Cure Ulcerative Colitis

Cure Ulcerative Colitis
While technically you can not Cure Ulcerative Colitis, it IS possible to experience remission and to live symptom-free with little to no medication—for many of us. (When I say cure, this is what I am referring to! We’ll call it cure with a little “c”.)

I can say how wonderful it feels to no longer struggle with UC!  Getting here has been a big, big blessing for me and my little family of four.

I know what it is like to be in the bathroom over a dozen times a day, completely embarrassed to leave home. I know what it is like to suffer from autoimmune related fevers and aches and swelling and joint pain. AND I know what it is like to feel like my normal, healthy self again NOT constantly having to scope out the nearest bathroom. Oh man, there is nothing like it!

For me, it had everything to do with food, despite my gastroenterologist’s claim at diagnosis to the contrary. Thankfully I was skeptical and began experimenting with my diet almost immediately. What did I have to lose?

Desperate to feel better, I have tried all kinds of diets from gluten- free to paleo to the specific carbohydrate diet, with varying results. But NONE of them has worked nearly as well as what I have settled on. Which is SO simple by comparison and super effective. My doctor is very pleased at how well I am doing (I am currently on little medication and in remission to boot!).

Not only did those other diets NOT stop all of my symptoms, they made me feel all kinds of awful in the process… low blood sugar, exhausted, foggy-headed and dizzy, etc. Plus I am thankful to have discovered something that works and allows me to live a relatively normal life. Some of the diets I tried were so extreme I had to carry my food with me everywhere in a cooler—I could never eat out or pick up something quickly at the store or even have dinner at a friend’s house. It was very complicated and NO fun!

In case these may help you too, here are the 5 simple things that I have done with my diet that have helped me cure Ulcetative Colitis (with a little “c”)…

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Sweet Marriage

I’m a total romantic but it is my husband who loves poetry.

It was one of the things I was surprised to learn after we married. There are so many things you discover about the other person in marriage and not all of them pleasant (well, at least where I am concerned). But this was one of those sweet little surprises.

Right now Brance is combing through a used bookstore with the girls while I wait in the glorious outdoors. I never last as long as he does in a bookstore. He’s certain to have found his way to the poetry section by now. After browsing for an old copy of Pilgrim’s Progress first, of course.

For me, this is one of the beautiful things about marriage, about growing old together—learning all the facets of another human being. Discovering that your martial arts and Star Wars watching fellow finds joy in crafty meter and beautiful rhyme and soaring language.

Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is work. It’s flat out hard sometimes. But most everything good in this life involves work or sacrifice of some sort. And being on this journey together and growing together through the shared experiences of marriage—for years—well, there really is nothing like it.

Yeah, so I just wanted to say that marriage is a sweet, sweet gift full of surprises. That’s it, you guys. Have a wonderful weekend!

You before me

I called my mom, a little over a month after Haddie was born.

In a sleep-deprived and perhaps tearfully hormonal voice, I told her how thankful I was for ALL that she had done for me. For all the beautiful sacrifices she had made over the years, that frankly, I had no clue about before becoming a mom myself. And for all the ones that I had yet to experience.

She laughed humbly and graciously accepted my gratitude. I have a wonderful mom!

Ah… the life of a mom. Words can not fully describe how it changes a woman and brings to light both the oh-so-wonderful and the not-so-good bound up in one person. There really is nothing like it.

And in my humble opinion, few connections in this life have the capacity to display love better than that of mother to child. The real kind of nitty-gritty LOVE that puts another person first– the “you before me” kind that seems so rare these days.

It’s a love that sacrifices on a daily basis. That sets aside its own desires to read another book aloud or change a dirty bed or clean up a spill. Love that even delays its own needs for another– I am talking showers, and meals, and sleep (for years folks!) and so much more. That willingly takes on every hurt and sadness and joy and success of the child.

It reminds me of the biblical love Christians are told to have for one another in 1 Corinthians 13. One that is patient and kind and self-controlled. One that is never rude or irritable or resentful. It’s a “you before me” kind of love.

In other scriptures we are told love shows concern and care for even one’s enemies! And of course Christ was the greatest example of this when he laid down his very LIFE—for those of us like me who counted Him as their enemy.

What an honor that as a mother we get to reflect this beautiful, sacrificial kind of love. Love that looks to the needs of others before ourself. And leads us to teach our children to do the same and hopefully make a difference in this world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, both physical and spiritual! Your job is SO very important.

With love for you all,

Lauren

P.S. You may be interested in this post on love. Or this Mother’s Day post.

8 important nutrients for fighting depression

Did you know that there is a BIG connection between mental health and nutrition? That nutrients and depression are often intertwined?

And that if you are someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, there is a good chance that your symptoms would improve if you addressed nutritional deficiencies. Maybe even drastically so as it has for me!!

The crazy thing is that you may feel like you are eating well. Really well. Or maybe you’re not. Either way, it’s easy to accidentally miss a piece or more of the nutritional puzzle and suffer when it comes to your mental and emotional well-being.

I used to constantly struggle with depression, anxiety, brain fog, exhaustion etc. It was miserable. One of the reasons I started this little blog was to share the amazing transformation I have experienced as I have made changes to my diet and lifestyle. I feel soooo much better, I just had to sing it from the “blogosphere” in case it could help another soul.

Here is a list of 8 important nutrients that research has shown can affect the mental health of those deficient.

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From obsession to a sustainable life

I just read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for a book club I am part of.

At the close of this thrilling tale, Victor, the creator of the “monster”, warns a sea-captain who is on a risky expedition to the North Pole to “avoid ambition”.  You see, Victor’s misled obsession in the story came at a terrible price— moral failure, fear, exile (as he pursues the monster), the death of those most dear to him, and ultimately his own premature death.

While Frankenstein is a piece of fiction, I believe the author hits upon a universal truth. The truth that obsession comes at a terrible price. While it probably will not kill us and those we love, thank goodness, obsessive ambition (any obsession, really) leaves us unbalanced and has the potential to wreck our lives.

Brance and I were chatting yesterday about Netflix’s CEO’s recent comment that their main competition is not Hulu or Amazon Prime or any other streaming service, but rather SLEEP (this is my paraphrase).  I kid you not. In other words, they are building their business on the back of obsessive behavior that causes us to opt to bing-watch rather than sleep.

And I think we all have fallen prey to their ploy to get us to skip sleep to watch the NEXT episode!  Oh man, it’s a chore to get one of these streaming services to STOP playing and NOT load the next one. While binging on too much tv really might pose a problem for some people, for most of us it is a funny example of where an obsessive, weak moment can lead us ocassionally— a  bing-watching hangover.

In all seriousness, I really do think Netflix’s CEO, like Shelley, has tapped into something big here. And that is our tendency to Continue reading

Loving and surviving motherhood

Ah, motherhood!

Motherhood is simultaneously the most wonderful and difficult adventure I have embarked on in life. There are moments where you are filled with ecstatic joy and fulfillment and others where you crash on your bed at night in utter exhaustion and dismay.

Motherhood is something I am grateful for–for the amazing opportunity I have to watch my precious children grow and learn and for all that it is teaching and doing in ME. It is something I hope to become better at over time.

I have found that motherhood demands a lot. And to be the best mom I can be, focusing on certain things really helps give me an edge. Or, perhaps, keeps me from falling over the edge!

I thought I would share a couple of the things that help me keep my sanity as a mother. That help me be the best mom I can be and enjoy this crazy adventure of motherhood. Continue reading

hooray for goals! and some of mine.

Do you set goals for yourself?

Research suggests that working towards goals can boost happiness and wellbeing. And we don’t have to wait for a new year to roll around to make a new goal and reap the benefits!

Even a goal as “small” as a vacation can provide a huge boost. So much so, that the planning and anticipation are known to increase happiness even more than the actual vacation itself. And don’t think that the vacation has to be exotic or require a lot of money (although, at times it may). A camping trip or weekend away can have the same effect, as long as you are planning and looking forward to it.

Brance and I were talking about this “phenomenon” over dinner tonight and he said something insightful. He thinks that it boils down to Continue reading

Holiday “blues”

I’m really missing family today.

It happens most holidays and St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a huge deal in our neighborhood. Corned beef, potatoes, kilts, bagpipes, green everywhere(!), friends/family, and one heck of a parade (if you live in Southie, anyway).

And I happen to be alone this afternoon—which I would normally enjoy.

It’s weird. Holidays are suppose to be joyous occasions (I used to LOVE them), but the last 6 years has taught me that isn’t always the case. I’ve kind of come to “dread” them. (And, with a husband and two sweet daughters, I am luckier than many.) There are people who have no family around them at all.

So, since Brance and I have become aware of this sadness that can coexist for some on a holiday, we try to make an effort to invite others into our family celebrations (as unimpressive as they may be, ha. Although, Brance is a pretty amazing cook.). We have found that it not only blesses others, but it uplifts and encourages us as well.

My parents have been an incredible example of this to me over the years. Hardly a Thanksgiving or Christmas would pass (and many a Friday night) where there wasn’t a widow or single person celebrating with us around our table. And having been the recipient of that kind of hospitality a couple of times the last few years, I must say they were doing more good than they realized!

I am convinced that opening our lives and homes, on holidays or any time of year, has the power to help and encourage and transform—others and ourselves. It’s a beautiful Christ-like thing to do. It’s something I want to do more of. How about you?

Love, Lauren

Have you experienced something similar?

Living “Groundhog Day”

Several years ago when we moved to Boston (almost 6 now!) and I was struggling with winter blues, I told Brance one morning that I felt like my life had turned into the old movie “Groundhog Day”.

Every day felt EXACTLY the same. Nighttime nursings. Chasing a toddler around the house while juggling a baby. Piles of dirty dishes accumulating in the absence of a dishwasher (still no dishwasher!). Diapers galore. Laundry always needing to be folded and PUT AWAY. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make. Much of what I did every day felt like mindless tasks.

He said something, gently and kindly, that helped and really stuck with me to this day: “Most people’s lives are filled with a series of repetitive tasks.”

Yes. That’s right. I wasn’t the only one waking up and doing the SAME things day after day. And regardless of how exciting other people’s lives seemed from the outside, they too probably grew weary of certain tasks as well. Repetition was repetition regardless of the job—whether it involved scraping dirty plates in the trash or scrubbing up to perform surgery.

Another thing that helped (besides addressing the winter blues), was to change how I viewed work. Now I don’t do this perfectly, but when I do, it really does make a HUGE difference. Instead of viewing my work as dreary and unimportant, I began to look at it as an opportunity to SERVE and LOVE—my little family and even more importantly God.

We’re told to do all things to the glory of God, even down to how we eat and drink! And every single one of these seemingly mundane tasks was an opportunity to do just that! When I finally saw and embraced this truth, it totally changed how I viewed these repetitive chores and I even began to experience joy as I did them.

I am far from perfect, so it is ALWAYS good to be reminded of this beautiful way of living. My husband Brance recently taught on the subject of glorifying God in all that we do. And it was SO good to hear! I will share the video at the end of the post, in case you would like to watch it too. I love hearing him teach! And I think it is one of those things we “know”, but can easily forget to put into practice. Just like I had 6 years ago (and still sometimes do).

Any job, regardless of how mundane, can bring joy when we offer it back as a loving sacrifice to God and others!

With love, Lauren

P.S. Have you experienced something similar? I’d love to hear.

P.P.S. I’m dying over here over how tiny my girls are in the picture I share. Oh man. If only I had realized at the time how quickly that baby/toddler season would pass. Excuse me while I go scoop them up for hugs and kisses!