Friday, October 31, 2008

Home again, home again!

Greetings! I'm pretty much as happy as I can be right I sit with my cup of coffee and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper reruns play in the background while my husband sleeps in. Being gone this week was not one of the more enjoyable experiences of my life; I'm thrilled to be back.

So, this week was my Starbucks conference in New Orleans...while I understand some of why we went there, I do question the wisdom behind that decision. It was the biggest conference to have taken place in New Orleans since Katrina, and it did put millions of dollars back into their economy. We also provided over 50,000 hours of community service while we were there, and it was very well received by the community. My beef, however, is with the idea behind taking ten thousand people to a city that is FAMOUS for getting drunk and partying. I heard so many people say "I NEVER drink at home, but if you come to New Orleans, you GOTTA party!!" Yeah. Thanks for that, Starbucks. Also, for anyone who has ever wanted to go to New Orleans, I found it a representation of society at its absolute lowest. It's almost like a different world--there's beer on the streets, so it's nice because I mean, you don't even have to sit down to get trashed. You can just get trashed while you walk, which makes it easier to be insanely stupid. Also, its easier to catch the beads that are thrown down off balconies by girls who are dressed in skimpy lingere. There are literally shops on the street with signs that say "Girl on Girl! Live Sex Acts Inside!!" and have pictures, GIANT pictures, of said acts. I was like, wow. I guess maybe in Katrina they all lost their computers, so now they just put porn on the streets. Nice. All in all I was very uncomfortable, and I'm not particularly close to anyone on my team, so I spent many hours missing my sweet husband.

But let's talk about the highlights: Biggest and best....Starbucks is going (RED)! We are partnering with the Red campaign to raise money for AIDS and HIV protection in Africa. I'm very excited about this, and it's a HUGE deal for us. The first promotion is going to raise a TON of money for the campaign and it's such an awesome organization. The big surprise came though when BONO came out to introduce it!!!! We had no idea he was coming, but it was just awesome. He is hilarious and wonderful. Most definitely the highlight of my week.

Last night was Halloween and our stupid street was lame...we were the only house with our light on, and thus got about three trick or treaters. It's ok though because we also had friends come over for a huge pan of dirt cake with gummy worms and I made some pumpkin gnocchi. I'm so...domestic. HAHA. (sike.)

Geoff loved his first week of school--its designed perfectly to cater not only to our lifestyle, but also to his learning style. Tons of reading (books that he's actually interested in!!) and responding; not a lot of busy work and stuff. He enjoyed going and said the 4 hours went by quickly, which will help him continue to be motivated. I continue to be more proud of him every day! Both of us are going into difficult seasons at work--him being at the mall and me working through a huge Christmas promo at ' will be a very busy month at our house!! With the addition of his school, my training classes, and a small group, we are now out of our house 5 nights a week which will add some new dynamics to our life. But we are still thrilled with the way things are falling into place and continue to enjoy every second we have together.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This week

It's been a big week here at the Wards...

Geoff's big news is that beginning either October 27 or March 9, he'll officially be a full time student again!! He is entering into a degree completion program at Washington Bible College which will allow him to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and Ethics, which is PERFECT. Plus, he'll only be on campus on Monday nights which is amazing, since it still gives us a lot of time together. It will be a big change; Geoff isn't the biggest fan of school...I'm so proud of him for pursuing this. We're waiting on some paperwork/registration/finance stuff to go through before we know which cohort he'll be joining and if he'll start in fall or spring. Updates to come!

As for's been a pretty good week. I got in to see a different doctor on Tuesday and my new antibiotic has been helping a lot. There's still slight need for concern as I'm most likely needing to see a urologist in the coming weeks because of some questionable lab results. But I'm at least feeling more normal...cooked a few meals, cleaned some stuff, stayed up past 8pm. All in all, basically being "me." I've also recently begun the training class at the Crisis Pregnancy Center to become a Crisis Counselor and am loving it. I'm learning so much about the center, as well as counseling and communication in general. I've got 8 more weeks of class and then I'll go from there!

This week will be nuts for us! I'm leaving on Sunday for a trip to New Orleans for the Starbucks management conference, and there's so much to do between now and then. Monday we're having a "Pumpkin Party" here at our apartment, for a lot of our friends to come over and carve pumpkins and eat caramel apples, as well as the Halloween Funfetti cupcakes I'm making with monsters on top (pictures will come!) Tuesday and Wednesday night are work, and Wednesday night is a huge day at Starbucks since a lot of corporate people will be coming to tour my store. So much work. Thursday is crisis counseling training, Friday is trying out a new small group...and then it's time to head south! I'm feeling sleepy already.

All in all, we are both still thrilled with life. I'm not sure when the excitement of marriage actually begins to die down. I mean, I still wake up every morning with a HUGE grin on my face and giggled our way home last night simply because we were both driving to the same place! I literally get MORE giddy every day and I love it. I'm getting used to being married but it doesn't feel normal--and I don't want it to! It feels like the most special thing in the entire world. We're so lucky!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

total frustration.

Welp, the cleanse is off. We did it for a week...and then yesterday I was diagnosed with my 3rd urinary tract infection in less than a month. I am miserable. It's painful, as well as exhausting, and is frustrating me beyond belief. I have a really rough few days, take the medicine, it clears, and then I finally get back into my own routine, only to be knocked down by another one. We had to nix the plans for our 10 mile run because I've been able to push myself to work out as hard. I'm not able to take care of the house the way I want to, or to take care of my husband the way I want to. I'm also struggling with trying to find the energy that I need to put into the store now that I'm manager. It's been a difficult few days.

Luckily, my husband is amazing and encourages me and makes me laugh even when I start bawling the minute he walks through the door. He's wonderfully supportive and picks up the slack around the house when I'm not feeling well.

I'm going to see some specialists in the coming weeks to figure out what is going on. Prayers are welcomed and appreciated....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The cleanse continues...

So. Days one, two, and three pretty much sucked. It's really, really difficult to come up with things to eat on this cleanse. The most difficult part is really just coming up with actual meals. It's easy enough to grab an apple and carrot sticks and cashews, but it's a little harder to sit down to that for dinner. The first three days also brought much tiredness and headaches, I believe mostly due to the sudden elimination of all sugars. I was about ready to deem the cleanse ineffective...and then this morning I woke up, felt fantastic, and had the best day at the gym I can remember. And Geoff is feeling great today too. So hopefully as time goes by, our bodies will continue to readjust themselves. Fun times =)

Saturday, October 4, 2008


So on Monday morning, Geoff and I are embarking on a health adventure together. I've been feeling kinda sick lately, have been knocked down by a few infections and just feeling rotten in general. So I'm taking a big step and trying something I've been interested in for awhile, and Geoff is loving me and doing it with me even though it's not going to be fun. We're doing a cleanse!

I've been reading a book called "Quantum Wellness" by Kathy Freston. Basically the book describes the many dimensions of health--spiritual, emotional, physical...and how they all work together. While some of the stuff she says I don't really agree with, the hippie side of me really appreciates much of what she has to offer. Normally, I'm against cleanses. I'm totally against fasting (or, I should clarify, fasting for non-religious purposes. Fasting with prayer is different) or liquid diets, etc. I believe that our bodies are designed to cleanse themselves and doing such drastic things basically throws off the rhythm your body wants to function in. However, the cleanse recommended in this book is different. First, it doesn't require limiting your food intake. Food types, yes, but not food quantity. It's still possible to get energy, protein, etc from the cleanse she recommends. All you're basically doing is eliminating the hardest foods for your body to process and digest so that your body can focus on other things (in my case, fighting off infections and giving me back my energy.) It's in no way a permanent way of life; it's just basically a jump start to wellness. So, here's a list of the foods we'll be avoiding, and a brief explanation why:

Sugar: Sugar turns to glucose in your body. High levels of glucose triggers the production of insulin in your pancreas. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces and when the storage areas in your body are full, the sugar will be turned into fat. Insulin can cause inflammation in your cells (and thus is possibly linked with cancer.) Sugar can also be addicting and trigger cravings. Digesting refined and processed sugar also upsets the balance of vitamins and minerals in your body. By avoiding sugar for just a few weeks, you can actually reset your body to get more energy from less food. (And just for the record, we'll be avoiding not only white sugar, but all natural sugars including honey, corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners.)

Alcohol: Many of the same effects of sugar, since it also turns to glucose. Also highly addictive, and damaging to vital organs. (This will be the only easy part of the cleanse for me.)

Caffeine: Besides being addictive, caffeine can also be linked to anxiety, sleep disorders, body tensions, and headaches. Giving up caffeine lets you body restore its settings without the false adrenaline of caffeine. Since I think coffee is something that my stomach doesn't handle well to begin with, I'll be avoiding decaf as well. And since I can't have sugar or dairy, a cup of coffee isn't something I would have enjoyed anyways!

Gluten: The most common of all small intestine irritants. Because it's very difficult for the small intestine to digest, sometimes it leaks out into the bloodstream. It then attatches itself to certain brain receptors (which is why many times a gluten free diet will help children with ADHD, autism, and other learning disorders.) Eating too much gluten also takes away the small intestines ability to absorb nutrients from other foods. By giving it up for a few weeks, the small intestine can heal itself and get back on track.

Animal Products: Dairy is another commonly known allergen. It can lead to inflammation in your small intestine. Most of the idea of eliminating animal products though, is because of the hormones and chemicals that are in the cows and other animals we eat. Avoiding them for a short time also gives your body a chance to rest from these hormones.

*I will say we will most likely compromise on the meat--because we work out so much, it's difficult to get a high level of protein from vegan sources. We will most likely add in some fish a few nights, and maybe some chicken.

This will be difficult. But I'm hoping that the few weeks of it will give me renewed energy and health. I'm mostly telling everyone so that it's motivation for us to actually stick with it! 21 days. Wahoo. We'll keep you updated! =)