Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June Evening

It was a beautiful evening downtown!

I went down to take pictures of this place:

Because I want to keep a photo record of the project.

Looking across the old ferry route.

There was this guy....

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Such a nice night to sit on a pier 

And the miniature lighthouse

Friday, June 9, 2017

Chasing Lions

Somewhere I once heard a saying. "If you want to catch a Mountain Lion, all you have to do is turn your back on it."
These wily beasts are notorious for slinking along through the brush, unseen and unheard, and many times the first thing an unwary hiker is aware of is 150 pounds of teeth and claws on their back.
A wary hiker, while the cat is still mostly invisible in it's natural habitat, can pick up clues and may be able to take measures to avoid being dinner. A rustling, a disturbance in the brush, maybe even the flick of a tail or the sight of a tawny coat through the brush, give clues that it would be a healthy thing to pay attention.
The Mountain Lion is a deadly adversary, and if you are in his home, and you don't have the tools to avoid him, you can easily become his vicitim.

There is another adversary, much closer to home, that is just as elusive, just as persistant and just as deadly, and if it is stalking you, you are likely unaware, or only mildly concerned.
This adversary is Autoimmune Disease.

Autoimmune diseases and disorders are now a constant in the world that we live in.
A combination of factors, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle related, can trigger a disorder that can be life-changing and debilitating, and for a large part of the population the signs and symptoms are fleeting and seemingly disconnected.
Odd rashes, pains, sensory disruptions, and "funny feelings" can make the person in the early stages of an autoimmune condition sound like they are more in need of mental health intervention than medical, and truthfully, these conditions are rooted in our systems at the cellular level, so chasing symptoms in the early stages is mostly pointless.
Following symptoms that may occur months, or even years, apart and trying to tie them together into something that may or may not even be on the books yet, is really not an option for most people.

It used to be that we had to just wait to see what developed.
My mom had odd symptoms and seemingly unconnected conditions years before she was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a connective tissue disorder that was rare at the time.
Both of my daughters have been plagued with varied symptoms of autoimmune conditions for most of their lives.
Laura was diagnosed with Crohn's disease as a pre-teen, and recently Multiple Sclerosis.
Nina has so many autoimmune issues that her doctor treats her symptoms, but no actual diagnosis has been forthcoming.
I have had odd connective tissue symptoms most of my life. I really don't want to chase down that lion, so I am just walking as fast as I can and hoping I make it to the trailhead before he pounces.

Until recently I figured it would just be  matter of time before something manifested itself and I learned what I was going to have to deal with and what might eventually disable me. I figured I was powerless to stop it.

Lately, however, I have been reading more and more about inflammation and the effects that it has on so many systems and organs in the body.
The brain, nervous system, GI tract, connective tissues and others are all profoundly affected by inflammation and up until now there just wasn't enough knowlege in the field to empower the person affected.
Inflammation is caused by different factors and some of them are unavoidable. Our bodies respond to things in the environment, viruses, bacteria and many other things by mounting a defense at the cellular level. Sometimes, in some people, the body becomes stuck in an overactive response that is then perpetuated by exposure to things that it has become sensitive to. Things like pollen, certain foods, heavy metals, and stress bring inflammation to a rolling boil and keep it there, damaging cells in the process.

Chasing down the cause, and treating it, can be finacially, emotionally and mentally daunting and sometimes medically impossible, but approaching the effects; working to change diet, habits and lifestyle, may allow those that suffer from autoimmune, and related disease, a new way of being pro-active and slowing, arresting or even reversing the damage.

So, Tim and I are trying the simplest level of this diet:

It was developed for people with MS, but it's quite close to many of the diets that are being suggested for people who want to avoid the diseases of aging, like Alzheimer's and dementia. The protocol is based mainly on foods that are high in the nutrients that we need to produce healthy mitochondria, so that our bodies can arrest problematic changes in the cells. The changes are pretty drastic, but the way that we eat in western society is killing us. It just has to be better to eat this diet than to keep eating all that processed crap.
Giving up sugar has been a really tough one for me. I fail frequently, but I am determined. When I do slip and have something sugary, I pay for it for hours. I just feel terrible.
Dairy has been really easy, because I am really not a big fan of it. Almond milk is downright delicious!
Gluten...well, my goal is to beat the first two, eat up the bread and stuff in the house, and then stop buying it. I am quite a bread lover, and that's gonna be a hard one. And there is gluten in so many things!
Adding all the veggies, fruits and other things in is actually quite fun. I have been finding recipes that are fantastic and filling, for things that I never would have imagined I would like.

 Knowing that there is the wildcat of autoimmune disease stalking somewhere out there, I am hoping that by cutting out the foods that promote inflammation, adding in foods that encourage cellular health, and maintaining an active lifestyle, we may be able to beat the beast to the trailhead. Maybe we can go into our later years with healthier bodies than we had in the earlier ones.
If this works out the way we hope, we may never know what we missed. And that's just fine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's been that kind of month...

Tim had a rather bad accident on Mother's Day.
He tore both of his Quadriceps tendons off of his knee-caps. 
Not at all what we expected, and not at all the way he planned to spend the next few months.
Healing is going to be a long process, but he has a good doctor, and he is ready to go when they give him the ok to start Physical Therapy. 
Not sure when he can get back to the office, but work at home is going OK. 
I'll update after the next appointment. For now, we are just praying that things progess smoothly. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

2017 Homeschool Prom

Well, John has been out of school for a couple of years, but he was invited to go to this year's prom by Yana and he was very happy to join in the festivities!

He did have a beautiful date!

He did great on the corsage!

And the whole group had a great time!


What a Blessing to be able to join the Andrews family, and Good Shepherd parish for this year's Confirmation! John was sponsor to Patrick Andrews and the Mass was wonderful!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Homeschool Co-op Dreamin'

For all the years that we have homeschooled, some of the best have been those in which we have been members of a multi-family co-op. We have been able to get together once a week, socialize, teach some really challenging courses, and our kids have lerned what it's like to work in a class room, under a teacher. Some of these moms have been truly amazing teachers.

Now it's looking like we once again need  new home.
We have been at the Boys and Girls Club here in Havre de Grace for the last three years, but that is coming to an end due to restructuring.
There is a possibility that our parish, St Patrick's, my be able to provide some space. A nice place to learn, and pray, and be together.

Several things have to fall into place first, but we are praying, and if it's God's will, it will happen.
We haven't been in a Catholic enviroment yet, and Mass and consecrated space would be wonderful!
The space that we my be able to use has been a convent in the past.
I think that's pretty special.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I have been watching this gem of a production, Victoria, from the BBC.

They have outdone themselves, and that takes some doing these days.

I love the story so much, and I hope that they have taken care to provide as much of the truth as possible, because the story of the little queen, who was so bigger-than-life, and her loves, passions, and experiences, has completely captivated me.

Victoria's love for her husband, Albert, a German prince not immediately accepted by the aristocracy
and the politcal machine of the day, is portrayed so beautifully.
There is a mystery in the relationship, and they are shown to be a couple with a deep love, that were always challenging each other to grow and embrace new things.

What a time it must have been to have to rule, with industry and politics shifting constantly. New things coming along almost every day and the good of the country, the economy, and the people to try to balance.

Dickens portrays the time as very dark and cruel, for those who were in the unfortunate position of the common folk. His writing has become the face of the latter 19th century, and while it is probably an accurate commentary, we don't often think about the people that had to make decisions during this tumultuous time. The people who had been brought up with the mores of the past, but had to have the courage to step into the future. One of my favorite scenes is Prince Albert taking his first ride aboard "Planet", a little steam engine in the countryside. What a thrill for him!

I have only finished episode 7. I am going to watch the next one tomorrow night!

BBC, another triumph!