Climbing out of my pit


For anyone who is struggling or knows someone who is. I wrote this post for you.

As someone who had spent many years struggling with anxiety and depression and now Ulcerative Colitis, I feel your pain. I really do. I know what it is like to wake up and wonder how you are going to make it through the day. I remember a time I dreaded fall because it meant winter was around the corner and that invariably meant more struggle. And frankly I just didn’t know how much fight I had left in me. I was soooo exhausted.

I used to live waiting for the rainbow around the corner. I was convinced that perfect circumstances (or perfect health or really perfect anything) were the key to being happy and content. Although it was probably Continue reading

A question I started asking myself

I want the share a little system I have adopted that has helped our home stay healthier and more positive.

We know gossip isn’t a good thing, and many of us try and avoid speaking poorly of others to strangers or coworkers and even our friends. But how easy is it to become lax when we are in the privacy of our own home surrounded by family?! Or with our boyfriend or best friend? Especially when we know what we say won’t be repeated back to the person!

But gossip is gossip regardless of where it is spoken. And it can be just as poisonous in the sanctuary of our own homes as it can be outside our four walls. Maybe even more so.

So I started asking myself this question Continue reading

Snow day in Boston! (lots of pics)

We had our first “real” snow of the winter here in Boston today. We are supposed to get somewhere between 8-12 inches when it is all said and done. The girls and I talked Brance into going out after dark (which comes by 4:30 here!!) to play a little in the snow.

We played in the snow and had a couple of snowball fights while wandering down to the beach to make snow angels. It was beautiful wandering through our lamp-lit neighborhood in the falling, sparkling snow. What is it about falling snow that is so, so peaceful!?

Here we are starting out on our snow adventure. It’s adorable. Anytime we leave the house to walk somewhere (which you do an awful lot in the city) the girls say that we’re going Continue reading

Dairy-free chicken and dumplings

This version of dumplings consists of a “brothy” soup with chicken, vegetables, and large “bready” dumplings.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • Boneless chicken breasts (2 large or 3 medium)
  • 1 small bag of frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, & green beans)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Water
  • Rice milk

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Continue reading

The gift of encouragement

Our tree still stands in our living room releasing a dusting of dried needles for me to sweep up ever day. But the extra work doesn’t bother me because of the joy that our tree, lit and decorated with meaningful ornaments, brings to our family. (Although come next Tuesday I think it will be time to send our tree on to a “better place”!)

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.

I love the smells, and the sounds, and the tastes that are associated with the Christmas season. And not least of all, I love how the world-over many of us exchanged presents in celebration of the greatest gift ever given–the gift of God’s son. It’s such a beautiful reminder of His sacrifice for us.

As Christmas ends and we lean into a New Year and all that it holds for us, I want to share a little something with you. A gift, of sorts, you might say. It’s something that Continue reading

An anniversary and what’s working

This picture was taken in the woods behind my parents’ home right before our 2nd anniversary.

I sit at our table with a steaming cup of tea watching the snow fall over our city.

It’s our first real snow in Boston this winter. We’ve had a dusting or two. But there is something almost magical when snow falls thickly and softly from the sky, burying the ground in a downy blanket of whiteness.

The ground was covered in a similar blanket 11 years ago today when Brance and I Continue reading

Peanut butter cookie (no egg or refined sugar)

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I avoid egg because of a food sensitivity and we try and stay away from most refined sugar for obvious reasons. But, I believe you’ll be hard-pressed to miss either one in this cookie.

If you too have similar food sensitivities or are simply looking for a healthier version of the peanut butter cookie, I am sure this version will please!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter (or ghee)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

1. Stir peanut butter and honey into softened butter.

2. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients—stirring until well mixed.

3. Chill dough in the refrigerator (about 1 hour). Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Roll dough into balls and press with fork to create a criss-cross pattern.

4. Bake 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of cookie. (They will be slightly golden when done. Be careful. Over-baking will scorch the bottoms.)

Enjoy!

Vitamin D Cured Anxiety (my story)

shadowBefore Vitamin D…

I was someone who unfortunately spent years of my life in a state of worry and angst. During those anxiety-riddled years, I was a shadow of a person. Anxiety paralyzed me and controlled every aspect of my life.

Back in the day, it was so bad, there were times I would leave college classes and go home early because of irrational fears.

In the past, every single decision I made was controlled by fear—fear of what people thought or fear of what might go wrong. Fear of fear! It was insane. Just ask my poor husband who patiently listened to a lot of it.

I would spend weeks, at times months, fretting and ruminating over decisions or about a relationship or conversation or anything, really! There was ALWAYS something or someone I was tied up in emotional knots about.

And let’s not even talk about social anxiety. I’ll just say that it was all-consuming and off the charts.

As you can imagine, this was a terrible way to exist.

BUT, thank goodness, I am also someone who has experienced a major transformation and has left anxiety almost entirely behind!!! Sometimes I still can’t believe it. It truly feels like a miracle has transpired and I am grateful beyond words!! To tears even. (Those who have wrestled with anxiety in the least will understand why.)

I am sorry if I talk about this too much. But the transformation that I experienced is one of the major reasons I began this blog two years ago. It’s been so amazing, I want to share this with everyone I can—to shout it from the rooftop (or blogosphere:)!  Because if even one person is helped, then my vulnerability and humble blogging efforts will be worth it.

I know what it is like to feel terribly controlled by anxiety and the circumstances of life. It was slowly, but surely, sucking every bit of joy right out of living. And I know what it is like to feel free of anxiety’s pernicious grip. I want other people to know that freedom as well!

Oh man. There are few things in life that are better!!

Mom with Child in Backpack by the PierVitamin D helped!

So, what did I do? We’ll, there are a couple of things that have turned the anxiety ship around for me. But the number one thing I did was Continue reading

My 7 Favorite Dairy-Free/ GF Treats

pastelI have been all or mostly dairy-free for the last 9 years.

One of the things I initially found disappointing was the number of desserts that I had to abstain from.

It seemed everywhere I turned people were offering me dessert (which was incredibly thoughtful), yet they always seemed to have dairy in them. Ice cream, cake, cookies, pies, chocolate bars—you name it—dessert and dairy seemed synonymous.

I try not to eat sugary foods too often. But from time to time it’s nice to enjoy something sweet, right?! Here are 7 dairy-free treats, in no particular order, that don’t compromise on taste one bit. My dairy eating husband loves many of them too. And they are all gluten-free, as well, if that is important to you. Continue reading

Us (what we’re up to)

img_8149What we’ve been up to this Thanksgiving season…

Visiting and laughing and eating with family. Cooking and cleaning and chasing kids. Repeat.

Traveling.

Trying to avoid eating too much fast food. Is it just us, or does it make you feel bad too? Ugh. It’s hard to stay away from it when on the road though.

Cuddling and playing with two stinkin’ cute little nieces. Loving Lucy’s giggles and Eleanor’s smile. Missing our niece and nephews/ cousins in MO!!

Soaking up some serious sunshine. Hello 70’s, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you in Boston. Wondering how we are going to readjust to the 40’s (and lower) when we return.

Helping a bit with my parents’ huge, amazing  renovation project. Mostly I’m observing and learning (we’re getting ready to paint and hang trim in ours too!). Brance has rolled up his sleeves and has helped a lot though!

Watching our girls learn and grow and love. Thanking God that we get to be their parents.

Dreaming about and making plans for the future with my best friend (and husband). It’s one of our favorite ways to spend a date night. Might included working towards a Masters in biblical counseling for me. Which has been a surprising recent development. I’ll let you know what happens!

Thanking God for ALL of the blessings in our life—including our patient, thoughtful, and encouraging blog readers! We truly are grateful for each of you and seriously pray for you often. Thank you for being a part of this community!

Love,

Lauren