Feverishly pounding the keys on day 47 of 172 giving up sweets

I had a latte yesterday and the foam swirled a little birdlike so of course I helped give it a few feathers. This has nothing to do with my topic today but it was so cute I wanted to share.

So pardon me while I turn my gears…

REMINISCING WRITING

I learned to type in high school on the old style typewriter with keys which must be struck hard unlike the soft touch of today’s iPad or computer keyboard. Our hands were up at carpal tunnel level before anyone knew the damage it could cause. Today I get numbness in my fingers if I do any task too long like crochet which I like to do. But if I keep my keyboard low enough I can type for hours.

Which is good because presently I’m feverishly typing my Art of Caregiving that I had in my laptop before it went blue screen. Fortunately I had printed stacks of paper so I didn’t lose my work. And I like the process of reinventing my writing while retyping it. It’s forced editing.

I like the sound of my fingers hitting the iPad keyboard. Sounds like rain to me. My favorite sound though had to be the IBM selectric. Oh the clickety clicks. I did college before computers. What a shame. I want a do over on that one!!! But Who knew the wonders of word processing at that time. We were our own word processors.

I do type fast. Where were those auto edits long ago when we typists had to be painstakingly perfect?

WORD/INFORMATION PROCESSING

So much of life changes with invention and discovery and of course for my blog right now I have researched giving up sugar. Make sure to look up Dr Robert Lustig on YouTube if you still think “a calorie is a calorie”.

We should be our own information processors. We have a wealth of information in our hands.

This is my 47th day of giving up sweets and I am my own scientific experiment. Yes. It can be done!!! Oh and were you wondering about the latte? Non sweet with no artificial sweeteners either. I never had to give that up because I prefer a non sweet coffee.

What’s the Cost? To give up sweets on day 46 of 172

Doesn’t the world selling addictive food use the word crave. I’ve seen “obey your thirst” and the ideas of overconsumption used as cute little advertising gimmicks like “the fourth meal”. But, I want to sell you an idea:

Lose your crave.

But, before we buy into something, don’t we weigh the cost/benefit?

That’s what I want to do with you now. What are the costs? What benefits are there? Of course… I will tell you there are both. But I’ve got good news, of course, that’s it is really really

Really… worth it!

What would any of us pay to lose the out of control craving for (Anything… including sweets?) … the out of control desire that keeps us down, drugged, overweight, and unhealthy. Eating or using anything in a way that is self destructive is the very definition of insanity. So, I guess you might say I’m a recovering insane person? (Me laughing, not insanely)

Ok, so I am going to weigh the cost of giving it up:

  • “Naysayers” will in the smallest ways make fun of you and belittle your efforts, try to sabotage you, will not support you, and will be unable to understand, really, what you are doing! They really wish they could do the same but don’t believe they can. They may even be jealous of your efforts or success. How is that a cost? Well, it is a lot easier to go along with what everyone else thinks. It’s a lot harder to step outside of that and do something you know is right. It can be downright isolating. I think at some point the benefit that you find friends who actually care about you and maybe just perhaps you pull some people out of the mire of addiction as well. So, naysayers watch out!
  • Cravings, sometimes severe, mostly at the beginning. This only seems like a really big cost at the time! TRUST ME!
  • You have to find a plan which is a little difficult and stick to it, and ok… YES that is difficult. But, it will become your new way after all and will not take much effort to continue along in the process, the new strategy becomes your life
  • Effort – Saying no gets easier as you go
  • Weight loss. But maybe not right away. I am attempting NOT to concentrate on the weight loss (not that it is not needed) – it can be a trap because if you aren’t losing or are not losing at a rate you imagined when you gave up sweets and flipped out your calendar and pictured. your bikini bod on the beach in the summer… You know what I mean.
  • INCREASED energy. This is amazing. BUT only after the beginning few days of all out tiredness and you don’t have your DRUG OF CHOICE!
  • Clearer thinking. YES! This might be the best one of all.

OK so let’s weigh that against the opposing viewpoint which might be as follows:

“I know I have a problem but I don’t think I can do it. Am I right?”

Don’t wait to start. Start today. Though it’s the Christmas season and sweets sit calling your name… Go back and read my posts. I’ve been posting each day for the past 46 days! So, then, you will get new sweeter friends that understand and will support you in your effort.

Sweets Teetotaling Rehab on day 45 of 172 days of giving up sweets

I found this cool countdown app “Countdown Star” for my IPHONE! I think the background looks like sugar! How appropriate!

Ok, so first order of business here… I have to say a big whoops! I made an addition mistake – it’s not 210 days I’m giving up sweets. It’s 38 days fewer! I’m 45 days into a total of 172 days. I feel a little relieved by that mainly because I have planned to blog each day about the giving up sweets and then I am going to publish a do it yourself book to help people be able to get started… and stick with it.

Now, I’ll explain about where I get this teetotaling from…

Teetotalism pertains to people who make a lifestyle of giving up alcoholic beverages completely. And, I don’t subscribe to it for myself for alcohol. But that’s because I can drink a glass of wine but I don’t really care about drinking too much. I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I don’t crave it. Once I accidentally got drunk in a restaurant when I was 18 and newly married where everyone knew I wasn’t a drinker and they kept pouring their champagne in my glass. I had never had any alcohol before that and I weighed probably 120 pounds so I got drunk pretty quick and started crying in the middle of the restaurant because I couldn’t feel my face. It was really scary. You might say, I was scared straight from that time on. I have never wanted to be drunk again. I keep an unopened bottle of wine in the cabinet because sometimes I might like to serve it with a meal for guests. But, I haven’t ever craved alcohol. Come to think of it I haven’t craved anything except sweets.

So, for sweets, I have adopted the teetotaling philosophy but just for a period of time. II think teetotalism is the only way to go with sweets until the addiction cycle is broken.

Then after that I will move on to my second phase which is eating sweets sometimes, seldom, or for a special event (defined as not more than once a week and just only a serving).


So I’m presently a sweets teetotaler.


Why is it that so many people think they can get over an addiction to sweets by still eating sweets? I just bought a little magazine at the grocery store by Prevention Guide entitled “The Sugar Smart Diet, Sugar Detox Made Easy.” On the front cover is an apple pie with “Cure Your Cravings” in bold letters next to the pie. And inside the magazine there is lots of really good information for people like me who need to sugar detox. But, also, there are pages of pictures of sweets and recipes that make you think you can make them and still feed your sweets desire AND detox off the sweet cravings. That mess no sense!

My own sweet addicted life attests that curing cravings cannot happen while still eating sweets even if it’s low sugar or baked with fake sugar.

It has to be TOTALLY given up for a time. I’m doing 172 days. Don’t people go to drug rehab for 60 days? So, I’m over doing it for effect. So, you’d think by day 172 in my “sugar rehab” of sorts that I could kick that habit as well as the addiction, right!?

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:2!

NO WHINERS – Part 4 of 10 of How I do it – on day 44 of 210 of giving up sweets

A little dab of plums or applesauce on the end of the spoon would get my babies to eat their green beans. They would all out gag on them otherwise. And, my toddlers, at the height of willfulness, would go hungry rather than eat something they didn’t want.

I would cook really nice dinners for my family and as my children got to school age they’d come in and complain about it. So, I instituted a “stand in the corner” rule for the offense of: complaining, asking what it was with intent to express dissatisfaction, crying, groaning, face-palming, or sighing heavily. The requirement was to try it but not eat the whole thing if they didn’t like it. And, it had to be a bite, not just some little lick.

It wasn’t good for any of us to come to the table like that. It wasn’t good for their development to think they could rule the roost on what I was making for dinner as well as create a fuss filled dinner time. But, it wasn’t easy for any of us for them to be in their separate corners and I ate alone. They figured it out really quick that I meant business. So, although they tell me they can still smell the wallpaper, I think we only did it a couple times. And, that made mealtime a nice place to be. I remember one of them saying that somebody’s mom makes them take a “no thank you” bite. I like that very much. Do you know, they learned to like the things I cooked that way. And, as well, they learned an important lesson: don’t mess with mom.

Raising children as a single parent… ouch!

Raising myself, even harder!

Aren’t we always raising ourselves? If there is something out of balance in our life – like (all kinds of too many to list things we do that aren’t so good for ourselves) and of course I add to that for many of us: eating too many sweets…

We must figure out a way to stop the whining that we can’t or don’t want to do it and stand ourselves in that proverbial corner.

SATIETY!- Part 3 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 43 of 210 of Giving up Sweets

Today I will talk about the one key ingredient to giving up sweets, and that is #3 of 10 ways I’m giving up sweets for 210 days.

SATIETY!

My appetite has diminished although I still get hungry. I just don’t get ravenous. Desires and cravings have gone away. More than the craving for sweets has gone away. For instance, those old cravings for fast food have mostly subsided and I’m wanting to prepare more delicious meals at home.

When faced with too large a serving at a restaurant, I have no problem pushing it away when I’m pleasantly full. And, at home I don’t usually snack between meals. It’s not that I’m against the snacking. If I ever do, I am sure to reach for a Babybel cheese circle or some nuts.

Very Seldom do I Desire Sweets.

Besides blogging about it, I’m not consumed by thoughts of not being able to eat sweets. I don’t feel sorry for myself that I don’t get those Christmas cookies or that dessert that everyone’s having in front of me.

Instead I have found the pleasantness of NOT eating the sweet stuff.

It is safe to say that I have calmed down immensely my “sugar monster”. Click here to get acquainted…if you dare!

SET A GOAL – Part 2 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 43 of 210 of Giving up Sweets

A right goal is a great gift!

Yesterday’s “how-to” was: “Thought Control”.

Today’s “how-to” is #2 of 10 ways to give up sweets: “Set an achievable goal”

ASK YOURSELF: “WHAT IS MY GOAL?”

A sweet addiction is complicated, and that is why going off of it must include a well designed goal that solves the problem. There’s nothing else like a sweet addiction because there is so much wrapped up in being alone with a chocolate cake. Right?

What goal do we all jump to? Weight loss. Of course, losing weight probably is a need as well as a desire for the sweets challenged person. But, it’s best not to have weight loss as a goal AT ALL because the giving up sweets needs to be the primary focus. And, perhaps the giving up sweets is all that is needed to reaching a desired weight loss.

I will tell you, though, that weight loss is happening for me… and I’m not even working at it beyond giving up the sweets. I’m over 11 pounds down in these 43 days!

So, OF COURSE the goal needs to be to either:

  • eat fewer sweets,
  • or never binge on sweets,
  • or stop eating sweets for a period of time,
  • or never eat sweets again for the rest of your life (what! Scream heard trailing off into the distance)

Here is what my goal is:

STOP EATING SWEETS FOR 210 DAYS.

Your goal could be:


STOP EATING SWEETS FOR _______ SECONDS/MINUTES/HOURS/DAYS/MONTHS/YEARS… (ok, maybe not years!)

Now whatever you put in that blank is an achievable goal.


ASK YOURSELF: “IS MY GOAL ACHIEVABLE… FOR ME?”

Of course, you all know by now if you’ve been reading my blog (at least for the past 43 days… that I set a 210 days without sweets goal. Here are some questions that might help you to ask yourself:

1. Instead of asking, should I... and instead of asking is it possible

Ask: Is it possible for me. Is it possible for me to go a particular time without sweets…

With my particular time I chose… 210 days… I had to say YES! because I once went much longer than that without eating sweets, so I know it’s possible for me.

2. Will I be able to keep it up?

It was a quirky thing to do with a strange enjoyment factor for me – the 210 days is the time from Halloween to Easter: “The Season of Sweeting”. I think if a goal is possible to attain there must be some enjoyment factor to be able to keep you doing it. I think the fact that so many people are astounded that I do it makes me want to do it. To have someone tell me they don’t think they can do it strangely makes me want to continue. Why is that? I do like to go against the grain, artistically, it’s my personality.

3. Do I have a plans in place to achieve my goal?

My first plan was to binge out on that Halloween candy (click to read the Halloween post where I made that decision here) and then to test myself I left the remaining candy in the bowl right where I had binged out on it, right by the front door where I was handing out the candy to trick-o-treaters. It was like a “crime scene”. If I’d have thought about it at the time I’d have gotten some crime scene tape and made it such. But, it was enough of a memory of that crime that I had involved myself in – on purpose- right before I knew I’d be giving up the sweets – BUT it just about killed me. – I was so sick from having done that! (NOT RECOMMENDING THIS!!!)

The second plan was… so very simple!

Don’t eat anything hereafter defined as sweets. candy, cake, cookies, cobbler, sweet soda or tea or coffee, dessert, pie. But, I don’t go crazy on the other foods like ketchup or spaghetti sauce… or bread or potatoes or pasta ..or fruit… I deferred that to a later decision. ALSO, I made the decision, since I was quitting sweets not to eat sweets that contain fake sugar. I was worried that might feed my addiction.

Quite simply, I’m giving up my binge worthy food. Which is sweets.

Part 1 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 42 of 210 of Giving up Sweets

BECAUSE IT’S…..NOT!… ALL ABOUT EXERCISING SELF CONTROL,

for the next ten days, I plan to give to you the ten ways I give up sweets that are not simply exercising a flabby muscular will.

So here goes – #1 of 10 ways I give up sweets:

Thought Control

Giving up sweets means learning the truth and debunking the lies. Lies like:

“There are starving people in the world, so hungry or not you must eat.”

“Life is short, eat dessert first.”

“I need chocolate because I have pms, a fight with my mom, a bad day at work….”

“A calorie is a calorie.”

“You might as well eat the whole thing.”

“I can just burn it off by exercising.”

“This _____ will make me feel better.”

“I deserve it.”

“On Monday I will start my diet.”

“I have no willpower, It’s because ______ made me this way.”

A right mindset based on truth has to be formed again and again towards food. And doing that takes answering back truth. This goes deep to the heart of the problem. The mind is a powerful place for truth to dwell. But, it can be riddled with lies from a lifetime of experiences surrounding food that are based in emotion.


But, how to get that truthful mindset? I use the “holding thoughts captive” method from II Corinthians 2:5. Here’s how I do it: I imagine the little thoughts under a bright light in a jar. Of course they can’t hold up to scrutiny if they are in error and then I reword the thoughts into what the truth is about the matter. It’s such a cool visual artistic way to do this.


With giving up sweets I have found it important to rethink a saying we all usually only giggle about:

“LIFE IS SHORT, EAT DESSERT FIRST”

This statement assumes you like dessert better than dinner. Maybe that isn’t always true. If you are off sweets or even eating sweets in small portions as a sometimes food you are calmed down enough to enjoy them in the smaller quantities.

Maybe your life could be shortened by eating too many sweets.

Perhaps you would be healthier and feel better if you ate fewer sweets.

Maybe there are decades of your life left so if you start now, you’d never eat dessert first.

Perhaps dessert is better enjoyed in a few bites at the end of a meal.

And a little further, is dessert better enjoyed when NOT hungry.

Perhaps the meal itself which can be quite yummy is better enjoyed without eating the dessert first.

So, the truth for me is: Put dessert in it’s place, at the end of the meal but only as a sometimes treat and only after my 210 day no sweets challenge is up. This is a radical shift in my thinking.

The thought control muscle needs exercise. The more it is applied the stronger it gets. But do we think of overeating as a problem solved in the thought process?

Tomorrow I will share #2 of the ten ways I am giving up sweets.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE! For those of you thinking about doing it, jump in with two feet. Just stop eating sweets for five minutes and lengthen the time from there. Watch your thought cues that will lead you to the truth. There are lies you’ve been telling yourself keeping you where you are: an unhealthier version of yourself than you wish to be.

You will be glad you did!

I will divulge to you the best way to cook a quick meal that is delicious and nutritious. You can cook it for any number of people from one on up…

Now that is sweet with no need for a dessert!

ROAST CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES

I use boneless breasts normally but have done it either way.

Here’s the way I did it last night:

In your roasting pan place the chicken in the middle like they are the castle.

And then surround the castle with a moat of:

  • Potatoes, any kind (cut up, not peeled). I like to use sweet potatoes or those little round purple and white ones because they look so festive.
  • Carrots, cut up – peel if you care about having peeled carrots. (I don’t always put the carrots.)
  • Brussels sprouts*, quartered
  • Onion (yellow or white)

Drizzle with olive oil and stir around to make sure to get those veggies a good coat.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning

Roast, uncovered, at 375 for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and the veggies are fork tender.

Prep time is about ten minutes. And, it’s more delicious than anything you will find out to dine. Really. And, it’s always good!

Let me know if you plan to try it!

The bottom of the roasting pan has some nice juices which I pour over the chicken when serving but next time I may even whip up a nice gravy out of those crusty flavorful drippings. To do that all’s you have to do is add a little flour and milk. But, the clear juices are really tasty and take no work.

Since I sometimes think I must be a real chef, I will even slice the chicken and pour the juice over it and surround the plate with the vegetables.

I’ve found that you can cute it up and feed even the pickiest eater.

The sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts look so festive. It smells so nice cooking and it serves up real nice looking. And, besides the knife and cutting board, the cleanup only requires the washing of the roasting pan, plates and forks. That chicken’s so tender so no knife needed.

*When I was a kid my family served boiled Brussels sprouts (as well as okra) and I sure didn’t like them even though my mom would say they were so cute, like little cabbages. But, the roasting makes them just delightful. Try it!

Cinnamon rolls – top – rose for the amount of time in the recipe – and below – rose for a lot longer because I got busy doing something else… So, moral to the story – let ‘em rise!

Cinnamon Rolls on day 40 of 210 of Giving up Sweets

I made homemade cinnamon rolls for a family gathering recently and I just threw the remainder out. (Before 40 days ago I would have made sure to eat out the gooey middles first, at least!)

No, I didn’t eat them nor did I want any. I made them a couple of weeks ago as well for a church potluck and they vanished. A man came to tell me he liked them better than Whataburger. My family just loved them. So, therefore, I didn’t need to try any to know they were good.

Well, they aren’t chocolate cake.

Sometimes, like yesterday, I have difficult moments.

But, don’t get me wrong, this is much easier than dieting. And, today I had a good friend tell me she could tell I was losing weight. I haven’t wanted to make a big deal of it, but I’ve taken off about ten pounds so far.

And, at the beginning because I was just so focused on the giving up sweets challenge, I didn’t want to put any focus on losing weight. But, now that I am losing, that makes me want to lose as much as I can to get out of the “obese” weight range. I have 20 pounds to go to get to the simply “overweight” category and then 30 more if I want to just be normal weight. But who likes “normal”? I just hate the word normal, but I am quoting the BMI calculator I just put my height and weight into. Again, I hope I don’t get off track from my most important expedition which is:

STOPPING THE INSANE SWEETS ADDICTION!

But I can’t help but imagine just how nice it would be to carry around a little less baggage. I wonder if at the rate I’m losing – 10 pounds in 40 days – if by day 210 I might just achieve the goal without any dieting! Just giving up the sweets.

Isn’t it so cool that the length of time (210 days) that I chose because it is the “season of sweeting” as I so named it… because it’s Halloween to Easter where sweets abound, multiplies out perfectly for the weight loss I need to drop.

Nothing’s an accident.

Sad and Frantic on Day 39 of 210 of no sweets

Can you believe that here on day 39 I had a fleeting desire to eat sweets that started with a sadness that seized me and demanded I make an exception for it with any kind of sweet I could lay my hands on

I felt momentarily hugely FRANTIC about it. But why?

And, it is an unusual thing to happen to me quite like this, out of left field really. But, it happened nonetheless.

Ok. So in all reality I think the whole experience lasted less than five minutes. However short a period of time, it was still a huge difficult torment that could have been much worse.

It’s so much better, instead of stuffing it down under a bunch of chocolate, to experience the sadness.

And, being sad can be endured. Thinking through it helps or perhaps calling a friend or even having a good cry is all that’s needed. And, I’ve never wanted to eat while crying. Funny that.

And of course the best solution is sought through prayer because “The Lore is near to the broken-hearted….” Psalm 34:18

Now, that is of course better than any chocolate cake.

What have I learned today? That the problem of sugar addiction has no simple fix – even if you get to day 39.

Because: There really is a sugar monster for a picture of him click here.)

Sweets for the heart on day 38 of 210 of giving up sweets

Gingerbread house in my kitchen.

Oh, let the tears roll!!!

First of all, have you heard of the “hearties” – those who watched “When Calls The Heart” – What a big deal that show was that I just finished binge watching.

I could barely watch the last episode without blubbering. Good thing my daughter went to a basketball game with some friends so I could sit here with my Kleenex and embarrassingly ball along with this series on Amazon Prime. A friend of mine suggested it so strongly and so mostly I stayed with all of the five seasons because of her. It was a sweet show, but too sweet at times, sooo predictable, but… at the end they got me! I was surprised at how I had gotten used to those characters like they were my close friends. For awhile, I think I was living in Hope Valley – the fictional town where people love each other and pull together during good and bad. Anyhow, if you watch it, remember I said it was really good, but then, it was sorta bad. I had to write this poem after I couldn’t stop crying, I know! So embarrassing!

Of course, I had to weave in my “give up sweets” since it’s what I’m all about right now.

Sweet Salve

Can a hurting heart

Be tended with sweets,

Ably mended with marshmallow treats,

Cuddled by cupcake or chocolate, in heaps?

Time’s the tender touch it’s needing,

A messy healing, flowing, bleeding,

No sweet salve but only grieving.

It’s bittersweet, without the eating.

~Julie Robinson

By the way! In yesterday’s post, (scroll down to see) I added a picture of myself with my container of Quaker Oat Meal. I about cracked myself up… I think I’m beginning to look a little like him! Vote in the comments if you agree.

Let’s play ball on day 37 of 210 of no sweets

Me and Mr Quaker

Steel cut vs rolled oats

Sounds like a football match! Well, it is!

Yes. And I unashamedly suit up for I the

ROLLED OATS

And it’s the old fashioned Quaker kind. No quick cooking. No little packets with flavors added. I add some kind of fruit and nuts and cinnamon. That’s it. Oh and no milk.


I wrote a poem about them even! What!?


But, I, lover of oatmeal this morning gave the steel cut a try because I’d thought maybe they’d be healthier.

First off, what’s the difference?

The rolled oats are creamy and the steel cut are kinda nutty/chewy.

Are the steel cut healthier?

Yes. But not by a lot. They foul out on mouth feel and texture when chewing. They take longer to cook and seem dry. The dreamy creamy rolled oats get the touchdown with me. They stay with me very well, sticking to my ribs. I will keep on cheering them on!

Sweet Insanity of Day 36 of 210 of No Sweets

Of all the addictive substances that hook people in by the promise of a better “now”, a temporary life changing good feeling, an escape, would you consider “sugar” as one. You might laugh at the prospect since you probably think of addictive substances as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

Take a bag of Oreos.  How many does it take fill that sweet tooth?   Before you read any further, think about your favorite sweet food, how much does it take?  True, three Oreos are a serving.  But quite simply I would rather not eat any at all.  (The old me, 36 days ago anyhow).  If you only eat three Oreos and are satisfied then can we safely say that you are not an addict.  I’m no expert… but uh, yes. But for the rest of us, how many does it take?  I’ve eaten a lot of Oreos in a sitting just keeping dunking, staring into space, each one in a glass of milk – and I’ve been surprised how most of the bag would be empty.  And, I think, “Hey, they’re making these Oreo bags smaller!” or “Who’s eating my Oreos?” while looking over my shoulder to see whatever gremlin might be sneaking them.  The whole bag feeds twelve I notice as I’m waking up from the sugar induced temporary insanity.  What have I done!  It is SWEET INSANITY!

First of all, let’s talk a little about insanity in view of:

“What is a sound mind?”

I have witnessed countless wills my husband prepared for his clients over the years.  And, he always asked the same questions of the persons attesting to their wills.   “Are you of sound mind?”   Even the most morose will signer would giggle a second over this standard question.

We all hope to have our wits about us in our lives.

So, in studying, trying to figure out where a sweet addiction comes from, I was trying to find the etymology of the word sound in the relation to a sane or “sound mind” in order to consider what that means regarding insanely eating sweets.

No joking!  There is a sweet insanity!

First, the word “sound” used in this way “sound mind” is also used in other similar ways:

sound footing (financial),

sound advice,

sound judgment,

sound decision,

sound asleep.

I’m sure you know more…

Common element here:  a lack of defect.

A cause of insanity, or the lack of a sound mind, can of course be a defect caused by illness or by unrealistic fear.  Or, by addiction.

I tread carefully calling the cause of a sweets binge insanity, but it sure doesn’t seem to be the action that begins from a sound mind.  But, there is a fix for it, don’t worry!   I’m excited to announce that it is possible to make sound decisions regarding food as I am doing presently.  And, I hope, after I complete my 210 days off sweets to add it back in “soundly”.

Come along with me, join me.  I won’t promise that it is easy.  But, that it is possible, I think, is the best news I can give!

………………..

The Apostle Paul addresses this powerfully in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a strong mind.  …………………

Helene Vaillant gives the best picture prompts for story writing challenges. I don’t always take them, but this one creatively sparked my writing enthusiasm! So today, I take a break from talking about giving up sweets… I hope you enjoy the beginning of a story that I hope to finish in another post.

SAVING ALEX

Earth had run off course recently and people were worried. Scientists warned of a possible collision with planets seemingly on the horizon.

People on earth were either praying or preparing or both. Some said that underground bunkers would be the best protection from all of the intensities of such an occurrence. Janine wondered if no one really knew what was about to happen but that doing anything to prepare gave people hope.

Janine Lawson packed out her car and was headed to a holdout bunker her brother had built underground on his West Texas ranch, a place he began preparing in 2001 after terrorism fears. She had taken a tour of it with him, it was like a small city underground.

Friends and neighbors had already moved into their homes in the underground city, and they were first met with the sign as they descended the main elevator. It said simply, Hope, in two feet high gold letters suspended from the ceiling of the new town. But, not everyone could be convinced to go.

With spotty cellular service while driving there, she was tearfully and frantically trying to convince her mother to come to Hope.

And though they were only ten minutes away from their destination, she was forced to pull her car over for her little almost three year old boy, Alex, who had been hollering that he had to go to the bathroom. Recently potty trained he would NOT “just use his pull-up pants” as she had suggested a few times.

We’re almost there!

“Potty, potty!” He demanded and in any other occasions she’d be proud at the great success of her growing up little boy.

But when he began crying the cry that every mother knows there’s no return from, she quickly spotted a post which would serve in this potty pinch.

But, as soon as she set him down by the post, a great wind blew the dusty red Texas sand right into her eyes which she shut tight and as she was attempting to right herself, she could hear her mother’s voice in the cell phone she dropped, and dizzy from the initial onslaught, she bent over blindly trying to pick him up, wiping mascara across her sleeve, trying to see.

Her arms couldn’t find him. And, she squinted her eyes in every direction, frantically running this way and that.

What she didn’t know was that her little Alex had gone running back down the road to the light.

The same light that beckoned him now completely blinded and disoriented her.

It had all happened in less than five seconds.

He was just out of reach as she lunged this way and ran that way. And he didn’t turn back for her voice trailed away with the wind.

She stood, helplessly flailing, screaming his name.

And then she fell to her knees.

A Sweet Relationship on Day 35 of 210 of Giving up Sweets

I once worked with a young lady who didn’t like sweets. She’d scrunch her nose up at them like they were boiled okra.

It was a life changing event for me as I discovered this alien of a person, non-citizen of the sweet loving world. She was standing across a holiday sweets laden table from me and I was mesmerized by all the quantity and was pondering the quality making my heart race like a love affair and I was thinking what I’d do if I could be left alone in the room – well, me and the sweets, that was.

And, she, no plate in hand, when offered by the hostess, spoke against my sweet nation:

“I don’t really like sweets too much.”

And, you know how people will push the sweets just like they do alcohol. The hostess had gotten insistent and the poor lady was then blushing while still trying to smile while pushing away the offer of the bewildered hostess. I couldn’t feel sorry for her at the time but I have never been able to forget what she said and the look on her face.

Time stood still and my gaze zeroed in on her attempted grin to the hostess but was came off as a grimace and I’m just sure my own face reflected horror as my jaw dropped and my eyes widened. Mind you this was thirty-five years ago and look how my emotional reaction to it made me remember it in slow motion.

She actually was really no alien but a sweet lady. I trained her before I left the employ due to a job transfer for my husband… and she sent me a thank you note.

On this day 35 of giving up sweets I’m thinking alien thoughts too… but I think the possibility is nil that I would ever not like sweets.

But do you think it’s possible for me to at least be a little ambivalent? Maybe, at least, I can enjoy it like other things I enjoy, be it fried chicken or mashed potatoes of which I only eat a serving, (albeit with gravy – but I am a Southern girl) but my heart doesn’t go pitter-pat over it. And,I don’t need to eat a whole bucket of fried chicken. But, I have felt like I could eat an entire cake. (I’ve never EATEN a whole cake! But, I have felt like I could.)

At the end of my plan of 210 days I will not be in total abstinence any longer, but a kind of ambivalence is what I’d like to have come April when I’ve finished with this challenge.

Think it’s possible?

Jack going for a ride, painted for a friend, Acrylic on canvas

Driving Internally on Day 34 of 210 of giving up sweets

Pushing a stalled car where the driver is attempting to start it is dangerous because its possible to get run over. But, in my past before I ever heard about that, I helped push a friend’s stalled older car that needed a momentum to get going.

That gets me thinking, do we need a push when our motivation gets stalled out?

Both words have a common meaning. Motor and motivation: “to move”.

The former must have an external fuel source or push. The latter can come from another such as a motivational speaker. But the best motivation comes from within.

Sometimes an outside push helps but sometimes it just isn’t there. For instance I haven’t been able to find one person who is willing (as yet) to do the giving up sweets challenge with me. I thought for sure someone would be intrigued and give it a good try at least. I thought that I might have needed that kind of a push to keep going.

To be sure, there have been countless times in my life where I have needed to be the only one driving my success and pushing it! – like mastering a course or skill, beginning a new job, having a baby.

Maybe it’s helpful that no one else is doing the sweets challenge with me yet. Maybe it is better to solely depend on a continual conscious effort of heart and mind and internal drive. That way I am depending on God.

No coasting.

The top of our piano – full of nutcrackers which is what my daughter is playing for her Christmas recital. Listening to her play is a sweet thing indeed!

Near Sweets Suicide on day 33 of 210 of Giving Up Sweets

…Rewind to Ten Years Ago…

I wonder if other people keep video of major life changing events in their mind with full sound, thought, feeling, color, motion, and sight? I don’t remember everything, but some key moments are fully hyper-recorded and their memory protected by emotion. And, I like to replay those records and feel those emotions again, well the good ones, anyhow.

So, a “recording” I just love to push play on is the thought decision moment ten years ago where after suicidally eating sweets I gave up them up for a full two years.

It might be important to note that I had about killed myself on sweets: donuts, bags of candy, whole bags of any kind of cookies, cakes, frosting out of the can, cookies, anything, really! I developed an esophageal stricture from the constant stomach stretching and overproduction of acid caused by my suicidal eating and I had to go to the endodonist to get it stretched because I had gotten food stuck in my throat feeling like I was choking… I had to have it done twice in two years! It was just a horror! I don’t know if they didn’t have me sedated enough, but I felt like I was being choked to death. I also was showing signs of arthritis and had several root canals. All that was going on while I was raising children, caring for my husband, and running my husband’s busy law practice as office manager and he was in the very early stages of dementia, (though no one would have known, and – not even me, at the time.)


My desire for sweets was pathological.


I was binge eating sweets and then feeling bad about it and then I’d do better for half a day and blow it at three o’clock, the most tired and troublesome time for me. So if I’d already blown it, I’d eat more. Sweets were my drug. I always thought I’d do better the next day, on Monday, at the beginning of the school year, on January 1. But those days would come and go with defeat in store.

With the covers pulled up to my nose, I lay in my bed on a cold Colorado morning when (who wants to get out of bed in the cold) it was a little early to be getting up but in those first early morning minutes I decided to give up sweets.

Those first morning minutes are perfect for sorting thoughts and chunking bad ones down a destructive worry path and holding onto ones that by faith I’d solve or accept, no fear. Those “first thoughts” are golden clues to solving the puzzle of my life. And, in the way I do it, I can carry through and “see” if the solution might work and sort of already do it even before even getting out of bed.

That morning began with a tiny “What if” that I might have missed had I jumped out of bed too early. What if…


What if the next time I was feeling like eating a sweet or the next time I was offered one I just said no.

What if I just did it as long as a could? Could I do it for five minutes or five hours or five days? Of course I could do it for five seconds.


I think what worked in those “What if’s” was the gift to myself of a way out, the opportunity to have it, but just… later.

Of course after those two years of sweet abstaining I ate it a lot less (AT FIRST!). But that sugar monster had not been completely defeated (see yesterday’s post)… hah! NO!

So the change this time (a decade later) is to do it for a period of time set up at the beginning (210 days) – and to give it a meaning – “the season of sweeting” I call it, to pray and ask my Maker and Lover of my soul for his help and guidance.

It’s been with God’s sweet help only that I am at 33 of 210 with no sweets.

Punching its Lights Out on day 32 of 210 of No Sweets

Beware of Sugar Monsters – They’re a Killer!!! (IPad Pro art – me fingerpainting)

Sometimes sweets is a beast, and though I’m on day 32 now (of eating no sweets) and have done well with giving it up – sometimes sweets is a beast and I’ve got to punch its lights out!

Yes, it’s me vs. the sugar monster! And, I know full well that I have to get through these trying times by sticking to my 210 day goal. At that time I do not plan to eat a truckload of chocolate cake (in case anyone’s wondering.)

That sugar monster comes in sneakily… Just after lunch today it said “You know, you could just be glad you made it this far and hang it up. What are you trying to prove?” I heard those very words in my head.

Yes, my sugar monster talks to me. But, just in my own head. Of course we all know what “negative self talk is” – it’s us defeating us.

Want to know the knockout punch to throw? It’s at the beginning of round one of the boxing match: It’s called – don’t answer that kind of foolish line of thinking. PUNCH IT’S LIGHTS OUT! Dancing this way and that throwing and dodging little punches in any kind of discourse allows the thought to seem more reasonable and then to take root.

BAM! Fell that beast!

I kind of get a little mad at the mind games but that anger gives me an advantage. See, that sugar monster wins when I lose my nerve. So it has to try to manipulate the facts. I heard it said recently, You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own set of facts.

Yes, there really is a sugar monster.

Elderberry Syrup On Day 31 of 210, No Sweets

Yes, this elderberry syrup is sweet, but it’s medicine. And for medicine… it actually tastes pretty good. I wonder what it would taste like without any sweetener added.

There was an ER nurse on YouTube – one of the places I currently go when I’m doing my research for natural cures, and she explained how through using elderberry syrup she’d never contracted the flu despite the close contact she had in her 20 years of ER work flu ridden patients sneezing all over the place. And she had always been opposed of the flu vaccine so had never been vaccinated for it.

She had a remedy she says kept her well all those years: a dose of elderberry syrup.

So when I was out grocery shopping I looked for it in the vitamin section but had troubles finding it and was intending to order it on Amazon, but then after I gave up I was walking through the baby section for no good reason except the the other medicine aisles were completely clogged with customers and carts. I don’t even know why I glanced over at the baby shampoos and such as I hurried through but anyhow I was surprised to find right there next to Johnson & Johnson … that elderberry syrup I was looking for. And, for babies. That gave me a really good feeling about it. What’s safer than something you give to a baby?

I don’t know if that ER nurse is right or not, but I only know what happened for me the past two times I have felt like I was beginning to get sick… You know that feeling of being run down and tired, maybe a headache or runny nose? And instead of having to be SICK which is such a bummer, I took a teaspoon of that elderberry syrup. I think the instructions warn not to take it longer than ten days. I have only taken a teaspoon each day for two days mainly because I felt better right away and I didn’t want to take more than needed. Actually, right away within seconds of taking the syrup I felt better. I don’t know how it would do for someone who had a full blown cold or flu. I wonder if it would shorten its duration?

And the Christmas cookies begin. Of course I won’t eat any! But they’re fun to make and give away.

Fasting From Sweets: How I do it on day 30 of 210 of no sweets.

  • PLAN. I began with a plan to binge out on Halloween candy fully knowing that I planned the next day to begin my fast. Now, I know what many might say… it’s not a good idea to do this. Do I recommend it? No. A binge is always a bad idea! But just to let you know what I did… I ate a lot of candy the night before my fast.
  • FUN. I liked the idea right away to do the 210 days because it seemed so big. I was excited for the difficult challenge. And it was significant to me as those days spans the three sweetest times. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
  • CLEAR “RULES”. I made the decision early exactly what my defined fast was. I was cutting out “sweets” except fruit and dried fruit. But I wasn’t cutting out bread. That may have made this more difficult. Cutting out too much right away can be defeating. I may go ahead and cut out bread unless it’s that sprouted grain from the health food store. I’m not a big bread eater anyhow.
  • KEEPING SWEETS NEARBY. Because I had tried to clear them out so many times in the past (but failed in the task of abstaining), I decided to try the opposite. First off I kept the bowl of Halloween candy for a very long time right by the door where it was when I ate it like there’s no tomorrow. I finally threw that candy out. But now I’m involved in the sugarcoatingest holiday of Christmas so I’m going to participate in baking and making but not eating. And do you know I don’t want any of it.
  • DEFINED BOUNDARIES. I thought ahead about what I might say to people who might be naysayers but I haven’t run into anyone who’s been against it.
  • A GOOD START. When I first started, I’d eat oatmeal each morning. I did the larger 3/4 cup serving which is the heart healthy recommendation on the box. I added a handful of pecans and raisins and lots of cinnamon. That set me on the right course each morning. Something about that oatmeal – it’s hearty enough to stay with me until lunch. I think it’s because it nourishes and fills me up while leveling my blood sugar. Presently I’ve not been hungry first thing in the morning so I’ve been skipping it. Seems I’m not hungry until noon at this point and I’d rather be hungry for lunch. I’ve even eaten oatmeal for supper.
  • SATISFYING MEALS. My lunches and dinners vary. Yesterday I cooked a beef stew in the Instant Pot my son sent me. I love how insanely quick it cooks. From frozen stew meat to bowls of steaming stew on the table was 1.5 hours. It was really satisfying. I ate it for lunch and dinner with some hard crusty French bread. When I was on sweets I would have preferred a peanut butter and honey and banana sandwich with tons of honey.
  • KEEPING IT SIMPLE. I’m not counting carbs or even sugar grams but I did look up the current recommendations for women – 6 tsp of added sugars or less each day. Currently I’m doing no added sugars. When I’m done with this experiment/challenge I will add in sugars in that kind of 6 teaspoon moderation which isn’t much and then a cheat day weekly I think where I eat a dessert without worrying about it. Lord willing.
  • REMEMBERING THERE’S SO MUCH MORE SWEET THAT ISN’T FOOD. Love and kindness, giving, completing a difficult task, learning something new or acquiring a new skill, getting out in nature, painting, writing, poetry, reading my bible and praying, and, especially, listening.

Proverbs 25:27.

If I have motivated you to start a similar challenge of a fast from anything, please let me know by commenting or liking this post.

It’s a sweeter day that has a friend in it.

Our Local Paper Coloring Book Section for Christmas

Visiting My Husband on Day 29 of 210 of no sweets

Bringing a coloring book is my favorite way to visit my husband in assisted living. He doesn’t color too much in the books anymore but he sits and looks through them and seems to like that I’m coloring. There are upon occasion others who will come around interested as we sit at the dining room table so I will tear pages out and hand out colors and encourage them to join in. Pretty good and relaxing way to wile away assisted living visits, otherwise I just don’t know what to do. I see other spouses come visit and they just sit and hold hands. I either color or if it’s a nice day I suggest we walk on the sidewalk out back. He always says yes to that.

Today though the visit was strange. I was there at the table and he sat for a little while looking through the color book and then he got up to go watch television. Usually he wants to stay right with me.

The workers there asked if I’d help with the Christmas decorations, painting Christmas trees for each resident on construction paper which I of course enjoyed doing. When I left, the nurses were hanging greenery and lights. They decorate for each season, successfully creating a homey feel. My husband was engrossed in Gunsmoke, so I gladly slipped out.

We have our Christmas tree up!

Word Cookies! On day 28 of 210 of no sweets

The Christmas season is the cookie season in our family. I make cookies and mail them off to my grown children and I keep the cookie jar pretty much filled at our house. I usually can’t get enough of them but this year I’m abstaining of course.


Christmas is such a sweet season and I hope to think about that when tempted to cookie it up.


I wrote a recipe for the “word cookies” I am making on my day 28. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing.

Sweet Word Cookies, a recipe

Ingredients:

A pound of thinking

A cup of kindness

A sprinkle of salt

Season with sweetness

Stir the listed ingredients from the heart.

Bake your ideas completely before speaking as half baked ideas are never ready for anyone to consume and having to take back words is an impossible task for once they are out there they can be poison.

Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

Beginning Illustrations using watery acrylic on watercolor paper for a Children’s Book I’m Writing

Painting Illustrations on Day 27 of 210 of No Sweets

Can you believe that I’m writing and illustrating a children’s book about apple pie on day 27 of my giving up sweets challenge?

It’s a picture book about an owner of an apple orchard who operates a family bakery and bakes nothing but apple pies. I just love writing that character! She shares my excitement for the amazingness of a seed. The story isn’t about apple pie baking per se but it does push the story along.


I am not in fear that this will derail my no sweets challenge, though I am going to be painting some apple pies and I looked up some photos to get started and I was thinking they looked pretty good.


And, for greater research as well as experiencing the life of my character and for some photo ops of pie making every step of the messy way I plan to try to make some. Actually I plan to make as many apple pies as possible until my eaters say something like “this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had!”

I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been successful with pie. The crusts on my Thanksgiving pies were tough even though I was careful not to overwork the dough. I will watch video instruction on my iPad and prop it up in my baking area covered in plastic wrap for protection. That’s my favorite way to cook… and hah! Apple pie and iPads kinda go together if you think about it.

The original story that I had written and illustrated, but did not publish, was for my grandson a couple of years ago. It was Where Did the Seed Come From? I do not intend to publish that book at this time, but I fully intend to publish this new book.

The seed concept is so compelling to me. First of all it is the seed of thought that needs to be germinated. Then it is “the chicken or the egg” … but for my stories it’s “the seed or the tree”. It boggles my brain to try to think on it but that it is like trying to imagine how numbers never end.

The seed is in the apple, and the tree is from the seed. But where did the seed come from?

This doesn’t answer the question, but I thought it so interesting I couldn’t bear not to share it! Where it came from, aside, that little baby seed is made by a very delicate process similar to a human baby. It is “the birds and the bees”. The trees can’t do it by themselves. They need bees to visit every flower … or… no apples. An apple is born with all of its seeds. Similarly a human girl is born with all her eggs. But then when all of that is learned… we are still left with: WHERE DID THE SEED COME FROM!

I’m not going to be any expert, but I am in greater awe and amazement at our Creator whenever I learn about the complexities of our world. So, I was attempting to show that without outrightly telling it. Seems I heard those words again and again from writing teachers. Show. Don’t tell.

With the illustrated story of the baker I hope to show that seed story.

I can’t wait to get started on learning how to make the perfect pie crust.

Lost in Comfort on day 26 of 210 of no sweets

“Christmas in Comfort” 2018. The Willow City Band solicits crowd Christmas song requests.

The loud and electric Christmas in Comfort had been packed out with lively spectators cheering on brightly lit and musically driven floats ending with Santa Claus. It was small town fun and nostalgia on a warm late November night. We sat in front of the eye catching new wavy plate glass windows of Comfort’s newest jewelry store which is slated to be open in December, 2018, The Green Bull. The lights from the parade dazzled in those windows.

We were glad we went, but then we had to navigate back to my car.

At first my daughter and I walked the wrong way (why? Because we were sure it was that way…), but as we hurried further along what we thought the right path, the sounds and lights of town grew more and more dim and we found ourselves walking through neighborhoods where no one lights their porch.

I tripped on that uneven path but caught myself from falling, glad not to have added physical injury to my woes. The town is unfamiliar to me at best by day so by night it was a mystery. Many old Texas towns like Comfort have few sidewalks and the festivities brought cars parked anywhere, lining the streets at a slant towards the ditches. And cars were beginning to flow the streets as we walked with our lawn chairs tucked under our arms as we kept pushing on in the wrong direction.

To further complicate matters, I apparently didn’t know how to use the Google maps in the walking mode on my cel phone. I thought the green arrow pointing upward on the top meant I was going the right way. Please I know the next time you get on your Google maps you will think of my post and wonder about me! I’m so embarrassed after I figured out how it all works… well, I know now! Maybe sometime I will laugh about it at myself.

Do you know that just as soon as we stopped walking on that wrong path and turned around and went the correct way I could see what I got wrong about the map.

At least I had the presence of mind when we parked to take note of what business it was in front of.

As soon as we turned around, would you know it, the green path on the map lit up with little dots telling me that now we were on the right path. What nice friendly little green dots.

Heartwarming thing was as soon as we turned around we were able to see the fireworks show as we walked, a reminder of sorts that the journey is enjoyed better on the correct path.


a “sweet” side note: If I hadn’t been on day 26 of giving up sweets I would not have had the stamina to get through that mess.


After returning to my car I was thankful to enter those clogged up roads that I well knew would take me home.

We had such a nice time that I wouldn’t miss it next year even with our self inflicted march in the dark. Next year we’ll go early for more close in parking.

This is a page from a children’s story I wrote for my grandson. The story is “Where did the Seed Come From?” It isn’t about sweets but I included it here for the nom nom nom…

No substitutions! (and a poem) on days 23 to 25 of 210 days no sweets.

When researching what others suggest might work to help ease the suffering in giving up sweets, I found what I believe is some bad advice: substituting fake sweets, those made with any kind of fake sugar or even honey. To soften the blow in this way I think keeps me from winning the battle.

What is victory without a bit of suffering?

Sweet victory I think comes from the addiction being broken. Then we will see after my 210 days of giving up sweets if adding them back in moderation can occur.

I am shying away from all sweet foods and drinks. I am even careful of dried fruits and fruit itself though I do still eat fruit but am careful to eat it with a meal so as to balance the sugars with protein.

As I am writing this I realized that I am still now and again drinking diet soda. It’s not a big thing… but I will give that up too.

My sweets addiction that led me to unhealthy consumption amounts is being broken in my “self experiment” of the eating no sweets for 210 days so I’m not substituting those other things.

Here’s my list, so far, of don’ts I am adhering to:

1. No sweets and no sweet substitutes, no sweet beverages, no diet soda.

2. No foods high in sugar though not thought of as a sweet like some canned spaghetti sauces or even ketchup.

3. Not eating too much fruit especially in smoothies. Yes fruit is high in fiber which does offset the sugar so I add some to a meal but don’t eat as a snack.

4. Speaking of snacking, I don’t. I eat 3 meals a day, no snacking.


Here’s my working hypothesis:

A sweet addiction is in the heart, mind, and body, leading to an out of balance need for, desire for and over consumption of sweets. It can be cured by abstaining for a period of time, 210 days or less, from outright sweets such as cookies cakes and candy and also things like muffins or pancakes and waffles, but also syrups, honey, jelly, and high sugar content foods and desserts made with sugar substitutes, and drinks with sugar or fruit or sugar substitutes and then by adding them back in the diet in reasonable portions.


If I am right I will have beat the sweet addiction! If I am wrong I will be right back where I was – a sugar cravingaholic stuck in my ways.

Sweet Scene

Look up to see the silvery moon

To think it’s the beach’s blanket

Tucking it in with its tide every night

Dishing out a sparkling delight

How the artist dips his brush

To collect the scene

Onto his canvas, quickly translating

Adding foam like thick whipped cream

And in the gallery window now it hangs

Rich in beauty a value it brings

A swell of heart, its waves arouse

Something sweet it lifts the brows

More than paint strokes on the canvas,

A gift of heart there’s in that scene

Just a glimpse of Creator’s perfection

Rendered by an artist, so affected.

~Julie Robinson

Thankful on day 22 of 210 of No Sweets

…Make sure to read my Thanksgiving poem at the end of this post….

I made a pumpkin pie and pecan pie for Thanksgiving. They are in my refrigerator. Will I eat any? Probably not. The farther I’ve walked away from the sweet stuff the more I realize that if I were to have something sweet it’d have to be something amazing. Quite simply the pies just don’t hold the sweet spot in my heart that is taken by chocolate cake. Good thing it isn’t a Thanksgiving dessert.

And thanksgiving is full of enough carbs from my homemade rolls and mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole and cranberry jello salad… none considered sweets but all sweet. And for me now on day 22… just thinking about it ahead of time and planning is kinda helping me sort it out emotionally.


Abundant Provision

Abundant provision!

It’s out of this world.

Measured in faith,

Forgiveness, and grace,

Causing Thanksgiving,

Flowing full to the brim,

And spilling.

Oh! Happy Thanksgiving!

~Julie Robinson

Llama Mama
I painted this llama mama inside a wooden purse for a local craft fair.

TEN THINGS to Commemorate being Ten Percent Finished on day 21 of 210 no sweets

To commemorate my 10% finish, here is my “10 List” of the surprising highlights of my giving up sweets for 21 days:

COMMEMORATIVE 10 LIST

1. I’m exercising! What????

I don’t like to exercise, but I feel like it. Who is this new person in my body? I’m now feeling like walking on my treadmill because I feel much better and therefore have felt like exercising.

2. I’m eating less! And, I’m eating better. For instance, I ordered chicken salad today at my favorite eatery instead of the usual chicken salad sandwich on croissant because I felt like eating a little lighter. I liked very much the lighter feeling better than eating the croissant and I told myself that if I wanted the croissant next time I could get it.


A little side note: Self talk is critical! Tell yourself that you are doing something massive! You are loving it! And it is fun more than it is difficult.


3. I don’t weigh. I am not measuring my success by my weight on the scale. In fact, I have not been on the scale at all. I have an idea of my weight prior to doing this because I used to weigh every day (and then eat a bag of candy, go figure!). I have sabotaged myself on many diets by being on the scale. For the record, I am probably about three sizes, or thirty pounds, larger than I ought to be. After the challenge I plan to weigh just for fun to see how much I lost. I would like to lose. Don’t get me wrong on that.

4. I never say diet. Not to anyone. I though am vocal about not eating sweets. People think I can’t do it or they think I’m crazy. And then I think they feel I might be judging them for eating sweets. I don’t bother with any of these head games. But, I do kinda like to prove myself and everyone that it is possible.

5. FUN! I am having fun with the challenge. Since this isn’t a diet but a challenge to see if I can go 210 days without eating sweets during what I decided to call “The Season of Sweeting,” defined as Halloween through Easter, I have decided to just do that and not complicate matters by a measurement of my weight.

6. What cravings? I don’t get intense cravings. I know, I was the one ate loads of Halloween candy on the night before I started this.

7. Less hunger. The out of control hunger I had before is gone. I think it is related to my blood sugar being regulated?

8. Clearer thinking and better memory. You know those moments when someone tells you their name and just as soon as they walk away you think, Oh no! But, I surprised myself by being able to better recall names.

9.  Not sure if it’s is a good side affect, but I’m not painting at all.  I think it’s because I’ve been otherwise occupied with cleaning out and fixing things and as well, writing.  When I begin painting again it will be with a purpose.  I have written several children’s books for my grandchildren but never kept a copy of them.  So, when I was visiting recently I took a picture of one of my favorite books that I plan to rework and try to publish.

10.  Spiritually settled.  I am operating my life on faith.

Holding Captive on day 20 of 210 no sweets

………………………………

HOLDING ONTO A FROG

What does it mean to hold anything captive? Most likely as a child you’ve captured a bug or other small creature to study it more closely or to run show your mother. When my children were little I swooped up a little frog that we found on a walking trail and I carried it all the way home, wiggling all the way, in my hands. The memory is strong for I am a squeamish type but the enjoyment of being able to have the frog for a little longer trumped.

So, in some sort of artistic mathematics I think the equation could be written as:

Love>fear

…………………………………

HOLDING THOUGHTS CAPTIVE

Then there is the holding captive of a thought. If you don’t already do it, clap your hands around and carry a thought. Then, put it in a clear box so it can’t get out so you can study it from all directions. I am doing that right now with worry. I capture that worry and break it down to small components if possible and I ask questions. Usually the answer to a worry is to figure out all the things that are in my power to do. And, then make a plan to work on those things. Usually that works it all out. I think a lot of times the worry comes from my feeling things are out of my control. I am learning to acknowledge that I cannot push and do everything, so I listen to advice, I seek help, and I pray.

I’m holding captive the thought of eating sweets. It works. This is an example of the comparison of a rampant and a captive thought on eating sweets of which I’m abstaining presently.

Problem: Chocolate cake with inch high fudge icing is temptingly under the glass in the coffee shop surrounded by other similar icing drenched sweets.

~Rampant thought: I NEED that. (I’d feel a tug on my actual heart like a love pang… the feeling of puppy love, know what I mean!). Ok, just one piece and then I will be able to keep going on the no sweets challenge. Oh no! I have no self control! I might as well eat it.

(Notice the lies and the heightened emotion that goes with it. What is held captive? It is backwards! Let me tell you, the heart is the one held captive … by a piece of chocolate cake. Kinda funny, but, NOT if you are the one being held.) Now, picture that mean chocolate cake raising up and trying to take a punch at you but can’t because it’s under glass. Score: 0 for the chocolate cake. And you tell it to settle down you’ll have it on your own terms when it can be more rational.

~Captive thought: “It is possible to say no. Self control is a thing to be exercised by thinking it out. And, I made a decision to wait until after Easter to eat sweets. It is more enjoyable to me to do a long term exercise of self control in order to build it. Each time I say no it is easier for me. Goodbye thought.”

(Notice how the captive thought is telling the truth. It is a sweet victory!)

After I am done with this challenge I am planning to try to find or make the perfect chocolate cake and invite friends and family to my party.

The frog, we kept it for a day until we saw it wasn’t eating. Then, we tearfully took it to a little pond near us where it didn’t play the happy releasee by jumping into the pond. The little guy sat there un-jumping in, looking at us. One of the kids mentioned that maybe it missed it’s mother back on the trail where we found him. I assured that of course he would hear his mom calling and would hop home. We went home, shoulders low, and washed our hands.

Look up this verse on holding thoughts captive. I memorized it! 2 Corinthians 2:5


7A66E595-C967-40BF-A03E-98E1F3F1E332Ok, so I ate a muffin on the airplane!  But not all is lost, right?  I did say I’d eat no sweets – I will consider that it was just a tiny indescretion, not enough to throw me off.  You see, I am all or nothing generally and I can derail a good (anything) by not being perfect.  So I decided that the lesson for me is:

DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT!  Life is a mess, just try.  Try, try, try!!!!

Today is my day 19 of “no sweets”!  Plus one muffin, but who’s counting?

…………………………………………………………………

On Practicing Perfection

“Practice makes perfect”, the overhead lectures

Third graders’ clumsy cursive letters

And runners, knitters, dancers, bakers

Writers, poets, lovers, makers,

Perfection cannot truly be gained

Only sought.

Perfection is made, it cannot be bought

And as mere mortals, Yes! Seek it we ought!

We want it in gems and in dog breeds

Gold never tarnishing

Sparkling water from mountain streams

A mother’s love for her babies.

And in any pursuit with impurities rising,

The dross on the silver,

Or the stew pot frothing,

Life, impure, needs some refining.

But, don’t let perfection

Keep you from trying,

You run, you fall, you muffin, you sloggeth!

You human! “Practice Makes Progress!”

~Julie Robinson

My baking cabinet – I like to have everything in one spot. This holiday season I plan to bake… but not nibble!

A Baker’s Dozen on day 12 of 210 of no sweets

It’s been dozen days for me now, no sweets.

And to commemorate, here are a few things that are a dozen. First off I just want to ask a little question, how comes a baker’s dozen is 13?

  • “A baker’s dozen” assures the baker isn’t cheating anyone. The appearance of propriety is kept by the baker throwing in an additional to bring the dozen to thirteen. Historically a baker would have to pay a fine or according to my research, pay some other severe consequences for cheating people such as getting an earlobe nailed to a post. Sorry bout that but history is brutal. I am pretty sure that if they’d teach those interesting tidbits in high school kids those sometimes unreachable teens might just pay attention.

There’s a bakery near me always throws in a couple donut holes with the bag of donuts. (Of course I’m not eating any presently.)

A dozen things that are a dozen, or twelve

  • eggs,
  • cupcakes,
  • muffins
  • Cookies
  • Pack of hot dogs
  • Hours in half a day
  • Months in a year
  • Inches in a foot
  • School grades 1-12
  • Tribes of Israel
  • Days of Christmas,
  • Roses

Counting, Not by Tens

Primitive counting by duodecim

Not by the neat metric base of ten

Gives us a dozen right out of the oven

Cookies and cupcakes and muffins in tins

And when months of the year and hours of the day

Look to the moon and the sun to arrange

And the length of the foot times three is the length

From the right shoulder to the left finger, a yard, three feet,

Wonder where the dozens come from

That gets moons and planets and measurements going,

Those dozen roses, and holidays aglowing

And the creation adoration bestowing

~Julie Robinson

Above photo: my every morning: oats and coffee, a little listening, studying, planning, and a lot of writing On DAY 11 OF 210 OF NO SWEETS, YAY! It’s getting so much easier too. Right now I’ve been taking a little break from painting because the poetry and other creative writing endeavors have taken top place in my creativity.

Here’s my poem and below the poem is a number line showing my sweet progress.

SAVORED LEAF

A dust devil destroys stacks

Of carefully raked leaves,

A Skittering dustup which the wind wins.

But one bright leaf, whisked up by a kid,

Mesmerized by the skirmish,

Having kicked a rock as far as he could,

But finally losing it,

Crams the new find deep in his pocket

And later tries to pull it out

A crumbling faded memory

Better to savor but not to save,

To leave it where it lay

~Julie Robinson

210 DAYS NUMBERLINE – The progress looks so tiny below, bottom left in pink. But it serves to remind that this experiment has an end. Join me in the journey, never too late to jump on!

Spaghetti candy on Day 10 of 210 giving up sweets

A serving of jarred spaghetti sauce can be loaded with sugar. I about flipped out reading the label of my favorite brand. 12 grams*.

I think it could be renamed spaghetti candy.

I decided to compare it to actual candy.

A package of Reece’s peanut butter cups is 8 grams

One Hershey’s kiss is 2.6 grams

*And 4 grams = 2 teaspoons

After additional research I found maybe I ought to steer clear of some salad dressings as well as most barbecue sauce.


Keeping it simple!!! WHAT I’M GIVING UP ON THIS 210 DAYS OF NO SWEETING

Sweets – which is defined as desserts (self-explanatory)

Semi – Sweets – which is pancakes, waffles, muffins

Drinks – I already drink no sugary soda or coffee

Canned or bottled Spaghetti Sauce and other dressings and sauces where the serving size sugar grams is more than 5


Sweeting Ways

Aren’t there other ways of sweeting

Better habits, ways of living

Having cake, not voraciously eating

Cookies pies and candy

One way is grateful

Ahh, enjoy a whole plateful

Of thankfulness both body and soul

For care and provision and love

Another’s a road where we carry the load

Of another, much encumbered

A sweetness together inspired

Our brother, a neighbor, a stranger, friend

Then there’s the path of suffering

It’s not to be compared

It’s defeat over worldly desire

It’s a better way, there

It’s sweet victory

And a better way of sweeting

What we all are truly needing

Look up, cause it’s not here

~Julie Robinson

Fatigue – Symptom on day 9 of 210 no sweets

Sweets as Uppers

Usually, well 10 days ago and further back… I combated afternoon sleepiness with eating sweets. Was I doing anyone a favor by doing this? It was like a drug … I was popping candy pills and living crash to crash on a sugar trip.

And, that was (sort of) effective. It allowed me, along with caffeine, past the sluggish 3:00 pm. But after time I needed more and more sweets to fill the need. I knew though that I needed to do something about it. And, the problem was greater than body fat. But, right now I’m going through withdrawal and currently am having…

Fatigue

The first few days off sweets I felt more energy. Now on day 9 I have been experiencing more fatigue than ever . I think my body must be trying anything it can to get me back on sweets. In fact, I have heard tell that it is your own body

………bacteria

which live on sugar are the ones doing the craving! Sorry but it’s true!

Funny considering that for a moment as I call a body meeting where brain and spirit take the head of the table, take charge of this body and Say NO!!! to the bacteria. That should be easy to do except when the bacteria clobber you with fatigue.

Some people ask … No, I didn’t go hog wild and do completely no carbs. I do eat a little bread and pasta. I might decide to cut those out except for whole grain in this little 210 day sugar free experiment.

I’ve been drinking afternoon coffee or tea but that doesn’t seem to lift the fatigue but it does give me something to do and it is momentarily soothing.

I was so fatigued by 9:15 pm that I couldn’t concentrate to write. I fell asleep while looking up fatigue definitions vs fatigues for my poem today.. Funny thing was my brain was just fine, wanting to create poetry but my hand/eye coordination wasn’t doing too well. Anyhow, I thought, maybe I ought to sleep. Duh, right?

That worked. I woke up early and refreshed with new calm and collected enthusiasm. (Yesterday’s poem)

Fatigued Poetry

Fatigare, To work, To tire out, a Latin word

Brings us fatigue, tired out from work

Either mental or physical

Some have it chronic

Caused by so many different things

They slog to different doctors hoping for a cure

A different use but meaning same is fatigues in the military

My dad, military, used to wear dress whites once in awhile

But most times he told mom he needed to wear his fatigues which meant hard work

I never new the difference as a kid but I remember

How she heavy starched and ironed his uniforms

Both serving their country.

Then there’s things causing fatigue

Caregiver stress, motherhood

Too much news and menopausal stew

Then there’s compassion fatigue

Which is what? Tired of caring?

So all the things you’re tired of

Just create yourself a phrase ending in the word.

~Julie Robinson

Day 8 of 210 no sweets

A Joke, a Riddle, and a Poem – day 8 of 210 no sweets

You might say that I’m writing my way out of eating sweets… Instead of munching, I’m punching… the keyboard.

A Joke

My children have all told me this clever joke. I must pass it along here. It’s clean and clever, and so appropriate for day 8 of 210 no sweets. Of course, kids hear a joke for the first time and figure mom or dad don’t know it. Sorry to my third child who with all the shiniest best of her first grade self asked me…

“Why is six afraid of seven?

And I forgot all parental protocol and answered…

“Because seven eight nine.”

Even though I knew the answer I could have pretended not to. I could have allowed her the pleasure. We could have both been happy then. And why did I follow with “You are my third child, you know,” with a wink that was all about me. We moms must forgive ourselves. Stop the mom guilt! (Please don’t get me wrong: all’s fair in… teens or adults to answer right off)

A Riddle

A little about my youngest daughter: she has baby status, yet first child status, and oldest child status. How can that be?

Ok, here’s the answer to the riddle: She is the third and last child of mine and the only child of her father’s and the other two are my children from a previous marriage and there are a dozen years between. I know, who wants to do all that math? I’m sure all of you got that riddle first off anyhow.

Now that I am an older and wiser mother, I can’t help but raise her differently. First, we are doing homeschool high school. And, she 11th grade has a year and a half to go. Second, until a month ago we were caregiving her father with advanced dementia at our home, and third, her brother and sister left home when she was about eight.

A Poem

Before I wrote this poem today I had looked up the word enthuse “to cause to become enthusiastic”. As I was thinking about that… is it possible to have contagious enthusiasm – an enthusiastic crowd, for example.

Then I was considering how I’ve maybe heard the term used more often in the negative as in “over-enthusiastic”.

And, what must happen to cause a person to be enthused in the first place is something within themselves if it is actual enthusiasm, because people can seem enthusiastic but it wanes with mood. I think we see it in American politics, but even more so in a basketball game.

Actual enthusiasm is a thing to hold on to but it is a really difficult thing to transfer, because what gets transferred is a feeling, a mood. And as I show in my poem, over-enthusiastic people can be killers of enthusiasm, really, though they don’t even know they are doing it. The worst possible dose of other people’s enthusiasm is if someone is enthusiastic FOR another to do something and keep reminding them of it and “encouraging” them. Anyhow, for me that’s the way it is…

ENTHUSED, MUCH?

Enthusiastic came, early, shining, ready

Attracting others needing extra

Feeding the fire, going steady

Hearts full, wills ready

But, over-enthusiastic burst right in

And as usual, over-doing,

Pushing, burning, maddening, stewing

Bites off more than it is chewing

And with this terrific tragedy

Of misplaced motivation,

Mood walks out

Depressed, Deflated

~Julie Robinson

Ode-ing my way through day 7 of no sweets

No sweets for a week! Not as easy at it might seem!

I had a more difficult day with temptation for eating sweets.

I’m not sure why. But, I think it was because I was feeling tired towards the afternoon. That bowl of candy sits there… because it is part of my experiment, to see if it is possible to have such accessible candy and still stay sugar free. It was only twice I felt like eating it. The first time was more difficult. Talked myself out of it, the end reward, greater than the temporary. And, the second time was a fleeting thought that fleeted, quickly fizzled.

LEARNING POETRY AT TOO YOUNG AN AGE

Now, I bring you Ode to an Ode which I write in sorrow for not having paid more attention in my life to academics. True, I have a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. But, do you know I just did it to get it done. Truly, I wasn’t interested. Or, I was interested only briefly in snippets of time where I cared about the subject, where somehow a combination of my mind/heart was engaged – I will never forget learning in Western Civilizations about the cradle of civilization being in between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. I remember that because the professor came in and drew it on the blackboard every lecture and then he clanked that chalk down into the curve of the dusty metal below, every single class, before he began his lecture where he used slides on an overhead projector. Me, the visual learner, was stimulated by that. I also remember instruction in creative and expository writing class but that was because I was able to get it. Didn’t mean to get so far into the weeds on my college education but I have to say one more thing…

A TINY MENTION OF MY COLLEGE CAREER

It was back in the day where you go sign up for your classes standing in long lines set up in a gym or student center. I had been in line for a class but it was all filled by the time it was my turn in line. So, I had to find another class that would fill that credit. By then there was only The History of Rock and Roll. I remember the guy there telling me that I could always drop the class and sit in on the one I wanted and try to add it. That seemed crazy to me. Now, some of you might think that a class on rock and roll would be an easy blow-off class. But, like classes you might think are easy and fun, this professor made it the most difficult class ever. He lectured, never about what was on the final exam, and left us to study the material and answer multiple choice questions about the nuances of rock and roll and its effect on our world.

Here I am… back on track… As the below poem alludes, I never could figure out poetry and of course evidently couldn’t figure out rock and roll – beyond the beat – at those young ages.

But, all in all, I wish I had paid better attention in school and not been as concerned with my hair or whatever boy I was excited about passing me a note… I might have actually enjoyed poetry, odes and all things learning.

Ode to an Ode

Oh, Ode, I promised you

since i oded oats

and Mondays too

I thought I’d ode an ode to you

Ah, you style unused today

Writer affected by a thing

Talking to it poetry

Highest speak to give it wings

To fly above, to set a tone,

Eloquent and thought provoking

Words and phrases higher than

The object sitting, poet poking

Most famously the poet penned

Ode on a Grecian Urn

and I too young at the time

Could never fully learn

Couldn’t they just save that class

Of poems and prose and odes

Where it can thrill the end of life

Passions burned, wisdom won

~Julie Robinson

Mondays are my favorite…on Day 6 of 210 not eating sweets

This post has nothing to do with giving up sweets … but it has everything to do with staying with it. It’s a Monday attitude sometimes the only thing that’ll get you through!

What can Monday be good for? Don’t most people relish hating Monday’s? My answer’s in the Ode.

Ode to Monday

Monday comes dressed to impress

Smart and clean

after the weekend

Of t-shirts and jeans

You freshly greet us

And you don’t make a fuss

“You still sleepin’ you lazy bumpkin!”

Oh no, that’s not a Monday voice

You leave that to other days

You’re sharp yet sweet

Like a first grade teacher

It’s discipline first you know we need

You come each week

Ready, rain or shine

To do but mostly be,

Always so refined

Good thing you are a Monday

So you can never see

Me rumpled up on Friday

While you, neatly pressed, pristine.

~Julie Robinson

IPad Pro Art… Tree at the Guadalupe by Julie Robinson

Coasting on day 5 of 210 no sweets

You have most likely coasted.

..In a car, downhill.

..In a relationship, where it gets comfortable, seen in the stoppage of flowers and deep conversation

..On a skateboard, with one foot on the board and with the other you’ve pushed off to get a good speed

..In school, after working hard at the beginning and getting excellent grades and then you for some crazy reason deciding to pull back effort

So when I say I’m coasting it means I know full well I had better watch out.  Right now it is easy but after it gets less exciting, mundane, difficult, then I will have to climb the mountain (see poem below).

Here is a little secret… For 2 years…From 10/4/2006 to 10/4/2008 I did not eat sweets… for anyone who thinks I can’t do it…!

BUT ended up that I was coasting..

Until one day I was telling someone about how I don’t eat sweets and had not for two years and I was embarrassed that I was so proud of myself and also maybe I was a little bored of doing it and talking about it.

So this time I decided to give it an appropriate window of time which I want to call:

THE SEASON OF SWEETING

which begins at Halloween and ends at Easter.

Because it’s a challenge it makes not eating the sweets a game instead of giving something up.  Does that make sense?  It’s a game where I get to win:

a thinner body – I know I will lose weight and I did pack on more than a few

a stronger will – That will muscle is getting exercised and boy was it flabby!

a clearer mind – I’m thinking more clearly and excitedly than ever.

a quieter spirit – Can I just say it?  JOY!  There’s a song my daughter turned me on to and I’m sorry I don’t remember who sings it – but when I first heard it “I choose Joy” I about came out of my skin.  Cool song, really!

Ok, so I got to write a poem now that I’m all excited about the no sweets.

How Long to Make it

We’re fools if we think

we can keep self destructing

That Monday’s the day,

We’ll make a change then

But it comes and it goes

and in despair throes

We get down,

and fall in

Can’t get out of that hole?

It has one direction

There’s no place to go

but climb

Could hover in copter

and get you out faster

could throw you a rope

but you’ll pull me in

No, you dig in your toes

and climb out your pit

and dirty your mits

jaw set, teeth bit

Don’t think you can make it

without any pain

If out cause you faked it

It’s nothing you gained

~Julie Robinson

The crow wants to know “what’s in that oatmeal!”

Ode to Oatmeal on day 4 of 210 No Sweets

and

a Thank You to Morning Star Memory Care in Fredericksburg, Texas

Before I go on an oatmeal ode, let me first say…

Visiting my Husband at his Memory Care

goes better with Coloring Books…

I think part of my ability to go off sweets is that I am not under the continual distress of being a constant caregiver. The memory care, Morning Star Memory Care, is now my husband’s caregiver.  I visit him as often as I can.  Today I took along some markers and an adult Christmas coloring book I found at the dollar store.  We three, me, my husband, and our sixteen year old daughter,  sat and colored and then read the book.  It was a shortened story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  After we colored a little while we had fun doing the voice drama.  He just loved it.  We invited a new resident who was wandering around looking for her husband, to join us in the coloring.  She talked to us like she knew us and then asked if we all wanted to walk around outside with her.  So we enjoyed the beautiful Fall Fredericksburg day in the lovely back yard of the memory care.  Peaceful that whole place is, inside and out.  I highly suggest anyone who is going to visit a person in a nursing home or assisted living to bring some kind of thing to look at together.  If they can’t color, then pictures and a story are nice to share.

So thanks to Morning Star Memory Care!

A sweet place … isn’t that a cheap yet sweet segue into my …

It’s true, Sweets are Addictive, and I’m an Addict!

Now, on to how I’m doing giving up sweets.  Have you heard that it has been discovered that the link in the brain to sweets – and therefore a sweet addiction – is the same place in the brain as an addiction to cocaine.  I can believe that.  I went to bed last night with heart palpitations.  I believe it was my body reacting possibly to the few days thus far of not eating anything sweet!  If there was a place to go “dry out” from sweets, I’d go there.  I can picture it by a white sandy beach…. AHHH!

WHY DOES OATMEAL HELP?

Oatmeal with nuts and fruit and cinnamon fills me up for breakfast and it is naturally sweet.  It’s full of protein and “sticks to the ribs” well.  I think it evens out my blood sugar… but I’m no expert, just a practicing artist.

An important part of my giving up sweets is eating my morning bowl of oats.  I get the Quaker Oats original oatmeal, not steel cut, not quick cooking.  The oats cook in the microwave in 4 minutes anyhow.  I put that in and then put the coffee on so they are done about the same time.  And, I don’t add any sugar or sugar substitutes, of course.

Snacking today:  Same as yesterday, I ate a handful of salty nuts and prunes. It was helpful to keep from eating the sweets. I don’t think I mentioned before but I left the bowl of trick o treater candy by the front door right where it was on the fateful night of my “before binge” as an experiment. So far I haven’t wanted it.

Important note to reader:

(My Ode to Oats is below, but let me preface it by saying: CHOCOLATE CAKE… THE ULTIMATE, HANDS DOWN, SWEET THING I LOVE WHEN I’M NOT RAVENOUS FOR SWEETS. WHEN MY SWEET TOOTH IS CHILLED OUT AND I’M WANTING, NOT CRAVING, I GO FOR GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE.)

What happened to me in previous occasions I have given up sweets is if I ever end up wanting something it would not be junky candy which is why having a bowl of it still isn’t at all causing me trouble but if I ever do want something it would be higher up like a slice of perfect homemade chocolate cake, not store bought, not box, not even Texas sheet cake, but the kind made by the lady who brought it to Baptist church potluck when I was eight years old, moist, with fudge icing with just the right amount of chew. It was The Lord’s Work she did, that delicious cake maker lady. In April after my 210 days are up, I am going to try to recreate that cake in my kitchen. By that time I will probably only desire a tiny slice. Right now because I have lost the ravenous crazy, I can wait ’til April. Hopefully…

So, I know you’ve been waiting for it… so here’s my Ode.  I wanted to do the ode because that way I can talk to an inanimate object that I really like and people won’t think I’m nuts. I think. Oh, and when I make that chocolate cake in April I will write an ode to it. That, I will put on my calendar so so as to not forget.

ODE on Oats

By your natural tendency,

And spiked by added raisins,

You soothe me in the morning

You’re exactly what I’m cravin’

When’d it start, this love of oats,

Not omelets, burritos or cinnamon rolls,

‘Twas what my mom cooked on a cold winter morn

When we’d all whine, “Not again!”

Now how’d it happen, a little older,

Eating breakfast much more sober,

You humbly greet me at my table

Cinnamon topped, fully able

Your gentle steam and quiet content

Your pleasing ways are solid, endure

And I’ve learned not love another

 Your pleasure, sweet and somehow pure

Slow but sure,

You stay all morn

All the way to lunch or after

Keeping me from eating sweets

~ Julie Robinson

Want to join me on this quest, want to cheer me on my way, like me, leave comments, tell me what you have to say!  If you aren’t a sweet junkie, what sweet do you enjoy in that more rational way? If you are but want to give up the junk, then join me! I’m only day 4 and not eating sweets til after Easter.  Already I feel more clear headed, and got a better spring in my step.

Come, like, comment, join me?

My current unfinished oil painting yet unnamed.  I think it looks like the forest is rolling out its blue carpet.  

Not Missing Anything on Day 3 of 210 No Sweets

“THE NIGHT BEFORE BINGE” …why I think it helped.

I am writing this explanation by poem. It is mostly true…

THE NIGHT BEFORE TREATING

There were three bags of candy

For the night of trick-o-treat

Sat out in a bowl for this night

To eat

With a goal in mind, these sweets I’ll beat!

‘Twas a drooling candy feast,

two bags for them

And one for me

Now, let me warn you!  This idea’s dangerous.

Though enjoy it, perhaps, somewhat, I did

But sometime between the knocks on the door,

And shouts of trick or treat,

Death gripped tightly ‘bout my throat

That sugar ghost had me

Scared me like a horror show

Caught by my own candy

And, he said through poison teeth

“You can’t possibly give up sweets”

Then he hissed this awful melody,

I jotted it down for you to read.

“Go on, imbibe, ‘cause if not, you’ll just die,

tell me…

can you pass that slice of  pumpkin pie?

Ruinous pleasure, your final demise

Your eyes glazing over, no matter, quick, eat!

None else can compete. It’s a bargain, it’s cheap.

Come sit in my lap, ahhh now isn’t that sweet”

and giggling drastically, departed the scene

Oh that phantom he lies!  Speak any truth? He did not

About little miss addict me

So I unwrapped, unveiled its plot

To shut up my mind, make his words stop.

Quickly cramming candy corn

cuppled with cups of coffee

He got to me, was almost defeat

‘Til I thought, “Hey, I brought this confectioned melody.”

Though battle scarred and walking wounded

I remembered my well crafted plan,

My upper handed feast of treats

-Even though I might’ve OD’d-

Now if that sweet comes a knockin’

Even chocolate cake for goodness sake!

Can’t open that door not even a peek. It’ll barge in,

Will rage its demands:  the heart, the head, the hand.

~Julie Robinson

Missy, my Yorkie, Ipad Pro’d. She’s sweeter than candy

How Sweet it is!

This post contains:  1.  No Sweets!, 2.  “Progress”  on my continuing application process for veteran’s benefits, and 3.  a Peanut Poem…

Day 2 of 210 – No sweets! But what I did instead is:

1.  I found a potential SOLUTION TO SWEET ADDICTION:  “SUBSTITUTION FOODS”

Roasted salted peanuts in shell the kind you get at a ball game, almonds with sea salt, prunes, bananas, strawberries, and raspberries.  My anti-sweet arsenal for when sugar is CHASING ME AROUND THE KITCHEN and PURSUING ME in THE PANTRY.

Thinking of this sweets challenge makes me happy.  I once gave up sweets for two years.  That was in about 2006 and at the time I was working more than full time.  Now, I’m home hoping to make work of my writing career.  It could happen.  Anyhow, I so like the idea and dilemma of a task that is “biting off more than I can chew”.  The sheer size of the goal right now feeds (pun intended) my determination the bigger the goal.

Two times I went for these sweet substitutions.  After lunch I ate a few prunes because I was feeling a bit frustrated with all the paperwork (see #2 below).  Did the prunes help?    They were sweetly satisfying.  And then at around 9:30 pm I ate a few Blue Diamond Gourmet Almonds garlic herb and olive oil flavored.  They were very nice.  Crunchy and flavorful.  Was glad I had done a little pre-planning.  I am not messing with anything else I’m eating.  Just no sweets.  And, that isn’t hard to figure out.  No sweet tea, sweet soda, but I can drink diet soda.  I don’t ever drink sweet anyhow.  I never drink sugar or sweeteners in my coffee.  I prefer my coffee with milk only.  And, desserts , even if they are “sugar free” I stay away from because they are possibly a gateway sweet.

2.  APPLICATION FOR VETERAN’S BENEFITS

Now, the following is a great way to spend your first full day giving up sweets.  Today I am organizing my paperwork for applying to the veterans for benefits to be able to afford my husband’s assisted living center monthly fee.  I bought two large folders and have some acetate pages that I can easily slip in all those lovely government forms.  I bought some binders to help in this process.  It will be the most lovely veteran’s benefits file you’ve ever seen.  What have a learned about Veteran’s benefits.  I’ve learned there’s a lot… to learn.

No painting for me today.  Doing the paperwork does not put me in the painting mood.

Peanuts and paperwork

Never eat those Planter’s Peanuts

Concurrently

While pushing paper, No! Please

Those shells and salt and all that grease

That makes the fingers need a licking,

and those pages dirty turning

for this reason, I am warning

Snack and study time don’t mix.

~Julie Robinson

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When I’m off sweets, this is true. When I’m on, hello cupcakes! Please o please, some balance!

Come on y’all & join me giving up sweets.  Won’t you?  Give up sweets for one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year.  I’m doing 210 days – Halloween to Easter, the sweeting season.  Let me know in the comments how goes it…

Ushering in “No Sweets November” and, ok, just one more tiny little poem.

Between projects is a difficult place to be. I only have the hope of the future projects – but not one yet underway. It makes me feel a little artistically heart fluttery nervous. Why is that?

So to solve this problem, I get to thinking, what is is that I treasure the most? So, I thought that first a bit of personal inventory might help:

During the month of October,

I placed my husband in long term memory care after he wandered out dangerously for the last time in the middle of the night climbing out of his window and walking a mile! And I’m strangely torn without him here, unused to not taking care of him all the time. It is expensive. I have faith that God will provide the needed resources to keep him there.

Also I finished the first quarter homeschooling my daughter 11th grade. She does lessons by video and I oversee and ask her to teach me what she has learned. It works well that way since relating something just learned helps greatly with interest and retention. Hey and it’s good for me too as I think I’ve forgotten all that. Actually I think at her age I was doing nothing but concentrating on some boyfriend. I paint and write while she does school. As I blog away here she’s doing violin class and I will add… a lot less squeaky than when she first began at the beginning of the school year.

I wrote a poem each day for the past 31 days. That was exhilarating. Really. I did not know that doing it would be like running a race each time. Yay for getting across the poetry finish line.

But back to answer my original question what should I do now that poetry month is over

1. I am in planning – brainstorming – looking at photo references – for a brand new oil painting project to show in my art club’s copying the master’s challenge but first I’m finishing the painting below. I’m not very happy with it right now which is lending a little to my art troubles but I wrote a poem about it so I am including it.

2. I’m sugar free (but just as sweet) and will blog about my upcoming 7 mos of eating no sweets.  And yes I can eat fruit

3  Art projects with memory care. I am excited they asked me would I bring in some projects to do with the folks at my husband’s memory care facility. I am considering bringing some tempura paints and brushes and some cheap Walmart canvases. So I will be sharing about my Art memory care experiences.

4  Poetry Monday’s:  I am thinking I ought to write poetry on a schedule of one day per week so I can keep poetry challenged.

Below is my current painting propped for picture in the window. Interesting how the lavender sky outside is all matchy matchy with my painting.

Faith

Oh! A lavender sky

Where below the cattle gather,

Heads low, munching,

Not at all watching

Any kind of weather.

~Julie Robinson

Sweet Report: Day 1 of 210 (is that 7 months?) I haven’t actually started this day yet! But, I am full of optimism, I’ve gathered all the faith I got like the cattle under the lavender sky, and unless the sky rains snicker bars, I’m ok. Check back each day for my Sweet Report. Think I can do it?

Summing up this post, goodbye October and ushering in important thing: FAITH! I went back up into the post and italicized every place I talked about it. That is the treasure I seek for November. Faith

This is the last day for the October poetry challenge, #Octpowrimo and I am glad I participated. I plan to continue writing poetry within my other posts.  Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me.

I wrote the following poem to kick off my holiday sugar free challenge.

Anyone want to join me?  Leave a comment below… I will probably blog about it in conjunction with my regular posts about dementia, homeschooling a highschooler, art and poetry.

On Holiday From Sweets

Because tomorrow’s November

Better get it in tonight

Between all those trick-o-treaters

Coming at twilight

For tomorrow, I’m not kidding

Being it’s November 1st

I won’t, and I’m not fibbing

Eat sweets, I say, lips pursed

During the season of sweeting

Which Lasts Seven months

from Thanksgiving Day to Easter

I’ll take my sugar lumps

No pumpkin spice lattes or mincemeat pies

no Christmas cookies, any kind,

or assorted chocolates on Valentines

I’ll not pop those Easter jelly beans

Or anything in between.

How long you think I’ll make it

If served cake, you think I’ll take it

About donuts, oh can I fake it

right now I’m so inclined

Sweet sober now’s my way of  thinking

While at this poem I’m busy inking

Tomorrow I’ll be busy drinking

Water, tea and coffee, winking.

~Julie Robinson

There is an old phrase

“Art imitates life”.

Art Isn’t Dying

Rescue art

When it screams

Unbecoming decaying things

Should make the conscious crawl away

How can passion for disaster

hate-filled lyric fashion

Cut up jeans to Banksy shred

Be any statement but:   “That art is dead.”

Bored of their own pleasure

Wanting, working their demise

Receiving doleful measure

A dark and deadly compromise

Of standing, agreeing

And where wisdom once was

Mistaking fleeting feelings

Raw, uncensored, not creating.

This poem has no summation

‘Cause all know a salvation

Starts deep in the art

By the Refiner of heart

~Julie Robinson

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Digital Love by Julie Robinson’s IPAD Pro Doodling.

This post is three poems in one, a pre, a Behrquain, and a post poem.  Enjoy!

I wrote this pre-poem as an introduction to the following Behrquain poem.  And, I’m not entirely sure if there exists such a thing as pre-poems, but I first wrote in paragraph form and it was just trying to pop out a poem so I just said “let it pre”.

Let it Pre

On my response

to the current lack

of civility

in human interactions:

People triggered

exploding over a word out of place

unable to put aside differences

all wounded and wounding

not listening so misconcluding

uncivil and vain

causing pain

the answer to all is in my Behrquain

Tinder Tender

In love

Do we expect

Wholehearted agreement

On everything, every problem

Settled, perfect

It is

Never seeking

Friendships, relationships

Lasting through argued discussions

But strong isn’t broken

From politics

To Christ

Too much tinder

Rubbing between people

Igniting not passion but hate

Yelling screaming fighting

What’s there so dear

Likewise

Letting the truth

Come out in the converse

Plain spoken truth without hot air

And taking the time to

More than listen

Perfect

Only humans

Are we to each other

Forgiving and enlivening

Growing close together

Tinder tender

Loving

~Julie Robinson

The DNA of the Behrquain

What! A post – poem now, an after toast to my Behrquain,

the shape, a double helix DNA,

beginning, creating, unzipping,

 and joining info written

within curvy confines,

a different way to think,

in round rhythm of words,

lacking rhyme, concentrating on structure,

 movement and meaning and time.

My poetry “writing” process.

First,  Believe

I am a poet.

I’ve enjoyed finding out that I am a poet during this #Octpowrimo month.  I remember how at the beginning I felt excited and then halfway through it was, “What have I gotten myself into!”

Second, Find a spark

The spark is usually something that oddly occurs to me like the memory of riding the commuter train into Philly. I have never been a writer who just sits and writes all kind of thoughts free flow.  No, I like to mull over my thoughts while I am driving or cleaning… or, today, cleaning out the garage. My poem below was sparked during my great garage clean out.  The job is mostly completed and good thing:  I am actually able to pull my car in.

Third, Write it down

I begin typing it out and it usually flows.  But then I change it to make it make sense more artistically and fix words.  I look to see if there is an interesting flow or did I lose the concept somewhere along the way.  Also important to me is rhythm and rhyme although I don’t really try to obey any rhyming rules.  I think that the poetry writing is somewhat like painting.  There is a concept and a flow the eyes follow, a point, a main idea and supporting cast.

And then, I use the WordPress save draft or publish feature.  I like to publish it to post on a certain day and time.  For the poems it is around 5:30 am.  Then I put it away until later in the day or in the middle of the night.

Last, I reread later and once in a great while I give up on it and rewrite completely.  If I can’t sleep sometimes I will open up my poem on my iPhone in bed and am glad I do because I catch blatant looking errors that I wonder how I could possibly have missed.

Cleaning out

Allowed to take hold

Things are a task master

and if small’s what we afford

Small piles a disaster

The wealthy watch out for

Those shiny collections

Protecting and keeping

Their lovely perfections

From anyone holding

Or touching them.  Please!

Their temperature must be

Seventy degrees

So whether rich or the middle

Your heart its treasure most mightily tugs

It pulls you down to raise itself

Above the ones you want to love.

But if there is something you have to collect

Pick people and family and friends

Not old stuff in boxes closets garages

Attic and basement or under the bed

..

For life test it’s over,

When we’ve all walked away

those things we collected

They all have to stay

~Julie Robinson

Michael’s Morning Star

Old tunes played on a keyboard with singing

By a man who knows how to do it, bringing

Clapping and smiles under hill country trees

Serving hope love and kidding

A big family are these.

Tired from activity

And the big Texas lunch

Of brats beans and burgers

Swigging beer with no liquor ‘cause happy is quicker

And joy found in more ways than munch

It’s now nap time so staff

Spring to usual day to day tasks

Of wheeling and walking and tending to those

Whose minds may have faltered but not their hearts,

Peace there’s found in these here parts.

All back home the pictures we share

With far away family feeling part of it there

‘Cause seeing the smiles, happy we look

Can’t argue with a good photo took

At Michael’s Morning Star Memory Care

~Julie Robinson

The poem below is the twenty year old me living on the high speed line and working in center city Philadelphia.  For a little while I was taking courses at an eye institute in the north of the city and working in the center city while residing on the main train line in Pennsylvania several stops out.  So, to get to work, school, and home took me a very long time.  I walked to the train station near my apartment, took the commuter train to a bus and a subway to work, to class, to work, and back home again.  It was an interesting commute and I had a lot of strange experiences like breaking my nose in a train wreck or like the time I was flashed (those are for a whole different posts).  Mostly I remember watching people and wondering about where they were going. There was a mental hospital that had closed down, I think, and they were sleeping in cardboard boxes, some screaming strange scary stuff, sitting atop the steamy grates.  I can still conjure the sour smell mixed with the smell of pretzels baking in places.  The smell memory is a core brain area!  But, one of the strongest memories was feeling cold.

This is my first attempt at a Behrquain poem, it is not to rhyme, it has a 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2… style.  I hope I got it right. Not rhyming was difficult for me!

Tomorrow, a Coat

Sweater

Wrecking her mood

Pulled o’er her head, static

Lipstick smearing, flyaway strands

Held tight down by hairspray

Taste in the air

Chilly

Fall all around

Gladly wearing it now.

Exhale is warming the fibers

Fogging, frosting glasses

Shirttail wiping.

Making

The subway full

Standing, no seat in sight

Holding handle through jerk and bump

The stop is made, all off

At subway’s end.

Her job

No sweaters there

Chilly but faking warm

And on her break she sipped hot tea

And dreamed of warmer things,

A summer’s play

Darkened

The sky grim gloom

A northern snowstorm dumped

Sweater weather turned winter freeze

Steadfast strode, subway fast

To her warm home

Heartened.

~Julie Robinson

Oh! #Octpowrimo, 25 days into the month of poetry.

Oh! The creative push to write a daily poem for Octpowrimo month has helped me write descriptive scenes in my fiction writing giving it better rhythm but not rhyme goodness me but that is a current problem! Anyone else?

Between fiction writing and oil painting and cleaning out my garage, I find myself “painting” poetic scenes in my mind.

And like a painting I have here still on my easel even before I add additional brushstrokes, I have done them in my mind first, same with the written work that needs additional keystrokes.

So, if that wasn’t enough stroking for one post… here is my poem for day 25: Strokes

Daily Strokes

Stroking a kitten’s like stoking a fire

Petting revs her purr motor higher

Arched high she springs to action

her claws get some friction, her fur some rough lickin’

Pouncing off she finds work of all kinds of hard play

And then there’s window sentry light sleeping where she’s keeping

A watch for her stroker, her purrfect re-stoker

To lay lap curled contently consumed by the fire of the day.

~Julie Robinson

Exquisitely Yours is the name of a hair styling salon in my town. I wonder, in light of the fashion of our time being at a loss for exquisiteness, how a person would pick that name for their salon. I wondered how they would think of hair as exquisite since in this day hairstyle for a woman that is too coiffed is considered out of fashion. Perhaps they are attempting to bring back exquisite. More power to them! Bravo!

But, most likely perhaps they are advertising that they provide exquisite service. That should never go out of style and I would not be surprised if a business in my town, a Texas town that may look a little rough around the edges offers, of course, exquisite service with a dash of southern hospitality.

I love words like a sports fanatic. In thinking about the word, exquisite, I was attempting to conjure up exquisite things and I was wondering if truly we may have lost touch with the concept of exquisite: We live in our cookie cutter homes, purchase modern art, wear unmatched clothing and decorate in farmhouse style, wear relaxed blue jeans and our idea of dressing up is wearing a darker color jean with a pretty top and extra makeup; and to top all that off, easy manageable hair.

And that brings me back to that “exquisite” hair salon. Hair has its fashions and our time is not a fashion of exquisite hair. (My poem, below, is where I had a bit of fun with the fashion of hair.)

Has it been in these past seventy or so years, since blue jeans came into vogue, that most everything has had its exquisiteness washed out in the tide of style involving every kind of fashion. The opposite of exquisite is preferred today.

Of course, being a word sleuth, I looked it up.

Exquisite – of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry. From Dictionary.com

I was surprised that “coloring” was part of the definition of exquisite. So, I put exquisite coloring as a search term in google and only found exquisite adult coloring books which was surprising since the dictionary evidently believed that there was something exquisite about coloring. What could they have meant by including it? The color of skin, or of fabric or of paint on a canvas?

There is exquisite detail in Michelangelo’s paintings and in architecture belonging especially to the high renaissance and Victorian times and in clothing as it used to be made with fancy buttons and finely woven materials, and velvets, brocade, and top stitching.

If you have a great grandma, go to their house and look around. She probably has some furniture that were exquisitely crafted but you would have to check out an old Sears Roebuck catalog to find an exquisite appliance because they possibly aren’t able to run on today’s electrical current. But, cars. There are car shows in my little town around the courthouse where people gawk at the exquisiteness inside and out of old automobiles.

I know where exquisiteness went: the way of cheap manufacturing. How’d they make us buy into it? Well, I think it was an advertising campaign based on streamlined everything. The new modern look.

Perhaps the short list which is left for exquisite is a person with an exquisite nose or fine jewelry and, especially, flowers – heaven made and never ever going out of exquisite style.

Here’s my poem based upon the Exquisitely Yours Hair Salon.

Fairly Exquisite

A covering, in bible speak

And once exquistely styled,

Is not the style any more

Unless the lady’s eighty-four

Remember power fros, wide picks hanging

And awful Mohawk punk rock wearings

Dread locks worn to partial shavings

Striped or bleached with black roots raising

Tow heads and blue heads, red heads and blondes

Black and brunettes, and my hair, all white

And it’s fashionable now: the young are wearing gray!

Or blue and pink they dye today

Farrah Faucet, Princess Di

Mary Jo Retton or the Rachel, all fly

Or that bowl cut wearing guy

Memories of iconic times

Wings, the shag, bowl cut, pixie

Pin curls, ponytail, curly, wavy,

Mall bangs, side bangs, feather, fringe

Losing, receding, crew cut, balayage

We crown ourselves with stylish hair

And make a glorious statement there

Each decade has its own display

But exquisite’s not the style today

~Julie Robinson

After today, October 23, I have just 7 poems left to write in the #Octpowrimo poetry challenge which spans the month of October. This challenge has required of my brain and heart and soul a rendering of my life transcribed into daily poetry. There are moments I have captured a poem idea but I’m in the middle of something… homeschooling or cooking, caregiving, or doing the list of chores my right brain requires. Those people who love me know I have a left brain that tries to drive both sides.

Anyhow thank you, you poets who came up with this artistic month long stretch and making us all work our creative muscle and lift some heavy word weight!

Poetry Month

October is the perfect stretch

For mind and soul and heart to fetch

New thoughts, old ideas

Holding them warm until they hatch

Solutions are babies

And feelings, the crazies

Then there’s things we all ought to know

So we try some on and wear them out

Til they, independent, grow

To mull and to ponder

And chase em o’er yonder

Across the mind field of near almost defeat,

Tackling, ramshackle-ing

Holding up by their feet

But then those thoughts that slide sideways

Down through the heart’s pathways

And wriggle all cozied up under your skin

Are the ones best divided

And held tightly captive

Fine tuned, put to rhyme

With a beat and some time

A laugh and a tear

Or a hug

And a sigh

~Julie Robinson