Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have a terrible "fear of failure". It's become almost paralyzing. It has prevented me from taking risks, following my dreams and sometimes just functioning in daily life. It's been a companion for too many years... Actually, I think it's been riding around on my back and I cannot shake it off!

I've always felt that I have to be perfect, can't mess up, no wasting ingredients or materials or people's time. When I do fall short, I remind myself, "See you are a failure. You can't do anything right." Sometimes it's over the smallest, most insignificant thing too.

For a number of years in our marriage, Blaine had to deal with me (and our children too, I guess) that I would freak out if my pies didn't turn out perfectly for holiday celebrations. Any part of the meal, actually. And I mean - major meltdown. No one else knew. Probably, no one else really cared if it was perfect or not, but I felt like I had failed. Even if everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed all the food. *Of course, then I "beat myself up" about getting worked up over nothing...

I know I should have allowed our children to fail. I didn't let that happen though. I'd go the extra mile, enable them to accomplish what needed to get done. I think I was afraid to let them fail, because I might fall apart or people would think less of me... I wish I would have let them fail, work through it and be stronger people because of it. I can't change that, but I am working on changing me and sharing my healing journey on my blog.

Today, I saw my naturopath and through this journey I have been learning more about myself and what is causing my body to be chronically ill. The answers have been surprising and sometimes ~ shocking. I shared about my fear of failure, because I haven't handled it well lately. Blaine allowed me to make a batch of strawberry jam - by myself - and I was second-guessing myself the entire time; asking him if I was doing it correctly and felt that I fell short when one jar didn't seal properly. (Which really isn't a big deal, because it could go in the fridge and be used by us now...) I've been making jam for years! This shouldn't even be an issue. What in the world is going on?

I also found a recipe for strawberry rhubarb coconut milk ice cream and made it last week. The recipe was a total failure - taste was not good... I was so upset, because I had wasted strawberries, rhubarb and coconut milk. Even though Blaine tried to reassure me that it was okay to have something not turn out, I felt defeated and haven't tried making ice cream since... (Yes, I am going to make ice cream this weekend. I can't let it overwhelm me.)

So..... after sharing all this at my appointment today (which might seem odd at a "medical appointment"), my doctor was so thankful, because she's beginning to discover more of the root cause of what is making me sick. AND ~ part of my treatment plan today: mess up something you're working on - allow it to be less than perfect - and realize that it's okay; maybe even laugh about it. This is going to take some time. Some effort on my part. But, I know it's critical in taking steps to freeing me from the bondage of "fear of failure".

I began working on this tonight. Blaine told me I could make Swedish Pancakes (crepes) for dinner. Not an easy gluten-free task... He always makes them. I don't like to be compared to others. But I made them and here's how I did.

Gathered all the ingredients

Recipe from Living Without magazine that we have "tweaked" just slightly.
*I decided to use brown rice flour instead of white (a risk I took, as I follow recipes exactly)

To make: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Do not overmix or batter will become foamy. Pour batter into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours (We don't chill our batter...)

Oil 10" skillet and place over medium heat. We use a gravy ladle and it's 2-3 scoops; swirling the batter around the skillet.

Proof that I did make the recipe

Adding batter to the pan

As the edges "brown", loosen the edges and when middle looks bubbly, flip over.

*My first attempt crashed and did not turn out.


Blaine cooked bacon for us...
And, Nicholas and I enjoyed our Swedish Pancakes!

*You never know if you're going to have a batch that sticks to the pan alot or if it's going to be easy and they are turn out really well. Tonight's risk of failure experiment went well. This is the first of many experiments to come...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

You and Me: So Happy Together!

We've been through alot, Blaine and I.

We celebrated 25 years of marriage last December, we home educated our children (and our youngest graduated last June), Blaine worked (alot - so our children could be involved in various activities) and traveled for the company while the children were growing up, we've dealt with my ongoing health issues, and we're still working through changes in our lives and healing as we strive to not just get through each day, but to fully live...

And, in May ~ we decided to make some decisions about us. No one else. Just us.

We purchased a new car, a trailer hitch, a bike rack and new bicycles. It's been a longer process than expected waiting for our car to arrive, getting our bikes and being ready to "hit the trail". Well, everything has finally arrived, we're equipped (to get started) and we are beginning a new chapter; a new season in our lives... We're really excited!

Today we went on our first bike ride together. A gorgeous sunny Sunday morning in Seattle at Alki. And, Blaine taught me how to put the bike rack on our car, to load the bikes and remove the rack... It was a great start to a new season in our lives together!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


The past 2 years brought into our lives the greatest sorrows and pain and times of great joy followed by more pain and disappointment. Why? I've asked that question a thousand times or more, but I know there will never be an answer following that word slipping off the end of my tongue.

While each person in our family is an individual, we were a tight family unit too. We did alot together; education, ministry and extracurricular activities. I wanted my family to be what I had always hoped my family (growing up) would be. And, for many years, it did seem like we had achieved it.

But, life can change in a moment. One person makes a decision, words are exchanged, everyone is wounded and in pain; a person walks away and is gone from your life. A church turned its back on us, people avoided us, awkward conversations were common, others "judged" our actions, old friends and acquaintances faded away from our lives. Death would have been easier to deal with - it's an honest observation - because people would have supported us and shown compassion toward our family. A highly respected person in our life told our oldest son, "she's a prodigal now and we need to pray for her to return." The last words we heard from him... Those left behind tried to pick up the pieces. Life wasn't the same any more. Holiday celebrations were a struggle (and continue to be). We existed together; the pain too difficult for any of us to deal with. A wedding occurred. Blaine and I attended, as well as Blaine's parents and one of his brothers - but no other family. A precious child so close was now nearly a stranger and all the dreams that had been shared....gone. I've learned how painful it is to live with a broken heart.

And the days, weeks and months passed and there was life each day. Many difficult days and yet a future hope to look forward to ~ graduations and another wedding Father's Day 2010. We rejoiced over these happy occasions. My energy poured into preparations. A whirlwind 2 weeks filled with graduation celebrations and then the wedding (plus the wedding of a precious friend).

JOY! It was a good thing and our hearts needed it.

Soon though, our married child seemed frustrated with his bride. It wasn't going as he had expected, but he tried to make the best of it; giving her room to grow and adjust. For months, something didn't seem right, but he continued on. February brought news that she returned home. It's a long and complicated story. Then, a decision to end the 7 month old marriage. Pain, ALOT of pain and the question surfaced again and again and again. Why?

Why our family?
Why do we continually go through this painful journey? When will we experience true joy?

And, this time around - there really weren't people around us anymore to talk to; just us. And, more people left our lives. For 2 years, our life has been in limbo. We've been stuck in grief that just continues on and on. Everything that's been important in my life has "slipped through my fingers" ~ family, church, ministry, volunteering, people... There were times that Blaine and I wondered if we could get through this. With God's grace and holding onto our faith, we've grown closer than ever before and it's opened a path of healing in both of our lives.

Yes, I can now look back and be THANKFUL for all that's happened. I've discovered that my hurt and pain go back years and years. I have much to work through. My naturopath in 2009 determined that she didn't want to treat me anymore. I was left wandering for months trying to find a new health care provider and finally, God answered prayer in a way I couldn't imagine. A naturopath in my neighborhood, a healer ~ and I came to her completely broken, but thankfully not destroyed. The past few months have been extremely difficult as I re-discover my past and learn how events and people have contributed to my health challenges. Dr. Jones has shared different techniques to assist my body in healing and we are taking little steps regularly - some overwhelmingly difficult and others a little easier, but I am moving forward. And, we are making progress in reconnecting with our child who is far away... This is a happy thought! And, through it all my Savior has not failed me. Unending patience and amazing love.

I'm also learning to really let go of our adult children. A HUGE challenge for me! I love them more than words can describe, but the choices they make no longer have anything to do with me. And, while Blaine and I must hold to our faith and convictions - we are learning to love them for who they are; where they're at and pray for God's will to be done in their lives. We are also learning to build our lives together; Blaine and I. Everything has been about family and we had lost connection between the two of us. Today, our choices are about us, our future and our daily lives together. Some days, it's still really difficult to make choices which benefit us. We are always thinking of the needs of our children. It takes focused effort and is sometimes quite painful. Recently, we decided to purchase a 2011 Subaru Forester and new bicycles and a bike rack for our vehicle. A major financial investment, but something Blaine and I really wanted to do together; for us...

I have ALWAYS worried about what others think of me. This has kept me in captivity; living in fear. Not a healthy place to be. As I began standing up for myself over the past 2 years, I discovered judgment from others and though painful, I knew people needed to be let go from our lives. And, it's not all about "others", for I know I am a work in progress; that I have many issues to deal with and for healing to occur. It's going to take a long time. But, I have to walk this healing journey. I need to learn from the past, learn how to make different choices in how I deal with certain situations and learn to value myself, while building compassion and unconditional love for others. Lord, I pray you give me enough time to accomplish this great goal in my life. What a HUGE challenge ahead for me! But, I'm done being held captive. Done living in fear. Done being controlled by my past. Done with allowing the choices others make to affect my life as they have in the past.

So we've arrived at this weekend ~ a difficult time; a painful season. This weekend, two of my friends have children getting married. I declined the invitation to one wedding and didn't receive an invitation to the other. This is their time of joy; their time of celebrating and I am exceedingly happy for both families! I'm just not ready to embrace these celebrations... yet, but one day I shall.

There is healing available to every person. Have faith. Take a step. Reach out!

We all have a story to share with others. We have all experienced life's up and downs; sorrows and joys. It's my journey and I know I shall rise..., because He is faithful!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Almond Joy Ice Cream (gluten-free/dairy-free, of course)

Sooooooooooooooooo, Blaine and I are both battling a virus. First one we've had this year. Nicholas got sick earlier this week and I kept trying to hold off a scratchy throat, but it won yesterday... Therefore, it was decided that sore throats need "ice cream" and it was the perfect opportunity to try out our new Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.

A number of gluten-free/dairy-free bloggers talk about how wonderful this machine is and so I had to have one. Williams-Sonoma offers it with an extra freezer bowl.

Ingredients needed to make Almond Joy dairy-free ice cream!

After mixing the basic ingredients together for Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream, I turned on the machine and poured it into the freezer bowl.

...and impatiently waited for 15 minutes

Chopped organic almonds, Enjoy Life's semi-sweet chocolate chips and organic coconut flakes waited for the ice cream to thicken, so they could be added!

At the 12 or 13 minute mark, it was finally thick enough to add the "goodies"

And, of course, it wanted to be taste tested!

Still not thick enough after 15 minutes, so we let it continue for about another 3 minutes or so... The instructions indicate it will take 15-20 minutes to freeze.

It is a soft set freeze, but when you combine the really frozen part with the soft part, it looks a bit soupy in the bowl - which goes into the freezer.

I took the bowl out about every 30 minutes to stir it up for the first couple of hours as it hardened in the freezer.


The recipe for our first ice cream making is from the Nourishing Gourmet ~ a great site!
Click on the recipe title to go to her blog.

Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream

2 - 14 ounce cans of full fat coconut milk
1/3 - 1/2 cup of honey
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients well. I usually have to use a whisk to get the honey to combine with the coconut milk. Make into ice cream according to the directions on your ice cream maker. "Ripen" in the freezer for a few hours and serve. Will last a week or two in the freezer. (How does she get it to last that long?) I like to use an alcohol based vanilla extract as it seems to help keep the ice cream from getting as hard.

To this, we added (approximately):

1/4 cup chopped organic roasted almonds
1/2 Enjoy Life gluten, dairy and soy free chocolate chips
1/2 cup organic coconut flakes (We decided 1/4 cup, next time)

Don't add the "extras" until ice cream is starting to thicken - you don't want everything to go to the bottom of the freezer container.

Our thoughts: We love the flavor. We used a 1/2 cup of honey, but will try it with 1/3 cup next time. I think there could be a little less chocolate chips and coconut. Overall ~ really impressed and happy with the results! Excited to make my own dairy-free ice cream!

So many possibilities, so much exercise that will have to be added to my life to compensate... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Note: I used a glass container to store my ice cream in, but think it allowed it to become too hard (had to let it soften a bit when I wanted some), so still experimenting with containers. Also, I did stir the mixture after putting it in our freezer every 30 minutes for the first couple hours.

Garden mid-June

First strawberries of the season!
Blaine, Nicholas and I tasted them this evening and they are sweet and juicy!

Meeker raspberries will hopefully be ripe early-to-mid July

Anne golden raspberries are a fall raspberry and mature very slowly...

Black Pearl blackberry

Garlic with scapes (getting closer to harvest!)

Applemint and artichoke surrounded by cabbage on either side

...and in the midst of that same garden bed; young carrots and broccoli are growing

The beets are beautiful!

First time trying to grow this...

The lettuce bed is crammed. We need to eat alot of salad.
We've told one of our neighbors to please come harvest lettuce any time.

I love French breakfast radishes and watching them grow!

The green beans are doing okay - they need warmth!
Trying some bush beans too (dry bean)

Our neighbor across the street blessed me with this sweet sign for the garden today!

*We are praying for healing for Nicole as she continues her battle with ovarian cancer. She is doing well, has a positive attitude and is smiling and laughing often...
Last day of chemo is July 7th!

The winter squashes are thriving more than the summer squashes, but I'm holding out hope that they will all do well.

The rhubarb continues to go strong.

We've already processed 21 bags containing 4 cups of rhubarb in each to the freezer.
I should make a pie this weekend...

Everbearing strawberries

One of my gooseberries

The other bush is struggling with powdery mildew. Found an organic product to try and help with the problem.

My dear, sweet maple tree on the back deck surrounded by flowers

Sometimes you just need a break...

And we took one. We had Starbucks vouchers for Mariner tickets and Monday night was one of the games you could choose to see. Late afternoon, we headed to yoga and then went straight downtown afterward with a stop at Uwajimaya for Blaine to get sushi for dinner. It was a nice evening, although quite blustery!

At the game ~ we never did sit in our ticket seats...
(and there were PLENTY of seats to choose)

Gluten-free fish and chips for me
plus Blaine's sushi selections

Blaine always enjoys peanuts at the game

We brought a few gluten-free chocolate chips cookies for a sweet treat!

We discovered a large carrot across the field in the stands...

...and Blaine with his favorite strawberry Japanese candy.

*I struggled at the game, because the music volume was ridiculously loud! We moved around the stadium and sat in various places to see if it helped. The outfield bleachers were pretty good and then we found a spot over the visitor's warm-up bullpen with NO SPEAKERS! Yay!

A fun time!