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Ever since I have had the privilege of voting, I have enjoyed the process and take it pretty seriously. But, as someone who works in the wellness industry, I try not to bring up politics on a public level as I want to present myself in a neutral way. I’ve been sitting back and watching the show along with everyone else. I had a couple of conversations this weekend, though, that made me feel like I needed to share my view about the current situation.

I understand the frustration that I am seeing from many of my friends and acquaintances. I didn’t vote for either of the major party candidates in the primary and there seems to be a growing laundry list of issues being exposed on both sides. There is no question in my mind, though, about who I will be voting for. Not all of my friends agree with me. A couple of my friends have very good reasons to vote in opposition to me. I respect them and their opinions. I just feel differently.

About 24 years ago, in my early 20s, I was actively feeding my budding alcohol addiction. I was able to hold it together enough at that time to live what seemed to be a normal life, but there was nothing normal about it. I was living in Philadelphia and hopping from one restaurant job to another. I was lost with no idea where to go. It would be a few more years and a lot of problems before I figured out that I needed to get sober. I found out that I was pregnant and made the decision to have an abortion. This was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life. I had been seeing a young man for a while and knew him well enough to know that he had already had another child and that he wasn’t able to take care of that child. He broke up with me because I was “too crazy” before I even knew that I was pregnant. I felt alone, I felt scared and I knew I couldn’t raise a child or even carry it to term safely.

I went to the local Planned Parenthood. They were professional, clean and supportive. I got all the help I needed at a reasonable price. This process is hard both physically and mentally, even when it is done legally. I trusted that I was in good hands and the procedure went as expected. I am not proud of this piece of my history. I don’t believe that abortion is something to take lightly. I don’t believe that it should be the 1st choice. Of course, I have no idea what my life would be like today if I had carried that child to term. I don’t dwell there anymore. I realize that I was not well. It has taken many years to forgive myself.

This post isn’t so much about me anymore, though. It’s about my daughter. It’s about her right to be able to make decisions about her body. I hope and pray that she never finds herself where I was. I hope that she makes better decisions than I did as a young adult. But I want to protect her rights to be able to do what she needs to do with her body. It is getting harder and harder to obtain an abortion, even in cases of rape. This is not ok. Planned Parenthood is being challenged. Abortion is just a small aspect of what they offer. After my abortion, they provided me with birth control so that I wouldn’t find myself in the same situation. Without insurance, I was able to get regular gynecological care at a price I could afford. Their services are important.

Right now there is a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Filling that vacancy is one of the 1st things that will be done by the next President of the United States. I am voting so that the seat can be filled with someone who supports Roe v. Wade. We can’t go backwards. If we do, abortions will still be performed but in less than ideal locations with subpar equipment and sanitation. We really can’t let this happen. Our girls could be badly injured or die. Keeping abortion legal is the best way to ensure safety.

One candidate will appoint a judge with my values. The other candidate is a wild card. I don’t know which way he will go. In interviews, though, he has stated that he is against abortion. My decision comes down to this. I’m with her.

Gluten-free December

imgresMy children and I have a sensitivity to gluten. How do I know this? Well, I guess I don’t know for sure yet. There is a blood test but we haven’t taken it. We will know for sure by the way we feel once we eat it again. Some of our symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, allergies, irritability, and skin issues. We have made a commitment to eating gluten-free for the month of December. Really it was two days after Thanksgiving until Christmas. Each of us has chosen to do this. No one is being forced.  It has been two and a half weeks and we are doing really well. Not only are some symptoms subsiding but we have enjoyed the challenge of finding nutritious foods without wheat, barley or rye ingredients. I have been surprised over and over again to find how pervasive gluten is in our food supply. The best way to avoid it is to eat whole foods (the way they are presented in nature). It seems that as soon as we start processing products, we need to find things to fill and bind. Apparently, gluten is good for that.

This adventure has already brought more gifts than challenges. With a shared goal, we are a unified group. As with many families raising teens, it can be hard to find common ground. We have been looking for meal solutions together and the kids are even making some stuff ahead of time to bring for their lunch and activities. Another cool result of being gluten-free is that we are all reading food labels. Both children are noticing other odd ingredients in standard American diet foods and commenting on it. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal but it really is. We have a nutritional epidemic happening in our country because adults have no idea what they are eating or what they are feeding their children. I am super proud of my kids for choosing to be aware and make the necessary changes. I am not saying that it has been easy. There is plenty that we miss but I most definitely am enjoying the experience.

Balancing tip – Just because something says it is gluten-free does NOT mean it is healthy. If you are on a gluten-free diet or considering trying it, please continue to read the description beyond the gluten-free labeling. Use good judgement and know that it is always the best option to eat food exactly as Mother Nature intended.

*Following up from my announcement a couple of weeks ago, I have launched a web boutique called Red Earth Warrior. I don’t have everything loaded into the site yet but you are welcome to take a look around. I would love to hear any feedback you might have. In addition to the essential oil blends and clothing that is there, I am offering Salt Lamps, Salt Inhalers, Fair Trade Thai Silk Scarves, and more. Please feel free to share the link with your friends!

Summer Loving

So I took the summer off from blogging. I decided to focus any extra time I had on my family. It has been a great summer. We took a couple of vacations as well as enjoyed the beauty Sarasota has to offer. I continued to work and even had the opportunity to teach some yoga on the road. School starts on Monday and I think we are all feeling restored as individuals and as a family. During this time, I’ve made some new connections and strengthened existing friendships. Reflecting on the past couple months, I would have to say that this time has been about relationships with others.

There has even been a shift in my relationship with my husband. I feel we have grown as a couple because of our willingness to look at each other with appreciation, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and to look for ways to find solutions instead of proving a point. After seeing the impact yoga has made on my life, spiritually, emotionally and physically, my husband is getting ready to start a yoga teacher training program. I am super excited for him! He really has no idea what he is getting himself into, but I think he will love it if he lets himself fully experience even half of what this program has to offer. I feel like this will expand our relationship even further. I look forward to sharing ideas with him about the deeper meaning of the Sutras, about the physical practice and about how the study of this practice can impact our family. I am content in knowing it will all unfold just as it should.

Balancing Tip- cha, cha, cha Chia! Yes, that’s right. The same seeds many people spread on ceramic heads and animals years ago are what we should have been eating all along. Here is a link to a great article on the wonders of chia seeds and a couple of ways to incorporate them into your diet.

lessons from the bleachers

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I spend a lot of my time on the bleachers. There are days that I don’t want to be anywhere else and there are days when I struggle to not pull out some work. It seems to be the one time when I’m not working, that I can do just one thing–watch baseball. I watch my son play baseball. He is in the local Little League. His team consists of 10, 11 and 12 year-olds. There are tons of benefits to his participation: exercise, teamwork, social skills, perseverance, etc. I think it’s great that he has this opportunity. Some of the kids on the team are pretty good and some not so good. My son probably falls somewhere in the middle. The kids are great and so are the coaches.

What I find to be the most interesting is the other parents. Not all of the other parents. About half of them are pretty chill. During a practice, they might read a book or chat quietly with each other. During the games, they are cheering the kids on and enjoying themselves. It’s the other ones I’m referring to. The ones that scream at their kids to make better plays or allow veins to bulge in their neck and forehead because a 10 year-old child swung at a ball that was at eye level. I just don’t get it. These are children who are “playing”. Although I don’t get caught up in professional sports, I remember my father yelling at the TV during sporting events. My rational in being ok with the latter is that these are adults making serious money. They are paid handsomely to only swing at strikes. And even then, they make an out more than half of the times they are up to bat. What would make anyone think that a child could do better than that?

At last night’s game, we were getting creamed by a team we had beaten the week prior. This was exceptionally hard on “those” parents. As I watched, I started to make a connection between these people and the people we know who make a lot of noise on the perimeter of our lives. You know, the ones who critique and voice displeasure even though it has nothing to do with them. They should be mixing it up in their own game, but instead stand on the sidelines and mock. I came to the conclusion that it was good practice for the kids for later in life. After the game, I asked my son if the comments bothered him. His response was, “What comments?” I hope he is still saying that 30 years from now.

my day off

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I had the day off. I realized at some point that it was opening day of the Sarasota County Fair. It seemed like the perfect thing to do. I could get away from my half-finished to-do list and the kids would be entertained.

When we arrived, Bella met up with some friends so Little Roger and I started to explore.  I used to love going on rides, but they haven’t been agreeing with me for the past couple of years. My eleven-year-old was a little bummed that he didn’t have a companion for the amusement rides.  Trying to be nice, I went on the ferris wheel. That was pretty much my limit. When we came to The Scrambler, I knew there was no way we would be able to stay at the fair if I went on it with him. He said he would go by himself. He got in line. The girl in front of him turned around and asked, “Do you want to ride?” He nodded. I wasn’t sure what was happening and I don’t think he was either. The ride operator opened the gate for them and Roger followed the girl to a car. She motioned for him to go in first. As he was climbing in, I wondered if I should stop him and tell him to get on one by himself, but I let it go. I was mesmerized by the situation. She climbed in after him and they buckled themselves up. I don’t think there was any conversation between them other than the initial question from the girl. As they were waiting for the ride to start, Roger made faces at me as if he was also in disbelief about where he was sitting and who he was sitting with. I couldn’t stop laughing. I acted like I was texting on my phone when I took the picture shown here. Just looking at it makes me laugh. Once the ride started, they both laughed. As it went faster and he started to slide into her, I could tell he was feeling uneasy. I really felt for him, but it was really funny!

Roger had brought a few dollars of his own money to spend in case he wanted something that I wasn’t willing to buy (smart boy). At one point he goes to use the restroom. Upon returning, he tells me that he tipped the restroom attendant. “What?”

“Yes,” he says. “He was very helpful and he had very worn clothes.”

“You don’t need to do that, and how was he helpful?” I replied.

“He gave me a paper towel to dry my hands and he made sure all of the stalls were clean. I think he might be homeless. He needs it.  He was so thankful that he said, ‘God bless you’. I feel really good that I helped someone.”

This child never ceases to amaze me with his compassion and generosity. He went on a couple more rides and we ate some crappy food. It was great! There were farm animals, motorcycle stunt shows and plenty of games. We spent hours just wandering around. No agenda, no time frame. We were lost in the moment and in that moment I felt wonderful.

When Bella had enough of her friends, we reunited and slowly made our way through the fair exhibits and back to the car. I feel very lucky that despite the fact that I often have no idea what I am doing as a parent, my kids seem to be doing well. They are growing up to be more than I could have ever hoped. Days like today help me to see that there is a balance point and that every once in a while, I hit it.

Nutritional tip #8-Use your blender. Blending fresh fruits and veggies with some coconut or other nut milk and some spices can be a yummy meal replacement packed with nutrients. A frozen banana makes it thick and creamy. When my bananas become overripe, I peel and freeze them so I can have a smoothies any time. My favorite green smoothie recipe:

  • 1/2 frozen banana-sliced in chunks
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 handful of any berry
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer unsweetened almond milk)
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • a few shakes of cinnamon

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

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