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Soaked in prayers

Sunday, May 08, 2011

I got a good soaking today--in prayers. After church my support team gathered around me in the prayer room & listened while I told them what has been going on, & then prayed thoughtful, creative, inspired, nurturing blessings & petitions for me while I just wept & let God comfort me.

Friday after work I found a letter from a lawyer in my mailbox. Turned out to be a solicitation--but it was specifically to me, noting that my husband filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in a county court on April 26, & offering legal services in case I didn't already have a lawyer.

What a way to find out.

I went online & found a record of the petition--& the name & address of my husband's lawyer. I still haven't been served papers, nor has he let me know that he had switched course after agreeing that we would do this pro se to save $$.

I won't go into further details, as this is not the place, but these past few days have been hard. I am SO thankful to have a support team to call on, & loving siblings, & my relationship with God. People have been hugely affirming of me, warming my stricken soul with encouragement.

I'm being soaked in prayers AND love.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 5/9/2011 11:34AM

    I am so sorry to hear this Ruth! I can imagine your hurt, shock and frustration, etc... I am thankful you had your prayer group to soak you in prayers...

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JATHUENER 5/9/2011 9:54AM

    sorry to hear and read about your reasons for all to join together in prayer. We are all beside you with listening ears if for some reason you need us here

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VTCRICKET84 5/9/2011 8:29AM

    hello! i'm a fellow starfish teammate and i saw your blog. i'm so sorry you are going through such a difficult time right now. please know that your team is thinking of you and that i wish the best for you! take care emoticon

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SGILBER6 5/9/2011 7:47AM

    Times like these make you stronger, especially when you turn to your loving friends and family and God! He'll bring you through it! :) emoticon

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KIN59VARA 5/9/2011 6:19AM

    May God continue to bless you!

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CTEMPLE 5/9/2011 3:02AM

    So sorry to hear more problems coming.

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MTULLY 5/9/2011 12:13AM

    I am so sorry you are feeling such pain right now. My heart goes out to you. It is reassuring to know that you have the support of such loving family and friends. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/8/2011 11:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GO-LOEW 5/8/2011 11:37PM

    I am so glad that you have your church family and others to support you as you go through this sad time. And thank you for sharing with the StarFish so we can be sensitive to your needs.

Call out for help if we can do anything.

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KAREN_NY 5/8/2011 10:11PM


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CARLYG8 5/8/2011 9:27PM

    I think by reading these posts to your blog, it only affirms that God never leaves us. He is surrounding you with wonderful people who care a lot about you. I will keep you in my prayers...that you feel the love and support that you have. I know it won't be easy, but you will get through this, and be a better person for the experience. Hugs!!


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BLEIGH711 5/8/2011 9:12PM

    You can add me to list of those praying for you during this time. emoticon

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CZARINA_TV 5/8/2011 7:26PM

    I'm glad you have good people around you Ruth! As my dad would say, "Illegitimi non carborundum"... Take care!

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KRISTA64 5/8/2011 7:24PM

    God Bless glad that you are surrounded by loving family and friends!

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SHARON2014 5/8/2011 6:39PM

    How very difficult for you! and, how wonderful to loving, faithful friends to come along side and pray with you today. And what a great God we serve, Who will be with you through all of this heartache! emoticon

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BEATLETOT 5/8/2011 6:37PM

    I'm really sorry, Ruth.

Normally, this would be the part where I would offer my version of comforting words, but I think that probably you are too gentle, wise and, well, mature to appreciate the expletive-laced diatribe I have for your ex-husband. I think you're so lovely, and it makes me sad that you're sad.

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JECKIE 5/8/2011 6:31PM


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RUNNERRACHEL 5/8/2011 5:43PM

    I am so sorry to hear that. What a way to find out. But what a blessing to be surrounded by the comfort and support of your friends and Heavenly Father. I know how it feels to be surrounded in prayer. Nothing like it. God will comfort you.

Another prayer is going out for you.

Bless you!!


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Bread trick

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Spring 5% Challenge starts today--yay!

One of the pre-challenge assignments was to share tips for keeping calories low. Mine is very specific to Chicago & a grocery in my neighborhood, so it may not be of much use to those who live elsewhere. But the "moral" of the story is that it pays to shop in local markets & browse occasionally to see what the product options are.

Morse Market, a few blocks from my home, is on the small side & definitely not upscale, but it reflects this neighborhood really well. It has amazing prices on produce, including an array of organic produce. And there are a lot of international products, because our neighborhood is one of the most diverse in the whole United States.

The other day I was browsing the long shelf in front of the meat counter; it holds loaves of bread from small local bakeries, many of them ethnic. For example, there is Russian rye & Polish rye & Ukrainian rye. emoticon I stumbled on a "whole grain lo-carb/hi-fiber" round loaf & was amazed to see that it is just 45 calories per slice, just 6 g carbs & 0.5 g fat, but 4 g fiber, 5 g protein! The main ingredients are crushed wheat, soy flour, & whole wheat flour, & it has no preservatives or sugar.

I bought a loaf a couple of weeks ago & found it quite good! It's not dry or hard, as you might expect with so little oil. I can eat it happily without butter.

The brand name is "Today's Temptations," which I find hilarious! Here's an online conversation among Chicago folks talking about this great bread:
And by googling I learned that these breads are certified Kashruth by the Chicago Rabbinical Council--pretty cool for Orthodox Jewish folks (there are also a lot of those folks living near this neighborhood).

Today I bought a loaf on my way home from spring cleaning at our church's meetinghouse. It's going to help me lose 2 lbs this first week of the challenge! That's my personal goal--my weight today was up because I indulged last night (fried chicken & later a brownie AND hot chocolate!) & I want to shed that extra pound quickly.

Happy challenge, Starfish! Happy exercise, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 5/9/2011 11:31AM

    Great find! Glad you are enjoying it so well and it sounds so good for you!

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SWEETNSKINNY 5/8/2011 2:01PM

    Great hunting at your store!! You definitely have me wanting to do my local research :)

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JATHUENER 5/8/2011 12:26AM

    glad to hear you found some good taste healthy options in the bread section i need to look into my options myself


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BEATLETOT 5/7/2011 9:31PM

    I'm going to have to try to find that bread somewhere around here, too. And if not THAT bread, something similar.

I have an exchange student with a hollow leg, so I hide my special breads in a cupboard. emoticon

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CTEMPLE 5/7/2011 7:23PM


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JMCADE 5/7/2011 5:18PM

    Thanks for sharing I am going to look to see if can be located by me here in Texas. Maybe there will be something like it. Have a great weekend.

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JENBELLE 5/7/2011 4:23PM

    Great blog! I try to shop local whenever I can. Great advice!

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RUTHXG 5/7/2011 3:56PM

    Lori, I edited above to include the brand name. Good luck!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/7/2011 3:32PM

    Thanks for the tips -- I live in LA but I want to look for a bread like that ... just talking about breads, especially ryes (i'm a Polish girl!) makes my mouth water! Go emoticon

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-LORI-B 5/7/2011 3:14PM

    whats the brand name or is it just local? curious to see if I can find something like it here. Thanks for sharing

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MTULLY 5/7/2011 2:34PM

    Your blog sends a clear message to read labels and look for healthy options (local,organic, few ingredients, no preservatives), and we can that everywhere. Thanks for sharing!

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LOUISE979 5/7/2011 2:20PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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MOREPOWER 5/7/2011 2:17PM

  Thanks for the good tip.

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Upcoming eats

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The next 5% challenge is about to start! Here are some of the recipes I'm going to batch-cook in the coming weekends:

Sicilian-style pasta with sardines (recipe adapted from Epicurious, so you know it has to be good!). I'm wanting to eat sardines more often, as I need more omega-3s & they are an inexpensive source.

M'jedra--bulgur/lentil/onion pilaf! I just discovered a section of Middle Eastern foods in my favorite neighborhood grocery & brought home some bulgur wheat. So happy to have a traditional-style recipe to play with.

Black bean chicken--a really really easy slow cooker recipe that I'll make right away, because recently I cooked up a batch of beans & I need to use them!

AND . . . I'm going to adapt my own arroz con pollo (Colombian chicken with rice)! I've already tried using brown rice instead of white, & that works great--you just have to cook it longer. This time I'm going to make it with quinoa to increase the protein! Quinoa takes LESS time too cook than white rice, which is lovely. (By the way, I'd love it if more people tried this recipe & rated it! I'll post the quinoa variant as a separate recipe after I've figured out the best cooking time etc.)

As for side dishes, I usually keep my veggies really simple. I take baby carrots in my lunch & will doubtless be eating lots of simple green salads at supper, as greens are in season. (They'll start coming in my CSA box June 1!) I make big batches of muesli for breakfast & stock various fresh fruits--often I have fruit at all three meals.

As you can see, I eat a lot of legumes (beans/lentils). They keep my diet high in fiber, & I find the texture very mouth-satisfying, plus they're inexpensive & can be flavored in so many ways with herbs & spices. These days I buy only free-range chicken & eggs, out of my ethical commitment to avoid factory-farmed products as much as possible. Organic & free-range are more expensive, but since I use them only sparingly it doesn't break my budget.

I'm going to have a happy mouth & tummy while I'm losing weight in this challenge!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_NY 5/6/2011 6:32PM


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CZARINA_TV 5/6/2011 10:40AM

    Cool! I should learn to plan ahead with meals -- I've done it sporadically and it worked well for a bit, but I've never learned how to do it as a habit...

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SEAWAVE 5/6/2011 4:47AM

    Now that's planning ahead, and something I should do too! I would definitely be interested in your quinoa variant of your 'arroz' con pollo!

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SHANSHE 5/6/2011 12:11AM

    Sounds really yummy!!! I need to cook more like you, but my family likes more meat!

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CTEMPLE 5/5/2011 8:33PM

    Sounds yummy , I wish I had he patience to cook like that. Too many years of cooking put me off.
Claudia emoticon

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JECKIE 5/5/2011 8:13PM

    Oh man, now I'm eager to get cooking again! :)

I can't WAIT for the first CSA pickup! Soon! So soon. Fresh greens, lovely herbs... aah, what a great time of year!

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BEATLETOT 5/5/2011 8:10PM

    Sound like some winning ideas! I may have to give some of these a try during our challenge, too!

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Why in the heck

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Why do I want to lose weight? Answering this question is an assignment for the 5% challenge, & I especially need to answer it now when I'm close enough to my goal that it's tempting to slack off. Especially when I am wearing the kinds of clothes (like today, long sweater over leggings & boots) that make me look slim in the mirror . . . I still want to get all the way there!

Here's an important reason. I am feeling like a drudge these days, having to work way too hard. Partly that's because of a huge mess of a project at work that just NEEDS TO GET DONE; partly it's because of freelance deadlines that collided. But mainly it's because my selfish, controlling soon-to-be-ex ran up big credit card bills & then jumped ship. I'm hoping to get him to agree to take responsibility for at least a token amount of this debt, but I'm not assuming that he will--it's in his nature to avoid responsibility while working desperately to maintain his public image.

What does this have to do with my weight-loss/fitness motivation? Taking care of my body & getting into really good shape will remind me that I do have SOME control. It will encourage me, & I so need encouragement.

It will cheer me up.

It will get me outside regularly as the spring warms up.

It will make me look good!

This is all really important when I have been treated badly by someone who was supposed to care for me. It's part of rebuilding my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETNSKINNY 5/5/2011 7:27PM

    Love your reasons! I am in the same place as you are..this week I'm finally back on track but I had been slacking off because I AM close to goal weight and I do look "good" in clothes. But, its definitely a slippery slope! Definitely take care of yourself.

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CARLYG8 5/5/2011 8:13AM

    You are going to do and be just fine. You have the right attitude to get it done.

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SHANSHE 5/4/2011 3:25PM

    GREAT reasons Ruth! Thanks for sharing, here are some big hugs and hopes that the work stressors and freelance stressors settle down some soon!

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JECKIE 5/4/2011 12:50PM

    Awesome reasons!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/4/2011 11:49AM

    You deserve it!

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CZARINA_TV 5/4/2011 10:21AM

    Great reason Ruth!

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My meds are helping me

Thursday, April 21, 2011

As some of you know, since early January I've been on isoniazid, an anti-TB med, because I've been TB positive since childhood (exposure in southern Colombia, but never an active case) but had never been on the drug. I have to take it for 9 months & avoid alcohol during the whole course of medication.

There are numerous possible side effects; the drug can be hard on one's liver, which is why I have to be a teetotaler while taking it. A nicer possible side effect is weight loss. I'm thinking it may have helped me finish well in the first 5% challenge in January.

During the more recent challenge, as noted in my 4/15 blog post, I started to lose weight but then lost focus because of all the different big events in my life. This past weekend I was away visiting my granddaughter, & on Monday, my final weigh-in for the challenge showed me up something like 0.4 lb over my beginning weight--so as predicted, my challenge results were a wash.

What's interesting to me is that since Monday morning I have not been very careful with eating, yet I have LOST a little weight. Tuesday I had a big breakfast & a smallish lunch; in the evening I was at an event where there were trays of food--fruit, cheese, crackers--& I grazed before & after; then some of us went out for a late supper & I had a large slice of Giordano's pizza! I had told my Colombian guest that he needed to try Chicago-style pizza, which is just embarrassingly thick & cheese-laden, with a thick crust-rim. Jesus Emilio had fun tasting it, but he gave up once he was halfway through--he's a little sparrow of a guy (but strong--a hardworking farmer) & didn't have room for the rest. But I happily ate every bite of mine.

And Wednesday I ate pretty substantial meals & indulged in THREE sweet snacks. And I haven't had time for vigorous exercise for a whole week. Yet today my weight is down a bit.

It must be the meds, right?

So I need to take advantage of this. Not to continue eating lots of desserts & gooey pizza, but to get back into a modest rhythm of eating & regular exercise so that I can lose these 11-12 lbs & get to goal weight!

It would be silly to waste the opportunity.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZYWM 4/27/2011 9:32PM

    The right med at the right time can be a blessing. Fluctuations, on the other hand, can just be mysterious. I weigh myself every day, partly because I prefer to document my low weight of the week. Once I weigh a lighter weight, I own it and hold myself accountable. I still fluctuate up on occasion, but I'm OK with that.

I admire how you seem to sort of surf through the challenges in your life. Not effortlessly, but with an acceptance that seems to reduce conflict. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CTEMPLE 4/21/2011 9:09PM

    I have inconsistencies like that but rather than thinking about my meds I tend to think different processes in the body. But you could be right. Whatever the reason is great to lose excess weight.
Happy Easer dear Ruth.

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SHANSHE 4/21/2011 6:28PM

    I understand what you mean, if it's the meds or whatever it might be that is helping you take off the weight right now, I would not want to waste it either! You will be at goal weight in no time at all and I am sure you will be able to maintain it just fine!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 4/21/2011 4:31PM

    Nice to have a positive side effect :)
I think I was up half a pound at the end of the challenge... a bit depressing but there's another one just around the corner!

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