Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bought a Car!

I bought a car today!  I've been pretty seriously car shopping for about a month now, and sort of semi-seriously looking for awhile before that.

My car, my very fun to drive Saab, no longer fills my needs.  It has wonderful heated leather seats and an oh-so-fun turbo.  But it can't go off pavement.  And, well, let's face it - I do (go off pavement).

I bought a 2003 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon.  Green, of course.  I love it!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

On the death of hate

Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, has died.  He and his church are known for their hateful and inflammatory speech and actions, specifically that "God hates fags" and that "fags" will "burn in hell".  

The overwhelming response from the gay and lesbian (and bi, trans, queer and questioning) community has been one of reactive hate.  For this, I am so, so sad. 

Let us not trade hate for hate.  This makes us no better than he.  Let God be his judge.  I hope this sad and angry man has finally found the "peace that passeth all understanding".  I hope God welcomed him with warm and open arms, just as we hope God will welcome each of us. 

I understand.  I really do.  Gays and lesbians, our friends families and supports, have been deeply hurt by this man and his followers.  And, I am so, so saddened by the overwhelming response of hate this morning.  When you are so hurt, it's easy to hate.  Please though, try to let yourself breathe through it.  Go ahead and feel it.  Get angry.  Then use that anger to focus your action.  Become an agent of change and growth instead of spewing hateful sentiment.  Please . . . 

Let this be the death of this hate.  


Monday, March 17, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon

It was a full moon.  And somehow I ended up on the dark side of it.  The last few days have just been upside down and backward for me.  Migraine and lots of body pain can get to a person after awhile and they start to wake up on the dark side of the moon.  It's hard.

Today I think I'm here.  I'm sore.  But trying hard.  I sent Little Bear to school with green hair today in honor of St. Patrick's Day.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Last week I was trying my best to hurry Little Bear out the door and into the car.  I should know by now that you can't hurry Autism.  I still try.  Anyway, I was pulling him along, intent on getting to whatever highly important place I wanted to go to.  He, in true Little Bear fashion, had his heels dug in, intent on whatever thing it was that was of utmost importance to him.

Suddenly, he stopped.  He yelled, "Mommy!  Stop!".  I did.  "Look!" he said with excitement.  He pointed to the trees.  I scanned them, trying to quickly see what it was he wanted to show me.  A bird?  An old brown crinkly leaf left over from the fall?  What?

"There's nothing there." I told him and tried to move him toward the car.  

"No!  Look!" he said again.

Frustrated, I said "What?  Show me."  He took my hand and every so gently, he guided it to a cold naked branch on the tree nearest us.

"Spring is here!" he said with glee.

On that tiny cold branch, there, right at the end, were swollen buds.  He was right.  Hiding right there in front of me, poking out of 2 feet of frozen snow, was the promise of spring and new life.  In my hurry to get to whatever important thing (so important I now have no idea what it was), I had nearly missed this beautiful fragile yet persistent and determined sign of spring.

My challenge today is to stop, if just for a moment, and notice the promises around you.  The tiny new green grass is pushing it's way toward the warm sun.  The buds on the trees are swelling with promise.  The snow melts and runs in rivulets, streams, rivers down to the low places.  Calves frolic in the fields.  For me, both morning and evening chores are not done in daylight.  Yes!  Spring is coming!

Thank you, dear Little Bear, for making me slow down and notice these gifts.  Thank you for being exactly who you are.  I can't imagine being mama to any other boy.  I love you.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Dare to Listen

During Lent (and often not during Lent), I think of the quiet.  People tend to scurry away from the quiet and fill the space with doing, with making lists or mindless drivvle.  That’s not a bad thing.  Not at all.  It's part of what we do to survive a busy hectic world.  Rilke though, invites us to listen.  Listen to the quiet.  It can deepen our being.  I dare you to listen to the quiet.  

The quiet of the soul - that’s where God meets me in the most powerful ways.  It can be quite terrifying because in that sort of quiet, I am open and willing and sometimes the things I’m shown feel devastating in their pain.  But it’s a healing sort of thing.  For my Lenten practice, I intend to invite the quiet.  To breathe through the uncomfortable-ness of it, to simply let it be.  Wanna enter the quiet with me?

Here’s what Rilke has to say.

Listeners at Last

Oh when, when, when will we ever have enough
of whining and defining?  Haven’t champions
in the weaving of words been here already?
Why keep on trying?

Are not people perpetually, over and over and over again, 
assaulted by books as by buzzing alarms?
When, between two books, the quieting sky appears,
or merely a path of earth at evening - 
rejoice . . . 

Louder than all the storms, louder than all the oceans, 
people have been crying out:
What abundance of quietude
the Universe muse yield, if we screaming humans
can hear the crickets, and if the stars
in the screamed-at-ether
can appease our hearts!

Let the farthese, oldest, most ancient
ancestors speak to us!
And let us be listeners at last,

finally able to hear.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

In the Singing

In the singing,
in the silence,
in the hands expectant, open,
in the blessing,
in the breaking,
in the Presence at this table --
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.

In the question,
in the answer,
in the moment of acceptance,
in the heart's cry,
in the healing,
in the circle of your people --
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.

--Shirley Erena Murray 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Too Much!

It's winter.  Full force winter.  Feet of snow (2 and then it blew and now it's snowing again).  Icey roadways.  Blizzard winds.  Bare naked wind chill.  Winter in Montana.  Like it hasn't been in the past 20 years.  I like it.

And it's completely wearing me out.  We're down to one vehicle that can (sometimes) drive in these conditions.  My car is long buried.  Our big old truck won't even make a spark.  Our snow shovels are worn out.  Hinges on doors are breaking because they're cold or they have freezing rain stuck to them or they're just old.  There's ice in all the windows and puddles on all the floors.  Little Bear's sweet little faced is chapped and cracked.  My hands are chapped and cracked.  The wind keeps trying to rip our front screen door off so I've tied it on with some parachute cord and looped the cord around the inside of the door knob.  Our steps are buried and caked in ice.  The drifts on our back deck are hip deep.  Time to shovel more.

With the winter weather came slick roads.  And with slick roads came the usual side off's, whoop-tee-do's and oopsie's.  And, about a week ago, a terrible crash that has, so far, claimed 2 lives.  I responded to the crash with the fire department.  It was hard to see and has been somewhat daunting to deal with afterward.  Not nearly so hard, though, as the families of those who lost their lives.  I cannot imagine . . .

Another thing that snow and wind bring to the mountains and hills of western Montana is avalanches.  Today an avalanche swept down Mount Jumbo on the outskirts of Missoula.  It blew right into a neighborhood and destroyed 2 houses.  3 people were buried.  Neighbors grabbed their shovels and ran, on foot, to the scene and frantically searched and dug through the snow, broken trees, pieces of ruined house, desperately searching for those under the snow in the darkening evening and quickly falling wind chill.  It took several hours but eventually, all 3 people were recovered.  So far, the news on their conditions is positive.  I hope it stays that way.

Things have a way of getting kind of off kilter during extreme weather.  An example of that is the thousand or so (ok, maybe hundred) starlings that think the "free" food in our chicken house is theirs.  When I go out to care for our cold puffed up hens, I open the door to the coop and what follows is akin to a scene from a horror flick.  Birds and flapping and beaks and squawking and screeching and feather and dust everywhere wings beating starling bodies thumping against my chest, my face, the wall in crazy desperation to get out.  The chickens, cowering in corners, nowhere to go but into the freezing blowing snow outside.  I've tried to block up all the places I think the starlings are getting in.  Obviously I've missed some.  The entire inside of the chicken coop is now painted in a thick fresh coat of starling shit.  While it does lend an interesting texture to the place, it makes every surface slippery so when I tried to lean a ladder up to work on plugging more holes, it was like trying to climb slime.  I eventually gave up, and with frozen and bleeding fingers, told the chickens I was sorry and went inside to thaw.

As I'm sitting here trying to come down off the wall this evening (middle of the night now), I hear that another Search and Rescue team has been called out.  I don't know if they're calling in help to locate lost skiers at Snowbowl or if there is somebody else in peril.

I'm lucky.  My house is warm.  My bed is soft.  My family is here.  We are safe.  Yes, the door is tied shut against the freezing wind.  But we are together, not in a tree well or snow cave.  I love winter.  Real winter is exhilarating.  And tonight, I've had quite enough, thank you.  I want a day or two just to be normal.  To have normal, not traumatic, non stressful things happen.  I want to feed Ginger and watch her play and scamper happily up and down the hall.  I want to bundle up warm and roll around in piles of snow with Little Bear.  I want to sit on the couch next to my sweet wife and sip coffee together.   But first, I want to sleep.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snow Day

It's a snow day for us. 
School is cancelled. 
The chickens are UN-impressed!
DuckDuck and HuckDuck, 
seem to be quite enjoying themselves. 
They sort of make paddling motions
and stay mostly
on top of the snow.

Wherever you are,
stay warm
and be safe. 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Made it!

The weekend is here!  No, I didn't manage to get to all of my list yesterday.  We'll get the drake on Monday.  That's okay.

Starting early today.  We have a big day!  We're sending Little Bear off to my sister's place for the weekend.  Ginger Balsam is going too.  We've cleared out our schedule.  My wife and I are doing something FOR US!

I'm excited and proud.  I am open to learning.  I love who we can become together.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Give it all you got . . .

I feel like I am.  Giving it all I have, that is.  Little Bear has been home from school 2 days of the 5 school days this week.  Wednesday he was home because we all just needed to sleep in.  Today, there's no school.  And yesterday, we had ice covered roads so the school and the busses had a 2 hour delay.  It's a lot having Little Bear home to take care of.  He's kind of a complicated kid.

To add to what I have going on, I have a little orphaned goat to take care of.  She needs to be fed every few hours 'round the clock.  It's a lot of work.

There is a LONG list of things I need to get done today.  I gotta drive to Corvallis and pick up a drake.  I gotta go pick up a bale of alfalfa hay.  I gotta get Little Bear's food for the weekend ready.  I gotta get my food for the weekend ready.  I gotta do enough laundry that we have clean clothes for the weekend.  I'm sure there are plenty of other "must do's"

And today, I woke up with a migraine.  It's a doozy of a migraine.  I'm so nauseated that it's hard not to gag when I move my body at all.  Sound hurts.  Light hurts.  Smells hurt.

But I can't stop.  I have to keep on giving it all I got.

Lord, give me strength.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ginger Balsam

Last night we brought home a goat. 
She's a Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat. 

She was born 5 days prematurely
And was one of 4 babies in the pregnancy.

Her breed is small.
But she is tiny. 
She weighs in at 2 pounds
And fits in the palm of my hand. 

She's 6 days old. 
The night she was born,
it was 20 degrees F below zero.

Because she was premature,
the dame hadn't been brought
into the barn.

When she was born,
her tiny body 
froze to the ground.

When she was found,
she was frozen stiff
and thought to be dead.

Her right eye
was frozen
to a metal pipe.

Because of her
she is having difficulty 

We're doing 
all we can
to keep her comfortable.

Little Bear 
gave her the name
Ginger Balsam.

Our other animals
have been curious
and gentle 
with Ginger.

Belle wasn't sure at first. 

But she soon warmed up. 
Now she won't leave Ginger Balsam's side. 

Even Fizz is gentle
and protective. 

I don't know if Ginger Balsam will

If she does, we'll keep her. 

If she doesn't, we'll know we tried. 

She's too premature to
maintain her own
body temperature. 

So she's wearing a diaper
and rides around 
tucked into my shirt
(or Kara's).  

Ginger Balsam
is such a
sweet baby goat. 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Morning Comes Hard

Some days
after long nights
when it's still dark
morning comes hard.

Wakefulness comes
crushing in
upon my body
weighing down my dreams.

Breathing in,
breathing out,
pulling me
into the day.

Morning comes
beckoning me
to try again
no matter what.

Sun rises
over the Sapphires
coaxing me
into consciousness.

Pain pulses
through my body,
through my head.
Morning comes hard.

Morning comes.
I gather my strength.
I put down my feet.
And I start my day.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Embody the Sacred

Christians today talk about showing Christ to the world in the way they live.  They probably have good intentions.  And, to me, it seems that they are somewhat constrained or limited by their perception of God or  Christ.

For me, Rilke gets more to the heart of the matter.

He writes

Go to the Limits of Your Longing

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

From The Book of Hours I, 59

He says "go to the limits of your longing", not "live according to the rules somebody wrote down hundreds of years ago that have been translated many times into something we can maybe understand in a way that makes us comfortable."

What is your longing?  Does your longing have limits?  Will you be satisfied before you reach the limits of your longing?

My longing is for love.  For forgiveness, of myself and of others.  For peace.  For acceptance (of myself and others).  For joy.  For comfort.  For rest.  For health.  For justice.

If I journey openly with integrity on the path of my longing, and while I do it, I try to embody the sacred, am I not sharing that of God with those around me?


Sunday, February 9, 2014


It snowed!  It snowed a LOT!  I LOVE snow!  I want more.  It's so much fun!

Kara built Little Bear a snow fort.  
Here he is, inside it, eating snow.  
He's a child after my own heart. 

The door.  It's big enough for coupla people to be inside. 


Crawling out.

Stop for a bite.  Of snow. 

We had so much fun!

I hope you and your family had a fun day too. 


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jus' Chillin'

Saturday evening after what felt like a REALLY long day.

Sitting in my living room with the woman I love most.

Watching the good ol' tube.

Yup.  Jus' chillin'.  That's how I roll.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Cold Spell

It's cold.  And by cold, I mean 20 below zero F.  For this part of the state, that's cold.

It's cold for my chickens too.  Too cold for a couple older ones.  I noticed they weren't moving earlier today.  So I scooped them up and brought them in the house.  Put them in a dog crate which is now in our dining room.  They both ate.  That's a good sign.  I'll keep them inside for another day or 2.  Let them thaw and recover.  Poor old birds.

My duck, on the other hand, thought that today would be a great day for a bath!  Yup,  she sat in her water dish and took a 20 minute bath.  Got soaking wet (on the outside at least) and very carefully cleaned every single feather.  When I went out to check on everybody coupla hours later, DuckDuck had hoary frost all over her back and wings.  I wish I had had my camera with me because that would have been a neat picture.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Wall Between Us

Again, Rilke


You, God, who live next door:
If at times, through the long night, I trouble you
with my urgent knocking -
this is why:  I hear you breathe so seldom.
I know you're all alone in that room.
If you should be thirsty, there's no one
to get you a glass of water.
I wait listening, always.  Just give me a sign!
I'm right here.

As it happens, the wall between us
is very thin.  Why couldn't a cry
from one of us
break it down?  It would crumble
it would barely make a sound.

From The Book of Hours I, 6

So, God and walls and neighbors.  

This reminds me that there is That of God within each and EVERY person.  That of God is within my neighbors, those that I like and those that annoy me.  The noisy ones, the partiers, the ones who drive too fast down my street.  The ones with well behaved children and dogs on leashes.  The ones who help and the ones who turn away.  There is That of God in all of them.

And the walls. . .  Who builds these walls?  We build them to separate, to protect, to decorate, to designate yours and mine.  Yet, in the grand scheme of all that is, these walls that we build are so thin.  And Rilke is right, they come crumbling down, once heavy brick, reduced to dust in the wind and blown silently across the landscape of our lives.

We build walls around our hearts.  We fence them in.  We guard them.  And when we do, we distance ourselves from the greatest source of love.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


It's cold.  No, it's REALLY cold.  Below zero cold.  Teens below zero cold.  With wind.  Which makes it feel even colder.

Extreme weather excites me.  It makes me know that I am so, so small.  It shows me that there's a vastness to it all that I will never understand.

So I be in it.  I feel it numb my fingers.  I feel it crackle inside my face.  I feel the tingle of the cold on my thighs.  I feel the ache of it in my feet inside my boots.  I feel it's instant intense compression simultaneous explosion in my lungs.  And I know it is powerful.  And so, so big.  And in it, I am so, so small.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interesting Conversation

I'm having an interesting conversation with somebody about the God-ness of Jesus.  About the "True Light".

I think that God is God.  There are many paths to God.  Light is Light.  God is Light.  Light is God.  God is Good.  To me, God, Light, Good exists in many ways.  I see that of God in other people.  In my mind, I do not see Jesus.  I see God.  When I see the clouds curl over the Bitterroots like waves of the ocean, I see God.

I'm curious what you think.  Leave me a comment.


Who Is Whole?

I am really enjoying the writings of the late Rainer Maria Rilke lately.  Here's another one that speaks to me.

Am I Not the Whole?

God, are you then the All?  And I the separated one
who tumbles and rages?
Am I not the whole?  Am I not all things
when I weep, and you the single one, who hears it?

from The Book of Hours II, 3

I think about the immensity of the hurt inherent in the human condition.  Often, O live in that place, the place of hurt, of loss, of weeping, tumbling and rage.  When I'm there, yes, it feels all consuming.  It feels like it is ALL that there is.  And it feels apart.  Apart from the God-thing that might hear, offer comfort, show me rest.

Apart-ness from God is, theologians might say, sin.  And that's an entirely different bucket of worms than I think Rilke was getting at here.  I'm not talking about sin either.  I'm talking about the depth of feeling that comes with living fully.

Whole in an interesting concept for me. In my own broken way, yes, I am whole.   I am a group of broken hurting people, all living in one broken hurting body.  It's how I survive.  And, it's how I will heal.  If the singleness of God hears me, and offers help, then good.  I'll take it.


Sunday, January 26, 2014


Rilke writes

Your Singing Continues

As swiftly as the world is changing,
like racing clouds,
all that is finished
falls home to the ancient source.

Above the change and the loss,
farther and freer,
your singing continues
god of the lyre.

How can we embrace our sorrows
or learn how to love,
or see what we lose

when we die?  Only your song
over the earth
honors our life and makes it holy.

from Sonnets to Orpheus 1, 19

I like to sing.  Singing is one of the things that coaxed me back to church.  Singing music I like has this unexpected way of lifting me, above the din of my life, above my pain, out of the noise in my head.  I don't always, or even often sound all that great singing.  I don't do it for other people mostly.  I do it for me.  I do it for breath.  I do it for life.  And when I don't sing, I miss it.  So here's a reminder for me.  Sing!  It turns the mundane into the holy.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Speaks?

God Speaks

I am, you anxious one.

Don't you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My murmurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can't you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn't my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?

I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am waiting.
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.

-Rilke, The Book of Hours 1, 19

A lot of Christians believe that Jesus speaks to them.  I, personally have never experienced this.

Jesus has never spoken to me.  Do I feel left out?  No.  Why?

Because God speaks to me.
In the stillness.
In the roaring of the wind as it tears through the great Ponderosa pines on the mountainside out my front door.
In the tiny but swelling buds on bare naked frozen branches in the dead of winter.
God speaks to Me!
In the love of my lover's eyes, the upturned corners of her smile, the sweet curl of her neck.
God Speaks to me.
In the night, when all is quiet, and all I hear is the deep sleep breathing of my child, my wife, my pets and the night.  In the warmth of my body between the sheets.  In the comfortable safety in the crook of her arm and her warm breath on my back.
God speaks To me.
Direct and unmistakable, searing speak, from the soul of my child, an arrow shot straight into the core of my being.  Undeniable, unbidden, in raw-ness, opening me wide but leaving no scar.
God speaks.
In so many ways.  I must only slow down and let myself be quiet to hear it.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Everything Matters

Rilke wrote, "The tasks that have been entrusted to us are often difficult.  Almost everything that matters is difficult, and everything matters."

Yes, yes, yes!  I've been struggling lately.  It's been difficult.  And the things that are difficult for me matter.

What matters?  Parenting.  Being a spouse.  Being true to myself.  Being a good friend.  Engaging in community.  Spirituality.  Searching and learning.  Resting.  Growing.  Healing.  Surviving.  Living.  Being.

Are these things difficult.  Often, yes.  Sure, there are moments when it isn't difficult.  But if you're honest with yourself and those around you, my guess is that you will say that the things that matter most are difficult.  I think that's what makes them precious.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

getting set up. ignore

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I'm Human

This morning with Little Bear was really, REALLY hard.  Nothing I did was right for him.  And I tried so hard.  He wouldn’t dress himself.  He wouldn’t feed himself.  He wouldn’t put on his shoes and socks.  He wouldn’t brush his teeth.  He wouldn’t put on his coat.  I had to do it all for him.  One bite at a time.  One sock at a time.  One shoe and then the other and then the first one again because he’d kicked it off.  Gave up on brushing his teeth because I didn’t feel like wrestling him, kicking and screaming on the bathroom floor while he spat toothpaste spit at my and clawed at my face.  Coat on over clenched swinging fists.  And then I lost my temper.  I yelled at him.  He kicked me and then started in on trying to tip over furniture.  So I gathered up his flailing little self and put him in a safety hold.  It sucked.  And I felt like a complete failure as a parent.  We calmed down a little bit and it was time to leave for the bus.  I asked him to come with me and told him it was time for the bus.  He didn’t come.  So I picked up his backpack and started off toward the bus stop.  He followed, screaming and yelling and throwing things.  He threw his blanket into the neighbor’s yard.  I left it there.  We got to the bus stop in one piece.  Once there, the tantrum ramped up.  He kept pulling out of my grasp.  I had to wrestle him to the ground roadside to keep him from darting in front of an oncoming car.  It was still dark.  I prayed to the moon to give me strength.  God is in the moon, right?  I hope so.  Finally his bus came.  And stopped.  And waited.  I tried my best to get him on the bus.  He kicked and screamed and yelled and clawed at my face.  The bus driver suggested I drive him to school and said that he needed to go.  Okay.  The bus pulled away, leaving me there, beside the road, in the dark, with my son.  I was calm.  I started home with him.  He pulled out of my grasp again and bolted.  Down the street he ran.  In the dark.  I didn’t know what to do.  I finally caught up with him, reeled him in and pulled him toward home.  He kicked and screamed and again got out of my grasp.  He ran, into a neighbor’s yard.  At least he was safe.  I pretended to ignore him and walked slowly toward home, keeping him in sight.  He followed.  Caught up with me.  Then started kicking and hitting me and pulling my clothtes off.  I dropped his backpack and picked him up and lugged him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes.  I carried him home that way, kicking and screaming and biting and hitting.  I felt like such a failure.  Seriously, what kind of parent can’t get their kid on the bus in the morning?  

Then I came home and opened my devotional book to today’s date.  The first sentence:  “It’s all right to be human.”  That’s really all I need to read.  I will make that mine today and try harder not to lose my temper with my son.  I won't be perfect.  He won't be perfect.  But that's okay.  Because we're both human.  And because we love each other to the moon and back.  And because we'll both keep trying. 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Three Weeks and One Day

Three weeks plus one day.  That's how long I managed to stay on GAPS intro.  I tried so, so hard to make it work.  And today I decided that my body needs first to be fed well before it can heal itself.  So, starting now, I'll be doing full GAPS for both myself and Little Bear (he's been on GAPS for over a year now).

Why am I giving up?  I'm not giving up.  I've thought about this.   In the past 3 weeks, my blood sugar has crashed on numerous occasions.  The last being today when I was evidently trying to eat lunch.  Lunch was too late though.  I remember cooking it, sort of.  I remember trying to eat it, sort of.  And I remember my Sweet leaning over me as I sat on the kitchen floor.  Lemme tell you, it sucks to crash.  It feels sort of like coming out of anesthesia.  And it hurts.  All over.  For hours afterward.

So no, I'm not giving up.  I'm doing what I believe is best for my body while still on a path that I hope will help it heal.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Promised Help

Dunno if I've mentioned this before.  If I have, you can read it again.  It's short.  A friend gave me a book called Jesus Calling.  It's a little pocket or purse sized devotional book with a different reading for every day of the year.  The author wrote it in the voice of Jesus.  I'm trying to read it, a new little page every day.  And I'm sharing my thoughts and feelings about it with a friend.  Lucky you.   Today I'm sharing it here too. 

So, today's reading is about Jesus shining down Peace to me and surrounding me with His Peace in the sea of problems I face day to day.  It's about being safer the closer I am to Jesus.  It's about simply calling out to Him and getting help. 

To preface, I don't hear the voice of Jesus at all in most of these readings.  For me, if it's any celestial voice, it's more God than Jesus.  I see Jesus as a man, to be regarded highly among men, possibly God-like.  Having Holy.  But separate from God.  I think the Jesus/God distinction is a cultural thing.  In my culture, people often use "Jesus" to mean "God" and to them, it's one in the same, sort of.  I dunno . . . 

I want today’s reading to be true for me.  It seems so simple.  In my current state of mind, I find it insulting, a trick, a hope that is designed to kill.  “When you start to sink, simply call out ‘Help me, Jesus!’ and I will lift you up.”  This is NOT something that my experience tells me is true in the least.  I could call out until my throat is raw and be so focused on some God thing helping me that I forget to survive.  It’s a trick (Luci thiks so too).  

That said, I do like the part of God shining on me and sending Peace.  I can hope for that, maybe (Luci is still sure it’s a trick.  She might be right).  Time will tell. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

busy day, can's seem to get my thoughts in a ine

Lots going on in my head today.  I'm tired and can't begin to sort it all out right now.   So I'm going to leave it and that.  It is what it is.


Friday, January 10, 2014

food journal 1/10/14 (enlightening reading! sarcasm, anyone?)

before breakfast:  82
breakfast of chicken broth, one poached egg, chicken, green beans, butter, coffee, half and half.  headache.  grumble guts
1 hr after eating:  91.  headache.
2 hrs after eating:  93.  headache.  grumble guts
spoonful of ccnut oil/butter/honey "candy"
before lunch:  92.  headache. guts better.  heartburn.
lunch of GAPS ramen (chicken broth, finely shredded napa cabbage), lightly poached egg,. roasted dandelion tea.
1 hr after lunch:  90.  headache.  weather on its way.  heartburn.  anxious.
2 hrs after lunch:  96
snack of 1 cup winter squash, 1 T butter, honey, 2/3 cup whole milk yogurt.  headache.  took 2 lortab and 1 phenergan.  it's worsening and migraine is on top of me.  weather is changing.  sky heavy to the west and south but weather coming from the north west.  worked outside with K to tie things down before the storm.  feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
2 hrs after snack:  88
before evening snack:  80
snack of yogurt, coconut oil and honey.  migraine.  feel anxious and overwhelmed.
bedtime sugar, 2 hrs after snack:  87.  very tired.  heartburn.  tried lemon juice, water and a bit of honey.  i think that helped.  very thirsty but drinking water makes me queasy and makes he heartburn worse.  so, so tired.  can hardly keep my eyes open.

thoughts on the day.
coulda used more protein.  today my protein was chicken, gelatin in broth, 2 poached eggs, yogurt twice.

i worked hard today.  clean a lot.  the kitchen looks nice.  pulled stove apart, cleaned under it, fixed it and put it back.  cleaned the drawer and put kettles away.  didn't think that silly project would take me 2 hours.  but the good part is that i got it done!

head is spinning, feel like i need a bucket next to the bed.  body aches.  going to open my window a crack and put 'puter away and try to sleep.


For the Record

There are a LOT of things that need doing that I have NOT been doing.  They are, some simple, some not so simple things that are part of living every day.  They are part of keeping up my home.  They are part of taking care of myself.  They are part of living in relationship.  They are part of taking care of my family.

In an attempt to see my progress, and also to be accountable, I've made lists of these things I need to be doing.  Might seem like over-kill, listing each little thing.  But if you've lived as I have, always sick, always in pain, in the dark, barely dragging through each day, you'll know that each tiny task is not such a tiny deal.

Every day, I need to:
open my bedroom windows - let the light in
make my bed
take fermented cod liver oil and probiotic with warm water or tea (part of the GAPS thing)
eat breakfast
take my morning meds
brush my teeth
run the dishwasher
wipe down the kitchen counters
wipe out the kitchen sink
sweep the kitchen floor
sweep the living room floor
wipe down the toilet (inside too)
wipe down the bathroom counter and sink
feed the dogs breakfast
let the chickens out and give them food and water, gather the eggs
get a clean dish rag and dish towel in the kitchen
get a clean hand towel in the bathroom
feed the cats
get the dogs fresh water
wipe down the stove
do one load of laundry
take the compost out
feed the dogs dinner
put the chickens to bed
spend quality time with Little Bear
take my evening meds
take a detox bath (it's part of the GAPS thing)
eat lunch
eat dinner with the family
clean each pot or pan when I'm finished using it
track my blood sugar (for now, until it evens out)
give thanks daily (because that's a healthy thing to do)
encourage another person every day (because it's NOT all about me)
do something nice or thoughtful for K every day (because she's my wife and deserves to be treated with utmost love and respect)
drink less coffee than i did yesterday (no coffee on GAPS)
do some activity that makes me move my body
drink at least 64 oz water
drink at least 12 oz broth (another GAPS thing)
eat only GAPS legal food

So, yup.  That's my daily to do list.  I know I won't probably manage to do all these things every day.  But I will try.


Slow Down

Slow down and enjoy the journey.  Ok, that could work.  

Stress happens because I push to have things happen before their time.  Uh, yup.  
That is a good lesson for me about my body.  This GAPS thing is so, so hard.  It triggers the shit out of me having to eat so much meat.  But if I don’t eat meat, my blood sugar crashes and that can be life threatening.  

I want a quick fix.  I want to feel better NOW, damn it!  It’s so hard for me to know that it took me decades to get to where I am now and it won’t happen all at once.  The journey IS hard.  It hurts.  Every day.  It’s work, hard work.  And I know, in the core of me, that I’m doing what I need to be doing.  I can’t say how I know but I do.  I guess that’s the trust part, isn’t it?  

Anyway, onward.  Toward the One.  Toward health.  Slowly, so I can enjoy each tiny triumph, each tiny progress.  Don’t rush, just keep trying.  


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tenderness and Hope

"God is our refuge and strength,
     an ever-present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

"Be joyful in hope . . . "
Romans 12:12

Today's reading is about hope.  And tenderness.  It's about how God is tender with his hurting children.  It talks about how hope is like an golden cord connecting me to God.  I really like that image.  I cling to hope, as a sort of umbilical cord.  A lifeline.

On good days, or days when things aren't absolutely terrible but I'm feeling some of the pain of living, like today (my body hurts.  i have a migraine.), I take comfort in the idea that God is tender with me.  I like that word, "tender".   God tends to me.

This song comes to mind today.  It's by Amy Grant.  Don't hold that against me.  I like the middle part.  It's a good mantra for me.

"Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven."


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unanswered Cries

I was given a book.  The book is "Jesus Calling".   I was given this book some 3 years ago.  It felt like a taunt.  I gave it away.  A few days ago, I was given this book again.  By the same person.  So I decided to give it a try.

Today's entry says
"I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine.  Come to me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish.   . . . . . . Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered.  Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark.  The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work in the situation . . .   . . . "

My thoughts,  edited as best I can to say what needs to be said in a way that's appropriate. 

I’ve gotta say that today's reading only works for me if I have blinders on and don’t remember the past.  Because I have such clear memories of being a small girl, in a dry wheat field at night, cold and barefoot in the wind, if i was lucky to have a blanket, it would be stained or *** **** *****, ********* ****.  I would pray, "God, please help me.  Jesus, please, come for me now.  If you’re real, help me.”  Nobody came.  Sometimes I’d give up and curl up on the lumpy ground and try to stop breathing. Sometimes I’d just wait.  And watch.  And let the elders finish what they were doing so I could get cleansed (by one of them) and go home, to walk silently up the driveway and crawl into my bedroom window to my bed.  

Now, when I read today’s words, those are the predominant thoughts I have.  And, I’m angry.  And choking back tears for her.  I want to yell at God, “Damn it!  Where were you?  Didn’t you see?  Why did you let her (me) be so terribly hurt?  Why did you wait so long?”  It’s very hard for me to take today’s words and keep them in today.  Because all day, every day, I take my experiences with me.  All day, I know what happened back then.  

It doesn’t seem fair to close that window or shut that door on that knowing so I can read these words today in relative comfort.  It seems glib, bumper-sticker-ish, and fake.  I'm not willing to do that to her - to me.  


post script.  

If my blog upsets you, it should.  You are free not to read it.  Things happened that shouldn't have happened.  I will no longer be silent.  I write in an attempt to reconcile my experiences with my todays, so that I may become whole and walk toward healing. 


"Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love. . . Life always says Yes and No simultaneously.  Death (I implore you to believe) is the true Yea-sayer.  It stands before eternity and says only: Yes."

from Letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy.  Ephiphany, 1923.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Another Damned Monday

What's up with this so many Monday's in a row bullshit, anyway?  Oh, right.  Last week had a "Monday" on a Thursday and that threw a wrench in everything.  It sucks to have another Monday so soon.

Today was mixed for me.  I woke up very tired.  I got kiddo on the bus for school then came back and started yogurt (again, Little Bear put onion in the last batch, so delish!), went to work, came home, started chicken broth, started oxtail broth, made "jerky, put a bunch of kitchen stuff away.  Then crashed.

And, after I crashed, I ate.  Non-GAPS (intro) stuff.  I had the gross onion yogurt (that curdled) with coconut oil chunks, honey and peanut butter on it.  I'm pissed.  Because I try so fekking hard.  And because a slip like this means more days that I have to be on this intro part of the diet.  I suck!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Calling to me

Hosea  (Come back to me)
by Steve Bell and Gregory Norbet

Come back to me
with all your heart

Don't let fear
keep us apart

Trees do bend
though straight and tall

So must we 
to others call

Long have I waited for your your come coming
home to me and living deeply our new life

The wilderness
will lead you

To your heart
where I will speak

and justice

With tenderness
you shall know

And long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life. 

Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life. 

You shall sleep
secure with peace

will be your joy

Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life

Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life

I hear this song deeply right now.  It resonates with my soul.  Love is calling me home.  I am calling be home, to my body.  My Sweet is calling me home, to our marriage.  God is calling me home, home to His presence to rest, to heal.  

Today, when I took the Bread and the Wine, I thought of this song.  I want to come home.  Home to nature.  Home to my heart.  Home to my truth.  Home to Love.

To me, it feels like a promise.  I choose to believe it is.  And I claim it.  This will be my mantra, my hope, my prayer.  


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stage 3!

Well, I've made it to Stage 3 on the Intro part of the GAPS diet.  I'm pretty proud.  Now I can have chicken broth, soft cooked veggies (almost any soft cooked veggie), soft cooked or raw eggs, boiled chicken (or other boiled meat), home made yogurt, home made kraut and honey.  I can have ginger and black/white pepper and salt to season my food.

My body doesn't feel great.  I woke up this morning with a pretty big migraine.  Didn't take anything for it but pushed on with my day anyway.  Had coffee and cream (not GAPS legal, but I'm trying to learn to listen to my body and I hear my body saying that it needs coffee!) and drove to Hamilton to assist with a child restraint check event.  Took 600mg ibu and am now home, sans migraine.

I cooked a yummy lunch for myself.  Put chicken broth in a sautee' pan.  Add thinly sliced chicken.  Add thinly sliced onion.  Add brussell sprouts.  Add an egg to poach.  Salt the egg and the chicken.  Added about 3 Tbs home made kraut to my plate.  Might sound kind of off flavor to you but for me, after over a week on mostly just cx broth and yogurt, it was really, really good!  And I was proud to know that everything I put on my plate and in my body was healing for my body.

Now, I'm making more yogurt.  We're going through a LOT of yogurt.  Little Bear eats up to 4 cups of it a day.  My Sweet eats it at least every evening.  And now I too eat it several times a day.  It's good!  But that means that I have to make a gallon of yogurt about every 2nd or 3rd day.

Wanna know how I make my most delicious yogurt?  I knew you did.  Ok, twist my arm.  I'll tell you.

Start with a clean large kettle.  Pour 1 gallon of whole organic (pasteurized because that's the only way we can get it where I live) into the pot.  Stick a candy thermometer into it.  Turn on the stove to half plus one setting.  Stir every very few minutes.  Watch the temp.  When the milk reaches 185 degrees F, turn the stove off.  Leave it on the stove so it can slowly begin to cool.  The longer the milk stays at 185 degrees, the thicker your final yogurt will be.  So, depending on how much time I have, I may let it sit there on the stove for an hour.  Anyway, let the milk cool (maybe put it in a sink of cold water if you're short on time) to between 120 and 110 degrees F.  At this temp, it's safe to add your probiotic, your culture, your starter or whatever it is you're going to use to ferment your milk.  Yes, yogurt is fermented milk.  I use a probiotic capsule.  Whatever kind we're using this month (different every month).  The kind I'm using this month takes longer to ferment the milk into a thick yogurt.  Some are quick.  Anyway, after you've added your culture (can also be 8 oz of store bought plain live yogurt or some whey from the last batch, or, yogurt starter, which you can spend lots of money on at a health food store), your milk needs to sit for at least 24 hours in a warm still place.  I find that if I set the oven to "warm" for a few minutes, it creates just such a spot.  I usually make yogurt in the afternoon.  So, to keep my milk warm over night, I'll sometimes pop the oven on "warm" for about 2 minutes before I go to bed, and again in the morning.  The milk needs to ferment for at least 24 hours for the good bugs to transform the lactose and casein into proteins that are easily digested.  So, there ya go.  Yogurt.

Have a good resta the day, eh?


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Feels Like A Monday

Doesn't it?  Who thought it would be a good idea to have kids start school today?  Not me!

Anyway, I didn't sleep well last night.  Tossed and turned.  Up and down.  Couldn't settle.  Couldn't relax.  I wonder if it's because I didn't take narcotics at night.  Could be.  My body has been used to having them for better part of a year or more.

And, because I was up, I ate.  I had yogurt with coconut oil, little bit of honey (but probably too much) and peanut butter (not approved for the stage I'm in).  And then I had more yogurt, this time with coconut oil (craving that for some reason), frozen blueberries (not approved for the stage I'm in) and more honey (still too much).  Still awake later, so, um, I ate more, der.  A spoon full of peanut butter (Nope, not GAPS legal on Intro Stage 1).

I slept through my alarm this morning.  Woke up groggy.  Not too much physical pain.  But ya know what?  I have a migraine.  Yes, I do.  Lots of visual aura and flashes of intense, breath-stopping, nauseating head pain.  And lots of sound sensitivity.  So that right now, the tv in the next room is painful.  And the sloshing noise of the dishwasher behind me is dizzying.

So, dear Heidi, what do you learn?  Perhaps that you get migraines on Thursdays that feel like Mondays.  Really?  Maybe.  Or, could there be a link between what you ate last night, and . . . . wait for it . . . how you feel TODAY?  Hmmmm. . .  I'll think about that one.  Eat peanut butter, blueberries and honey at night, get a migraine in the morning.  Sweet Heidi, maybe, just maybe your body isn't ready for these foods just yet.  Maybe the doctor who researched and designed this way of eating actually knew what she was doing.  Science back it up.  Experience of thousands of other people back it up.  So why, then, do I fight it?  Because it's in my nature.  Poor excuse.  But true.

I tried to eat some chicken in my breakfast soup.  Couldn't hack it.  Couldn't even finish the soup around the bits of chicken.  That made the dogs happy because they got to fight over it.

For lunch, I tried again.  I set about 3/4 of a large onion, thinly sliced to sautee' with some butter and chicken broth.  I added thinly sliced carrots.  These cooked over low heat while I puttered with other things.  When the carrots were soft, I made a spot in the center of the pan and added 5 very thin slices of chicken breast, which I salted and cooked there, turning, until they were cooked through.  I ate all but one.  And most of the carrots and onions.  I ate until I was full.  It felt panicky eating the chicken but I just breathed and chewed and swallowed and thought about how it would nourish, fuel and heal my body.  This is progress.

Sure does feel like a Monday.  Ugh.  I'm hungry and have no energy.  My kid, however, is outside shooting off fireworks.  My apologies to my neighbors with sleeping babies.

Over the past few months, I've been slowly trying to find alternatives to the things we use every day that are loaded with chemicals that I don't really want my family to put in or on our bodies.  I've learned to make a really neat shampoo (bar).  I make all our soap.  I make several different salves that we use regularly.  And, today, I tackled pit stick.  Cause, well, I don't want to stink and I REALLY don't want to continue to poison myself as I have been every day since I was 12.  I made 2 different "flavors".  One for me, one for my Sweet.  I'll let you know what we think of them in a week or so.

I'm crabby.  I'm trying as hard as I can on this GAPS thing.  And right now, I feel like throwing in the towel.  I am craving sweets like crazy.  It sucks!  You don't think sugar addiction is real?  I'm here ta tell you that, yes, it's real.

Just had a complete emotional break down. I asked my wife if we 

could touch. I wasn't asking for sex. Just wanted to touch her. 

Turned in to me crying so hard I couldn't breathe, having 

flashbacks to **** ****** laying on my chest, being **** down and 

*****. What is wrong with me? All I wanted was a simple 

conversation of connection and some touch. Maybe hold hands as 

we fall asleep next to each other. Right now I'm feeling seriously 

tetched in the head, off my nut, spun out. Does this diet ever 

cause people to go crazy? Or maybe crazier? Because seriously, i 

feel like crazy is chasing me and I can't outrun it.

This concludes the Fucking Monday on a Thursday.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I've heard, from more than one source, that I've been overwhelmingly negative as of late.  Look at it, I think it's true.  I've been bitchy.  I've whined.  I've complained.  I've turned every comment or action into something negative.  I hurt, I'm stuck, I'm lost, I don't know what to do, it sucks, etc.  It's been true.

I don't know if me spewing all this negativity is me saying that I'm at the end of my rope?  Because I am.  I don't know if it's my psyche detoxing through my mouth?  Could be, the rest of me is detoxing.  I don't know if it's a sign of just how dark the depression is?  Because it's dark.  Maybe a mix of all 3?  Or more?  I don't know.  And that's not a cop out.  That's honest.

Thank you, though, for calling it to my attention.  I wasn't aware that I was being overwhelmingly negative.  I was aware of trying to verbalize my experience.  I'm so used to having experiences that I think are real, only to be told by someone else, "No, you got it wrong.  It didn't happen like that.  You got it mixed up in your head.  What you think happened never even happened at all."  I think I'm trying to validate my experience by verbalizing it.  To me, that makes sense.

I am aware, that by verbalizing my experience, I may trigger discomfort in other people.  To me, right now, that's okay.  I don't want to go around tripping other people up, no, that's not it.  What I'm not doing is protecting other people's comfort.  I feel like I need to somehow validate my experiences.  For me, verbalizing it helps to validate it.  I'm not trying to be manipulative.  I'm not trying to scare anybody.  I'm trying to survive.  I'm trying to make sure that my experience is real.  Because people see real things.  And people hear real things.  By saying what this feels like, or what that feels like, I'm trying to make it real for myself.

I am real.  My experiences are real.  It is safe to be seen (I hope).  It is safe to be heard (I hope).  It is safe to be real (I hope).


A Week In

Hi all. I'm a week in now. On Intro stage 1 still. I've let go of any expectations of spending a day on each stage. I woke this morning with no migraine! My body still hurts, but not as much as it did to start. I feel a bit more upbeat. My mind can make about half a thought now without completely fogging out. Today I got up (after a crazy late and exhausting night last night) after sleeping in and cooked a nice breakfast for my wife and kid. I drank my warm water (with weak coffee and cream, cause, not everything at once), and took my fclo and pbx pill. ready now for broth with added cooked mushrooms and cooked carrots. I'm still dumping toxins and other stuff. I have slime coming out all over. It'd gross. And I think I may be starting to lose some water weight. I'm down to 218 (from 225 a week ago). Things are looking up.

I forgot to mention a strange bit.  I'm blowing my nose non-stop and it's been very productive.  Also, I'm a firefighter.  Anyway, today I blow and blow and blow then look around because I smell smoke.  It's the certain smell of smoke from a structure fire.  It's bad smoke (all smoke is bad but some is, well, badder.).  Then I realize that the smell is coming out of my nose!  So I think back.  When was the last structure fire I was on that I "sucked smoke"?  That was late this past summer.  I think that is a good marker for me as to where my body is in going back in time detoxing.  I know that my body absorbs toxins when I'm on a fire.  Yes, we take precautions.  But it's part of the job.  Even being very careful, sometimes firefighters breathe smoke.  And we work around all sorts of toxic stuff.  Anyway, my nose, anyway, is working on detoxing stuff from, oh, September-ish.  It's stinky structure fire smoke stuff.  Kinda makes me laugh. 

It's now about 5pm.  I'm cooking dinner.  For myself and for my family.  For me, chicken broth, about half an onion and thinly sliced carrots.  I got brave and shaved a tiny bit off a frozen cx breast, cooked it in ccnut oil and added it to my soup.  I do not like chicken.  But I'm eating it.  Because it will heal me.  Yup.  For my family, I am cooking a GAPS friendly turkey sausage, onions, green beans and carrots.  Luken will love it!  

I'm feeling proud.  Today is the first day since I started GAPS that I have gotten out of bed when I woke up in the morning and stayed out of bed all day.  Not only have I stayed out of bed, I've gotten shit done!  I've deep cleaned part of the kitchen.  Not the whole thing, as was my goal, but about a third of it.  I'm trying not to beat myself up for not doing more but I understand that I gotta start somewhere.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm tired.  And I'll be ready for bed tonight.  But I have stayed UP all day!  I'm not usually able to do that.  And I still don't have a migraine!  

I'm afraid to hope.  So many times I have hoped and worked hard and it hasn't helped.  Help me hope, ok?  And be patient with me when I fuck up.  Because I will.  I approach this journey with a fair amount of fear.