What would you do?

I saw the picture below and the following post in a Facebook group that I am a member of and thought that it was perfect for what I wanted to write about today. Here it is:

A very dirty fish tank showing unhealthy fish. It asks the question: What makes the most sense?

“This is a dirty fish tank. [A really dirty fish tank.] These fish are sick. What would be your first suggestion to help them get better?

Here are two theories…..
Theory 1: Medicate the fish
Theory 2: Clean the tank and put the fish in fresh water.

When most people look at this scenario they quickly determine theory 2 OBVIOUSLY makes the most sense. So, why don’t we apply this logic to our own lives?

We have health issues and go to a doctor and get medications. Then we get additional medications to help with the side effects of the first medications. Most of us are just living our lives addressing the symptoms of an illness and not the cause. We don’t go to a doctor to find the root cause and heal our bodies. Why is that?

Whether you struggle with eczema, acne, UTIs, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, reproductive issues, cysts, chronic pain… You need to clean out your tank and add fresh water.

From the foods we eat to the products we use. Clean it up. 
[Author Unknown]

On Friday, I had a doctor’s appointment to discuss some recent blood tests. She pointed out my Thyroid Peroxidase levels. They were at 114 when the normal range was listed as somewhere between 0 and 34. She said the high levels indicated inflammation and what was called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My doctor did tell me that it could be treated through medication, but she actually recommended a gluten-free diet, which should reduce the levels and the inflammation. Yay for a good doctor.

What did I do? I went home and ate some Bagel Bites. Crazy huh? I guess I was thinking that if I was going to have to give up so many things I liked to eat soon, that I’d just go ahead and splurge on something that I knew was bad for me. I am quite sure I have a lot of things in my pantry right now that are full of gluten, but the truth is, I don’t even know enough about it yet to determine what I should and shouldn’t be eating. All I can think of is no carbs. 😦

This is the list my doctor gave me of carbohydrates and refined sugars to avoid: breads, pastas, flour tortillas, cakes, cookies, pies, cereals, and crackers. Of course, I love all these things. There goes my everything bagel most mornings, my sandwich at lunch, my homemade banana bread, crackers and cheese, and pasta! Oh man! I do know that there are a lot of alternatives out there these days; I’ve just never had to study ingredient labels so closely or figure out my options before. Looks like I have a lot of research to do.

Of course, I realize that this is an opportunity for me to make some wise choices and clean my tank before things get too bad for me health-wise. I take ibuprofen or Aleve almost every day for neck and back pain, and I’m quite sure the pain and stiffness I experience all the time is due to inflammation, so why wouldn’t I give this dietary solution a try? It’s a natural approach, which might alleviate my need for the medications I currently take.

As soon as I told him about it, my husband was asking me about what had gluten and what did not. He wanted to help me. I really couldn’t answer him yet. But we did specifically look for a restaurant to go to that night with gluten-free options. We found a poke bowl place that specifically listed on their menu only four things they had that did contain gluten. Everything else was “on my diet.” It turns out that sushi rice is gluten free so I didn’t have to give that up. Yay! I was able to build a bowl that I enjoyed without feeling like I was missing out on anything.

And, of course, I know I’m not alone. There are a lot of people who have to eat gluten-free or who have soy, wheat, cinnamon, fruit, or peanut allergies. I actually have a friend who told me a few years ago that she had Hashimoto’s, so I texted her right away asking for info, suggestions, recipes, anything to help me get started down the right path.

No matter your situation you are not walking alone.

So, I wanted to put a reminder out there at this point for anyone reading this, that whatever you are currently going through in your life, whether it is food or health related or something completely different, you are not alone. Just as there is no way I could jump fully into this new mindset without the help and guidance of others who have already walked the same path, you don’t have to go it alone either. Thankfully, with the Internet, we have access to so much information and to related communities all over the world. And, of course, God’s got your back as well. He has likely placed people along your path who can provide the support and encouragement you need to face your issues.

It’s time for me to practice some self-care and treat my body right. While I may crave processed foods that are bad for me at times, I know (with some help and in time) I can find healthy alternatives that nourish me and allow me to feel my best and be my best self. If anyone has some good links, recipes, suggestions, advice on my thyroid issue and eating gluten-free, I welcome them in the comments below. Thank you, and remember whatever you do, and wherever you go, be kind to yourself as well as to others.

Give yourself the same care and attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom.

[Just to clarify, for those who know my husband has fish tanks, that really dirty tank in this post is not ours. The one in the featured photo is though.]

NOTE: I have another post that I have been working on for the past month that I hope to share with you soon. The topic is “letting go.” I have so many different sources that I am pulling information from and lots of ideas still brewing; I just haven’t had a chance to put it all together. But I promise it is coming soon. 🙂

Bloom Anyway

Recently, we have had an insane number of grasshoppers in our backyard. Green ones, brown ones, yellow ones. I’ve never seen so many.

As you walk through the grass, dozens of them spring up and out of the way. Every day, I have to knock them off of my potted plants where they are chewing up the leaves at an alarming rate. Luckily, my dog, Taco, thinks it is great fun to chase and catch them.

Despite the grasshoppers’ daily feasting on my sunflowers, those plants just keep growing taller and the bright yellow flowers keep doing what they were made to do – growing, opening up a few petals at a time, blooming, and giving me something pretty to enjoy when I sit out on my back porch. They don’t let the grasshoppers keep them down.

There are seasons that we go through in life where trouble seems to swoop down like a swarm of locusts. Wreaking havoc and destroying everything in its path. But even a single grasshopper can do a lot of damage to a plant; just as one problem can keep wearing away at you and your strength and stamina. Sometimes, you get to where you think you can’t handle it … where it feels almost like it is too much for you to bear. Those darn grasshoppers just … won’t … stop! Bloom anyway.

I recently read something (don’t know the author) that made a good point. “The enemy wouldn’t be attacking you if something very valuable wasn’t inside of you. Thieves don’t break into empty houses.” You are special. You have worth. And you are stronger than you think you are.

Life’s challenges may bug you and they may change you, but don’t let them defeat you. Keep getting up. Keep showing up. Keep looking up. Keep growing. So your petals may be a little off balance; so what. Focus on progress not perfection. Your life will continue to unfold and you will grow into an even more unique and beautiful version of you.

And even better news … God will be with you through it all.

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31

“So do not fear, for I am with you; … I will strengthen you and help you.” Isaiah 41:10

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.” Isaiah 43:2


Bloom Anyway

Nothing Is Certain

Sometimes we have to just let go … and let God!

Worrying, over-thinking, stressing over the outcome of things that are beyond our control; struggling to stop the waves from crashing over us in one of life’s storms; attempting to slow down or speed up the ticking hands of time to savor or skip through our circumstances to avoid pain … all of these things are useless, frustrating, or impossible.

We can’t stop or control the various things that life throws at us. We can’t foresee what’s to come or how to best get through our current trials. But we can trust the One who knows, who understands, and who loves us. We can place our burdens at His feet, breathe deeply, and take advantage of the restorative gift of rest.

While nothing in this life is certain … God is. Rest in Him.

Lean on Me

I’ve posted this image before. Just wanted to reshare today for a few individuals that I know are going through tough times. There’s no need to try to overcome and push through on your own. Even if you think you can’t share the particular details of your burden with others, you can still take advantage of the benefits of shared faith and friendship. It’s okay to lean on someone else when you are feeling weak or fragile, to find that safe harbor to help you weather the storm. And if you can be that source of kindness, comfort, and connection for someone else today, I pray that you’ll reach out with an encouraging word or a hug and be a blessing.

Pray big. Worry small. Trust God.

Getting Back in the Game

Well, looks like it has actually been a whole year since I last posted. I can’t believe it. I thought it had been several months, but didn’t realize how much time had passed since I last shared on my blog. I apologize … again. It has happened before when I allowed other things to take up my time, but I promise I’m going to try to do better … to make this a priority. Encouraging others is important to me; but I can’t just say that, I need to act on it. Of course, I may not write a lot every single time, but if I can share even a brief message or thought with one of my photos a few times a week, and it touches you, strengthens you, or helps in some way, it will be a blessing to me as well. I pray that you will be encouraged here.

Be Where Your Feet Are

Be Where Your Feet Are

If you are tired of running away from your life or tired of running ragged toward the next thing you think will make you feel complete, Hannah’s book Come Matter Here: Your Invitation to Be Here in a Getting There World will help you do whatever it takes to show up for the life God has for you. (I have not read it yet but it sounds like a good one.)