Casein Free: Week 2...

Today marks the end of the second week of my dairy elimination diet.  Has it been hard?, you ask.  Well, yes and no.  I'm feeling a bit more at ease, knowing what I can and cannot eat.  Unfortunately, the things that I can have in restaurants are usually unhealthy and fatty i.e. french fries and chicken wings.  I have to remind myself not to eat too much of those.

On the whole, however, I have been feeling better physically.  I haven't been gassy or bloated (except for when I ate those greasy, fatty chicken wings last week...oh boy.)  My tendency is to overcompensate with meat, so I am trying to do a little better on that end.  I made some hummus today, and I have lots of fruit in the house.  I'm not perishing...just dying a little inside every time I see someone eat ice cream.  (Why is it all about the ice cream? I'm craving that more than cheese.  It's so wrong.)

I'll keep you posted next week for my outcome.  One more week, folks! Bring it!




I received an email from my TESOL liaison, which read:

"Hi Ashleigh
We like to check if we haven't heard from a student for a month. I hope everything is  fine. Everyone is so busy these days and you still have lots of time left, but just checking in."

So now you know the truth...I have been procrastinating and putting off my course.  In the past couple of days I have tried to do a little bit every day, just to keep on top of it.  I have to be finished this module by the end of December, and the course by the end of January.  I need a renewed sense of strength and encouragement, as I am entering into the most tedious portion.  

Please pray that God would give me the desire to see this to the end.  



Sermons and Christmas...

When I was looking after my two young charges yesterday,  I had the chance to drive them to McDonald's in my car.  On the way, I happened to mention Jake's MP3 player.  The youngest one, Michael, leapt at the chance to look at it.  I told him Jake had only downloaded sermons on it.  Disappointed though he was, he still asked me what a sermon was.  Wow.  Such a cool opportunity to talk about church, God, the Bible, and our pastor with them.  I hope that I said something to peak their curiosities about God.  Please pray as I continue to  look for opportunities to share Christ with this family.

Jake and I heard two wonderful sermons in church today, and during the morning service our pastor reminded us of the importance of the virgin birth to our Christian faith.  What would salvation be without it, not to mention the person of Jesus Christ?  This birth was unique, and more than fulfilled the prophecies of old.  How could Jesus have been our Saviour if he had been born from two human parents?  He would have had no credibility because his birth would have been tainted by the sins of the first Adam.  No, he had to be born of the Spirit so that he could be both fully man and yet fully God.

What a wonderful truth to have in our hearts for the upcoming week!



Waiting for the Sun...

Good morning.  I hope your sleep was pleasant and restful.  Why don't you pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and join me?  I'm just waiting for the sun to come up so I can walk to the gym to swim some laps.  I was just thinking about my plan for today.

1. Spend some time with God...done and done...but NEVER done :) I love that this part of my day can be ongoing.
2. I work out...'nuff said.
3. Have coffee with a friend at William's.  In my opinion, the best place to go :)
4. Work
5. Bake a strawberry pie. OH YEAH!
6. Have dinner with the in-laws and pick up our winter tires.  Thankfully they have more storage space than we do.  Oh, and they also have Jake's brother's tires too.  We just call this the "picking-up-the-winter-tires" party.

Enjoy your day.  I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy mine!



The End...

Today I completed the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series.  I started the series in the middle of August, and with the exception of a three-book hiatus, I've been picking away at these books a little each day. It feels surreal to be finished, but I love that the ending is so hopeful when the other books were looking somewhat bleak.

It reminds me of how life on earth can feel hopeless, and yet we have a conquering Saviour who is coming to vanquish us, and do away with evil forever.

Amen! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!



Swim Like a Fishy...

A month ago I wrote about how I was going to test out a gym membership.  It was quite a successful month; I went to the gym about 5 times a week.  Jake and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to renew my membership for this month.

One of the workouts that I am enjoying the most is swimming laps.  Ever since I was 17 years old, I have stopped and started with this particular form of exercise.  Trying to get back into it this time seemed to be a little more difficult than when I did it for two months in 2010.  My form was terrible.  My lungs were gasping for air.  My arms felt like dead-weights.

I happen to know the lifeguard who works there, and she has been in the habit of giving me some tips on how to improve.  This morning she gave me a pleasant surprise when she asked me, "Do you feel yourself getting better?"  I thought for a moment, and realized that, why yes, I do feel like I have been getting more comfortable in the water as I can focus more on the motions than just trying to breathe.  She confirmed that by saying that she's started to notice the difference in my technique.  I was both encouraged and pleased to hear this.



Casein Free: Week 1...

Today marks Week 1 on my dairy elimination diet.  In the past week I have tried my best to read labels, to avoid chocolate (which has been very hard), and to not complain when ice cream seems to appear out of thin air.  On the week-end, I had a sip of my sister's bubble tea, forgetting that there was milk in it.  An hour later, I had an itchy neck (which usually happens when I have an allergic reaction to something).  That being said, I don't think I could cut out dairy from my life after I am finished this 3-week hiatus.  I will merely have to suffer the consequences- and perhaps stop drinking two glasses of milk everyday.

Something I am grateful for is that I haven't been bloated or feeling gaseous, so I'm pretty sure it was the dairy that was fueling that uncomfortable body ailment.  However, we shall see what happens in a couple of weeks.

The part I am frustrated about is that I have been overcompensating with foods that I can eat, like eating cups of marshmallows, or over-eating at dinner.  I notice that I am now eating more meat than usual (which, from Jake's point-of-view, isn't so terrible).  However, there is only so much protein that is needed, and I am exceeding that amount in bounds and leaps.  I am determined to start eating better, like I was before, and truly watching my portion sizes.

On another note, please keep praying for Jake and I in our desire to do missions overseas next year.  We are still in the process, and still waiting for references; it has been somewhat discouraging, but we know that the Lord has everything under control, and we will go when His timing is perfect.



Drink Milk Love Life...

I have often felt sorry for the people around me who are on random elimination diets due to certain health problems i.e. allergies, weight, etc.  Now I am on a dairy elimination diet, due to some uncomfortable gas and bloating.  The purpose of this 3 week torture is to find out if I have a sensitivity to dairy, and thereby determine the cause of said excess gas.

Easier said than done.  It is hard to think about what to make that doesn't involve dairy.  There are so many possibilities, don't get me wrong, but dairy is in EVERYTHING, my friend.  Reading labels is now a part of my daily life.

I also made up a Healthy Fiber Mix that can be added to anything for an added boost (and to make you regular).
Add equal parts of lecithin granules, ground flax seed, and psyillium husks, (all found at the Bulk Barn) stir them together, and add two tablespoons as part of a regular, healthy diet.  Don't forget to drink a lot of water to balance out that extra fiber.  (This mix can be stored in the fridge).

I added it to my oatmeal this morning, and it took me about twenty minutes to finish one bowl, just because it was so filling.

Well, to all those dairy fans out there, cut some cheese for me today :)



Life Stressors...

Being married has shown me how our emotions affect those around us.  When I was single, no one noticed if I was having a bad day, because I'd be alone in my room having my own pathetic pity party.

Those parties don't seem to be as enjoyable anymore.  Jake certainly doesn't like them.  In fact, they make him just as flustered or melancholy as I am.

Being married has taught me that I need to talk about the things that make me worried or upset.  Whining will get me nowhere in life.  But spilling my heart and crying will get me a compassionate shoulder to lean on, strong arms around my waist, and kisses from the man who pledged his life to me.

God has blessed us this past year, and even when things seemed to have no resolution, He got us through.

Because of Him, we can have hope for life stressors run amok.




This week I learned the reason for why some people get warts and coldsores.  It's because they have a strain of the HPV virus in their bodies, and it will be there for the rest of their lives.  The only time you notice it is if you get a wart or a coldsore.  

Interesting?  I think so.  It kinda reminds me of something else we have to deal with...our secret sins that we thought were taken care of already. We often go through life thinking they left, until we encounter a situation where they rear their ugly heads from somewhere deep within us, unbidden and certainly unwelcome.

And yet this is the hope we have : "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Instead of pretending they aren't there, let's just take some time to confess those forgotten and even unknown sins to our Father, so that we can let freedom reign once more, and experience true forgiveness.