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.

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