Posted in 2018, allergies be gone, brave, Jesus, RA

who the heck is allergic to ducks?!?

As y’all know, I’ve been fighting my autoimmune diseases for several years while getting more and more sick. I’ve also developed multiple food intolerances and many GI issues recently – which is not at all uncommon as I have celiac disease as well.

I knew I was allergic to eggs but have been reacting to many other foods as well. To decrease the inflammation in my body, I felt it was time for some serious allergy testing so I sent off samples a month ago and have been waiting on the results.

As it is my hope that taking a more holistic approach will help my body heal, I’ve also been learning more about food additives and MSG – and I believe with all of my heart that it HAS to go. I learned about it in nutrition school but studying it more in relation to my disease has truly convinced me.

If you don’t have the time to read this article, just have a quick look at some of the potential side effects of MSG:

It is also worth noting that, for experiments, mice are actually given MSG to make them gain weight. Humans are five times more sensitive to MSG than mice. If you are struggling with your weight, this is something you might want to consider as well.

Also, MSG appears under so many names and in so many places in processed food that it is incredibly difficult to keep up:

We all have to make our own choices when it comes to our foods – but we definitely should be informed. MSG is one ingredient I encourage everyone to research and understand.

All that said, my allergy test results came in tonight.

And. . . WOW.

They didn’t take any health history, just the samples, so I was glad to see my egg and gluten allergies “confirmed” to indicate the accuracy of this testing.

But, y’all, my allergies?


  1. Coffee – #fixitjesus
  2. Gluten
  3. Eggs
  4. Oats
  5. Soy (my daddy always said all that healthy tofu I insisted on eating was gonna kill me. bahahaha!)


  1. Ducks – Really???
  2. Fungus – including molds, mushrooms, toadstools
  3. Larch – the tree turpentine comes from
  4. Meadow Fescue – a type of grass
  5. Mould-I-Allergen – another mold reaction

WOW again, says I.

So much to process. Some of it, like the ducks, just made me laugh.

luckily, this is my pet duck.

Some of it is really serious.

As you can see, exposure to your allergens can cause – or worsen – symptoms so I am hopeful that removing my allergens will at least improve my health.

I did not realize until I began researching just how much soy is also in processed foods. It is everywhere.

It is also worth noting that many dietitians believe that those with soy allergies should avoid MSG and vice versa due to a cross reactivity that exists anyway – so the MSG needs to go for multiple reasons from my diet.

Though it will be difficult, the only solution for me, as someone who is diagnosed with multiple inflammatory diseases, as well as allergies to gluten and soy, and who is needing to avoid MSG (which is also strongly linked to worsening fibromyalgia), is to avoid processed foods altogether.

I have long been an advocate of a whole foods diet – but, like most Americans, particularly one who is sick with multiple broken bones as well, sometimes convenience wins out. This ends today.

Inflammatory diseases – like RA and celiac disease – can never improve if the things that continue to cause inflammation, like allergens, are constantly introduced into the body. This is serious.

I’ve long been talking about needing to carry my own snacks even because there are few acceptable snacks on the go for celiacs and I’m also diabetic these days. Well, now, I’m the food from my own kitchen, lunch bag lady.

Honestly, yesterday morning I was talking to my husband about a lower carb diet because I was worried about my weight. I have been losing weight as my prednisone is decreasing but not as fast as I would like. Now I realize this is SO much bigger. I’m sure the weight will continue to come off – but I need to heal.

I’m getting after healing like it’s my job.

Because it is.

I have lots to do and much to hang around for. I need to be as healthy as I can be as far as it is up to me. It’s going to be difficult – because it involves big change and doing things no matter how unwell I feel at times – but we can do hard things. I have faith.

I’ll keep y’all posted on this adventure.

Be well, everybody. Happy Friday.

Grace and Blessings.

Posted in 2018, adventures, RA


This past Saturday, my husband’s Father’s Day trip to Atlanta to see the Braves play came around. We were super excited.

It was also to be my first BIG outing in my smartchair. Since it arrived, I had only taken it out on some short trips to Target and such.

my first outing to Target – with my family and Super H (of course)

As life sometimes happens, some car issues arose. Thankfully, our precious parents stepped in to help us out. To pick up their vehicle, we ended up driving to their house a couple of hours away on Friday night.

Then, on Saturday, we were off to the ATL.

On the way in to the stadium, we got caught in an insane downpour – and initially had to wait in line in the rain for 20 minutes. It was crazy at first – because we’ve never dealt with smartchair accommodations and whatnot.

However, a wonderful guest services rep saw us and stepped in and helped us. He got us situated on the 3rd baseline right next to the Fox Camera. After that, we were covered and comfortable all evening.

As for me personally, it was strange adjusting to being in a chair for the first time – when I’ve always been able-bodied until the past few years. However, I am so insanely grateful to our GJ for my chair, because it is literally giving me my life back in so many ways. I am going to be able to do the things I love with my family again, where so many activities have been out of the question recently. For example, my hip was even locking up as I was trying to walk towards our front door from my chair to leave for the Braves game.

This chair is life changing for me.

(As for feeling a little strange, as I did with handicapped parking, wearing wigs when I had to, and riding carts at the grocery store, I’ll adjust to this as well.)

After the game, we drove back home, ate a super late dinner, and got some rest.

On Sunday, we drove (with our Wonderpup) back to our parents to visit and swap vehicles again. We had a wonderful visit with them and our GJ and they even sent us home with the most amazing care package. We are so so blessed.

By the time we got home, we were both toast.

My body is wiped after one trip, so three in three days really did me in. Since Sunday night, I’ve slept close to 24 hours – and I’m battling some crazy pain issues when I’m awake. My pharmacy has an issue with one of my meds – it’s on order – and that hasn’t helped the problem. Still, sometimes life is worth the flare – and this is definitely one of those times.

My husband and I had a wonderful trip – and a wonderful weekend together. We got to spend hours talking and listening to playlists and just hanging out. It was fabulous.

I’ve so thankful.

Be well, everybody. Happy Tuesday.

Grace and Blessings.



Posted in 2018, Jesus, sober

500 days

I hardly ever think to check my clean day app but remembered to check it yesterday – and it must have been a God thing as it was 500 days to the day since I’ve stopped drinking. I am deeply grateful for this and for the community of amazing women I’ve found as well.

I am even more bothered than usual by the “mommy wine culture” that is everywhere because of something that came to my attention a few nights ago.


First, just through a simple Pinterest search, I pulled up these memes:

And, of course, there were about a thousand more.

And it’s not just memes. It’s exercise tops that say “run all the miles. drink all the wine.” and coffee mugs that say “this might be wine” and – now – half marathons that feature wine at each water stop. Ummm, what???

And, before I get to my larger point, I give you the meme that I voted off the island on Sunday morning: the wine serenity prayer.


We can do (MUCH) better than this.

In the time since I’ve last written about alcohol and sobriety related issues, I’ve come across several new accounts on Instagram, including one called tellbetterstories2018 that I would encourage everyone to follow that calls out advertising messages that need to be called out and asks questions that really need to be asked.

From tellbetterstories2018

This Instagram account is addressing issues in the mainstream media – and that is so important. And the memes I’ve shown above are from Pinterest – a mainstream site.

What has troubled me even more is that, over the weekend, I read the most recent book by Jen Hatmaker, a Christian writer I just love. I’ve read all of her books over the years. She is a funny, down to earth, relatable kind of “every mom.”

I found the book really enjoyable – except that literally every few pages there was a wine reference and it was almost always related to “needing wine” because of her children. It wasn’t just a few; it was a constant thing, to the point of being truly bothersome.

And I HATE to see this sort of thing appear in the writings that are meant to be circulated in the women’s Christian circles. In the past, in evangelical groups, alcohol would have been a no-go, and I certainly don’t consider this a sign of progress.

Again, don’t misunderstand me – no judgment, I still love Jen dearly – but wine culture doesn’t need to meet small group culture like this.

Now, not only are unhealthy alcohol related behaviors being promoted among women as a whole, they are also being promoted among women within the church.

Umm, no.

So, as always, if you are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, help is available to you.

my 100 days gift to myself in 2017. a teetotaler thing.

On Instagram, look up the hashtags: #teetotaler  #wearetheluckiest  #hipsobriety

There are many others as well – and a great community. Just have a look around.

Lastly, I know I say this every time – and I always will – if you are in crisis, please present to the closest emergency room. Regardless of your insurance status, they WILL help you. Please don’t hesitate. Help is always available.

No matter where you are right now, you can be free. I promise.

grateful. so grateful.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.





Posted in 2018, adventures, RA, The Herring Herd

Merry Christmas!

I’ve always liked Christmas a lot – but, until I met my husband, I think I honestly would have told you Halloween was my favorite holiday (and I still do love it!).

However, with our first family Christmas as a couple, we had a wonderful family Thanksgiving at the lake all together with Mom, Pop, GJ, Courtney, the kids, and me, then we watched Christmas movies all season at home and had a beautiful tree that we put up together – even in my tiny apartment it was perfect – and then we had the most wonderful Christmas with our family at the lake spending time together – and Mom’s gorgeous decorations and yummy food and laughing and talking and Christmas stockings and. . . I can’t even explain. Just Family Christmas.

The whole season was the best.

And I turned into a HUGE Christmas person.

And then I got sick. And I really REALLY had to learn to make my own sunshine.

And, last year, right before Halloween, we unexpectedly lost one of our closest friends.

I was so sad and so sick. It was also my first year at home, due to disability. So, when I mentioned to my husband that I really wished we could put up the Christmas tree, because he is wonderful, he did.

So, in the name of choosing joy and celebrating and enjoying Christmas as long as possible, our holidays begin November 1st in the Hippie Hut now. 🙂

(Ooooh, AND I now have a three foot perma-Christmas tree in my office that I am in the process of decorating! I’m sure it will make an appearance when it is finished!)

But, of course, now we are in the midst of 97 degree, melting summer. #fixitjesus

Yesterday, our daughter, Sara, and I had actually made it out and about to run MANY errands. It was so nice to be out with her for the day – even if it was for things like turning in cable boxes and whatnot.

We had been out for several hours and were worn out and trying to get finished when my husband called to report some magical news: Christmas in July – all Christmas music all weekend on our local radio station. Falalalalalalala!!!

So, to Sara’s dismay and my great delight, we cranked up the Christmas tunes for the rest of our outing.

And my husband and I also have tickets that were a gift from several months ago – I want to say Valentine’s Day? – to see Counting Crows and Live tonight. Yes, that’s right. An actual date night for us. With musak. I’m so stoked.

And church day tomorrow. 🙂

And the Christmas music continues all weekend as well!

So, Merry Christmas to me this weekend!!!

I am so thankful.

Be well, everybody. Happy Saturday and Merry Christmas!

Grace and Blessings.




Posted in 2018

happy 4th!

Lest I forget, as I’m drinking a LaCroix and trying to keep my fur babies from freaking the freak out with all the fireworks around, I must share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists on this day:

Happy 4th, y’all!

Posted in 2018, before i die, Dreams, sober

dreaming big and being grateful

I had already scribbled down some notes to write a post about dreams when I sat down to watch last Sunday’s sermon from my church (I haven’t been in awhile because my RA has been running amuck, amuck, amuck and I hope my bestie and I will remedy that this upcoming Sunday).

Now I know for sure I’m on the right track because the sermon – which I will link at the end of this post – was on dreaming big dreams – AND, as I just wrote a few posts ago about bucket lists, my pastor, PC, expanded on those as well. Some things are just a total God thing.

The reason dreams being realized is on my heart is that I am feeling so blessed to begin seeing one of my biggest come true in that a second piece I had submitted for publication – before I knew that the first was accepted – is also going to be published. It is also about autoimmune disease as I wanted to be sure I shared that message publicly. Now that I have, I am finishing up some work on other topics close to my heart to send in and I can’t wait to share them as well.

This has also made me feel more confident going forward with my book and I really believe in what I am working on. I am so so thankful to be writing now.

I’ve shared this before and I love it – and, as such, if I can call myself a writer before 40, I’m satisfied. 😉

And, as for the bucket lists, PC reinforced to write them down with pen and paper – it makes a difference – and mark off as you go. And add on as well. And put big impossible things on there too. And have faith.

So I’ll be handwriting all of my list today. And continuing to work on my new things. And celebrating my second sober Independence Day. And taking our girls to see the big fireworks show downtown for the first time. And giving thanks for it all.

Happy Fourth of July, y’all!

Be well, be safe, make your lists, and dream big!

Grace and Blessings.


Posted in 2018, sober

changing our perspective on addiction

When I stopped drinking, there were challenges for sure, my anxiety being the biggest, but more rewards by far.


My head was clearer, my body more healthy (as much as possible for me), my spirit more free.

Still, I realize that I have a tremendous support system that made it so much better for me – and that there were other points in my life where I not only could not have stopped so easily  but I also drank much more and much heavier alcohol during those times.

I say this because I just watched this wonderful TED talk:

At the end, Johann states, “the opposite of addiction is connection” and I am realizing how true that is.

Now, when I feel overwhelmed with my health issues and anxiety disorder, I have my husband and daughter at home. I have my emotional support dog, Henry the Wonderpup. I have my amazing family, who live about two hours away but would be in the car in a flash if need be. I have wonderful friends who message often. I have my bestie, Al, who lives a couple of miles away and who’s door is always open. I have my bestie, Ginny, who lives a few hours away but is always on call. I am never alone, even on my yuckiest days.

However, many who are battling addiction, whether it is to alcohol or opioids or  amphetamines or another substance, feel that they are on their own. This is made worse by the fact that is often SO frustrating to deal with a person when they are in the grips of addiction that we naturally push them away. It is an incredibly difficult situation for all who are involved. That is why support is needed both for addicts and for their loved ones.

As it seems that I can’t go more than a few days without hearing of a death directly or indirectly linked to substance abuse and I hear of so much suffering related to addiction and I am so incredibly grateful to have been set free myself, I will continue to preach the “help is available for everyone” gospel as long as these fingers can type.

If you are struggling, you are NOT alone. Even if you don’t have a support system at this time in your family and friends, support is available to you:

For family members and friends:

There are many other support groups available online as well. Just do a search.

As always, if you are in crisis, present to the nearest emergency room. They WILL help you regardless of your insurance situation.

No matter how you feel, you are never alone.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and Blessings.