I love the band Social Distortion. There is always a song for each happening in life and, although this may seem like it will be a band tribute, it isn’t. I’ve had some experiences in the past few weeks that … Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago our pastor told the story behind the song “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. It was written during wartime and the writer couldn’t get a record label to record the song. One day while golfing with … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve written. The last couple of months have been crazy. I went into sales in June and I’ve been concentrating on building my book of business and have been running on all cylinders. I’ve spent quite a few days out of town as well. Things are going well but it’s a crazy, crazy time.
I also moved to 2nd Vice President in Lions last month which means new responsibilities and learning more there.
It’s a lot of change at one time and while I embrace change, this week things have caught up to me.
You see, there have been a lot of changes in my personal life and my friend’s lives. I have done a little “housekeeping” when it came to friends and have decided to weed out those that have wronged me or that use me. It’s felt good to surround myself with positive people.
While I’ve been overwhelmed with what’s going on in my life, the worst thing is when I can’t help my friends. I know that when things are crazy in my life I have a good cry and the weight is lifted. But when I see my friends hurting, it overwhelms me in a different way. There aren’t enough words or hugs or cards that can make things better. Only time. But all I want to do is fix things, make them right again and make sure everyone is happy.
The reality is that not all times are happy. In fact, Ecclesiastes 3 says:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
We take the good with the bad, we laugh and cry…and in these times of being overwhelmed I pray.
Today is Thanksgiving. For some people it means a days of stuffing your face full of food or prepping for Black Friday (which has turned into Black Thanksgiving Day but I digress), but for me it means what I think it should mean: a day with family and friends.
You see, I’ve always thought “what if you take away the food, football, shopping, etc…what do you have?” It’s the people around you! As a Celiac, so much emphasis is put on food. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuffing as much (or more) than the next person but if I couldn’t have it but was surrounded by people I love…Thanksgiving is perfect.
I’m so incredibly thankful for so many people in my life. My parents are amazing people who jump in to whatever adventure I start on. My brother and sister in law support me from afar and my niece and nephew are amazing little wide eyed children. I have a fantastic group of friends who make me laugh and have hearts of gold and a bestie who is always there for me. What more could I need?
This Thanksgiving, count your blessings. I bet the list is longer than you think.
Most of my friends really get why I’m gluten free. They know that eating anything with gluten can make me sick and sick is not where I want to be. They really don’t want me to be there either, I’m a hot mess when I ingest gluten. I start cramping up and then my tummy hates me and I end up either in the bathroom for long periods of time (I will let your imagination go and it probably would be accurate) or curled up on my bed because the stomach cramps are so horrible. Women, just take the “that time of the month” cramps and ramp it up. Men, imagine getting kicked hard in the you know where…and I’m pretty sure you know the pain I go through.
I still have people in my life that, from statements made, think I’m overreacting. The other day I posted a story about there being a lot of gluten free restaurants in Italy on my personal Facebook profile. I had a friend say “you people are ruining everything”. Ruining everything? How? By being excited that I can go out and eat?
I wasn’t sure if this person was joking or not, it’s hard to tell via social media sometimes, so I made light of it and said that I wasn’t looking for a constitutional amendment and it was each restaurants right to have a gluten free menu or not.
I guess I’m still puzzled as to why “us people” are ruining things. Anyone that isn’t gluten free can still get beer and get it at a fraction of what I pay for beer. Anyone that isn’t gluten free can go anywhere and eat whatever they please. I guess I don’t get it. I’ve never said that I am going to make every restaurant have a separate kitchen for gluten free because it’s my right. (It isn’t, don’t take that wrong). And, even if a restaurant doesn’t have anything I can eat, I will still go there with my friends because I’m a social person.
Yes, I do get excited when I read that Europe is very gluten friendly and that, someday, when I get to go there I will be able to eat and eat well. Better bring my stretchy pants! And I do get excited when a new item hits the shelves and I can have egg rolls again.
The thing is that people really don’t know what they miss…until they can’t have it anymore.
I would challenge my friends that thing that gluten free is easy to go one week gluten free. Read the labels, eliminate all wheat, barley and rye from your diet and see how “easy” it is…I’m sure you’d be more than surprised.
This past weekend was one of the weekends that I always look forward to every year. It’s the weekend of the Warrior Dash which is held up at Copper Mountain here in Colorado. It is a 5K race mixed with an obstacle course and on the side of the mountain that is pretty rugged terrain.
I love this weekend for multiple reasons. First, it’s a challenge. Every year the race route has been about the same but they change it up with the obstacles. It is still hard no matter what! The second reason I love this weekend, is that I get to spend it with some dear friends of mine. Three of us have done this race for the past four years and then we brought others on along the way. It is a time for us to hang out, to work hard on the race and then relax and enjoy the company.
They also have pretty good gluten free good there. We ate at the Incline, a bar and grille at the resort. When I told the server I was Celiac, he was very knowledgeable and told me what I could and couldn’t have. He even provided info like the fact that the fries were fried in with breaded items and explained what sides I could have. They had gluten free buns so I jumped in and got a burger. We then went to the Storm King Lounge for sushi. They had one roll that was gluten free, quite a disappointment as I was sure they had more gluten free rolls last year. They did have an appetizer and dessert that were gluten free. It was good but I’m used to more variety.
There’s a reason why Celiacs aren’t always in for a social event. Think about it, every social event has food: employee lunches, dinner with friends, birthday parties, and picnics. They all have the same element: eating. When that goes away, what do you do? All of a sudden you are either the outcast and people don’t invite you out anymore, or the world revolves around you and your disease. Both of these give you attention that you don’t want or need at most times. I mean, I live with Celiac Disease, and it’s one of my biggest platforms, but I don’t always want to talk about me, me, me. (Que the Toby Keith song).
Here are some tips for those that are starting on their gluten free journey, to make social events much more positive:
- Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to bring your own food. Don’t be afraid to speak up when someone says “let’s go to restaurant xyz” if you know you can’t eat there. I do this a lot and while it does attract attention, it’s fair that you get to eat too! Also, don’t be afraid to ask your hostess what they are serving. I did this for a birthday party I was going to last night, got the menu as well as the name of the BBQ sauce they were using, etc. I was able to eat it all and if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have known!
- Be strong. Going gluten free isn’t easy, for sure not in the beginning. I would tell you it is, but you’d be disappointed. It gets easier. Shopping gets easier, eating out gets easier and, hopefully, your friends and family will become sensitive to your needs. You will need strength to not bend and eat that pizza that you used to love. It will pay off if you stand strong because your body will thank you for it as it heals from the damage that gluten has caused. Always remember that!
- Ask for help. If you don’t know where to shop, what to shop for or what brands are better than the next, just ask. Find a group online or a local gluten free group and ask people their opinions. As people that are GF, we have plenty of them! In Grand Junction, we have an online Facebook group called Gluten Free Grand Valley Gluten Free Grand Valley but have people from all over so if you need support, just join our group. We love to help! Don’t want to ask in a public forum? Email me. I’m more than happy to help someone via email.
- Take the attention. Hopefully that means that people care about you and want to do what’s best for you. If they ask what restaurant you want to go to it means they want to hang out with you and keep you safe. I know that’s why my friends ask and I’m so grateful for their care. If it’s negative attention, take it as an opportunity to educate them on why it’s so important. Sometimes people just don’t understand and when they are told, it changes their opinions. And with people saying that GF is just a fad diet, it’s a great time to tell them that not all people use it that way.
- Wear it proud. Yes, being a Celiac isn’t easy and isn’t always fun but we are different and have a lot to offer the communities we live in. We can show people that having an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean that we can’t still LIVE. I love it when I’m introduced to a little girl with Celiac and get to tell her all of the things I do even though I have this strange, food related disease with a funky name. I wear the Celiac ribbon a lot and get asked what it’s for. Educate the public!
Things get easier as you get rolling and as more people understand, your life will get easier as well.
The past two weeks weren’t the easiest ones I’ve had in my life. Making the decision to put my Punky to sleep was a hard one, but the right one. I never want to have one of my fur babies suffer.
I learned a lot about the people in my life over the past days and I want to publicly thank you for your support, kind words and actions. I’ve been feeling the love more than ever before.
I had so many friends reach out to me: making dates to go on walks, for dinners, drinks or a day at a wrestling tournament. My parents spent so much time with me too, my dad helping me clean carpets. Yup, I said cleaning carpets.
All of these people wanted to make sure that I was ok, that I didn’t just dig myself into a depression, which could have easily happened. I had people email me, call me, text me, message me on Facebook, Twitter and through this blog…all with beautiful memories of Punky and encouraging words. And the gifts that are reminders of my beautiful fur baby. Those will help me to remember her as well.
I am one of the luckiest girls alive. And I thank you.
February is a fun month. Last week was an amazing week. I am a part of the Grand Junction Lions Club and we hold one fundraiser a year. It is not only the biggest fundraiser among the community groups in Grand Junction, it is the biggest one time fundraiser in Lions Club International. We are kinda a big deal.
We do a raffle (six-seven weeks of selling raffle tickets) and then do a parade and carnival to finish it off. The carnival is old timey: a quarter a paddle and you can win different things like soda, bacon and eggs, candy, flowers and so much more. We have been doing this for 86 years and it’s a staple in the community and several generations of people have attended. Each year there is a theme: this year was Colorado Wild and we did it up right, on a boat!
Yup, we have a good time and do a lot to raise money for the community. This year we have pledged to give $125,000 to 10 organizations in Grand Junction. Not too shabby.
Not only was a carnival but it was 10 years since I arrived in Grand Junction. I’ve never lived anywhere for 10 years so this is huge. I felt like I was celebrating with my Lions family (although most of them had no idea, but I pretended it was all about me anyway). It’s a huge accomplishment in my life.
And then there was the worst of times. Sunday night my cat, Punky, was incontinent not once, but twice. She is 18 1/2, has been a diabetic for over six years and I know that this is a red flag. She had been incontinent about a month ago but wrote it off as sleeping really hard, not a big deal. I should have paid more attention. So, I took her to the vet on Monday and Dr. Aimee Johnson put her on an antibiotic immediately. We got the test results back yesterday (bladder infection) but at her age, this is much more than just that. The incontinence hasn’t gone away, she seems to have a feline dementia (yes, there is such a thing) and…she’s my fur baby.
I’m facing the truth that I may have to make one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make and that is putting her to sleep. I have to start looking past my desire to have my fur baby with me and to look at what is best for her. Whether I should let her live with not knowing who I am (I am starting to look into eyes that sometimes have no idea who I am) or letting her go before she doesn’t even know when or how to eat. I have to look past my desire to not want to make a hard decision or make a decision that keeps her from pain and suffering. I have to look past ME. And this isn’t easy. I have spent the past two nights crying, hugging her, letting her sleep on my lap and just wondering: is it time. I have spent the past two days at work talking to my co worker and boss (who have and are going through the same thing as me) and listening to their advice. I am fortunate to have a boss that says “when it’s time, take a day”.
And I have a feeling that the day will come soon…and I don’t want to have to make a decision but she is a faithful animal, a kind soul and won’t go…unless I make that decision for her. That is my gut feeling.
So I had an amazing week last week…and now face an adult decision. I don’t want to be an adult in this decision. I want to make a fort, hide and play dolls in it…and forget that hard decisions exist.
Sometimes we all feel lonely. Having a disease/intolerance/allergy will do that to you. I mean, people have bouts of loneliness as it as but having a condition can make that worse.
Let me preface this by saying that my friends are family are amazing!
But sometimes you feel deep down alone. Everyone else is talking Ho-Hos and Nutter Butters and you are thinking “can I make that gluten free?” Because not being able to grab those items makes you different. You can’t just go through the drive through because they have nothing you can eat. You can’t just go to a restaurant without calling ahead and you always have a bunch of food along with you “just in case”.
Let’s face it, being different is ok but constantly saying “I can’t have that” or “I can’t eat that” gets old.
It leaves you feeling lonely. So lonely.
What do you do about it? I love the fact that my friends and family watch out for me but how do you feel with that feeling of being different?