior in high school according to her)….yet she never bothered to talk to me about it.  I’ve spent countless hours and thousands of gallons of tears trying to understand what I ever did to deserve the treatment I’ve received.  Now it comes out and it turns out to be something that I cannot even remember and even if I did; this is NOT something you lay at the feet of your daughter….ever.

I wish I could be more forthcoming with the details of what was actually said, but at this point I cannot.  What I can share, however, is how important it is to never EVER to make assumptions. We lost thirty or more years of a good relationship because she made something up in her mind and then told herself it was true. She never once spoke to me about it. Reflecting back, I see this is a pattern of many years with her.

This morning I’m still struggling trying to make sense of this life I’ve lived.  Friends tell me I should write a novel (or two or three) based on my life experiences…if I could make sense of most of it, I might.

What I know beyond a doubt is the surest way to add more pain to your life is to assume you know it all and to not question the reality of your assumptions.  Open, honest and clear communication is the secret ingredient in all effective, loving relationships.

Despite the pain I might have today as a result of knowing what I now do, I am still grateful for these times with my mother.  I am grateful there is still time to heal the past.  I am grateful God has given me the tools I need to process this silly life and grateful I’m able to be open enough to share my feelings.

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Prayer for today:

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;

So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;

For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;

So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;

For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;

So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;

So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;

For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;

So we can change the world.

Amen.

-César E. Chávez

Cleanse Day 3, Update

I am very encouraged by yesterday’s efforts. I knew it would be hard having to work in the morning and then cook dinner for a huge crowd. As I reported in yesterday’s update, I did experience the usual, “Why am I doing this? …

take the step

Cocktail consumer Alexis would fall asleep shortly before 9:00 PM; sleep until 11:00 PM; wake up to go upstairs to bed; then sleep until 2:30 or 3:00 AM. From there it would be a failed battle to stay off the Internet until around 5:30 AM, when sleep would be intermittent at best. The whole shebang would end at 7:00 AM when it was time to rise to meet the day.

This morning I actually slept until almost 8:00 AM, which is highly unusual for me. I can only attribute it to the fact that I am continuing to execute my cleanse plan. I was awakened again about four or five times, needing to pop into the ladies room, but each time, I was able to fall right back to sleep with very little effort. When my hubs came to awaken me this morning, I was in total shock by what time it was.

I am very encouraged by yesterday’s efforts. I knew it would be hard having to work in the morning and then cook dinner for a huge crowd. As I reported in yesterday’s update, I did experience the usual, “Why am I doing this? Why can’t I just go home and have one or two drinks to relax? I don’t have to tell anyone.” Of course, the other side of my brain knew better.

Shortly before we started breaking down the kitchen to clean, I forced myself to eat dinner. It wasn’t easy because I was hot and defiant Alexis didn’t want to! However, I knew that if I didn’t, the chances of my going home hungry and pouring myself a cocktail stood at about 98%. I thought it through all the way to how I would feel waking up this morning knowing I couldn’t follow this plan for even two straight days. (Argh! To be honest it pissed me off. It angers me that I’ve gotten into this habit so much that it’s a chore to break.)

Two pieces of fish, a pile of rice pilaf and some Italian green beans later, I was satisfied. On the way home I thought about the things I wanted to do that would keep my mind, body and soul engaged in non-alcoholic activities. Tops on the list was taking my new dog, Sam, on a long walk and then settling in to read some new blogs.  Check. Check. I did both.

As a treat, I pulled out some organic, all natural yogurt and I giggled my head off when my husband tasted it and declared mightily, “OH MY GAWD, that tastes like ASS! It’s ASS with a side of sour fruit!” He’s a sweets person. I am not. I thought it was great! It’s a brand called, “siggi’s”. I highly recommend it! (siggisdairy.com)

Today on my way home from visiting my parents, I will stop at the health food store and pick up some more yogurt and some more super cool bath stuff. Those who know me already know that Thursday visits with my parents can spell disaster in the emotional department, so believe me, I must have my armor ready.

I will need extra prayers for strength for the time just prior to and right when I get home today. Although I have a plan, a hard visit with “The Units” (my sister and I nicknamed our parents this eons ago) can throw a wrench into almost anything.

I took my Day 3 selfie this morning and thought I looked better yesterday. Of course, I hate nearly every photo taken of me, so there’s that. First thing this morning when I looked in the mirror I could see a trace of “Less Puffy Me” and I smiled.

Day 3 Summary: I’m happy. I’m Blessed. I feel good, but I’ve still got one eye open for the demon temptation who wants to take me down.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1: 2-3

Tonight’s menu will be Mahi-Mahi, sauteed apsaragus and left over coconut rice mixed with whatever I decide to mix it with. My thoughtful husband went out this morning and rented the latest “Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, so we’ll eat dinner and then curl up and watch it together.

Prayers up. Over and Out until tomorrow. ❤

When Dreams Speak.

For so long I’ve hidden away from my writing thinking that because I was going through a life change so horrible, I couldn’t be of any inspiration to anyone. I held myself to a silly standard that said that if I couldn’t be a bright shining star, I had nothing to offer.

Where dreams come from

One night I had an experience that jolted me upright in bed.  I have always had incredible dreams, but this wasn’t so much a dream, as it was just a quick experience that came from seemingly nowhere.  Hard to explain and even harder to say out loud because it was so different from anything I’ve ever experienced in dreamland.  For a split second, I was with Jesus on the cross and was looking at his feet, which had become mine, and poof, the first nail was driven in.  The experience was so horrific, I jolted upright in bed and scared the living daylights out of Charlie.  I didn’t say what had happened, but I laid there for a long time trying to make sense of it.

The symbols in our dreams are often conjured up by the subconscious to be so powerful that we don’t forget them in the daylight because there is some lesson there to be contemplated and understood.

I think for me, this is a reminder that nothing of any value or goodness in this life ever comes without sacrifice, hardship and just plain hard work and of course, that one must persevere at all cost.

For so long I’ve hidden away from my writing thinking that because I was going through a life change so horrible, I couldn’t be of any inspiration to anyone.  I held myself to a silly standard that said that if I couldn’t be a bright shining star, I had nothing to offer.  I let my brain take over and broke my cardinal rule which says that the heart should always lead, no matter what.  The brain will always point out failures and mistakes, misjudgments, misgivings, lamentations…all the stuff the that squelches the spirit.  Conversely the heart, which lives in a state of total honesty and love, in constant union with God, will keep that tiny flame of hope alive beyond all things of this world.

Sometimes the most important life teachings come in the form of periods of darkness, where one has to dig deep to come out the other side, where one has to cultivate courage, in order to persevere even in the face of possible failure.

A dear friend of mine has been here all along repeating to me what I’ve always told others…”ask yourself what lesson the Universe is trying to teach you through all this pain.”

So I asked.

This is what the angels had to say:

“Underneath the shield of physicality, is a place where the deepest love resides.  It cannot be extinguished for this is the spark that connects all to the Divine. Remove the illusions of self-doubt and fear. These are restrictions you’ve placed on yourself, dear child. The time is now to step boldly forth. Bless the darkness, thank it for its lessons, and know that all is well.   Point your heart in the direction of the all-encompassing love of the Father, strengthen your connection to the Divine. Today, life begins anew.”

And yes. They are correct and I have heeded their advice. ❤

hearts

 

 

 

Cleanse Day 2, Update

The magic number is six. Six times last night my sleep was interrupted because I had to get up to use the rest room. You would think I would be upset about this. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. It makes me happy.

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The magic number is six. Six times last night my sleep was interrupted because I had to get up to use the rest room. You would think I would be upset about this. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. It makes me happy.

This is of course, the by-product of the first day of the two-week cleanse. It means to me that my liver is working on cleansing the rest of the body and it’s a nice sign that things are on the right track.

Even though my sleep was interrupted quite a bit, this morning I am feeling more rested than yesterday morning. Better than this, I feel more determined than ever to carry on. I know it’s just the second day, but I choose to take the good feelings as they come. BTW,  I took my “Day 2 selfie” and I can all ready see a very slight difference. (I’ll post those in two weeks.) Joy, Joy, Joy!

Yesterday I planned what to make for dinner well before I got home. I planned what I would do to reward myself for not having a cocktail and for eating a sensible dinner. On the way home from work we stopped at an organic market and I bought myself some bath salts. Last night when dinner was finished, I excused myself to go and take a well-deserved, relaxing, glorious soak. I have always been a bath girl, so treating myself to something special was just the little treat I needed. Once I had my PJ’s on, the feeling that I was missing out on a glass of wine just wasn’t there.

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I told Charlie this morning that I wished I’d bought more than one variety of bath salts, so I would have them tonight when I get home. Tonight will be one of the hardest nights to get through.

Why?

On Wednesday nights, my husband and I work together to produce a Fellowship meal for about 100-150 people who are members of the church where I work part-time. Every week we plan the menu, shop for the food, prepare the meal and drinks, help to serve it and help to clear it away when it’s over. It is an arduous task but I love it, which is why we do it.

Each week I get to work shortly after nine am and do my regular work. (I do the finances of the church.) At 1:15, I change clothes and head into the kitchen where we have until 5:00 to prepare the meal and set up for dinner service. We start serving at promptly 5:15. Like I said, it is NOT an easy job by any means. The pay-off for me is seeing people enjoy something I’ve made. It’s in knowing I worked very hard in the service of others and knowing I’ve given it all of me…and I do. My husband and I joke that, “It is ALWAYS Wednesday!” in our lives. Some weeks it seems to be so.

At some point every single Wednesday between the hours of 5:00 and 6:30 my brain starts to tell me I’ve earned the right to go home, put my feet up and have a few cocktails and usually, this is exactly what I do. (The last thing in the world I want to do is go home and eat dinner after I’ve just spent hours in the kitchen.)

Tonight will be a challenge and I admit to feeling a wee tinge of anxiety. The plan, however, is to force myself to eat dinner before leaving church so I will be full and will not want anything else. Writing this blog helps me to stay accountable too, because I hate to fail and I hate to lie. I don’t want to have to come back here and report that I cheated. I refuse!

Back to last night: For dinner this week, we decided to try to consume mostly fish and fresh vegetables. Last night’s fare was salmon that we picked up on the way home, coconut rice, mango salsa and freshly steamed broccoli.

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My plate last night.

 

I was shocked that I enjoyed the rice because I am not a fan of coconut, but it was lovely. (Recipe is below).

I will check back tomorrow to report on how I did this evening. Pray for me.

 

 

 


Coconut Rice

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This was Charlie’s plate last night. Mine is above. I’m not that fancy.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Jasmine Rice

1 1/2 cups Coconut Water

1 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk

1/2 Teaspoon Salt (I used a little more)

3/4 Teaspoon White pepper

Directions:

Rinse and drain the rice in cold water. Place in a saucepan with the coconut water, coconut milk, and salt & pepper. Place the pot over high heat and, bring the liquid to a boil. Stir and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover the pot tightly with the lid. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Ideas:

When I make this again, I will tweak it and add herbs and zest depending on what I am making. Last night I was wishing I’d put some lime zest in it, but it was still really light and delicious!