Are you a Hobbit or Lord of the Rings reader?
Not just the movies we watch, but the actual books themselves...that's what I enjoy. I have them on my iPad and listen through the Audible app while I potter around the sewing room tidying up, tracing new patterns or choosing fabric and threads. I listen while I do the ironing, and sometimes I have one playing in the kitchen when I'm not using noisy appliances.
There and back again, a Hobbit's Tale. That's the title of Bilbo Baggin's epic story which he writes within the bigger story line of Lord of the Rings...and somehow it just fit with my absence from the blog this month so I gave this post that very title. Hope Bilbo does not mind.
The weather here in tropical north Queensland finally turned and cooler nights have been met with glee. My indoor plants are much happier with an abundance of fresh air flowing freely through the house now that air conditioning is not needed for a while, and in the garden pots of basil, oregano and parsley are flourishing once more.
Winter is a very dry time of year for us, the wet season over until November or December when it returns again. Surprisingly last night there was a little rain, but not enough to dampen the ground for grass to grow. I really miss walking on soft green grass, barefoot and cool.
Cooler nights have Bob-the-dog back in his little pajama coat...
...and Sophie in hiding on our bed, snuggled under Blossom's old blankie.
Sophie just spent ten days at Blossom's home on mouse watch. Our Bloss spied a persistent mouse each evening running from the kitchen and across the living room floor right in front of her and Ross. They tried traps to no avail before pleading, "Mumma, can we borrow Sophie, please?"
Very soon the mouse was gone and we expected Sophie to return home but Cully May and Blossom again pleaded, "Can we keep her a bit longer...we love her so much and it's wonderful having her here."
So another week passed by, Sophie thoroughly enjoying being spoiled and not rushing to return home to us. But all good things come to an end and such was Sophie's vacation at Blossom's.
Home once more she was super affectionate but a bit disoriented that afternoon and during the night so I pulled out Blossom's old blankie and popped it at the end of our bed and she crawled underneath and settled wonderfully again.
It's Blossom's 24th birthday next Saturday and as she loved the cardigan I made for Aisha last year I decided to make one for her. The design is a new one I drew up yesterday and will be stitched in the softer colours she prefers.
Hopefully I'll finish this over the weekend. As you can see I've used Sulky Solvi again as there's no other way to trace the design onto a cardigan, and it's not a product I personally like due to the resistance I feel when stitching - but, it occurred to me as I was preparing the design that I've not used the Sulky Solvi on cotton fabric. I've only ever used it on a knitted fabric (three cardigans) so it would not be the same as stitching this way on linen or quilting fabric. Mmm. I'll give that a go when I have completed this cardie and perhaps my dissatisfaction with the product will change. Live and learn, yes?
These past two weeks I've spent a good deal of time on two important pursuits, projects that will be and are already life changing.
Firstly, we've been balancing the choice between building our first home or buying our first home as an established dwelling. This has meant lots of hours/days travelling around to look at blocks of land, go through display homes, speak to builders, attend open houses for established homes ready to purchase, and of course visits to the mortgage broker.
Our rental lease is up on this house at the end of September and as it's on the market we shall need a new dwelling place by then, or very soon after. This home is out of our modest budget and to be honest is not a house we'd choose to own...but we have seen a few which do appear to fit our needs and we shall be going through them over the next few days.
Building a home will cost a lot more than buying an older modest dwelling, and being in our 50's we would prefer to have a mortgage we can pay off quickly, not one that will weigh us down for 25 years. But, we've not made a concrete decision yet...just weighing the options with a lot of prayer.
The second pursuit this month has been to tackle health issues.
If you've followed the blog for years you'll know I occasionally spend a season gluten free, sugar free or dairy free, and I have created a number of great recipes for those times...but for the past two weeks I've eliminated ALL grains, refined sugars and dairy.
Something in my head clicked one day early in May and I told Mr E that I wanted to pursue a cleaner diet, one that could be enjoyed, one which broke the addiction I had to sugary foods, cream, butter (which I ate like cheese) and bread - because I wanted to see how my body responded.
I was sick of being sick and tired and in pain.
Making that statement to my husband was in itself empowering. Between us that night were two packets of lollies, not unusual at all, but in that moment I no longer desired them and in fact looked at them as doing me harm, as an enemy to my body.
You see I crave sugar when I have migraines, sugar is also a migraine trigger for me...and my migraines had escalated to 4 a week. Most days I had to function through visual disturbances, dizziness, nausea and extreme pain, which led to depression and insomnia and a lack of clarity. I had to keep working through the pain (fortunately having seven babies and chronic migraine simultaneously had taught me to cope) because with a house to buy or build my business was not about to end any time soon.
So I made the change in my head, and then the change flowed through my dietary choices.
I started simple, and intend to keep it simple. It's amazing how many wonderful foods you can eat and make even when eliminating all grains, refined sugars and dairy!
Below are some of the 'sweet' treats I've made and which my husband (and Blossom!) are really enjoying.
Raw Mandarin and Blueberry slice...
Banana, pumpkin and apricot cake...
Raw chocolate with macadamias...
Raw peppermint slice (with my raw chocolate across the top)...
Raw cacao protein balls...
My appetite has decreased as I am satiated with less; avocados, greens and eggs make a regular appearance at either breakfast or lunch, and we choose grass fed free range meats and plenty of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
Yes, I said we.
Mr E has come on board with eliminating sugar and dairy and only has bread occasionally. We both love coconut milk yoghurt and have that many mornings for breakfast with an almond/flax/cacao muffin and berries, plus we've switched to wild rice (it's not a real rice, not a grain, but an aquatic seed) which I never thought he'd like but he does.
Water is my everyday beverage, and I still have a coffee in the morning and a cup of tea in the afternoon.
But here's the best bit.
Arthritis in my fingers and wrist has disappeared.
Joint pain in my knees gone.
I'm losing weight.
Clarity of thought.
Foot pain gone (I have had plantar fasciitis for six painful months)
Balanced adrenaline for the first time in my life.
We went walking on Sunday night up steep hills and I came home invigorated, not breathless and collapsing on the floor.
Coming down off the sugar hit me hard, though. I fell into dark depression for three days but did not sway from the dietary changes one bit. I knew it was sugar related and that it would soon end, which it did. Then it was incredible, the clarity and 'cleanness' I felt inside. Oh yeh, there was a lot of 'cleaning' from the insides that first week. LOL!!
This style of living isn't for everyone, I know that. Just as I cannot be a vegetarian, a hunter, a carpenter or a fisherman. But it works for me and I am a person who hates taking medication if there is a better, more natural way. This way is healing my body and you have no idea how much it is already changing my life.
The nicest thing is knowing I can still be creative in the kitchen, still make some of the yummiest food my family have ever tasted. And it's simpler for me, it honestly is in so many ways.
So I've been there and now I'm back again, enthusiastic about blogging and writing, designing pretty new patterns...
...staying on top of the housework (almost)...
...working on a wonderful new project for later in the year....
...and planning a home of our very own.
Gosh, if you're still reading after all that, bless you.
Guess I had a lot to share after two weeks absence and I really wanted to be clear with you lovely readers on where my head and life are at.
Now I need to get off this laptop and create a recipe for raw cherry ripe slice because Mr E and I think that could be a weekend winner with our cuppas.
And then I must roast a chicken with lots of veggies. And garlic. Must have garlic.
You know, I'm finally moving what I know from head to heart...embracing the future with simplicity and modesty and contentment. There's a difference knowing it and living it.
May the Lord BLESS you today and every day, bring you peace in the storm, clarity in place of confusion, healing to relieve your pain, and JOY to bubble over in your heart.