Monday, November 24, 2008


Anyone wanna win this really cool printer?

Check out this link and enter for your chance to win!

Epson Giveaway

Although, just so you know, even though you may enter, I will win.

I will, I will, I will.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pants Shmants

Zane is totally into Start Wars right now. We're finally up to watching Episode 6: Return of the Jedi.

Zane wants to be a Jedi.

He has several obstacles in his way.

First, we only own one light saber.

Secondly, potty training involves the stripping down to the skivvy's while hanging out around the house in order to make things easier to manage.

This second obstacle does not sit well with the young master Zane.

"MOM! I can't be a Jedi without pants!"

True, my young apprentice.

But, I also believe that Jedi's do not poop in their underwear. I'm fairly certain about this. Pooping in one's drawers is only done by those who have joined the dark side. Is that what you want? To join the ranks of the dark side?

I think not.

And thus, you will overcome these obstacles.

A second light saber we can obtain.

Continuing to be known as the pantless Jedi?

The choice is yours.

Use the force little man.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank you, kind Sir!

I'm currently in a really good place.
Sure, the purge is helping. No doubt.

I'm more active.

My mind is clear.

Clarity is a great substitute for fuzziness.

I feel good. Like James Brown good.

And on Tuesday, I was just blessed. Simply put. Blessed. By random acts of kindness. Yeah, yeah, the kind that Oprah has probably gone on and on about because of some book.

I don't think we're wired for kindness.

We're wired to receive it.

But, I'll go out on a limb and say that we're not quite wired to give it. We do, of course. But more often than not, at least in my case, I tend to think about myself before I think about others. It's hard to look that truth in the face. I challenge you to stare it down.

Anyway, back to Tuesday. It's as if it was, "Show Joline a little kindness day".

On the way out of Great Harvest, which is just chock full of kindness by way of free bread slices, I ran into the father of a former student who is now, gasp, a senior at Northwestern. How can my students be graduating from college? That's another story.

Anyway, we spoke and caught up as we walked to Starbucks so I could grab some tea, and Zane some chocolate milk.

Well, this gentleman just wouldn't dream of my picking up the tab for my drinks. He purchased my tea and Zane's drink and then we walked back to our cars. It was such a "chance" meeting, as he doesn't live in Evanston, but was just down for the day visiting his daughter.

Very sweet.

I visit a great market on Dempster every week, as I just can't stand the enormity that is the Jewel or Dominicks - although I do shop there, I tend to prefer the smaller market. So Tuesday, as I was putting Zane in the car, a lovely older couple came over to the car, saw me loading all the bags and Zane into the car, and said,

"You've got your hands full. Is this your cart? Let us return it for you. You do so much."

It's the little things.

But wait! The blessings continued. Even if the next one is sure to kill me.

Out of the blue while I was making lunch, I hear the most glorious little voice, and turn to look into the most glorious blue eyes,

"Mommy, you are beautiful."


"Are you going to cry now?"

Um, yep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

21 Days

This used to be me.

Ok, maybe I'm stretching the "used to be". It's only been 3 days.

I'm not convinced that I'll be completely giving up my literal cuppa joe after my 21 day dietary detox comes to an end, but I may have to adjust the amount I drink every day.

So, for the next 18 days just refer to me as Cuppa Tea.

How is it going?

Glad you asked.

Day One: I was plagued by a day long headache which felt as if an anvil had been dropped on my head and someone was proceeding to pound on the anvil with a jackhammer. Yeah. It was bad. Dizzy. Light headed. Foggy. The feelings you would expect to experience while on a starvation diet. Funny thing was, I was eating every 3 hours. The program allows me GREAT food. Whole foods. No processed junk. Plus, no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, and no coffee. So, just imagine this bagel buying, cheese chewing, sugar salivating, coffee craver going cold turkey (I can eat cold turkey). Not even delicious fresh fruit smoothies, steel cut oatmeal (yummy), amazing salads with tons of veggies and chicken, plus snacks, helped. This was an immediate clue to the fact that my dietary habits have been affecting me more than I have realized. Afterall, shouldn't healthy whole foods make one feel good? Well, yes. But, for me, on Day One, they didn't. Popped the Advil and thought to myself, "I can't do this."

I am also using some supplements grown on an organic farm up in Wisconsin that uses their vegetables to make supplements. I use their shake powder (who knew that brussel sprouts and collard greens could end up in a smoothie powder), extra fiber tablets, and next week, will begin taking a whole food supplement.

Day Two: Woke up feeling FULL of energy. Got up at 6:15 to make my very large breakfast which consisted of a shake, with the supplement powder as the base, and a banana, blueberries, strawberries, and flax seed oil. Also had a hard-boiled egg and steel cut oatmeal. Seriously, breakfast prior to Friday's start had always been a cup of coffee and some bacon. Got through the day just fine. No headaches. I really do enjoy making "garbage" salads for lunch: salads with every chunky veggie one can find, plus lean protein. I'm also making my own dressing. Olive oil, balsamic, spices. Can't wait to experiment with grapeseed oil, lemon, or apple cider vinegar. I have ideas. And making my own dressing is so much cheaper! Dinner? George made a chicken in our clay pot (we LOVE our clay pot) and I made sure to eat just the white meat with some broccoli and red bell pepper on the side.

As a result, guess who are also eating more vegetables? Hint, one uses Nutella.

Day Three: This was the day that would really show whether I was truly feeling better or just feeling a placebo effect. I led worship this morning and had to be at church by 8:00, ready to rehearse and sing for two services. I was up early and feeling fantastic. I had a huge breakfast and found that I wasn't even hungry until around 1:00 when we arrived home from the morning. The other interesting development is that I felt less congested when I awoke - which is rare. I almost always have some nasal/vocal issues in the morning, regardless of whether I have a cold. Not today. I just feel better. And I'm waking more easily - no hungover feeling.

Lunch was my "garbage" salad again (threw in avocado and hard-boiled egg this time) and for dinner I made turkey burgers and veggies. Which reminds me that I need some good recipes for artichokes.

I have also been enjoying a variety of green tea's (the only caffeine I can have) and decaf herbal tea's. That, combined with a little over 64 oz of water day, has me leaping to the rest room more often than normal, but hey, that's all part of detoxing the body, right? Flush it out baby.

My energy level is HIGH. I have been able to handle general household stressers (messy kitchen, the laundry monster, potty training - not myself - I make it to the bathroom just fine) with more ease. George is wondering who has invaded my body to motivate me to actually fill and empty the dishwasher.

Fuzzy brain? Not so much right now. I'm just handling things better.

It's only Day Three, so I don't see any external changes, but I do, without a doubt feel a difference inside. But I do need to incorporate exercise. George has been great about exercising every morning, so maybe I'll try and join him tomorrow - if I have time - I have alot to eat for breakfast and that may not leave time for working out . . . :)

Before I began this process, I had my weight and fat % checked. It will be interesting to see how this changes as of November 27th. Thanksgiving Day.

How appropriate that my 21st day will be Thanksgiving Day. Did I plan that well, or what?

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Mean It Was This Easy All Along?




Zane has been using the potty successfully for about 3 days now, due to a new found love of Target Practice.

I remember reading somewhere that little boys need help with aim. Well, Zane's aim has always been fine. His issue isn't with hitting the target, but rather just wanting to use the target in the first place! Sooooo . . . the other night, as I was gently prodding him to use the potty upon realizing that he was a tad bit wet, I had blinding flash of the obvious.

Throw funny things into the toilet (of the flushable and floatable variety) and turn training into a game.

We've now learned that Cheetos and elbow macaroni float. Zane has a container of targets in each bathroom and can grab one, drop it in, and then go to town. The reward, of course, being Halloween candy.


I know that Cheerios are great for this, but Zane doesn't like them, and thus, there is no allure to throw them in. Cheetos and pasta, however? Perfect. I hear there is a product one can buy - shapes that dissolve in the toilet . . . but isn't it so much more fun to find things in the kitchen that can float and be flushed? Complete silliness.

And Nutella. Who knew that Nutella tasted great on carrots, red bell pepper, and other various vegetables? Well, I don't, as I'm on the 21 day detox and thus I didn't even lick the Nutella off the spoon after putting some in a bowl for Zane. But Zane knows. He loved dunking carrots and apples in it today.


So, targets . . . good for successful potty adventures.

And, Nutella . . . good for successful vegetable adventures.

And a big Mom DUH!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Countdown to Detox

If you follow my blog, (and thanks if you do), then you know that I am pretty transparent. I have no problem sharing my honest innards. You may find this pretty crazy, or self serving (a need for attention). I find it freeing.


Many of you have also watched the process we've been through with Harper since Kindergarten. You've watched us move through confusion, fear, frustration, evaluation, prognosis, and treatment. She has come out of the entire process with flying colors. In fact, we are now in the stage of giving her "vacations" from medication on the weekends. I've written about how much she has grown in previous posts, so I won't rehash that. Simply put, she's doing great. If you have read everything I've posted about Harper and then happen to meet her for the first time, you might demise that we are delusional regarding her ADHD. Sometimes I even wonder if she is still struggling underneath her incredibly humorous, brilliant, and vivacious outer shell.

You have also watched me, in an attempt to adapt to the happenings of the last two years, leave behind a coaching business, open a home business, communicate my heart and soul through writing, and attempt to regain a "normalcy", only to find that "normalcy" is a fallacy. If we keep hoping for normal, we reject the present blessings that God has given us each day. I trust and believe that "His mercies are new every morning". And yet in my attempts to find strength and power in our "new normalcy", I have struggled abysmally.

Harper has been doing great now for 6 whole months.

I however, have never returned to the optimum health that I lived in 2006.

Eating healthy? No. Consistent exercise? No. Organized house? I know, I know, many of you think it's ridiculous that I would describe myself as disorganized, but I am. Memory loss? Frankly, my short term memory has had some scary little dips. Spiritual life? Actually, pretty good thanks to Moms R Us and singing in the band, but my personal devotion times have been a constant struggle. Fellowship? Yes, but many times I'd rather just stay home. Retreating from getting together with people or leaving behind activities that were once fun? A little. I probably have the lingering effects of a non-diagnosed bit of depression. The days exhaust me. I'm irritable. Impatient. My brain and my body are fatigued.

I will be 40 this year.

Thank you. I don't think I look it either.

I will be 40 this year and I will NOT enter this year in defeat. I will return to optimum health. But, doing so will take a hefty commitment and a change of lifestyle. I need to break out of the terrible habits that were adopted over the last two years.

And thanks to an impromptu comment from a friend of mine - whose comment I truly believe was voiced through the Holy Spirit - I will be embarking on a journey to seek health by unconventional means.

Beginning on Friday, with the help of a new Doctor (a chiropractor/acupuncturist/nutritionist) who has a commitment to treating Pastor's and their families for free, I will be starting a 21 day detox plan to begin purging all the muck I feel inside. What muck?

Little do you know that I wake up feeling "hungover" every morning. Without caffeine I can't get going. Period. I am in a constant fuzzy or scattered state. I have developed chronic neck and upper back pain. My hip joints hurt. Playing anything physical with the kids knocks me out. I am exhausted by 5 or 6 and don't want to leave the house. I have sinus infections and what I believe to be undiagnosed allergies - and I really don't want to resort to merely taking allergy med's, as I think some natural remedies will actually be of more help. I struggle over making healthy meals and end up binge eating. It's like I'm ADD. Seriously. This is no way to live. At least, not for me.

This is not me.

So, I will enter a 21 day detox, during which time I will most likely remove gluten, sugar, and who knows what else. Yep, it's a flush of the entire system. Should be really pretty. I will also be meeting with the Doc weekly for adjustments and stretching.

All free.

It is such a gift. It's unbelievable that my friend even mentioned the guy - as we weren't even talking about health at the time. And it's no surprise, as the Holy Spirit just loves surprising us, that after this conversation came a second similar one with another friend, completely unrelated to the first. She too shared her remarkable results through a 21 day detox program. Maybe unconventional methods are catching.

I am excited. Really excited. I don't feel like me and I need to feel like me again. I think I am most excited to have someone else developing a plan for me rather than attempting to do so myself. I'm a pretty good rule follower and will follow a plan that is handed to me. I do not, however, have the patience to create one for myself.

What can you do to help? Support it. If we're out and about and I refuse to eat or drink something, don't press me with "Oh, come on. One little bite can't hurt." This is not helpful. Just be supportive. I can pig out with you some other time. Hold me accountable. Take it seriously with me.

I'll keep you posted on the results . . .

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Ok, it's no surprise that Evanston is otherwise known as Obamaland.

Don't be fooled by the photo. George and I are voting for Senator Obama.

But what does a parent do when their kid, while trick or treating, walks up to a door, and refuses to knock on that door because it is sporting a McCain/Palin sticker, and thus turns, and leaves the property?

I don't need a parent manual to tell me that this is not good.

I told Zane he needed to be bipartisan and march up to that door. He was rewarded with a Milky Way. Too bad for you, Harper.

Yes, Harper has been learning about both candidates in school and has registered to vote in her classroom on election day. She, and her classmates, have also written letters to whomever will be our next President.

And while we have also discussed the election in the house, we have told Harper that she needs to read the informational brochures on each candidate, (child friendly material), and vote for the candidate of her choice.

"Yeah, I already know I'm voting for Obama because McCain stinks!"

Um, wait a minute.

"Where did you hear that"?

She shared that a few students in her class had mentioned that McCain was no good and stunk. My heart broke. Broke. I have failed. No awards for Mom in this house today.

"Harper, speaking about Senator McCain that way is completely disrespectful", said the mother who dissed Palin verbally early on . . . I've redeemed myself . . . "and I hope you understand that both Obama and McCain love this country and want to do the best job as President. They just disagree on how to do so."

We then discussed the issues in her handouts. As much as one can actually discuss the issues with a 7 year old. I was surprised, however, by her questions, and her conclusions as they pertained to each issue highlighted in the brochure.

"Mom, why are we in a war with Iraq"?

I stumbled through explaining 9-11 (having previously touched upon the events of that day after reading a book from before 2001 which still showed the towers standing, two skyscrapers which Harper mentioned interest in visiting one day) and how after the attacks we believed that Iraq was possibly protecting terrorists, like the ones who hurt and killed many Americans on 9-11, by allowing them to stay in that country, and that Iraq also had really bad weapons, or RBW's, that could threaten us. I then shared that these weapons were never found.

"So why are we still fighting with them?"

"Harper, I do not know."

"Did they find the people who hurt our country when I was a baby?"

"No. But they think the person who planned the attack is in a country called Afghanistan." I told her his name. (Updated on November 2: I really didn't want to explain suicide missions to my daughter and thus, I told her that the people hadn't been found.)

"So, why don't we go there and get him?"

"Well, Harper, it's difficult."

"Well, I think that if we keep sending Americans to Iraq then the war will just keep getting bigger and go on longer. So I disagree with it."


We talked about education. Harper didn't like the word "compete" when it came to schools competing for the best teachers. In her young 7 year old mind, she took this to mean,

"So will all the best teachers only be in a few schools, then? What about all the other schools?"

I realize that all this is watered down and that Harper can't possibly comprehend the entire scope of the issues, but she came to these conclusions on her own - at least she is beginning the process of thinking critically.

She also decided that "all children should be able to go to the doctor".

Now, I know that she can't really make an informed choice at 7 years old, and that she is completely influenced by the fact that Obama signs have become yard ornaments around here, but I am really glad that we are talking about the election. I'm glad that there is material out there for parents to use when discussing the candidates with their children.

I do hope, however, that parents are actually having discussions with their children and are not simply telling their child that one candidate is better than the other, end of story. This does nothing for their ability to think critically. These men are not deities, and don't encompass true "hope" and "truth", so I feel quite comfortable discussing both candidates with Harper. And truth is, she's hearing stuff in school, from other kids. I can't ignore that this is happening. It's like a discussion about sex. Can a child this old really understand it? No. But if she came home repeating something of a sexual nature that she picked up on the playground, then I best be ready and available to discuss it.


I felt compelled to apologize to Harper if I had said anything to make her think that McCain "stunk". She assured me that she had heard it at school.

I wiped my forehead.

Still, after her comment from last week, and then her refusal to trick or treat at the house of a McCain supporter, I really needed to discuss respect. Both my respect for both candidates, and, well, ok, their running mates as well . . . and her respect for the candidates.

She is 7.

What was I doing when I was 7?

Discussing politics?

I don't think so.


Caramel Apples Are Good For Families

Wanna guarantee a great after-dinner dialogue between parents and children?

Make caramel apples. It's a long enough process to get everyone involved, and eating them takes time, thus insuring that no one will be darting away from the table in a flash.

Our evening was so good, that seriously, I don't even know where to start here. All I know is that caramel apples, as much as they are just down right horrible for teeth, are fantastic for families.

At least ours.

We spent the second half of the day at home. We needed a day at home. One of those lazy Saturdays where you just hang together. No agenda. Well, other than making caramel apples after dinner, an activity which you keep dangling over the head's of your children as a bribe throughout the day, in order to make the day run smoothly.

After dinner, we began the process. And what we thought would just be a fun family activity turned into one of the best family gatherings around the dinner table that we've had all year.

It began with Zane.

"Mommy! You are sitting next to me! Because you love me!" Zane is all about the love. The saying you love, the showing you love, the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the snuggles, the rolling up into a ball and curling up in your lap. It never gets old.

And then, Zane, who is mesmerized by all things four, "because I'm going to be four", begins telling us how when he is big, he will be a doctor.

"When I am big, I will be a doctor. A doctor for children. To make them feel better."

"That's great, Zane! When did you decide to become a doctor when you grow up?"

Zane looks straight at us. His face clearly reveals that he is dead on serious.

"God told me I am going to be a doctor."


Things continued. We broke into a spiritual discussion during which Zane basically ingrained in us that Jesus is God and that sin makes Him sad and that He is alive. After he finished preaching we asked the kids how they know that we love them.

Harper responded first. "Because you tell us and hug and kiss us all the time. Too much."

To which Zane jumps in to defend our honor with an emphatic reply, "NO! IT'S NOT TOO MUCH!"

Ok, then.

The evening began to wind to a close by Harper inviting us into her room for a surprise. She had her light pointed at the ceiling as a spotlight and asked us to either sit in the balcony (up on the loft), or on the floor. Zane and I chose the loft. George took the floor. Otherwise, as Harper told us, he would block the spotlight. Such a lighting technician.

And. Then. It. Happened.

Harper busted out into a very well choreographed, "Gettin' Jiggy With It". And I'm telling you, putting all "mommy lovin' her child no matter what" aside, that her moves were in time, very creative, and actually fit the music. She left the room for a moment afterwards at which time George and I had a brief moment to share a "what was that" moment - completely non-verbal. We were in disbelief. The girl can dance. I mean, really. Dance. I told her that taking a hip hop class was kind of like taking a tennis class . . . minus the racquet and balls and net and everything tennis. My point being, that just as she tackled a tennis class where she knew no one, I would help her take a dance class if she had any inkling to do so.

Then Zane pops in again. The doctor who knows God, points at a painting in Harper's room of the feeding of the five thousand and states, "THAT is a God picture".

I have always said that I love my children so much that it hurts.

And tonight, sitting around a dinner table, sharing caramel apples, and just simply talking, reminded us why, every now and then, we just need to be the four of us with anything to do on a Saturday afternoon and evening.