Friday, February 17, 2012

Signs of Spring

photo of my flowers taken by my dear friend Jennifer Yandle

Michael sent me flours (ha... how a baker thinks!) flowers this week. The rosy pink and crisp white colors made me smile. I feel blessed and happy.

But not just because of the flowers. So much has happened in my life in the past year. I never really wrote a "goals" post for 2012, because honestly life is different. Life is happier. More at ease.

Happier not because of book deals, weight loss (I think overall I only lost around 2 pounds last year... I've gained back much of what I lost), or the lovely pendant my husband bought me for Valentine's Day.

Happier because I'm learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I'm learning to accept my flaws and change what I can in my own way with my own sense of timing.

I didn't write goals not because I don't have them, or want them... but because my goals are more loving and less concrete. I want to continue my journey of health, I want to continue to strengthen my spiritual life and emotional health. Physical health will come, but I've learned that right now focusing on my emotional and mental health has become a primary goal.

And I like who I have become. I'm not ashamed to admit that I like my size 20 khakis or my 2x teal tunic shirt with pleats. They fit me well and they fit my personality. I like that.

I think one of the biggest pieces of becoming healthy has been to start loving the person I already am. Right now. Yes, I want to become healthier physically... but for me, I was so focused on loving and wanting the person that MIGHT become "me" one day, that I had a really hard time accepting the "me" of now.

So here I am. In the midst of an extremely busy time. I have ten days to finish my book and turn it in. Ten days to edit all of my chapters, write a few more, write an introduction. Yet, while this would normally be a time of immense stress and frustration, I feel incredibly at ease. This is truly a sign of growth and change for me. I will finish this book well! I know that. (I'm not sure I could have said that 6 months ago!) Though it may be a few long nights and a more than a few cups of coffee, I will finish this race. And I will have learned to not only love myself more but how to deal with immense stress a little bit better. And that is progress.

A mantra that I wrote from a post earlier last year still rings true for me today: I am breathing, I am blessed, and I am strong!

My dear friend Cheryl sent me a poem earlier this week and I wanted to share it. I can truly relate to the themes in this poem and how for me, while the grip is often tight, change can happen -- slowly, but surely.

Open Hand
by: Gordon Yaswen

When your hand releases
a tool carried long,

you unclench it gradual,
...or it hurts.
Eyes used to dark
need time to take light,
and many-miled feet 
are un-booted slow.
When at length you unshoulder
from your back a burden,
you straighten by degrees;
and for the war-weary,
battles aren't over
when safety is reached.

I see better now
why I stall my growth,
as I heal, each inch;
why steps seen before
I only now take.
to go forward
I must also stop;
I can't depart the darkness
all at once.
To un-stoop, squint, clench;
open heart, hands, eyes;
I can slowly step,
tho seldom leap.

But, after all,
journeys so worth taking
are worth taking slow.
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  1. What a beautiful post and an exciting year. Love it.

  2. Carrie, I love your post! You have such a beautiful way of expressing yourself. Flowers are just a perfect metaphor because you're enjoying the fruit of all of your personal and writing work, and seeing how far you've come. The book is a huge accomplishment, of course, but often self growth is even harder work...big hugs!

  3. Dear Carrie, (for you HAVE become dear to me!)

    ...I LOVE this post. How much happier so many people would be if they learned to "live in their own skin" instead of wishing to look like a Super Model. I have finally learned that I'll never look like one. The Good Lord just did not make me that way! I'm 5'4" and pear-shaped. Even when I lost almost 60 pounds, I was STILL pear-shaped!

    Now, I have been focusing on health instead of looks. Of course, it only took 50+ years and a brush with death via stage IV ovarian cancer. Yet, I still missed my old gluten/dairy/sugar laden foods for 4 and 1/2 years. That is, until recently!

    My gluten sensitivity has become far more pronounced with time. My celiac symptoms have gotten worse with each occasional cheat...And last night, I actually had an allergy attack in a bakery/cafe during an art show opening in which I was participating. I did not cheat by eating any of the fabulous-looking bread set out for customers. No, all I did was breathe. And it became harder and harder to breathe as the event continued.

    Hanging the show the night before was a bit of a challenge. I thought there was some sort of cleanser the night crew was using that was causing me to "choke-up." I felt miserable. I was coughing, and my throat felt "funny." My art friends kept telling me to go home...that they would take care of the rest of the work, but I didn't want to be a whiny-baby.

    Well, after being at the opening for only a short while, the coughing started again and was worse than the night before. My daughter, who is studying to be a nurse, told me that I needed to get out of there. She could see that I was in distress, so she convinced me to leave.

    I had a "duh!" moment...A working bakery that makes their bread in the back room at night has microscopic particles of wheat flour floating in the air. As I was preparing to leave, a lady who is employed there told me that they always have to wipe flour "dust" off their counters and tables out front. Wow...I learned that breathing air laced with gluten can be just as bad as eating it (or maybe worse!)

    Consequently, I have traveled farther up my path on this journey of eating for health. I say "up my path" instead of down my path, because it has been a struggle and not easy. However, I would rather continue being a cancer survivor and not become a cancer statistic. This has all been a huge learning curve for me.

    It's just like the words in the song "Ooh La La" which Rod Stewart sang, "I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger." That would have saved my family and me from so much grief. But, sometimes experience is the best teacher. I wish I could open up people's heads and pour what I have learned into them, so they would not have to go through what I've been through.

    I applaud your achievements and contributions to the world of healthy-foods-cooking-and-blogging. You are an amazing woman! Thank you for your great insights to living gluten-and-dairy free. You have been a tremendous help to me and to many others, I am sure of that!

  4. Atta Girl, Carrie! I'm so proud of you... and I mean that with no hint of condescension or sarcasm. Hugs!

  5. I just want to THANK YOU for sharing your experiences. I happened upon your site today and will definitely return! Two doctors have strongly suggested that my son test a gluten/casein free diet so we are in transition phase right now... and I need all the help I can get (especially since my children are also allergic to eggs, soy, nuts and flax)!
    Since I went GF last year, I've had a hard time finding "real food" recipes that fit my desired nutritional goals as well as the absence of gluten. I am thankful to have found your site!