Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love Comes Obscurely

We woke up yesterday with plans to mow the yard.  Our weekly summertime mowing chores includes not only mowing but also edging, weed-eating and blowing.  I do the mowing; he does everything else.

But, first - my trike ride.  I left for my ride and came back 45 minutes later.

During that time, he had started pruning bushes and pulling overgrown thorn bushes and other unwelcomed plant life.  Lots of pruning; even more pulling; about 2 years worth . . . life demanding our attention elsewhere throughout the years, doncha know.

I helped when I got back from my triking.  Somewhat.
By the time we got around to bagging all of his efforts, it was about noon-thirty.

Way too hot and humid for me; I decided to delay my specific mowing chores until today, when I could do it earlier in the day.

He also decided he was done with the lawn, for the time being.  He called a friend, and the two of them finalized plans they had made a few days earlier to go do some remodeling of some friends' kitchen.

He spent about 30 minutes loading his truck with various heavy pieces of equipment and some that weren't heavy, but were numerous.

And, off he went.

He was gone several hours.  Working.  Remodeling.

Around 5:30pm, I hear my awesome hubby - he who makes my heart beat widly - pull up in the driveway.

I was just about to get in the shower.

He spent another 30 minutes unloading his truck and putting away all his tools & equipment.  And then he told me that he was going to get busy with the edging, weed-eating and blowing.

An hour and a half later, he comes back inside, covered in lawn dust and such, and heads to the shower.

   "Wanna walk the girls after my shower?", he asks.

During his shower, I clean up the kitchen.

It's then time to walk the puppy girls; but first, he goes outside to smoke.  I continue puttering around in the kitchen.

Through a closed door leading to the garage, I hear him groan a few times.
   "He is beyond tired right now", I think to myself.

Many minutes later, much later than his usual cigarette break, I was getting a bit, uhm, concerned.
   Is he ok?  Do I need to go check on him?  I'll give him a few more minutes.  

Finally, he walks through the door.

Exhaustion was written all over his face.

   Oh good!  I say as I smile at him.  I was beginning to wonder if you were ok.
      I'm ok, he says.  Yesterday I saw that one of your tires was low, so I was out there airing them all 
     up.  Ready to walk the dogs?

Sometimes love shows itself in huge, obvious ways.

More frequently though, love shows itself in quiet, obscure ways . . . such as an over-exhausted husband airing-up his wife's trike tires and then going on an hour-plus walk with her.

Tex does both; the obvious and the not-so-obvious.

I am so incredibly beyond blessed.
I love that man.  Deeply.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five-Minute Friday: Opportunity

Remember Sara? I wrote about her a couple of days ago.
Click HERE

One of the things that Sara did on her blog each Friday was to link-up with The Gypsy Mama's blog.  Lisa-Jo (author of The Gypsy Mama) created 5-Minute Fridays.  
In her own words:
Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
On Fridays we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.
What can you write in five minutes flat?
We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.

Well, y'all, I'm finally going to do this!  Actually, I had made a couple of attempts when I was over at Facebook; but those don't really count.  Facebook is not a blog.  Now, Swirlings . . . Swirlings is a blog!

Today's 5-minute topic is "opportunity".

Without further adieu . . .


Whether we know it or not, we are bombarded with opportunities every day.  It's our choice to partake of them . . . or to reject them.  When we say, "I'll do that tomorrow," we are essentially risking not being able to receive that opportunity again.  Sometimes tomorrow never comes.

What opportunities have come your way lately?  Which ones have you embraced and which ones have you ignored?  Are you content with your choices, both ways?

We don't have to welcome every opportunity that comes into our lives; that would actually be foolish.  But.  We should examine each opportunity as to its worthiness.  Is this a valid opportunity?  Will it help me or will it hinder me?  What do I need to do to get going with this opportunity?


OK.  There ya go.  My first 5-minute topic.
(And lemme tell y'all - for me, that was a bit of a challenge; being the pondering thinker that I am as I write; fiddle, sometimes it takes me days and weeks to think-through a blog post before it ever gets written!).

What about y'all?  Anyone want to link up The Gypsy Mama and participate in her Five-minute Fridays?    If so, here's her blog link again.

Thanks for reading.
Y'all be blessed,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Choose Joy! - Remembering Sara

I first encountered Gitzen Girl's blog about a year ago.

It was truly a gift from Our Lord.  A very awesome, timely gift.

I was struggling with the isolative life I had been living since moving to Dallas.  Living on the outskirts and as a pedestrian was proving to be more challenging that I first anticipated.  There simply wasn't (nor isn't) anything close to where I live; no hub in which to socialize . . . not while being a pedestrian and not even while being a triker.   Because of this, I was not able to really form lasting relationships nor was I very successful in creating beyond-the-surface friendships.  Part of that was due to the lack of people with whom to form such bonds; and part of that was the people I had met seemed to be unavailable because of their already well-established lives here in the Dallas area.

It took me several months; but I finally realized that the women who I had hoped would be natural "shoe-ins" for new friendships simply didn't need and/or want yet another relationship in their lives; they were content with their pre-existing friendships, and that was enough for them.  Perhaps, too, they were even intentionally choosing to not develop a friendship specifically with me; if so, then that is their prerogative and really none of my business.

Regardless as to the whys and wherefores, the very glaring lack of local friendships made me miss my once easily-accessible but now long-distanced friends and my pre-Dallas life even more.

So, my life shrank down to the various walled parameters within our house.

And, it became very lonely.

Almost intolerably so.

Then one day . . . I don't even remember how . . . I stumbled upon Sara Frankl's blog.

And, I felt that I had found someone who understood . . . even moreso than I did.

Sara was house-bound when I learned of her blog; she was combating an illness that would not even allow her to step outside of her home, lest her body react in severe sickness.  Soon, as the illness continued to ravage and degrade her body (but certainly not her spirit), she became bed-bound.

And through it all, Sara spoke of JOY!  The kind of Joy that can only come through Our Lord!
She lived, breathed and ate joy.  It was, in fact, her very essence.

I remembered such joy.  For, in fact, for years previous, I had often reminded people of HIS Peace and HIS Joy; regardless of one's circumstances.

Somewhere along the way, in trying to understand and adjust to my solitary life, I could no longer remind not even myself of these very precious gifts.  And, the darkness came and settled over everything.

But that's where Sara came in . . . she reminded me about Joy.  And, about Peace.  And, she did so through her various blog posts.

The journey was not a short one; it took several months for me to emerge from the depression that had enveloped my life.  But emerge I did!

My life, now, is still pretty solitary. But that's ok.  I have been able to accept various circumstances that a year ago were so incredibly and deeply painful to my soul.

I truly abhor pity parties  Really, pity parties do not produce any good results and are not edifying in any way at all.  And, I abhor them most of all when the host of such macabre activities is me.  I don't want to waste my life feeling sorry for what I don't have; all the while not even being able to see all the glorious blessings being continually poured out on my life.

I want to live MY life in joy.  HIS Joy.  I want my life to be a credible witness to who and what Our Lord is.  I want to honor HIM with my life and encourage others to look to HIM in their lives.

Sara helped me to remember this about myself.  I will be forever grateful to her.

Last September, Sara went home to be with Our Lord.  I remember crying from the depths of my heart when I learned that she had died.  I also remember rejoicing that she was now free of all pain and encumberances.  And, I remember being so very thankful for the gift of her.

Sarah is no longer here on earth, but her blog lives on.   Her words can be read again and again; continuing to comfort pre-existing readers and even welcoming new readers.  Her words and their meanings have survived.  What an amazing blessing!

Periodically, her sister, Shannon, will make a blog post over at Gtizen Girl.

Earlier this month, Shannon published the entry, "Sara's Story".

I share it with y'all, now, here.  I hope Sara's blog, her life and her story blesses y'all as much as she has blessed me.

Sara's Story / Gitzen Girl

Thanks for reading,
Y'all be blessed.

And, remember!  CHOOSE JOY!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks, Toby!

I like a variety of music - my preferences in this regard are quite eclectic.

Today, I must be in a Toby Keith frame of mind.
Go figure.

My favorite TK song (& video) is "I Wanna Talk About Me".
The message is always good to remember and apply, and the video is just whacked-out funny!

Click HERE: "I Wanna Talk About Me"

My other favorite song & video by Toby is "How Do You Like Me Now?!"
While not exactly the most gracious of sentiments, I really appreciate the message in this song.

Click HERE: "How Do You Like Me Now?!"

Be careful who you mock and belittle . . . you never know what may come of it down the road.
Paybacks and all that, doncha know.

See?  Not so gracious . . . there ya go.

Actually, any retribution aside, we should be careful to not mock nor belittle anyone for any reason; but our being human assures that the adage is more idealistic than realistic; myself, included.

On a more affable note, I hope y'all have awesome weeks this week.
Be blessed,

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14th - 20th

Earlier this year, I decided that I absolutely needed to take an internet fast.

So, I did.

I took a 7-day fast from the internet.  In that time, I caught up on offline projects, read books, thought some, organized things, thought some more, etc.

It was absolutely fantastic!

So wonderful, in fact, that I decided to adopt this as a monthly event for me.

The past couple of months, however, have been a bit hectic.  In March, our family said, not goodbye, but "See you again" to a very beloved man - my father-in-law.  I miss him; but I know he is out of pain, and that he is also at Peace and enjoying Eternity with Our Lord.  That comforts me greatly.

Tex, just last week, took his last finals test for his Masters classes.  Now, it's on to researching and writing his thesis, so there's a bit of a breather, there.  But, the past few weeks have been a bit intense in the scholastic area; what with all of the studying, research paper, other writing assignments and finally actually taking his finals.  He did awesome, btw!  :)

With everything that was going on these past couple of months, I neglected to take my internet fasts.  Boo. Hiss.  I take full responsibility for this.  If I want to take an internet fast, then it's up to me to make sure I do so.


Of course, right.

That being said, this blog post is to let y'all know that I'll be on my internet fast this week, and will absent from the web of world wideness (May 14th - May 20th).

Have awesome weeks, y'all; I hope wonderful things happen in your lives.

(And the irony is not lost on me that today is the first day of my fast; and yet, here I am, on the net.  Hey! It was a busy weekend; what can I say? . . . uhm, maybe, better organizing is needed; I could say that).

Y'all be blessed; see y'all soon,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Eat!

Periodically, someone will express curiosity over why I don't eat certain things.
Curiosity is perfectly acceptable; especially if someone is genuinely interested.

Sometimes, however, people will even express dismay and/or disappointment because I am forgoing a specific edible morsel or two.  That can create some awkward moments; sometimes for the asker, sometimes for me, sometimes for both of us.  It also sometimes makes pot-luck types of gatherings a bit of a challenge, as I'm sure y'all can imagine.

Whether you are reading this blog post because that's what you do - read my blog (and thanks, btw!), or you were personally invited by me to read this specific post, or because you were linked here by someone else . . . or even if you've stumbled upon Swirlings while net-surfing . . . I hope this blog post will answer questions in a clear and gracious manner.

In the mid / late 80s, I weighed over 320 pounds.  I stopped weighing at 320, but I know I continued to gain a bit more weight.  I was wearing a size 32 pants; but the side seams were so incredibly stressed (as in separating), that I really should have been wearing a 34 or even a 36.

I embarked on a weight-loss adventure; but I wanted to make sure it was healthy.

THAT is when I began my journey into food, health and nutrition research.
The first step I took was to immediately give up all sugars (except what was found naturally in raw fruits), along with all processed foods.  ALL.  I was pretty tenacious back then!

A couple of months after I began my journey, I discovered veggie juicing.

Within 10 months, I lost 110 pounds and 10 sizes.

I accomplished this simply by eliminating many foods that, based on my research, I learned were unhealthy to eat and then incorporating more healthy foods into my daily life.  That, and exercising; although back then the exercise was secondary to what I ate and what I did not eat.   Today, both are equally important to me:  good nutrition and good exercise.  I heartily recommend that people use both in their weight loss efforts; both are vital, and they work in conjunction with each other.

For that matter, I encourage anyone and everyone to incorporate a healthy food plan AND an exercise regime into their daily life, regardless as to whether or not they need to lose weight.

There ya go.

About 6 months into this new lifestyle that I had created, I experienced the first grand mal seizure (not "my" seizure; "the" seizure).

This then took me down a new information path, and I started researching not only food, health and nutrition, but also how to use those elements in combating seizures.

It is because of my research over the years that I eat the way I do . . . and more specifically, do not eat certain foods.  Whether it's on a personal level  (i.e., combating seizures) or whether it is more encompassing and applicable to everyone regarding good, basic health, I have done my research, and I have adjusted my lifestyle to the findings of the research.  This is an ongoing, lifelong process.  I don't imagine that I will ever stop doing research of this nature.  One's health is far too valuable to just blindly go through life not paying attention to it; at least, that's how it is for me.

SO!  What are some of the things that I don't eat?

I'm so glad you asked!

Topping the list:
~ Soy.  I don't consume soy; of any kind.  Not as a sauce, not as tofu, not as an ingredient.  I don't even eat soy beans.  No soy.  Absolutely none.

Soy is one of the leading and more common seizure triggers.  It also is one of the more predominant culprits in exacerbating other neurological disorders; including migraines.

Incidentally, soy was originally never meant to be a food for human consumption.  But, it's a relatively inexpensive crop; and viola!  Over the years, the addition of soy in processed and packaged foods has risen and continues to rise at an alarming rate.  Not coincidentally, so, too, does the number of people developing various neurological disorders also continue to rise, along with other physical ailments and illnesses.

~ High fructose corn syrup is another item I will not consume.
~ Hydrogenated oils
~ Hydrolyzed protein
~ Iodized salt (I use sea salt; regular table salt is too highly processed)
~ Xantham gum (and for that matter, any ingredient beginning with an "X".  Seriously.  Tex just asked me if this means I won't eat xylophones; the goof!)

~ Other laboratory-produced "foods" or ingredients
~ Cellulose fibers (chemically-processed wood pulp - remember this the next time you buy a package of pre-shredded cheese)

~ Margarines and other types of fake butters (I use real, unsalted butter)

~ "Fake-fat" foods and also foods marketed as "fat-free 
(1) In order to make "fat-free" and "reduced fat" foods palatable, something has to be added to replace the fat that has been taken out.  The "something" is usually sugar in one or more various forms; and the added sugar(s) are also often accompanied by various types of unnecessary and often harmful chemicals.  This is simply not a good exchange.  Sometimes, the added ingredient is some type of starch (i.e., "reduced fat" cheeses).  Sometimes, both sugars and starches are added back in.  None of this is a good exchange; not in the least.

(2) There is no such thing in nature as a "fat-free" food; all natural food has fat, even if in trace amounts.

~ White sugar (While I do now, on the rare occasion, consume white sugar, I prefer to use honey or  also raw sugar that has not been bleached and heat-processed.)

~ Sugar-laden drinks (if it has added sugar, in any of its various forums in it, I most likely do not drink it; wine and champagne being the exception - and even then, I don't drink much of those neither.  In fact, the very vast majority of what I do drink is plain water.)

~ ANY sugar substitute . . . Sugar subs are as dangerous as soy; sometimes, even more so.
~ Foods or drinks labeled as "Diet" (too much harmful junk in those kinds of foods and drinks; and although I do not drink neither regular sodas nor diet sodas, diet sodas are much more harmful than regular sodas, because of the sugar substitutes.  Regular sodas have their own vices - all that sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup.  Diet sodas are even worse.)

~ A host of other ingredients that really should not be part of someone's food consumption.

Basically, for the very vast majority (say, around 98%), I do not eat packaged and processed foods.  The packaged foods that I do eat must pass my ingredient label test.  And . . . if I am someplace where ingredient labels are not available and there's any doubt in my mind as to whether or not it would be ok for me to eat something (based on my own parameters), then, I simply am not going to eat it.

If you're with me and see me not eating something, please don't take it personally; what I'm doing is taking care of my own health.

Now that I've given y'all a list (although, not a complete one) of what I won't eat . . . what does that leave that I will eat?  Plenty!

Mostly, I prefer to eat real food . . . real, whole, nutritious food.

I cook from scratch . . . completely from scratch; not "scratch from mixes".

~ Fresh, raw fruits and veggies
~ Slightly steamed veggies (please don't turn your beautiful veggies into mush by over-cooking them)
~ High-quality meats
~ Brown eggs
~ Real, full-fat unsalted butter (in moderation
~ Real full-fat cheeses (in moderation)
~ Plain yogurt
~ Whole grains
~ Fresh and dried herbs
~ Unsalted, raw nuts
~ A couple of condiment / ingredient type items that pass my ingredient label test

There's a few other things in there, but that's a pretty extensive list in and of itself.

I even go to restaurants.  Yep, yep, I do.  But, I'm pretty picky about which restaurants (i.e., I do not do fast food); and then, once at the restaurant, I'm pretty picky about my menu choices.

Wherever I am; be that at home, on the road, with friends or family, at a restaurant or somewhere at a pot-luck meal, I eat for nutrition and health.   And, as part of my own personal health, I also eat to help combat seizures.

I also eat for taste and enjoyment . . . I love ice cream; and with as much humility as I can muster, I make an awesome carrot cake and some of the best brownies ever.  Let me know if you ever want to come over and have some.  But . . .  when I do buy ice cream, I diligently read the ingredient label and decline many types and flavors because of what they contain.  When I bake, I use high quality ingredients.

I encourage each of y'all to do your own research regarding food, nutrition and health.  If you have a specific physical illness or disorder, I also encourage you to focus your research toward that specific topic.  Regardless as to whether you are wanting to focus on overall health or need to target a particular area, I hope you will strive to learn which foods can help improve your health and which ones can actually degrade your health.

Once you have done your research, read your ingredients labels and proceed accordingly.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Knowledge is power!  The application of knowledge is empowering!!

There is a beautiful, joyous freedom in knowing that what you are feeding your body is going to help build it up rather than tear it down.

One more thought I'd like to share with y'all regarding food . . .

Throughout the years, every now and then, someone asks me why I'm not allowed to eat this or that.

I would like to suggest that it's not a matter of "not being allowed" to eat something; but rather, it's a matter of choice.  I choose to eat the way I do.  And, I make such choices because I choose to be as healthy as possible.

Thanks for reading!

To y'all's good health,

Guess What?!

. . . May is National Bike Month!  How cool is that?!

And, who's to say that it cannot also be National Trike Month?!  
Afterall, they both run on pedal-power.

This coming work week (May 14th - May 18th) is also National Bike to Work Week, with special focus on May 18th.  Bike to School Day was this past week (May 9th), but I didn't even learn about this month-long wheeled celebration until yesterday . . . be gentle with me, all you scholars.

I'd love to hear from any of y'all who ride bikes (or, bless my soul, even trikes!).  Quads, even.
If you pedal a wheeled contraption that propels you forward based on your energy output, I'd love to know about it.

Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed,

p.s. - Out of the 568 fitness minutes I've done (so far) this week, 319 minutes have been while triking.
(212 of those triking minutes have been purely for exercise; 107 of those minutes have been for transportation).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Just to let y'all know . . . 

. . . During the month of April, I did a total of 1,477 exercise minutes (to include triking for transportation, triking for exercise, swimming, aqua classes, walking the puppy girls and even occasionally staring at my Gazelle).

My goal for May is 2,500 minutes.
I can't wait!
Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!

Here's to y'all's good health, and to mine!
Y'all be blessed,