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

img_8926
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