Mobile Office Will Travel

Between Snowmageddon and whatever bug had taken residence in my respiratory system,  I was more than ready to get out of my house on on with life this past week.  I took lots of pictures so let’s do this slide show style. 🙂 

My soul-sis and ride or die chick Jamie of ImPerfect Yoga &Coaching was in town and we linked up at Lululemon.  She knew I was sick of being sick so she bought me a grand slam from Arden’s Garden (a local juice bar).  What is a grand slam you might ask? A shot each of lemon, wheatgrass, cranberry, and ginger. Pure and potent stuff. Just what the doctor ordered! Thanks sis!

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Grand Slam. Straight… No Chaser

Now, I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say that I fought my way into Lulelemon’s  Research and Development program for fitness professionals.  Normally, I might let something like a 15% discount go  (okay that’s not even true) but if you know anything about Lululemon’s prices you know I did what I had to do!  Here is a really cute number that did not make it home with me.Even with the 15% discount I just couldn’t do it.  I felt like Olivia Pope in it y’all! 

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Yes.. I can see myself cleaning up some presidential messes in this get up!

 

I was feeling so good I went straight to the gym and ran 2 miles. Sweet sweat and tears that felt good! The next day I decided to do it again! This time I was running next to  a lovely lady name Phree (pronounced Free..love it!)  She is one month into her goal to lose 40 lbs. I love it when I see folks still in the gym in February! She has a no excuses motto so she was not offended when I hacked up half my lung running next to her. She actually had her own little nostril number going on. That’s called dedication folks! 

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Feeling fit and fancy free with Phree! Photo bombed by her trainer…RUDE! lol

I headed into the city for back to back business meetings at R. Thomas (hey- you have your board room and I have mine… don’t judge!).  Three Big Bangs later (not all for me of course) and the Garden Project is picking up steam. More about that later but me and Jan’s plan to get the world to eat their veggies is coming together nicely! 

I also discovered cashew cheese. Now I am not big on eating foods that are designed to replace other foods but this was calling me from the menu. Perhaps it is because I went without dairy the entire month of January or  maybe because I am fully committed to humanely processed meat products. Whatever the case, I wanted to try this ‘alternative’. I’ve tried the cheese ‘style’ product Daiya and although the taste was okay, I just could not get past the processed food aspect of it. What I did recognize in the ingredients was not terrible, just not nutritionally dense.  Therefore I couldn’t see it as a long term solution. I decided to see if cashews could pick up where feta left off. Well not exactly. It is distinctly not cheese. BUT is was yummy. Especially with pears! It has the texture of a pimento cheese and a smooth, creamy taste. It was also quite filling. 

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I did eat the cucumbers and celery (some of the celery) but the pears were the perfect match!

I came home, did my research and created my own. This is how I made it:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours prior)
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs. homemade Kombucha  (you can use 1 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar or 2Tbs of white wine)
  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
 Instructions
  1. Added  all ingredients into my  Vitamix until it got thick and creamy. You can let it harden in the fridge for a day for a firm consistency. 

 

Friday was a return to yoga. I hadn’t practiced in two weeks but my body got right back in the flow. I decided to set up shop in Whole Foods after class. Totally busted by my yoga teacher Hope. She snapped this picture on her way out.

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I don’t think they care that I rearrange furniture. Do you?

 

And then I met this gem of a lady who was passing by named Yvonne. Turns out she has been doing yoga and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for many years. At 70 years old her skin is clear and free of wrinkles. Amazing. She told me that when your spirit is pure it shines through. She felt drawn to me… I felt the same way about her! Did I mention she is from Savannah, my hometown? I almost guessed it when she sat down. Something about us girls from the C-Port! 

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Flawless Skin and beautiful Soul.

 

Here is one for the road.

Jamie (said soul sis above) and I did silly selfies of ourselves in our Lululemon wear while I “worked” and she got ready to teach  yoga. Good times.

 

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Selfies gone terrible wrong… or right depending on your perspective. Ha!

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The Accidental Yogi

Toward the end of my marathon training I knew I needed to revisit yoga. I was pushing it by training for a marathon so soon after my health scare but I was stubborn  determined.  Around week 12 of the plan I started planning my apology to my body: I would commit to a yoga practice. 

I hate to admit it but I started with a mindset not far off from those who see yoga as ‘a bunch of stretching’. I paid my respect when hot yoga became en vogue but as far as  traditional yoga pracitces were concerned… in the past, I’ved passed. Whose got time for that?

The only thing that saved me is that my spiritual mindset is that of a yogi. I am clear on the connection between the mind, body and spirit. Somewhere deep inside I knew that a deeper connection awaited me on the other side of the finish line.  

Sure enough… yoga is changing me.  For one, I can touch my toes without bending my knees.<—– major for me. 🙂  I am also stronger. Not the benching my body weight kinda of strong that I’m used to but a deeper more meaningful strength. I feel more connected to my body and more spiritually present.  Both in and out of class. Image

Are you interested in yoga but wondering how it might benefit you? Check out my instructure Hope’s page. She’s just finished a series: “40 Ways Yoga Heals”. Like her page and check it out! 

One more fringe benefit of Yoga:

It does make you bendy. *giggles*

No worries… I’m keeping it PG…but I’m just sayin’. 🙂 

Perfecting Love

I awoke to Jalal standing over me.

It was 8 a.m.. A very late start of the day for me (especially in the middle of the week).

“Ready to run?”

Me: “Isn’t it raining?”

Him “Are you afraid of getting wet now? You are going to sweat anyway.”

Me: “Yeah, but I don’t like run on a wet surface.”

Then he said it. 

“Stop whining.”

Knife to the heart.

Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about whining. Can’t tolerate it. Don’t allow it. Not even from my children. Not even when they were babies. Seriously. Are you hungry? Let’s eat.  Wet? Let’s change you. Sleepy? Let’s take a nap. But I don’t do the whining thing.  Cry me a river, build a bridge, and GET OVER IT.

I bolted up and immediately realized something. The games were taking a new turn. Jalal has babied me a bit since I’ve been out of the hospital. This round with my health really scared him I think. I catch him eyeing me… checking me for swelling, looking into my eyes to see if they are a pale shade of yellow (sign of liver problems), AND  he inquires about the color of my urine. Ugh. Not the sexiest side of our relationship but it is what it is. But I must admit I’ve kinda gotten used to this softer version of my ‘take no prisioners’ husband.  

Calling me a whiner was a low blow and he knew it.

But there are other things he knows.  His wife two months ago would have never said anything about a concern about ‘wet surfaces’. Five hours later, I can’t even believe I said that. My willingness to push the envelope is part of my MO.  

So what happened? I have been shaken to my core. There is no way to sugar coat it. This summer was scary.

I look back on my time in the hospital as Eight days of very Difficult Conversations.

Day 1: “Your levels are higher then anyone I’ve ever seen. We are prepared for your kidneys to shut down at any moment.”  

Day 3  “Swelling of this magnititude could lead to compartment syndrome… I had to amputate the arms of a 16 yr old girl…”

Day 5  “Your liver enzymes are elevated and gallbladder is inflammed… we may need to do surgery”  

Day 7 “Your platlet count is quite low. This is unrelated to your other problems.  You are danger of serious bleeding…” 

The weeks that have followed have been tough.  I’ve slowly returned to working out.  I started by doing walk/run routines. The second week I walked less/ ran more; I was running only by the end of the week.  The third week I felt like I regained my stride so I added a day of Crossfit. Gulp. Four days later and my hamstrings are still mad at me for that one. 

Back to today’s run. After I got over my brusied ego I put on my new Vibrams (a gift from him) and we headed out.

 

 

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The cover of a card sent to me by my friend Helen during an earlier set back with my health. An 88 year old cancer survivor, Helen is a beautiful manifistation of love and health.

 

What a run. 

A baptism of sorts. 

Rain represents cleansing. Washing away and starting anew. I focused on this during my run. Thanking God for another day; another opportunity to love.  I also focused on how thankful I am for the husband I have.  A husband who remembers who I am when I forget. A husband who loves me enough to remind me  of truth and hold me accountable against fear. 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. ~ John 4:18

 

 

 

 

The Rise of the Phoenix

I have never really gotten into the whole superhero thing. Even living with creative, cerebral types I’ve managed to miss the comic craze.  Last night however we went to a drive in movie.  As silly as superheros are (or shall I say were) to me they seem to appeal to adults and children alike so it’s a relatively safe bet as a family film. We all agreed that “The Green Lantern” left much to be desired but the superhero theme was not lost on me. Especially not after the last two weeks of my life. I totally get it now.

I will spare all the mind-numbing details of my health but suffice to say that I have had many challenges of the auto-immune variety for close to 20 years.  Most recently (over the last six months) I have had a nasty bout of chronic kidney stones that has slowed me down tremendously. There is not a clear auto-immune connection but nothing is quite clear about my funky body to tell you the truth.  I have symptoms that stop me in my tracks  but don’t really lead to a complete diagnosis. As a result, I have been given the diagnosis of auto-immune dysfunction. Code word for: You are one screwed  time bomb.

I decided a long time ago that conventional medicine has very little to offer me.  Suggested treatments in the past have been narcotics and steroids. Both big no-nos in my book. I turned to holistic practitioners but have found most to be a little wack-a-doo for my taste. *Let me pause and give BIG shout out to my naturopath Dr. Cheryl Burdette:  an amazing practitioner and a dear friend (and just a little wack-a-doo lol)*  I found my sanity and wellness in exercise and diet.  This has worked for me but I always knew something was missing. I hadn’t gotten to the root of the problem.

Then, two weeks ago, I got a call from my father that revealed new cause for concern about my health.   This call brought layers of emotion. I knew that it was time for healing. On a deeper level.

Enter Jamie.

Funny how she does that.

This time her purpose couldn’t have been more clear. She literally moved to my city for two weeks two days after the call.  She stepped into the eye of the storm and had no idea. Bless her. She made an innocent suggestion that we workout together while she was waiting for her deployment to Afghanistan. This makes complete sense  under normal circumstances as we are both over the top exercisers. However this time  I was in the metaphorical fetal position when she called. Again she had no idea.  I can’t remember the exact details of that conversation but whatever I said here’s what I meant:  ” I am broken and scared and can do very little but show up and work hard.”

This is the moment in which I should mention that Jamie is 13 years younger than me and has no children. Oh, and we met when she took a boot camp class I taught a few years ago. To say I flipped the script is an understatement!  If I had the energy, my pride/ego may have taken a beating but it couldn’t. I had to surrender. I had no choice. Thank God I did.

We trained at 6:00 a.m. every day without fail (I took only Sunday off) .  We ran and did speed work. She was coming off of an injury so I was able to keep up..mostly.  She encouraged me all the way.  We also met at the gym and lifted heavy. This is my safety zone when it comes to exercise so it didn’t take me long to stop licking my wounds and start beasting….SHE’S BAACCCKKK!  After about three days it was ON! I was also running with my client Jan (another soul-sister) so that first week I clocked 21 miles!

I gave myself these two weeks to train without much consideration to others. Yes, this included my family. This was major because I define myself largely by what I do for others..especially my family. I made sure basic needs were met but aside from that, I was OUT. Period. Without guilt.  I ate what I felt I needed to support my health and training, slept when I needed to sleep and let the chips fall where they may.

Here’s the thing:

The world did not stop spinning on its axis!  As a matter of fact, my family stepped up big time. Jalal filled in on a long run when Jamie was out of town. Darsi made dinner for the family a few times without gripping. Malik came to the gym with me and even listened to my training advice (imagine that!:)).  They knew I would only take these type of measures in desperate circumstances and they gave me the room I needed. Skye came to me and told me she wants to start running; a testament to the fact that our children learn how to treat themselves by watching how we treat ourselves. Now the house was a wreck, not sure if Skye showered much the first week, and the dogs had far more than their monthly allotment of accidents. But who cares? I sure as hell don’t.

Healing is not just about being free of  ill-heath.  It is about getting to the root of problem on a physical and emotional level. The workouts are symbolic. It is my way of meeting God and accepting his healing.  Healing through Jamie, my family, and my friends. Many have called  or sent me notes of encouragement that have quite literally lifted my spirits.

Today I posted on Facebook that if I could a super hero I would be Phoenix.  I must admit, I did research today and caught up on the who’s who of superheroes. Skye was Phoenix for Halloween last year. She designed the costume with her Dad and was quite proud. I was thrilled with her efforts but like I said earlier I didn’t ‘get’ it.  Now I understand.  It wasn’t just about the fiery wig.  Phoenix represents rebirth and courage under fire.  She also looks directly her at her flaws and addresses her shortcomings head on. BADASS.

Yeah, I wanna be a superhero.

To Know Joy (to madear)

We danced at your funeral

Because you told us to

You used to sing

“His eye is on the Sparrow”

I didn’t understand your joy

The way I do now

Unspeakable

Joy

I haven’t stopped dancing

And now

I run

Your Spirit flows thru

the sweat and the tears

I run because I am

Alive.

 

the snow, jamie, and a poem to mom

seriously.  i often feel like i am being propelled by some imaginary, uncontrollable  force under my feet.  who has time to reflect on what matters most when you are flitting from here to there?

so what’s different about today? the snow.

there are no expectations. this is the definition of calm.

i was surprised at how little tv we are watched yesterday (under the circumstances) . the boys went and took pictures of the snow by the creek.  skye and darsi played until skye got hurt. jalal paced the floor in between working on drawings for his upcoming flower show.  and i read. a lot.

i also wrote a poem about mom.

and i talked to jamie.

i have a few soul sisters. they are women who (rather they know it or not) have been placed in my life to help me cultivate my essence.  some remind me in small ways on a regular basis because i connect with them often. some drop by for a spiritual jolt ever so often. jamie falls into that category. whenever we cross paths, i pay close attention because  she has a message.

earlier that day i had been talking to jalal about ways to improve speed and distance in my run. most of my reading was about running so i thought my spirit had conjured her up to talk fitness (which we did).  but somehow we started talking about writing. this was interesting because paul (my white, gay,  brother from a mystical mother) had im’d a few hours earlier me to tell me i should publish and perform my poem. he was truly impressed (doesn’t happen often) and insistent. i told him i’d think about it (and that i wanted to throw up just thinking about it) .  i shared my poem to mom  with jamie  (in addition to fitness, we share tragic loss) and she shared her blog.  i read it and knew the poem was just the beginning.

looks like 6inches!

pictures by Skyepictures by Skye

Ranch Reflections

Now that you’ve endured my esoteric accountings of our vacation I’ll give you a straight review.

First of all, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is in Northwestern Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. It is breathtakingly beautiful but there is limited cell coverage, no television (no joke), not even a Walmart for many miles.  You would think that kids would go into a withdrawals but we did not experience this. There is truly so much to do, they didn’t seem to miss it.

Another big consideration is that a certain level of fitness is required. There are a lot of hills to climb and very rocky trails. Our cabin was at the very top of the property, it was literally a hike to grab the forgotten sunscreen. We did not mind this built in exercise feature.  Also, each rock climb excursion meant a 1-2 mile hike uphill both ways.  Remember what I said about eating biscuits?

The grounds offer tons for kids to do. A lodge with a theater room, pool table, ping pong, and a computer room. There is also a pool and a hot tub out back.

The horses are well trained and there are so many opportunities to ride them. HCR offers both trail and arena rides. Skye practically lived in the barn. There goes all that solid home training!

Rock climbing at HCR is wonderful. We did not know what to expect but this we really hit the jackpot I think.

The cabins themselves are quaint and get the job done. A soft place to land after a long day. They were clean but you simply can’t keep all the dust out so don’t bring your white glove!

Again, the food was fantastic.  I can’t say that enough. Want details? See my earlier post.

The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and engaging.  However, there are no real safety briefings. If it feels good, try it. If it don’t… don’t! No pressure and not a lot of details. Once you do it, however, they stay with you every step of the way.

Not sure if we were just lucky but we met some of the most awesome people on our vacation. Families from Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, even the U.K.!

Would we do it again? I’ll put it to you like this:

We are now looking for a kayak or a canoe for Darsi, Malik wants to be a ranch hand, and Skye wants to find someplace to ride and take care of horses. Jalal, Malik and I have all been bitten by the rock climbing bug.

We’ve been to many destinations around the country and around the world. This ranks amongst the top for us all.

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