December 02, 2014

Food Bank Finalists. Can you help click?

My dad has been working flat-out for his local Food Bank, located at The Good Shepherd UCC. Can you help his food bank get a van by clicking a link? State=AZ. Food bank = Good Shepherd
From dad:
"We handed out 300 turkeys and all the trimmings this Thanksgiving, and have fed 2000 distinct individuals this year through the food bank.
We have been named finalists for a $20,000 grant which we want to use to purchase a van. The van will be used to intercept the food stream in the Nogales area, where 40 % of the produce in the distribution center gets culled and thrown into the landfill. Most of it is wonderfully fresh food.
We are one of 170 agencies named as finalists, and 75 will receive $20,000 grants-- IF we can get enough people to vote for our bank. You do that through the attached link.
Now the grant is offered by Walmart (I know that causes angst for many people, and it is ironic that we are feeding some of the very people that should be paid better by Walmart) but we are trying to stay open not to the pedigree of this money, but to its destiny. Fully 25 % of the children in our area are food insecure, and we are making a huge dent in the problem. But without transportation for the food, we keep running out.
The voting happens today through Dec 12, and you can vote once each day-- click on the link below, scroll down and type AZ in the search field. The Good Shepherd is one of the two banks in Arizona that are finalists. The link goes through Facebook, which they use to prevent you from voting more than once a day. But you can vote each Facebook account in your household once EVERY day until the 12th."
Thank you so much!!!

July 07, 2014

Loving my closet.


I’m terribly embarrassed at how I let my closet go. But what better place to free myself of my embarrassment of my closet than to let it all *hang* out than in theouteraisle; the place where shame melts away and brutiful truth telling takes her place.

I am sure that there are other people that feel this way about their closets, but we don't always talk about them, let alone show them in the raw bright day of light. I believe that the more we talk about the messiness we feel around our closets, the better we will feel and most importantly, we will take action to both accept the way our closets are AND make positive changes.

Over the last several months, I prioritized other things above my closet and I haven’t been taking good care of her as you can plainly see. The things that I have been putting in my closet have been dirty and not cared for; crumpled, frayed and blah. I know what it could be, but I just haven’t had the energy.

Because I haven't had the energy, I haven’t planned out my outfits for weeks. I haven’t kept up on sorting the good clothes from the bad; which means my outfits have been getting sloppier and sloppier.  My clothes have been less appealing and I have been wearing the same thing over and over, sometimes even wearing clothes picked up from off the floor. Clearly, I haven’t respected closet and her gift; what she was made for.

I had enough. 

I hit the tipping point. 

I want to wear the outfits that make me feel good and keep me motivated to be my best self.  

So this weekend I did a major overhaul of the clothes I typically wear. I got rid of clothes I didn't need; I planned out outfits I love and that make me feel good; and I already am caring for and feel better about my closet.  Fantastic really!  I even got my daughter to help me this weekend with the clothes and planning outfits!  Because of this mental and physical shift, there is space in my closet for running, relaxing, working and reading. My closet feels so much more put together!  

For me, it is pretty much impossible to always wear clean clothes; Sometimes I just have to break down and wear a quick, unplanned outfit. However, it IS possible to wear cleanER clothes. 

I vow to look at my closet everyday and be grateful for the abundant clothes I have. And if I find myself frowning at my closet, if I treat it poorly, I will start again.  Every day is a new day.  

Now, read this WHOLE POST again and replace the following words:
closet = body
outfits = meals
clothes = food
wear = eat
It is truly amazing how when something like getting one’s food in order ends up affecting so much more in one’s life, like taking good care of one’s closet. 

Here is my closet today. 

July 02, 2014

Bounce back.

So hey. Long time.

It’s probably not a surprise that someone who has lost 60lbs, 3x over wouldn't stay at goal weight forever.

But I was kind of surprised. After maintaining for 3 ½ years, I started to see the scale creep back up. And it kept creeping and creeping….

Creepin Creeper

The thing is we are not here to strive for perfection; I believe we are here to live, love, and learn. And all of those things cannot happen without a few mistakes. The trick is how we respond to the mistake. When it comes to weight loss, often time the damage isn’t done when we slip up, but when we try to get BACK on plan.

How do you feel when you slip up?

For me, I get this ridiculous voice in my head that goes something like this:

“Just skip this meeting, lose the pounds you gained, get back to goal and THEN go.”

“Just one last hurrah before I go back on plan.”
“Just go once a month so you don’t have to pay EVERY time. (then go never.)”
“I’ll get up to run tomorrow when it is cooler.”
“I’m too busy to plan my meals.”
“It is going to take forever to get this weight off.”
“Go gluten free, that will work. Thank goodness chocolate is gluten free!”

So we slip up on occasion. Or in my case, slip up and try to get back on for a year.

When you break a dish, do you break the whole set? (The Napa house would be pretty P.O.’d if that were the case….)

How can you spot a slip?

For me, I notice when I stop tracking, stop “caring”, start isolating (Don’t Isolate! – ADT), or when the clothes get tight. I have been sliding for some time and I don’t want to go sliding to another weight gain. Instead, I grabbed on. I got myself back to meetings, got myself back on the boards talking with friends to keep me accountable and I am writing. Writing even when I am terribly embarrassed for gaining.

But this is a JOURNEY not a destination. That would be boring. On this journey I’ve tried new things like:

How to get back on track? 

  • Snap & TrackI’ve taken pictures of my food to show my girlfriends. (I’m not going to eat that because I do NOT want my beloved accountable partner to see I ate THAT!)
  • Text a friend – when I feel frustrated or anxious, instead of isolating and heading to the pantry, I reach out. 
  • Go to meetings – I’ve gone to 7 straight meetings and on one meeting I knew it was going to be a tough weigh in, so I skipped the weigh in and just went to the meeting. In my 11 years at WW, I have never skipped a WI and stayed for a meeting . Before, I’d skip the meeting all together or weigh in and dash out. It finally dawned on me that going past the weigh in counter and sitting in the chair for a meeting is more important than the 10 seconds on the scale. 
  • Track everything or Simple Start – I had a lovely girls weekend this weekend (In NAPA!!!!) and I was really, really tempted to not track. To just throw in the towel and face plant into the pizza, blueberry French toast, curry chicken, caramels, brownies, wine, wine, wine. Besides, I was running 13.1 miles --- who needs to track???!! But I did. I knew it was going to be bad. I had 3 more than 40 P+ days (I get 26P+), but I managed to still lose. If I didn’t track, I’m sure I would have kept eating without regard to the full feelings, because it all tasted do darn good. But now, I remember it tasting good, not the gross feeling of an overeaten-overfilled stomach.

All this paid off. I got to celebrate today with two new charms as I hit my 25lb loss since I first joined WW and for finishing my 9th half marathon this weekend (whoohooo!) 

OK sweetpeas, what is one piece of advice you would like to give yourself to get back on track?

May 26, 2014

A Time For Everything - Boston Run to Remember

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven....A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. - Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4

Me and 12,000 runners ran through the normally bumper to bumper streets of Boston yesterday. I planned on treating this as a "supported training run" for the Zooma Napa Valley Half I am running with my awesome C25K grads in June.  It was supposed to be a run 4 minutes walk 2 minutes for the 13.1 miles.  A time for walking a time for running.

The first beep went off during mile one and I ignored it. I kept one earbud in only, which I really liked because I got the best of both and the ambiance of the race.  I think I will do that more often.

I did think that I would pay for skipping the walks by the end, but I also thought if I started walking early I might bail on the whole thing.  I actually did figure out that at mile 4 and; 5 I could run from MIT down Mass Ave the 4.2 miles to church and my car if I needed to.... 

Instead, I ran to the first water stop walked through the stop then kept going figuring I'd see how I felt an hour in. I kept at a regular pace so I finished 5 miles in about an hour. By then with every beep I just skipped it and kept running walking only through the water stations. And one up hill. So I think that was 10 walks total.  I hit mile 8 thinking, I did 8 last week....Easy peasy. Mile 3-8.9 had me really wishing the lines weren't so long at the port a john's before the race. I've never skipped before. So mile 9 with all the gatorade sloshing around made it an emergency at mile 9. Eek! I hit mile 10 around 2 hours and knew I could finish. I thought I'd do the run walk thing in the last 3, but kept going.  I finished it in 2:40:01.  Literally :01 second over 2 hours and 40 minutes.  I tried to book it to get under 2:40.  That said, considering I haven't run double digits since October, I'll take it.   Besides, I was all a glow afterwards.  I'd forgotten just how awesome a long run feels.  

Boston's Run to Remember is so interesting to me not because of the run or the location or the time of year, but because of the race itself.   

The race is hosted by the Boston Police Runner's club to remember the fallen officers.  There are many group volunteers at the water stations, at the venue, including officers and incarcerated volunteers. The race is to honor the fallen and the proceeds goes to community and programs to keep kids off the streets and safe.  This paradox reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3. At a recent church council meeting we read out loud (I agree with Lillian Daniel) and then prayed a fortunately/unfortunately prayer in the vain of Remy Charlip's Fortunately. 
Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away. 
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded. 
Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.
Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute. 
Anyway, Boston Run's to Remember felt like Ned's adventure, like church council meditation, like Ecclesiastes 3.....  

Unfortunately we have a prison system that often keeps people in a vicious cycle; fortunately the inmates had a beautiful day to be outside. Fortunately we were supported by volunteers and I tried to thank every one no matter what shirt they were wearing ---bright orange or dressed blues---unfortunately some go home to prison. Fortunately we have a 13.1 run in Boston. Unfortunately it is to commemorate lives lost.

This is my 3rd one and every year I wonder about running it...thinking about those in my family who are cops and those in my family who have been to prison.

Lots to think about, lots to pray about, lots to remember on a long run through Boston.

How I looked pre-race.
A time for confidence. 
How I felt pre-race.
A time for insecurity.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

9What do people really get for all their hard work? 10I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

January 23, 2014


This is lunch.

Going into week 5 of dairy free, gluten free eating. Which pretty much means all outer aisle stuff.

I just realized that before I worked to maintain eating from the outer aisle, but now I'm trying to lose. Differently this time too. Eating, yoga and swearing off the scale except once a month, the first of the month. 

Quinoa, chicken, fresh TJ'S salsa, tri color peppers, baby kale, chard, spinach, EVOO and salt & pepper. Tonight I'll show you how I prep for the day.

January 14, 2014

The Love Book.

Sometimes teachers comes in small packages, like 6 year old girls. 

Izzy wrote The Love Book tonight while I waited for her to fall asleep.  While I was getting annoyed that she wasn't asleep yet, she was pouring her little heart out with a sharpie.  She presented these pages moments ago and declared (shaking she was so excited) that each teacher and principal in her school needs a page.  

Izzy, my love, I think we all need a page.  Every day. 

Words and writing by Isabella, translated by her mom. 

1. By Isabella Zuzelo. The Love Book. 
2. Love Book by Izzy if you reach into your heart you can do anything. 
3. Love Book by Izzy me and my brother think we can do anything. 
4. Love Book by Izzy in this book we believe you can do anything. 
5. Love Book by Izzy we have to stand up for ourselves.
6. Love Book by Izzy I think we can do anything we believe in. 
7. Love Book by Izzy in the love book people believe we can do anything.
8. Love Book by Izzy in the love book people care about what we do together. 

Me: "Izzy what inspired you to write this book?"
Izzy: "What does inspire mean"
Me: "What made you feel like you wanted to or needed to make this book."
Izzy: "The love book? I decided to make the love book because my family cares about me and loves me. My class, my teachers, everyone surrounding me that knows me loves me."

Dear everyone that surrounds Izzy, and especially her teachers, thank you, thank you, thank you for making her feel so very loved that it overflows into these inspiring moments. 


January 09, 2014

Pizza Dream.


It happened again, I dreamt of something that I consciously decided to give up.  First it was the cake dream, then I had the brownie bites dream and last night, a pizza dream.  Again I woke up feeling sickish, with a headache and swearing I must have eaten the greasy cheesy saucey pizza sometime in the night.

Giving up dairy, wheat, coffee and sugar seems a lot easier in REAL LIFE than in my dreams.  Huh, who'd a thunk. 

David, my real sugar, is going through this food, yoga journey with me (thank goodness!) so I asked if he had weird food dreams. 

"No, but I did get an erection in the coffee aisle at Whole Foods today." 


Well there ya go.  Love him. 

I told one of my good friends who is in years into recovery about my dream and he said that was common for him to have dreams that he drank something or was drunk but then woke up without a hangover.  Apparently it is pretty common.

As we talked more, we decided it would behoove us to move away from the past and think about the future.  To Visualize where we will be in a year, 5 years.  It is hard to change, it takes a lot of momentum.  Visualizing helps so much because we don't always have the energy to PUSH ourselves there,but that future self....That self DOES have energy.  She is Wonder Woman or Superman and can pull, pull, pull hard to get the momentum to move the tired present self out of the rut, the sinking hole, the anxious dreams.

As much as I don't like the anxiety of feeling like I did the thing that I didn't, I will take anxiety over actually doing the thing.   

Try something with me. Let's write down where we want to see ourselves in 1 year; write10 things as if we have already accomplished them. For example, if you want to run a 5k, have an emergency fund, read 20 books, etc. write:

1. I ran my first 5k.
2. I saved enough money to cover 6 months of expenses.
3. I read 20 books, 15 fiction, 5 non-fiction. 
4. I binged watched Orange is the New Black in one weekend.

You get the idea.  Maybe this will change our dreams from what we thought we did, to what we will do. 

The end. 


January 08, 2014

Sweet Potato Soup.

With winter comes quite a few sweet potatoes. I love them raosted in EVOO and a little sea salt.

But I can only do that so often and I figured I'd try something new. 

So I just made this up. As my good friend Rob says to me when I get all food failure anxious, "if you've never done it before, you can't do it wrong."

Luckily, he was right and It did taste good. Here is what I did.....

6 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped.
One yellow onion, chopped
Garlic clove, crushed
1 apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1 chicken bullion cube
4 cups water
Salt, pepper to taste

In a soup pot heat EVOO and add garlic and onion. Cook until almost translucent. Add the sweet potato and cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Add the apples and pears and cook for another minute or so.  Then add water and bullion cube.

Cook until the potatoes are soft. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. If it is too thick, add more water. Add some salt and pepper and done.

It was kind of like butternut squash soup, but a little sweet-earthier.  Makes sense since where do potatoes grow....der.

I bet this would be awesome with fresh rosemary too.

How do you like your sweet potatoes?

January 06, 2014


My girlfriends and I were talking about the "click" you know the one that you get when you KNOW you have a habit and are walking the walk.  Sure it is hard every day, but there is something about the "click" that even when you know it is going to be a long journey you are still ready to take it one step at a time. 

We are so happy when it happens. 

We are so happy when it happens for others even if we can be incredibly jealous. Yes, we can be both! I know I was.  On my way up this go around I watched others going down and while I was happy for them, I couldn't find it in myself.  And it pissed me off.  What was wrong with me!  I KNOW how to do this.  Just do it. But the harder I tried to find the click, the more I gained. 

When we do find it, it is magical.  We want to bottle it and give it away (or sell it and be rich). 

The thing with "the click" is that you could put anything in there; fighting depression, or addictions to food, booze, sugar, sex, drama, weight, work, anger --- what ever demons we are facing, "the click" is telling the demon to go Fuck off. 

(Sorry parental units reading this...some times f-bombs are the best way to describe said effing off to the beasts.  I won't use the Lords name in vain, but give me a well timed swear word, and I am totally there.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

I hit the one week mark of no sugar, no dairy, no coffee, no wheat gluten. Dude! I feel better than I have in a long, long time.  My kids are happy because I'm not gassing up the car as much....."eeewwww, what SMELLS so bad???!!!"

Maybe it IS like Sister Anne says, "you crave what you eat". She says, cut sugar out for 3 days and you won't crave it. Maybe.  I'm only one week in.  I don't know that I will stay on the no, no, no, no eating pattern, but I do know that eating a half a loaf of bread and canola butter in one evening is not ok, even if it is whole wheat, even if it is the heels that nooner else will eat.  So bread is out.  This simple shift is my head and my heart giving my body a time out.  A grace period. 

Isn't it funny how we say "grace" before meals, before the ones that are often mindfully made with care, yet we don't say grace before we eat a "meal" standing up in the kitchen of franken crusts, picked over chicken and spoon fulls of Nutella?  

My friend Deb says the click happens when we are in the right time, right place, and right head space.  Like an eclipse, you can't make everything allign it just does.  

Maybe it is that or maybe it a little grace has got me clickin' away. 

What is your click? How do you get it and how do you know?

January 05, 2014



I was very humbled by the people that reached out to thank me for writing again.  Your hugs and prayers and candles and thoughts have meant a lot to me. 

I have the most amazing friends. I love you guys.  I feel warm like a cozy, healing blanket.

One good friend commented my posts have been pretty heavy, no pun intended of course!

So today I figured a salad post would lighten things up a bit.

This has been my go to staple.

When one gives up sugar, wheat and dairy - fresh greens is one of the few foods one can eat. But who wants to chew like a cow eating cud????

The trick is to chop the heck out of the salad.  

But first, please pick green GREENs. Iceberg lettuce has barely ANY nutritional value. And no taste.  I swear my nose wrinkles like a rabbit every time I think of iceberg.

David, our wonderful household shopper, gets a big 'ol smooch when he comes home with a big box of organic baby kale, chard, spinach from BJ's and a roast chicken. We chop it up, add some sea salt, pepper, EVOO, lemon or vinegar of some sort, (I like white balsamic or champagne wine vinegar). Sometimes I add quinoa or tuna or egg for some complex carbs and protein. Yum.

I beleive in chopped salad so much, I keep a cutting board and knife at work to prep my lunch. 

So there you have it. A light salad post, just heavy on taste.



January 03, 2014


Georgia O'Keeffe Ladder to the moon

Sunday we talked about and drew our dreams during our all-ages service. It was my turn to be the lay liturgist, prepare my talk, my own confession and lead the church in a unison prayer of confession.  The scripture reading was Matthew 2:13-23 where he talks about 4 dreams; Joseph's, and the 3 Magi. 

I thought a lot about my dreams leading up to and after Sunday. I'm a pretty vivid dreamer and I can usually remember even the tiniest details in my dreams. (Makes sense, it is my brain. Duh.) Some of them are funny or bizarre, some are unbelievable and some are very scary. 

Like take for instance a few days before I was to speak in church.

I dreamt I went to church, completely unprepared for my liturgy, frantically scratching it with an un-sharpened golf pencil on a scrap of paper, only to fall asleep right there in the Godly play room and sleep through the first service and wake up some time during the second. Pastor Jeff somehow knew I would wake up so he saved the confession for last, which made me even more anxious because the service and the liturgy was all out of order and I STILL had to speak and you all saw what an anxious mess I was AND see that I failed because I wasn't prepared.

That was last week. 

So guess what my resilient-renewed-outer-aisle-eating self dreamt this week.....

I ate a whole cake. 

At a restaurant. 

In public. 

In front of my whole family. Extended too. 

I was going away at this four layer cake, completely forgetting my choice to cut out sugar. Then I downed a glass a milk forgetting I cut out dairy.  Then back to the cake. It dawned on me during the 2nd round of cake eating that I failed. Again. I asked the server to take the cake away. 

Still in dreamland as we were leaving the restaurant I whispered to David that I felt so sick and asked if he would help me remind me how sick I felt in that moment so I would never do it again. 

I woke up thinking I really had eaten cake. It took some time to get my head wrapped around the fact that it was just a dream and I didn't have cake. 

The way Matthew tells it, my cake and unprepared dream was nothing compared to Joseph's dream.  I can only imagine how anxious Joseph must have been feeling.  His life was turned upside down, and then he dreams about an impending doom. This random scary being (be not afraid. Angels are scary???) shows up and tells Joseph to take his wife and unborn kid and get the hell outta dodge and go into hiding before Herod finds them and kills the kid. 


Dude. Joseph and me, we're like this [crossing fingers]. Behind the scenes supportive.  But man does he know how to breathe after a crazy dream.  He didn't just take his anxious dream and stew over it, he took action.  He moved, exercising all the way to Bethlehem or Egypt.

When we have dreams that are sometimes scary or anxious, like Joseph, we need to act.  We reach out, we talk to one another, we talk to our parents, our teachers our friends, our pastors, we pray to God, we blog. 

As we talk about our fears sometimes we find out that other people feel the same way.  Sometimes If we really listen we realize that God not only was calling attention our anxiety but also putting the people in our paths to help us, even from within our dreams. 

I am pretty sure that was God in my two dreams since my liturgy was pretty much written by last week's dream and I asked for help to get out of the vicious cake cycle. Yay me!

If you are struggling. Reach out. This prayer I addapted from Sunday helped me this week. Maybe it will help you too. 

Forgiving God,
Even as I celebrate your birth into the world, I struggle to feel your presence.
It seems like so long ago that you were here - It seems so far away.
Sometimes I get a little confused about how to celebrate.
When you feel absent, I fill the absence with other things like cake or dramatic dreams.
Baby Jesus, be born in my heart.
Come alive in my deepest and darkest recesses.
Plant yourself like a seed
And grow up in my dreams.

January 02, 2014


I promise you this is not a New Year's resolution post.  In fact, I don't believe in New Years resolutions.  I do believe in redemption and falling down and getting back up again and resolve and resilience.

So this is a resilience post.  My resilience started a long long time ago, but my most recent one started last week.  I can explain.

Somehow in all the changes that have taken place this year - starting a new job, going solo on my teaching job, officially out of the "littles-stage" with the kids old enough for all day school, losing my step-dad James - I still managed to complete 2 half marathons this year in May and October ---whoooo me---- yet somehow, this freshmen year at my new place didn't get me the freshman 15, but the freshman 40. 

Yes. You heard me. Forty. 

I maintained my goal weight for FOUR years.  Then graduated and with that I found 40 pounds in a 10 month time frame.  I guess it is good I trained and ran 2 half marathons this year or otherwise I'd be on my way to losing 60lbs 4 times over. Bright side???

It isn't the pounds so much that bother me, but how I got there, eating quick foods, leftover second lunches, sugar, sugar and more sugar and not able to stop the nightly ritual pantry raid.  

The failure.  The shame. The embarrassment. 

When I started to get fed up with myself I went back to old habits.  Unlimited diet soda and freezer full of lean cuisines.  Frankenfood.  

It didn't work. I gained 10 more pounds. 

Anne Lamott knows this well.  Recently she posted a cautionary tale for all those planning to diet on Jan 1.  "Oh, you are going on a diet? How much do you plan on gaining?"  

Like Anne, when it comes to some foods and such, I don't have a. "off" switch.

So I am taking my resilient self and I am turning off sugar, franken foods and this go around I will learn to LOSE myself in the outer aisle so I can maintain once again. It is much easier for me to stop the sugar roller coaster if I don't start in the first place. 

I'll leave you with the words of Sister Lamott that have served me well in my 30 something's. 

"It's really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It's okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. It's an inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and serenity you long for is not out there. It's within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it's true."

To all the beloveds, you.  We are resilient.  It IS an inside job. And we do have it in us. Just watch.  For me, my inside job is in the outer aisles, so back there I will go.