Archives for the month of: January, 2008

Today I drove my car to Rockville to get my twice-cracked windshield fixed.  The girl sitting next to me started up a conversation and I found out that she graduated from a ridiculously small high school, is majoring in art, has her nose pierced, and plans on going into graphic design.  I wanted to give her my card to send her to my portfolio website, but I don’t have any more printed.  it was cool to have all those things in common.  although, i think her ugg boots were real.

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Watch out for aspartame (nutrasweet) and MSG (monosodium glutamate) in your food. Both are considered excitotoxins and have been implicated in nerve damage and a lot of other terrifying symptoms including obesity. Check out this article about MSG and then come over so we can make some real food that tastes good because it is good, not because it messes with your nerve’s receptors.

there is no sludge theory.  i just made that up because it sounds cool and gross.

autoimmune diseases are called such because no etiology can be found, so it is assumed that the problem is the body attacking itself. i was talking with a nurse friend about the issue and she said there’s always a cause for why the body’s immune system would start attacking itself. i mean, honestly, why should my friendly T-cells start eating the myelin off the nerves in my brain? she asked the same question with a poignant metaphor: “why would i shoot one of my kids? there has to be a reason. maybe i heard someone breaking and entering and in defense, i shot the intruder, but my child was in the way. there’s always a cause.”

there has been evidence that MS is often preceeded by the epstein-barr virus, intense stress, and minor spinal cord or brain injuries like whiplash, but nothing conclusive.

in my research on MS, i came across several theories for what causes the disease. i discovered this same concept in several sources and find it very compelling. here is a fascinating article on how autoimmune disease can start with poor digestion. his thesis is that your undigested food forms a sludge that goes into other parts of your body, causing your immune system to freak out. i know, it’s gross, but it will make you want to chew more and take probiotics. awesome.

definitely give it a read and tell me what you think.

[psst: talitha and stephanie, this is the one i was talking about!]

I’ve been a fan of pop country for the past 2 years. I used to hate it and everything it stood for, but all it took was one good Dixie Chicks song to break my resolve and now I’m a pop country radio addict. I have other stations programmed in my car and I’ve got an iPod full of hip indie, rock and folk music, but I keep going back. I’m a little ashamed to admit this to my cool indie friends, but I like Sufjan Stevens and Tim McGraw. Patty Griffin and Sugarland.

Anyway, I heard 2 songs last week that made me choke up. The first is Craig Morgan’s International Harvester. [A brief aside: his song conflates tractors and combines, an error which is inexcusable considering the genre. Also, the video isn’t as cool as it should be.] I love this song because it really captures a lot of my experience growing up on the farm. I had friends in FFA who participated in “drive your tractor to school day,” friends in 4H and my dad had that slow moving vehicle sign on more than one piece of farm equipment. I’m the daughter of a 6th generation farmer. The song made me teary because family farms are rapidly disappearing. I know that niche markets will keep them alive, but corporate farms are the norm now and I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain to my kids what my life was like. I sold sweetcorn with no shoes on, read in a treehouse, played house in an enormous barn, named stray cats, helped catch chickens to be butchered, picked green beans, and washed the poop off of eggs. I’m sad that my experience will be forgotten soon.

Brad Paisley wrote the other touching song, Letter to Me, which is a collection of encouragement and advice to himself at 17. I really like the tender tone of the song. I am also encouraged by the idea that life is so much more than this present moment–that God has a timeless perspective on me and sees me all at once: at 5, at 17, at 24 and beyond.

Country music is awesome. I can’t blame you for hating it as I did once, but I hope you’ll see the light soon.

look, here it is. i feel like an apologetics ninja. and you will, too, after you read it.

[watch out for those free hosting popups and banner ads. they can be nasty.]

margin

lately I’ve been asking all sorts of questions about rest. God mandated a sabbath day–one day out of 7 to rest from all work. He promises internal peace despite external pressures. how much work/productivity does He require of me personally and how much of my stress is caused by my own expectations? how much internal & external stress can my body handle? right now, my immune system is freaking out, so i need to decrease stress as much as possible, but what exactly does that mean in a culture of hurry and overload?

i’m reading the above sweet book and would recommend it to all of you.  Richard Swenson is an MD who claims that the primary problem with all of us is living on overload.  he advocates a return to margins and physical, emotional & spiritual rest in order to restore balance and reduce pain.  i’m about halfway through the book and i’m really enjoying it.

i’ve been thinking about DC.  living here reminds me of being in an airport. the feeling in the air is hurried and stressed and it seems like most people are elbowing their way to the top, acquiring, progressing, gaining, but not able to maintain. workaholism is normal and expected.  i think the only thing that can’t be easily obtained here is rest.

because of my physical condition, i’ve made it a priority to take a true sabbath and to create nice wide margins in my schedule and my mind.  i think that carving out time to rest and space to live a low-stress life is possible here, but will be a challenge.  it’s a little like trying to have good posture when sitting on a stool. it’s good for you and will ultimately make you stronger, but not easy.

what are your thoughts on rest and overload?

i am delighted by bare branches.

there’s something tragic and beautiful and hopeful about them. i think they symbolize barrenness which will one day be redeemed. i love the way they make a lacy almost-purple pattern against the winter sky and how the sunlight wraps around them, revealing their stark yet delicate texture.

i had a long time to think in the car yesterday. i revisited an exercise that Tracy had us do in his prose style class and i thought i’d share my list of favorite words:

terse adj. abruptly concise; curt; (it sounds just like it is. brief, cold)

lovely adj. delightful; highly pleasing (three distinct rolling vowel sounds. makes me think of a vine)

complex adj. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc. (just look at the lines of the letters–they’re going in all different directions. reminds me of a model of a polygon)

compelling adj. having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect (that p just pushes you forward, whether you like it or not)

yet conj. And despite this; nevertheless (it’s like a quick 180 degree turn in the middle of the sentence)

incentive adj. inciting, as to action; stimulating; provocative (the stress on the middle syllable seems mysterious & attractive)

in my not-so-humble opinion, good Christian music is hard to come by, especially good worship music. i’ve found a few gems over the years, like waterdeep’s you are so good to me and indelible grace’s pilgrim days. now, i think i’ve added another really fantastic worship band to this short list. rend the heavens, a nashville-based worship rock band. i went to college with the percussionist on the left there. hi luke! give them a listen or a download, i’m sure you’ll be impressed.

since my diagnosis, i’ve done a ton of research and taken several proactive steps to get my body back in order. here is a list of treatments that i’ve done:

acupuncture
cold laser
supplement protocol
elimination of trans fats, excitotoxins (MSG), fried foods, highly processed grains, & sugar
hyperbaric oxygen therapy (20 treatments in 2 weeks)
glutithione injections
antibiotic
removal of amalgam fillings
OSB appliance
theophostic prayer counseling
t-tap exercise (which improves neurokinetic flow)
drastic decrease in stress and responsibilities
10 hours of sleep a night