Gluten · Writing

Hmm…Frigid, Churning River, or Gluten? I’ll Take the River!

That’s obviously not me. But I’m pretty sure that’s the falls that ate my sunglasses. Image attributed to anoldent via Wikimedia Commons.

First off: The Stone of Kings will be released August 12! Squee! That means I’m going to officially show off its gorgeous cover tomorrow. I don’t usually post on Tuesdays, but this is a special occasion. 😉

Why Writers Don’t Fear Death

This past week, we’ve been on vacation in Helen, Georgia. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it. It’s a cute, touristy town in the Northern part of the state and it’s modeled to look like a Swiss village. On Wednesday, we took a day trip to go rafting down the Nantahala River in North Carolina.

The river flows from a dam. The water is pumped from the lowest part of the lake which is always around 40 degrees. After blending with the rain water and regular river water, it runs about 50 degrees.

When we started out, the double paddle I was given kept dripping the frigid water on my legs. I paddled on my inflatable kayak (funyak) with my husband and his cousin in their funyaks. The first time we hit a rough rapid, the water splashed on my face and body and made the drips coming from my paddle inconsequential. We floated down, occasionally getting splashed for about 2 hours. One splashing dribbled through the back of my life vest and it felt like someone had dropped an ice-cube down the back of my swimsuit.

Then we hit the last rapid.

It’s the only class III on the commercial part of the river. Not too rough if you’re in a large raft with lots of other rowers. But by yourself, it’s a different story. I had gone on this one before in a funyak, so I figured I knew what I was doing.

My husband went first, and made it through okay. Then it was my turn. The white water was pumping through the stones and I hit it with my left side showing. I think that was where I went wrong. The current took my boat and flipped me over. I gripped my paddle as hard as I could just for something to grip. I was completely disoriented.

My brain didn’t register the cold until my face broke the surface. I tried to breathe because I knew that the current would pull me back in again, but my lungs wouldn’t expand because they were frozen by the water. I gasped in short panicked bursts. This felt weird, because I wasn’t panicked.

What would be the first thing to go through your mind? What if the current bashes my head on a rock? What if my foot gets stuck in some stones and the current makes my legs or knees break? What if my back hits a stone and breaks it, paralyzing me?


The first thing that ran through my mind was, this would make a great description for a story!

The writer’s mind apparently puts the story first. We can’t even take a vacation without thinking about plot points.

Then I heard, “Rope!”

A man on the river bank threw out a rope and pulled me out of the current. When I tried to stand, I realized I needed to take it slow. I was still dizzy from being tossed around like my four-year-old’s stuffed Mickey Mouse. When I tried to walk, it felt like my feet had turned into blocks of ice. The muscles in them refused to work but the ones in my arms were going spastic with shivers.

Then I realized that my third pair of sunglasses this trip, were missing. Charlie had snapped the first pair, William stepped on the second, and now the river had claimed the third. At least, I noticed that my hubby had managed to grab hold of my funyak before getting out of the river himself. His cousin made it through the falls just fine too.

Face to Face With Gluten! *Shivers*

Two nights later, we all went out to dinner, I ordered gluten-free rotini pasta. Like the river, I’d been here before, not had any trouble with the food, so I felt pretty confident about what I was eating.

Then I saw the shell.

About halfway through my meal, I spotted regular, wheat, pasta shell lurking among my gluten-free rotini. Remember the splash of river water that felt like an ice-cube was sliding down my back? Somehow the river found its way to the restaurant because I felt it again.

Sure enough, though I obviously didn’t eat the shell, it was enough to contaminate my dinner. Two hours later I was squirming with abdominal cramps and nausea. Ugh. At least it happened on the last night of our vacation.

It’s going to be a loooong seven weeks.

Given the choice between falling in 50 degree water or eating gluten…I pick the water!

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of your adventures? Would you do them again? If faced with potential life-threatening danger, would your life flash before your eyes, or would you want to put the experience in a book?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! Busy!

Whew! Between car repair, computer repair, and other issues (which I may write about for Monday’s post), I’m afraid that not much significantly funny happened this week. Though I was probably too busy to notice. But here’s what kept me amused amid the chaos. 😉


We took the boys to the children’s museum where there is a play grocery store. Charlie pushed his cart up to a set of shelves and pulled a box down. Then he used his finger to “read” the ingredients to make sure it was “gluten-free.” It was very surreal for me to see him do that! I had no idea he was paying that close attention to me!

Charlie – Age 4


I made pasta with marinara for William’s afterschool “snack.” He ate THREE helpings. Then, five minutes after everything was cleaned up, he asked, “May I have a cheeseburger?”

*face palm*

William – Age 5

What are some of the awesomely funny/sweet things your kids say and do?

Friday Fun

Friday Fun! The Joys of Pizza

I now have regular bouquets of these cute little "yard weeds." The best part about them? The boys pick this particular kind for me because they know purple is my favorite color. <3
I now have regular bouquets of these cute little “yard weeds.” The best part about them? The boys pick this particular kind for me because they know purple is my favorite color. ❤

I think I’m ready to start blogging on a regular basis again. The stress of the last several months has been… well, I’m still thankful I don’t have it as bad as others. Good thing I’m blessed with these two little darlings to pick me up now and then. 🙂


We went to Orlando for spring break and spent one of our days at Sea World because we got a great discount on the tickets. On our way back to the hotel that night, I asked William, “Did you have a good time today?”

He jumped up and said, “Yes!”

“What was your favorite part?”

He looked up pensively for a moment before he said, “The pizza we had for lunch!”

Um, yeah, the boys eat pizza at least once a week. Maybe we should have shelled out a bit more for Epcot tickets instead. :/

William – Age 5


When I grow up I’m going to be an airplane pilot, then a police officer, then a train engineer, then I’ll be a car.

Charlie – Age 4


While at Sea World, we hung out at the Stingray Lagoon to pet the rays as they swam by. I love rays because they always look happy when you see them from underneath. William, on the other hand, wouldn’t go near the lagoon. When I asked him why, he gave me a terrified look and said, “Because they’re stingrays!”

William – Age 5


Because of my sensitivity to gluten, we don’t normally bother ordering out for pizza. When it’s on sale and I have plenty of coupons, I’ll fill our freezer full of the store kind. Unfortunately, when it’s on sale, the cheese-only pies usually go first so we end up with a bunch of pepperoni pies. Charlie doesn’t like pepperoni and will pick them off.

One day, I was snacking on the pepperoni that I use when I make gluten free pizza for myself. Guess who was clamoring all over me for more slices of pepperoni? “Charlie,” I said, “I thought you didn’t like pepperoni?”

“I don’t.”

“Then why do you keep eating mine?”

“I like yours.”

Go figure.

Charlie – Age 4

What are some of the awesomely funny/sweet things your kids say and do?

Blogging Contest · Gluten · NaNoWriMo

#17 Relate A Recent Epiphany (er…”Aha!” Moment)

You look at this and see: wheat. I look at it and see: POISON! Image attributed to User:Bluemoose via Wikimedia Commons.

I love having an epiphany, especially when it comes to writing. I love when research pulls my plot into a new direction or adds a dimension that I hadn’t thought of before. But I’ve actually wrote about those epiphanies many times on my blog. So instead, I’m going to write about one of my most important epiphanies which also directly affects my writing; gluten.

So I’m going along doing the mom thing, when a friend of mine suggests a smoothie recipe. I go out and stock up on wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed, frozen blueberries and yogurt. The first couple of weeks are like… POW! I was like a minivan with a turbo setting. That smoothie gave me so much energy, I didn’t get hungry till 2pm.

This was not the epiphany.

Then I felt miserable. Nausea, vomiting, cramping, extreme fatigue, etc. As if that wasn’t enough, my brain couldn’t seem to connect to my writing hand. I couldn’t remember things that had happened five minutes before.

This was obviously not the epiphany.

For a month, my GI “specialist” ran all kinds of tests trying to figure out my physical symptoms while I started seeing a psychologist for my mental symptoms. I was down to eating oatmeal and chicken noodle soup all day, everyday because I thought, at the time, that those were supposed to be the most gentle to the stomach. Then the specialist suggested that my problems were from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The translation for IBS is: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Stop clogging up my appointment calendar. Here’s a pamphlet. Good luck.”

The pamphlet told me to look for my trigger foods. I was thinking “trigger foods” meant peanuts, strawberries, or chocolate. Then finally, another friend mentioned Celiac Disease. Wait…what? My grandma has that. She can’t eat wheat.

Cue the epiphany complete with a bright light, gust of wind, and full choir. “Ahh!”

It totally explained my symptoms including the bouts of lactose intolerance that would come and go for no rhyme or reason. Cutting gluten has been the best thing I have done for my body, and I wish I’d known to do it sooner. I certainly would have been a better student growing up. I’m so thankful to both those friends for pointing me in the right direction. 😀

There are over 200 symptoms of Celiac Disease, including everything from fibromyalgia to ADHD. If you would like more information please go to

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 16,624


Losing the Beauty

“Father Time Overcome by Love, Hope, and Beauty” by Simon Vouet. I’m no art expert, but it seems we can still appreciate the push for love, hope, and beauty, though I’d have thought that Time might have given in by now.

Last week, I talked about how sad it was that my students had a stubborn bigoted view of the world. This week, I want to discuss the effects of such views. Not only had they completely lost the meaning of two fantastic essays, but lousy attitudes such as theirs continue to put a black eye on a beautiful region of our country that they supposedly love.

Some of the attitudes in America’s southern states have always been a sort of anomaly to me. On one hand, they are famous for their hospitality and respectful manner (I love the habits of addressing people with “sir” or “ma’am”). And who doesn’t like their terms of affection for complete strangers (shoog, darlin’, hun, etc.)? 🙂

I think we all know the other side to the South that is like it’s evil twin.

Now, I’m certainly not indicating that all Southerners with these habits have bigoted views, but some do. I remember one of the kids who didn’t “get” the Canada essay because of being considered a “Yankee” by the author. Otherwise, he was actually a very respectful kid. He was always dressed like a ranch hand and while he wasn’t an exceptional student, he completed his work, was never rude to me, or caused a disruption in class.

Last week, I saw this charming Cheerios commercial and heard about the controversy over it. I wonder how that student would have viewed it?

Would he not have even considered the premise of the scene – that is, a little girl who loves her daddy so much that she want’s to make sure that his heart is healthy? Given that he failed to see the humor in the Canada essay, I’m disheartened to say that he probably would not.

If there is love in a family, why should the color of the skin matter? People have all sorts of views on this commercial, for what I would think to be strange reasons. And that’s okay. Anyone is entitled to their opinions.

But when the beauty of love is overlooked because people are offended… that really doesn’t sit right with me.

I know I have views that some people would find offensive. I may find other’s views offensive. I must admit that my gut reaction to people who disliked the commercial for racial reasons was, “They must bleed a different color…ugly.” But then, to forget completely that we are all human and have our own beauties about us, I certainly hope I never fall into that trap. If I ever am, I beg of you, using an open mind, call me out on it. I will listen.

What did you think of the commercial? Can you see it’s charm, or do you see skin color? Are you appalled that some of us are still stuck in the 50’s? 

Gluten · Writing

Glutened Goals!

Well, Kristen Lamb has done it again! She manages to post blogs that are exactly what I need to be reading at precisely the right time. The last one addressed the enemy of the art – a failure to focus. While I usually have trouble with this because of my busy little boys both under the age of 5, I have a double whammy lately because of my trouble with gluten.

For those who are not familiar with gluten, it is not to be confused with glucose and is anything made from wheat, barley, or rye. I tend to be more sensitive than some other people I know and the dust from Cheerios can make me sick for a month followed by 2 more weeks of insomnia. People with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease have varying symptoms (there are over 200 known). My personal symptoms are terrible cramping, profound exhaustion, constipation, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, and lack of focus.

This lack of focus brings me to the purpose of this post.

I’ve been able to avoid gluten for the last 4 months, but last Friday night, something in my kitchen “got me.” I usually give up writing for the most part while I’m “glutened” because it is so difficult. I feel as though there is cotton stuffed in my head. Sometimes I’ll be writing along and I have to make a conscious effort to stop my pen because my thoughts have completely strayed from what I’m doing.

Kristen has made me remember that any writing is better than none at all. So I’ll try something different this time. I usually spend about 30 minutes in the morning playing my 2 computer games, because it’s the only quiet time I get all day. However when I’m glutened, mornings are when my symptoms are at their lowest so I will take this time to write something, anything, instead.

My WIP is top priority. If I can’t focus enough to do my WIP, I’ll do a blog post. If I can’t seem to do that, then I’ll practice my free-association writing instead. To keep myself accountable, I’ll post my progress either in my following posts, or in the reply section of whatever my last post was.

I will apologize here for sloppiness and errors in my blog posts, especially in the next month. I try very much to catch them at all, but it’s harder when I’m under the influence of gluten.

By the way, the image of Twizzlers is because it’s the one thing I miss the most and haven’t yet found a gluten-free alternative. 😀

Do you have any real hindrances that keep you from achieving goals? How do you push through them?