Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo Friday!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

Creative Wave Studios - Special Sale!!! -

I have missed posting this week after writing for 10 days in a row during my cleanse.  I'll be back on Monday with a new post!  Have a great weekend!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Cleanse Day 10 - I'm what?

I made it!  I wanted to do this 10 day cleanse for a few reasons.  I needed to jumpstart weight loss, I wanted to clean up my diet, and I wanted to see if it helped my fibro symptoms to eat better.  How did I do?

1.  I lost 6 lbs!
2.  I am really encouraged that I can now eat healthier!
3.  I am feeling really good!

I'd call that success.

So what now?  Well I've come up with a plan.  I have more weight to loose, so I'm still going to be fairly strict with my diet.  Since following this cleanse, I know I'll do well with the diet from Perfect Weight America.  I'll be in Phase 1 for awhile.  On their web site you can sign up for a FREE year of meal planning and support and plenty of other resources.  I signed up and played around with the meal planner, cut out all the icky stuff I know I wont eat (like fish and eggplant and their meal shakes)  I like that it's customizable.  I may not follow all of their recipes for lunch and dinner, but I have a good idea of what is acceptable and I can make that work for my family.  What is most important to me is that there are no processed foods.  I'm sure that is what has made the biggest impact on how I feel.  Which is very, well... clean.

To recap, I did the 10 day Perfect Cleanse from Garden of Life.  The instructions for the cleanse can be found in the book Perfect Weight America.  The author is Jordan Rubin who also wrote The Makers Diet years ago, in which he writes about his journey healing from Crohn's Disease.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cleanse Day 9 - making a difference!

I am really encouraged today that making this change in my diet makes a difference.  We had a busy afternoon and I was able to even do more this evening and still feel great at 11pm.  Quite a change from just a few months ago.  I fully believe my diet has a huge impact on how I feel.  I did have to rest a bit this afternoon, but I was able to get right back up and go to church and then out to dinner with my family (where I had a much better salad that last night!  Decided to go with grilled chicken instead of fish, I just can't take it.)

Cleanse Day 8 - this is getting old

More internet problems yesterday & this afternoon!  Here were my thoughts from yesterday:

Morning and afternoon went well, I enjoyed the new fruits & yogurt was ok.  My dinner salad I was supposed to add feta cheese and either tuna or salmon.  I choose salmon and I really don't like any fish.  I did not enjoy dinner at all.  I could barely get the fish down.  I only ended up eating half of what I was supposed to.  I was ok after that, but really feeling like I was looking forward to this being over.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Friday!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cleanse Day 7 - I think I'm getting used to this

Another good day.  I was thinking this afternoon I wonder what it will be like to eat other foods next week.  Trying to come up with a plan of what to eat next.  I'm really liking Perfect Weight America and think I might give that diet a try.

The last few days I have really noticed how things smell.  Like bread.  I just smell it while making the kids lunches.  I don't think I'll be eating white bread anymore anyway, but I've noticed that it is very satisfying just to smell it.  Same with pizza that I made for the boys the other night.  Just smelling it was fine.  And then while in the grocery store they were baking brownies.  Just stopping to think about those foods & smell & enjoy just that was enough.  I didn't take a bite, I didn't need to!

New fruit tomorrow, and YOGURT and fish!  (not a fan of fish, but I will stomach it for 3 days)

I am feeling really good today.  Not too tired, not much pain, my mind is very clear and I feel...well...clean

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cleanse Day 6 - keep on truckin'

Great day today.  Slept in (probably too much) so I was late eating, but got caught up.  I was very happy to hop on the scale and see that I have reached a goal!  Over 5 lbs lost so far!  That really made my day.

Loving the nuts & seeds on my dinner salad.  I changed up my salad dressing tonight and did an oriental salad dressing.  I didn't over do it tonight either, so I feel good.  Even went for a walk tonight after dinner.

I actually have to leave the house tomorrow, so planing ahead and bringing my fruit with me.  Going to Bible study where I will be avoiding the breakfast buffet and enjoying my peaches!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cleanse Day 5 - Half Way There!

Yay for Day 5!  Didn't start out so good.  Days 5-7  I'm supposed to have cantaloupe for breakfast and I picked out a bad one.  So sad.  I ate a few bites but couldn't even think of anything else to have, so I just waited until my first snack of peaches.  Thankfully those were good!  It was nice to change up the fruit today.

I had about the same energy level as yesterday.  I'm having some low back pain that has been bugging me, but I don't think it's related.

I was super excited to add nuts and seeds to my dinner salad!  I choose pecans and sunflower seeds and I added a lot!  Probably a little too much.  The meal was very filling and I think I ate too much!

For those that are interested in the directions for this cleanse, you can find it in the book Perfect Weight America

Cleanse Day 4

Had some internet issues last night, so wasn't able to post, but here were my thoughts;

Today was a good day.  Feeling not so tired (other than my normal Monday beginning-of-the-week tired)  Had some energy to get a few chores done.  Looking forward to tomorrow where I will have different fruit to eat (and yes, I already went shopping so no excuses) and NUTS & SEEDS on my salad!  Yum.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cleanse Day 3 - yup, it's hard

Well, day 3 was the hardest by far.  Mostly that was my fault though for getting it off to a bad start.  Slept in (which is always nice) but since I hadn't gone shopping Friday, I didn't have a mango to eat.  Decided to run up to the store "real quick" and grab what I needed for the day, which turned into weekly shopping.  By the time I got home it was around 11 and I hadn't eaten.  Had a little mango, but it was even a chore to get that cut up, so I opted for watermelon (which I was late on eating for my 2nd meal anyway.)

The rest of the day went by pretty fast, but I struggled.  I couldn't wait for my dinner salad.  The part I was most looking forward to was the avocado.  Boy was it good!  I had a hard time getting to sleep too.  Definitely the hardest day so far.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cleanse Day 2 - the challenge begins

Winding down day 2.  I prayed today to be satisfied with what I was eating.  Deuteronomy 8:10 says "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." 

I hopped on the scale this morning "just to see" and was down 2.5 pounds!  That made me happy and gave me some motivation for the day.  Ate lots of yummy fruit today, mango for breakfast, watermelon for a snack, pineapple for lunch, then cherries for another snack.  This afternoon it clicked in my brain about eating these foods more often.  I was certainly not eating enough of them before.  And I discovered that yes, a small bowl of cherries is a great snack and will fill me up PLUS give my body the nutrients it needs.  Win win.

We went to church tonight so dinner was late.  That threw me off a bit.  I got pretty weak and a little dizzy.  Stopped at Subway on the way home to get my dinner salad since I hadn't made it to the store and I knew they had what I was allowed to eat.  Yummy salad with lettuce & spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, avocado & dressing.  Boy was it good.  Made the rest of the family Chicken Parmesan.  I did want to eat it, but again was completely satisfied with my salad.  Praise God!

On to day 3 tomorrow!  From what I hear days 2 & 3 are the hardest, so I'll be praying I can make it through. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cleanse Day 1 - Graperific

I've never done any type of cleanse or fast before.  This was a little scary for me!  I was worried I would be cranky, hungry, have a headache, not have the will power to follow through.
I prayed this morning for God to give me the strength for just today to endure.  And He has!  I'm in a great mood, I am hungry and have a slight headache, but confident that I have made it through Day 1 of 10.

The cleanse I am following from Perfect Weight America teaches that on day 1, I need to drink lots of water 3/4 oz per pound of body weight, and 4 meals of grapes (any kind, I got both) throughout the day.  Along with some special supplements that you can get at Perfect CleanseIt's a good thing I like grapes! 

I did alright during the day.  Around 4pm I was starting to get hungry and was worried that grapes for dinner wouldn't be enough.  It was just fine, even though I wanted what the rest of my family was eating.  

I'm feeling pretty good tonight.  My tummy is growling (for the first time today), but I'm heading to bed (it's just after 10) as soon as I finish the last of my water for the day, so I wont be tempted by leftover dinner or popcorn.  I'm looking forward to my mango for breakfast in the morning!  Night!

Photo Friday!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

 Look to God this weekend!  I know I will be!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Diet – there’s no ing

A big part of my life that I know I need to work on is my diet.  It’s not that bad, but it’s not great.  For some reason after my last pregnancy 3 years ago I have had a hard time loosing weight.  The year before I got pregnant I lost 40 lbs.  Stress, counting calories and running, got me there.  I assumed I could count calories again, exercise and I would see the pounds fall off.  Well, that was far from what happened.  No matter what I tried, that scale wasn’t budging.  I had ZERO willpower.  The fatigue from fibromyalgia caused this cycle of wanting to change, but not having the energy to really do anything about it.  A couple of months ago I knew I needed a big transformation.  Not just a diet, not just counting calories, but I was being called to really change my eating habits.  No more processed foods, no more sugar, lots more vegetables.  Eating natural, organic, whole, clean foods is where I know I need to be.  So how do I get there?

I started by cutting out sugar.  I noticed after a few weeks my energy increased, and my pain was reduced.  But it was hard.  I failed time after time.  I would stop for a while, and then have a treat.  And well, if I had a treat, might as well forget about not eating sugar the rest of the day, or week.  The cycle would continue.

Same with counting calories.  I used an app, so it was super convenient.  I made sure to enter everything, every day.  Being so strict and seeing no results on the scale would send me out for a double cheeseburger and fries (and might as well add a sweet tea to that.)  At least it’s not soda right?  That’s the ONLY thing I’ve been able to successfully give up.

What did I do next?  Well, I asked for help.  From everyone.  A friend was on her own weight loss journey, so we teamed up and started meeting together to set goals and encourage each other.  I was in an online group for weight loss.  Another friend started up a Bible study group going through the book Made to Crave and I was in!  (look for a book review coming soon!)  I scoured web sites for different “healthy lifestyle” plans, and diets for people with fibro.  Paleo, the Anti-inflammatory diet, Food’s for Fibromylagia.  It was all quite overwhelming.  Then this week, I met with another friend who has successfully changed her family’s diet to RAW, vegan, gluten free.  Out of that meeting came peace.  She was a REAL person living with a healthy diet, depending on the Lord.  She showed me that it can be done, and it IS worth it!  Our health is worth changing for.

Check out my Good Eats board on Pinterest for the great ideas people have given me and more!

So here is my plan.  I’m going to do a 10 day cleanse starting tomorrow, Friday, August 17th.  Get my body to re-boot.  Get rid of all the toxins I’m storing, and after that, nothing but food that is good for me.  Made to Crave gave me so many tools to get through a change like this, I highly recommend not only reading the book, but finding others and going through the study with the videos.  Very inspirational.  There is even a devotional for daily encouragement.

The cleanse I’ll be following is Perfect Cleanse from Garden of Life.  I also got the book PerfectWeight America which includes all the instructions.  I’ll be posting how each day is going for the 10 days, so I invite you to come along on this adventure with me!

I’m not going to recommend a specific diet to follow.  I do encourage you do your own research and talk with your Dr. about diet and what is best for you.  Even though it seems overwhelming, I know it’s what is best for me, and you too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY - Magnesium Oil Spray

Recently I have learned about the benefits of Magnesium supplementation.  Better sleep, decreased muscle pain, flexibility, bone/teeth strength, hydration, relaxation and more!  A few weeks ago I began taking Magnesium Glycinate, after a recommendation from my Dr., and have already noticed a decrease in my muscle pain!  Then some people in my fabulous online fibromyalgia support group started talking about using Magnesium Oil Spray (which is not really oil at all).  You can spray it on your skin after a shower/bath, or anytime, directly onto sore aching muscles for relief.  That sounded great.  Even better, someone mentioned making your own!  I found a tutorial from and I HAD to try it!

What you will need:
       1.  Magnesium Chloride bath flakes
     2.  Filtered or distilled water
     3.  Spray bottle
     4.  Essential oils (optional)

How to make Magnesium Oil Spray:
1.       Pour 1 Cup of water into a pot

2.       Stir in 1 cup of magnesium flakes

3.       Turn the heat on low/medium

4.       Stir occasionally until flakes are dissolved

5.       Add a few drops of essential oils (optional)

6.       Cool to room temperature

7.       Pour into bottle

How to use Magnesium Oil Spray:

Spray 4-5 sprays directly on sore muscles as needed, or onto your torso, massage in.

8 sprays of Magnesium oil equals about 100mg of Magnesium being absorbed into your skin.

It may tingle or sting when you first spray it on, that should stop after a minute or two. (Do not use right after you have shaved, ouch!)

You can dilute it even more if you have skin irritation.

You can also use Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) but you may need to use less water to experience the same effects.  Epsom Salt vs Magnesium Chloride 

To get even more benefit, I added a few drops of an aroma therapy oil blend I had called “release” for stress and sore muscles.  I can’t tell you the brand because they are no longer in business, but I will list the ingredients for you as inspiration for your own creations.

cinnamon oil, cornmint oil, cinnamon oil, coconut oil, grapefruit oil, lavandin oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, menthol, camphor,  and white ginger extract. 

For more information on essential oils for muscle pain visit:


I spent just under $10 (including shipping) on a 1.64lb bag of Magnesium Bath Flakes.  This works out to 24.6 cents per oz.  Less than 50 cents for a 2oz bottle!  And under $2 for an 8oz bottle!  That’s a HUGE savings considering Magnesium Oil Spray can run anywhere from $6 to almost $30 for an 8oz bottle depending on the brand!

I had a lot of fun making this myself and wanted to share with family and friends so I doubled the recipe and got a handful of 2oz bottles in the travel section of the drugstore so I could share.  I even got an extra bottle for just water, my little helper wanted his own!


If you have a combination of these symptoms, check with your doctor to see if you are deficient in Magnesium and could benefit from supplements including Magnesium Oil Spray.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo Friday!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

Have a great weekend!!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Refreshed - Swimming

It’s been a rough summer for me.  Started out good with the dry heat, little pain.  Then the monsoons rolled in humidity and barometric pressure rose and I’ve struggled on and off since July.  We don’t have a pool in the backyard, but I love to swim and so do my kids, so we made an effort to get to a pool at least once a week over summer vacation.  I soon started to notice how great I felt in the water.  ZERO pain while in the cool water.  It was wonderful.  And even after swimming I felt good, my muscles were more relaxed.  Refreshed is the word I would use.  As long as we didn’t stay too long that is.  We stayed about 2 ½ - 3 hours when we first started going, and that was too much.  I would get very tired after.  I found though when we stayed 1 – 1 ½ hours, it was very good.  I even had more energy later in the day than normal.

I grew up swimming laps so I decided to give that a try and while I’m no Olympian, I can do about 10 laps without pain.  I will vary up the strokes every few laps so I’m working different muscles and it’s a good workout for me.  I swim very slowly now, and according to Fitness for Weight Loss I probably burn around 500 calories an hour swimming at a leisurely pace.  Better than sitting around on the couch!  And BONUS!  I was spending great quality time with my kiddos making summer memories.

Oh yeah, and there was the day I decided it would be a good idea to take them and their friends to a water park for a day.  6 hours in the sun, walking and swimming.  I’m sure I burned around 4000 calories that day, hee hee.  I had to rest for 3 days after that!

I have heard from others with fibro that swimming in the cool ocean has the same effect of taking pain away.  We haven’t made it to the beach yet this summer, but maybe we can work something out before it gets cool and I can see another sunset on the west coast.  I’ll let you know how the Pacific Ocean feels.

Now that school has started, the pools are closing and I won’t be able to get in the water as often.  Thankfully I have a few friends that have offered their pools to me anytime I need it.  It’s good to have such caring friends.  The weather will still be warm well into September so hopefully I will get to swim awhile longer.

I’ve even thought about joining a gym with a pool (and childcare) but actually getting to the gym on a regular basis is tough for me.  I much prefer to work out at home.  I may try it for a season though. Maybe take a mild water aerobics class to get some more exercise  in.

Have you had a chance to get in the water this summer?  Have you found it refreshing?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Art – De-Stress

I’m an artist.  I grew up drawing, painting and taking every single art class I could.  We even had a bus pull up to my elementary school that taught wood crafts and other fun things.

This is my very first oil painting from when I was in the 3rd grade.  California Poppies.

I just love to create.  In fact, I feel it is a big part of my gifting from God.  After working as a graphic artist, I decided to go back to school for art.  My biggest problem was that I loved ALL types of art and it was really hard to pick what to study!  God has given me different types of art to do at different times in my life.  Currently, because I have a toddler and it’s really difficult to get paint out, or spend time in a ceramic’s studio, I am focusing on photography.

My husband gave me my first DSLR camera for Christmas when our 3rd son was just a few months old.  It is one of the best gifts he has ever given me.  I LOVE it.  (Rings & a Kindle Fire are also up pretty high on the list)  I didn’t know then how much it would help me to have photography in my life, especially having fibromyalgia.  I had taken a few film photography classes in school, and I had a background in digital art, so I was comfortable making the switch to digital photography.  The first year I had the camera I spent lots of time learning, reading and practicing, but THEN I found an awesome web site.

It is a place where photographers take and post a photo a day for a year.  I was in awe of the great photography on the site and it was something I wanted to learn how to do better, so I signed up!  It’s free.  January 1, 2011 I posted my first photo.  And I’m still posting!  I have had such a blast doing this project.  I take pictures of my kids, God’s creation around me and experiment with things I’ve never tried (like water drops and fizzy fruit!)  I am so grateful for the inspiration and encouragement the other photographers have given me.  The best part is, anyone can do this!  There are lots of people on the site that use regular ‘point and shoot’ cameras or smart phones.  It’s a great way to document your life, your pain, your joy, be creative every day, and help reduce stress from your life.

Not only do I post photos daily, but I have started selling my work.  I joined a local art group where I was able to put some of my photographs in local businesses for sale, I also set up a booth in my towns Art Walk once a month.  And I started an Etsy shop to sell online.

If you are a creative person, you NEED to find a way to use your creativity.  Find a hobby that you just love and make time for it!  If you love to write, journal, if you love to draw, doodle!  If you love to garden, or bake, do it!  I know what you are thinking, “this is just a waste of precious energy,” well no!  When you do something that you enjoy, something that stimulates your ‘right brain’, you will feel more energized and even be able to relax and think clearer.

Is there something that you used to do that brought you joy?  Or is there something that you have always wanted to try?  Why not start this week!  I pray it will make a difference in your stress and overall joy like it has for me.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Photo Friday!!

You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yin Inspired Yoga – Deep Stretching for Connective Tissue

I have heard about how great Yoga is for people with fibromyalgia.  Good muscle stretching sounds like a great idea.  I had done some Yoga before I had fibro, taken a few classes from my best friend who is a wonderful Christian Yoga instructor, and I did the P90X program for a summer that included a tough Yoga workout, but I was far from being a yogi.

A couple months after I found out I had fibro, I was ready to do something to try and feel better.  So I went to a Yoga class (a class geared towards more advanced students and instructors!  OOOPS!).  I hadn’t exercised AT ALL since I quit running four months earlier.  There was my first mistake.  My second mistake was thinking I could still push myself like I could before fibromyalgia.  I did the whole 1 hour class.  Sure it was hard, but I didn’t feel too much pain, so I kept going.  My muscles were tight and I started to feel a little off, fuzzy head, but I brushed away the thoughts and went to lunch.  About an hour later I was driving home and started to sob.  I don’t know where the emotion came from but it felt awful and all consuming.  I just cried and cried.  Made it home and fell onto the couch in horrible pain.  I was upset because of what I had done to myself and I grieved for the person I was before.  I knew then that my life really was going to be very different.  I had to rest for the next few days as my muscles recovered, from what felt like a marathon I wasn't prepared to run, and thought I would never do Yoga again.   But I did try again, I took it very slow and modified every move to what I could do.  This is when having a Yoga instructor for a best friend comes in handy.  She recommends Gentle Yoga, Beginning or Aerial Yoga or Restorative Yoga is good for aching bodies.

Ok, let’s get to it.  Yin inspired Yoga.  I ran across this online somewhere and asked my BFF about it.  She was excited to tell me that a variation of this type of Yoga would be great for people with fibromyalgia!  Why?  Well, here is the definition according to Three Trees Yoga:

“Yin is a simple, quiet practice that explores the connective tissue and joints of the body. The major differences between a yin and a traditional yoga practice are that yin postures are passive and done with the muscles relaxed. The poses are held on the floor, for a length of time. This is because connective tissue does not stretch like muscle and does not respond well to brief stresses. The focus of Yin Yoga, then, is to keep the joints and connective tissues of the body mobile. The regular practice of Yin yoga frees areas of chronic tightness primarily in the hips, legs, and lower back.”

Well that sounded fantastic!  Especially because fibromyalgia pain is thought to be largely in the connective tissue.  Yin is a specific set of 25 poses or “asanas” that must be done in order.  You hold each pose 3-5 minutes (10 minutes for some!) so it is a long intense practice and should be done just once a week.  I was no where near ready for that, so my wonderful friend came over one day and taught me 9 poses.  We started with just 2 minutes each and I’ve been adding time to each pose ever since.  Here is what she taught me, click on each asana for more instructions and information from
Remember, they must be done IN ORDER.

1.       Melting Heart – 3-5 min
2.       Butterfly – 3-5 min
3.       Camel – 1-2min
4.       Cat Pulling It’s Tail – 3-5 min each side
5.       Caterpillar – 3-5 min
6.       Dangling – 2min
7.       Deer – 3-5 min each side
8.       Dragons – 3-5 min each side
9.       Straddle – 3-10 min

I do have difficulty with some of these.  I have tender points on my outer thighs and sitting on them for even a short amount of time is painful.   Not only that, I am also am very inflexible (scoliosis and short hamstrings) so I will never be able to fully do the poses.  I just relax and do what I can.  My friend showed me how to use blankets and bolsters for support.  Some of the poses work your back, so if you find it getting stiff like I did, my friend suggested adding
Child’s Pose in between as needed.

Always check with your Dr. before beginning any exercise routine.  It is very beneficial to have someone show you how to do each pose correctly.  Check out classes in your area!

***Thanks to Christy Parker for all of her wisdom, support and patience!  Christy is not only a Certified Yoga Instructor and Certified Christian Yoga Instructor, but an Instructor in Krav Maga AND has a wonderful blog about natural skin care, home improvement DIY's and more!  Check her out at