A Letter to Thee Ole 2013.

Dear Two Thousand Thirteen,

It’s been real.

It’s beeen good and bad and hard and wonderful.

And I would like to take this time to say…”thank you.” (I guess??)

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FIRST…

You started out with a bang, when my huzbun and I discovered the “happy little surprise” of another baby being added to our family! Yeah. A bit reckless, perhaps, but you proved yourself pretty epic right from the start.

Not much time though for celebrating! You pushed me directly out of my newly-pregnant nest and off to Vegas for a blogging convention, all by my big girl self. Something I never thought I would do, but you were ballsy like that. I grew tremendously during those four days and my blog grew like crazy after that.

BUT THEN…

Then you took our dear Johnny, and we cried. God, we cried! My heart hurt worse from that, than my stomach did from the morning sickness. And yet you moved us on. Abandoned to the cause of stripping us down. Of wrecking us further into love and plunging us deeper into faith.

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Oh, but you had your moments of splendor. Like when I sank my toes into that Maui sand for seven of your 365 days. Not only that, but I got to do it with one of my favorite people: John. That trip sure brought the laughter back into my world. And I sure was lovin you!

Then you turned sentimental on me, with the un-expected finding of old journals , and a long-awaited trip to childhood, in which I got to make Easter eggs with my favorite kiddos.

(You always had a way of evoking emotion, right when I needed it, didn’t you?!)

Your Spring was divine, and so was the day I discovered that it’s a boy!

I loved your summer and your gardens and the way your nights stayed warm. I even liked your rain! I got in more coffee shop writing and more rainy night snuggles than I ever could have wanted. And consequently, more blogging than I ever could have dreamed of.

Those were exciting times! I wrote about everything from my journey to health to chocolate chia pudding to getting on the back of a horse again. And I watched my blog go from one follower to one hundred, in just a few months!

UH HUH. Pretty ridic! And I have you, my dear 2013 to thank for that.

You had your hardships, too, yes you did.

You ended the summer about as brutally as you ended my sister’s marriage, with tears and rain all mixed together, and you hacked at many other relationships, including my own, until only a few remained.

By the end of my pregnancy, you had challenged my life, my sanity, and my health more than ever.

And it was all I could do to breathe.

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But then he came! And I got to meet my son for the very first time! His paper-thin skin brushed against my chest and and I felt happier than I had ever been.

So happy, in fact that I hardly noticed the fog and the poop and the chaos that ensued. So happy, in fact that I almost missed the fall altogether! I think I woke up around October.

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Just in time to discover this cute little farmer’s market slash coffee shop, on the edge of town. Just in time for beautiful sunsets and birthday celebrations and…

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the best Christmas ever. (Btw, my five-year-old daughter took these two pictures, isn’t she amazing??!!)

So yeah.

You’ve been pretty stinkin WILD!

And yes. I do want to thank you!

Thank you for the lessons learned and the growth that I’ve experienced. Thank you for the tears, the happy and the sad ones. Thank you for the gifts of life and new beginnings.

And most of all, thank you for ending!

Adios, twenty thirteen. Peace be with you!

Love,

your fren-emy forever,

Ruthie

The Hot Vegan: A Spicy Pumpkin Latte

Now that it’s officially fall, and I’ve officially had my baby, I’ve officially started drinking.

I’ve officially started consuming all manner of liquids. Especially hot ones. Like hot cocoa. Hot apple cider. Hot tea. Hot wine…

Um. Hot wine, Ruthie? Well, it could be hot. So it counts, right? And it warms a person’s innards. So…there ya go! (I knew it popped into this list for a reason.)

I am drinking all kinds of things like coffee and mochas and lattes. And oh, did I mention, COFFEE??!!

Lord knows how excited I was when my baby popped out and I could drink coffee again! It was really only six weeks, max, that I had gone without. I had been drinking very moderate amounts throughout my pregnancy, with no adverse effects, until about my 35th week or so. That’s when the small child inside me had officially run out of room and so he would kick me in the ribs. Especially when I had coffee. And especially when I would lay down and try to sleep!

Now we all know how hard it is to sleep when you’ve got a baby’s foot in your ribs. Well, at least us mothers do. Sorry guys. You will never know how hard it is.

So I abstained, with the hopes that I would get some relief from the relentless acrobatics. I withheld myself from the java for a whole month.

But now that the babe is out, I am back at the watering trough and probably more excited than I should be about drinking my favorite form of poison.

You can imagine how excited I was when I saw this recipe for a vegan pumpkin spice latte over at Healthy. Happy. Life.

I knew I had to make it. Or at least something like it.

Since it was officially the first week of fall, I knew I needed to make something orange-ish, something “hot” to celebrate. And what better way than with a creamy pumpkin latte?

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I mean, will you look at this please? It’s like Autumn in a cup.

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And there’s that favorite saucepan of mine. Really, how could it not be good when it comes from such a pretty pan?

I gotta say, I went a little gung ho with this recipe. I think I made seven lattes in one day. It was that much fun! And they were that good.

Kathy’s version called for a base of soy milk, but I’m not a fan of the soybean, so I made my own almond milk for it. I dumped in some pumpkin and spices to my liking, then added a little maple syrup for sweetness and sipped away at my concoction. It was good, but I felt it needed a little something, a little extra oomph.

So I busted out the coconut oil. Cuz that’s what I do when something needs a little extra oomph.

I plopped some into my latte mixture and then whipped up the hot liquid in my blender.

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And boy oh boy. Was it ever luscious! It would have been perfectly dreamy as it was.

But…

You know I can’t ever leave well enough alone. You know if there is something creamy and fluffy to be added, I will add it.

So that’s what I did. I whipped up some coconut cream, jazzed it up with some sweet sappy syrup straight from the maple tree, and swirled it on top of my latte.

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Bam! It was perfect! So perfect, in fact, that I gave it a name all its own. From here on it will lovingly be referred to in our house, as “the hot vegan.” Because that’s what it is.

Sexy. Hot. Smooth. Just as a pumpkin spice latte should be.

Try it and tell me you don’t love me.

The Hot Vegan

(Inspired by the Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte at Healthy. Happy. Life.)

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 min.

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (1 Large Latte)

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla coconut almond milk (recipe below)
  • 1 shot espresso OR 1/4 cup very strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp canned pumpkin (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 heaping tsp EV coconut oil
  • dash of ground ginger

Vanilla Coconut Almond Milk

  • 3/4 cup almonds, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups water

Whipped Maple Coconut Cream

  • 1/3 cup coconut cream, skimmed off the top of a can of chilled coconut milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

First make your coconut almond milk by adding all ingredients to a blender and blending for about thirty seconds. Strain through a nut milk bag.

Place the almond pulp back into blender with 1 1/2 cups water. Repeat. This will give you about a quart of milk.

Save 1 1/2 cups of this to make your latte, and place the rest in your fridge for other uses.

For the latte, add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat to almost boiling.

While that is heating, make your whipped maple coconut cream.

Skim off the top part of your coconut milk (the cream!), to make about 1/3 cup and whip to desired fluffiness. Fold in maple syrup and vanilla.

Pour the hot latte mixture into blender and blend for 20 seconds.

You will now have a steamy, frothy latte. Pour into your favorite mug and top with whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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On Odorless Poop and Waking up From the Fog.

So you’ve been heavily sedated for over two weeks, inoculated by the deepest love and the strongest bond known to man.

And now, slowly but surely, you’re waking up.

Slowly but surely, you come out of that euphoria-induced trance of peach fuzz and heaven-scented baby scalp and the innocent little squeaks of a newborn. That intoxication of soft buttery skin and odorless poop and sleepy eyes trying to focus on yours.

Little by little, you come out of that elation which makes you joyfully oblivious to the world and the crud and the ugly, and keeps you in a constant state of happiness for days. That bliss which makes you unconscious to the night sweats and the sore nipples and the aching body, and convinces you that you are living in a sordid wonderland, instead.

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You wake up from the fog of people coming to help and to visit, and to hold your floppy little bundle. Friends giving gifts and bringing flowers and sending their congratulations.

You wake up from all that is beautiful and right with the world, to some that is not.

Slowly but surely, those innocent little squeaks are turning into full-blown crying fits and the odorless poop is beginning to smell like, well…poop. Slowly but surely those sleepy eyes and that floppy body are becoming yours and the euphoria is turning into dilerious exhaustion.

That’s the tricky part of this post-partum road. The part you had almost forgotten.

You were so enraptured in the sweetness and the wonder and the glory, you had almost forgotten that those mega doses of happy hormones eventually leave your body, and you come down from the high.

You wake up from the fog to a brand new, less than glamorous reality. One in which a little human has thoroughly and completely rearranged everything. Your schedule. Your time. The way you do things. How often you leave the house. And what you wear, when you do leave. (You find out that it’s NOT a good idea to wear a full-length maxi dress when you’re breastfeeding!) You know…things like that. They get rearranged.

You look down at an odd-shaped body and wonder how in the world you’re ever gonna fit into those skinny jeans you bought last year, just before you got pregnant. You wonder why you ever allowed this to happen and how single mothers do it, and if your life is ever going to be normal again.

You smile at the cute little demanding person you’ve brought into the world and question how you can possibly be everything that he needs. And then he smiles, innocent and peaceful and you have hope again. Hope for the world and for your future.

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He opens his sleepy eyes and for a moment you close yours. You close your eyes to the world and the crud and the bag of returns that never got taken back. It’s now past the thirty-day expiration. You squeeze them tight shut to a pile of baby clothes that never got sorted and the moldy bread in the pantry from three weeks ago.

You close your eyes to the rain and the mud and the un-beautiful.

He looks up at you ever so sweetly and you smile.

You smile through the tears and pray those hormones drop you gently and that you can stay in euphoria a little while longer.

Ode to Birth. And the Life Thereafter.

I feel the light drawing me forward, pushing me gently

toward the epitome of bliss

that awaits my being

when I meet eternity

in that thing I have created,

that soul I have nurtured.

Veins pulse with excitement, the heart races

and my body crashes 

against the waves of doubt,

of breathless fear and awestruck fury.

Like

the shaking of a thousand boards of lumber

tumbling into the sea,

so the shaking of the self

’til nothing but love remains.

 

And then it breaks! The body breaks.

The soul bursts and a living, breathing

creation comes forth!

The storm has raged its fury on the body.

The shaking has ravaged the last bits of control

from my mind

until at last!

The cry of a tender infant breaks through

the noise and the incessant thrashing

and all is calm.

All is well and beautiful and calm.

He is placed on my heart, breath to breath

Skin to skin

And there is peace.

Peace that cannot be described

Or compared to any other

But can only be felt in the depths

Of human connection

When a baby

Touches his Mama for the first time.

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Here’s to that little boy, Emerson, who touched his Mama for the first time, ten days ago. And to the transformation of birth and life he has brought to the world, for it will never be the same.

 

My Journey to Health: Before, After and Beyond.

Well. We’ve reached the end of this series. (YAY! We did it!)

We’ve made it through the good and the bad of my close-up encounter with cancer, and the ugly of losing my father. We’ve lived through the not-so-pretty parts of my tango with weight gain and migraines and miscarriage. We’ve re-visited the pain of infidelity and the horrors of suicide. And now we’ve come face-to-face with our worst fear, the coffee enema!:)

You have, in essence, watched me go from this:

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To this:

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And from this:

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To this:

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Now before you get too excited, let me just say that these are not the most accurate “before/after” pictures. Apparently I tried hard NOT to be in pictures when I was at my worst. And for some reason I can’t find any of when I was at my best and healthiest, pre-pregnancy. I am already three months along, in this one.

Oh well.

I think you can see at least some of the progression that I’ve made. Perhaps in looking at these pictures, you can identify at least a few of the positive changes that have taken place in my life. Ones in which the details of my body don’t matter as much as my attitude towards it. Progression in which my size does not matter nearly as much as how healthy I feel…and how happy I am.

At any rate, I want to say thank you for your presence and support on this journey! I feel truly honored that you would come along with me on this walk through the pathways of my past. You have given me the faith to keep going. You have given me courage. Courage to live out my passion. To write. To help. To dream. And to tell my story. I sincerely thank you for that!

So while this may be the end of this particular series, it is definitely not the end of my writing or blogging, nor is it the end of my journey to health!

In many ways, THIS is just the beginning!! As much as I discover new things and new ways to keep me and my family healthy, I will be passing it on to you. The pursuit of health and happiness, is for me, a fun and exciting one, and I am thrilled that I get to share it with you!

I feel beyond blessed that I get to spill my knowledge and experience with you in this way.

Having said all that, I must let you know that I will be taking a little rest from this blog…I will be taking a small break from this and all weekly series, while I bring another human into this world! I say “small break” but you never know how it goes with babies. It could be weeks. It could be months till I get that figured out and get back to a resemblance of a schedule. I might go quiet on you for a month, or I might get an urge to blog in the middle of the night when those after-baby hormones keep me awake. Like I said, ya never know with babies…

But rest assured and be excited that there will be MORE.

When it comes to the topic of health, I’m only geting started! I haven’t even touched the subject of water or coconut oil or the benefits of chiropractic. I’ve only begun to expound on the healing I am currently experiencing with essential oils.

And when it comes to happiness…well. There is no end to the many ways in which I find it, in my daily life. I am constantly discovering small stuff that makes me smile. And I will never stop sharing those with you!

I pray that somewhere in my continuing story, you will find new depths of joy in yours. I hope that somewhere in my ongoing journey, you will find the courage to walk your own. But more than anything, I pray we live our lives fully as God intended.

May we all remember that no matter where we are in our process, there is always hope. There is always LOVE.

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And where there is love, there is ALWAYS a way!

Health and blessings and peace (and babies!!)…till next time.

My Journey to Health: A Secret Revealed!

So here’s the skinny. I’ve covered all the topics that I said I would, including community and diet and forgiveness. I’ve talked about gratitude and sunshine and exercise. and how each one played a vital part in my path to health.

I’ve been true and I’ve been honest. And it’s been good!

I was going to sum it all up in this post, with some highlights and possibly a few “before/after pictures” and I was going to call it a wrap. I really needed to finish this series and make some time and room for this baby, after all.

But then the lights came on and I realized that in doing so, I would be leaving something very important out of my story and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write my last post in this series, until I had written this. I couldn’t end the story of how I became healthy without telling you this secret. Because it’s HUGE.

And in all reality, it has effected EVERYTHING about “my journey to health.”

It’s not that I hadn’t planned to, or even attempted to write about it before, it’s just that I got overwhelmed by the extent of explanation that I felt this subject required. I couldn’t figure out how to explain it in one blog post, much less to dispel any of the misconceptions surrounding it.

Plus, I couldn’t seem to come up with enough of humor to ease the awkward discomfort of this subject!

Today however, I feel different. I don’t care so much about expaining it, or making it funny. I just want to share my story. I just want to tell you the secret that has changed my life, in hopes that it will help change yours or that of someone you know.

Are you ready for it?

You sure????

Ok! It’s called…(drum roll, please!!) the COFFEE ENEMA!!!

Yep.

Today, I would like to talk to you about livers, intestines…and coffee.

And…it just got weird.

See??!! See why I haven’t written about this before?

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Now before you go thinking I am more weird or twisted than I really am, let me assure you that this is actually a non-medically approved healing therapy. YAY! It has been thoroughly NOT tested or approved by the FDA. In fact, they would tell you that, unlike their drugs, it is dangerous and could possibly kill you.

Well, lucky for all of us, I am NOT the FDA. (No small wonder there!) They would have fired me a long time ago, had I been any part of their agenda or regime.

Lucky for them, I am just an ordinary girl in search of real answers for real health issues. And lucky for you, I’ve found a few of those answers, which you now get to read about! Lucky for you, you get to know ALL of my secrets. (Er, well. At least the ones you “need” to know about!!)

And the coffee enema is definitely one of those things. It would be a terrible disservice to you and a massive injustice to me, not to include it in my story. It has after all, single-handedly changed my body, my mind, and my overall health, more than any other physical thing I have done.

While it may not be at the center of your Sunday afternoon discussions, it definitely deserves a place in the global discussion on health. Just because it doesn’t come highly recommended by your pharmacist, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been proven to be safe or successful by thousands of people for many decades.

Actually, I have found that sometimes the best answers lie in ancient wisdom. Sometimes the oldest methods are the most effective.

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The thing is, NO ONE in this modern culture of pills and drive-thru pharmacies, wants to do enemas. I certainly didn’t. NO ONE dreams of lying naked on their left side for fifteen minutes, while a lukewarm liquid flows through their intestines. NO ONE, Including me.

When I first heard of it at Oasis, I thought it was a bit radical, even for something as serious as cancer. Although it was a highly-recommended part of their protocol, I thought that unless you were literally dying on your death bed, you should not have to succomb to such an undignified ritual.

Apparently my dad thought so, too. It was the ONE THING on his protocol that he gently, but firmly refused to do. The nurses came and offered to help him get set up for one, almost daily. But he declined, almost daily.

I don’t really blame him!

I’m guessing that like most of us, he was just overwhelmed by the thought of it, or did not fully understand how much of a difference it could actually have made for him. Had he known how much it could have improved his life, even down to his pain level, I believe he would have followed this part of the protocol more rigorously than anything else.

Like many of us, he just didn’t know! And like his own daughter, he may have been just a little stubborn, too.

I was definitely the latter, until quite a few years later when I found myself at the premature end of an extremely sick pregnancy, in a pool of blood on our bathroom floor. That’s when I went from stubborn to desperate.

This was my second round of being pregnant and “deathly sick” and now I had lost the baby. I knew at that point, that something wasn’t right. I could no longer be comforted by the medical theory that “sick body equals healthy baby”. No matter how many midwives and doctors tried to tell me that this was “normal” I knew in my heart that it was NOT.

And so, I set out to find answers. I wanted to know why my body had responded so violently to pregnancy, not once but twice. I needed to know why, the first time around, it had caused me to have headaches and to puke all day, every day for four months. And why the second time it had rendered me just as sick and life-less and dehydrated, plus aborted my baby.

I buried myself in midwives’ pages, mommy blogs and pregnancy boards to find out what was causing all of this distress in my body. Somewhere in my vague discovery of things like B vitamins and magnesium and even Vitamin D, I read something about a toxic liver and how it could be the cause of extreme sickness in pregnancy. Hm. A toxic liver. Finally something that made sense to me!

I dug a little deeper and found that sure enough, I had ALL the symptoms of a toxic liver. Naturally I began to research the best ways to de-doxify the liver. And guess what I found??

Yep. The Coffee Enema!

In spite of my efforts to push it far from my consciousness, not even six years after my initial encounter and it had come back to haunt me. This time, though, I gave in to its calling. I was desperate and done. Remember? So I caved to its beckoning and began to do that unthinkable, undignified ritual known as the coffee enema.

And was it worth it??

Let’s just say that there is not a condition known to man-I mean-me in the last seven years, that it has not improved. It has positively changed everything that I’ve ever struggled with, including sickness in pregnancy. Not to mention, there has not been a single bad side effect! I have done daily enemas for a year and a half straight and have had no ill side effects whatsoever.

I’ve only had more energy and less pain. More clarity and less headaches. More fun, and less worry.

It may not have been my dream healing plan, but it has made all the difference in the world, for me. It has meant getting out of the house more and playing with my daughter. It has meant enjoying more sunsets and greeting more sunrises. And surprisingly enough, it has made the difference between laying in bed with headaches and nausea for four months and actually feeling like a normal, healthy pregnant woman.

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This is me at three months, in THIS pregnancy. Kind of a miracle, as this NEVER would have happened before.

Never before had I felt this good at three months!

Coffee enemas, to me, have meant feeling wonderfully cleansed and rejuvenated, every day. They have meant freedom and light and health.

And my best pregnancy yet!

 

If you would like to know more about coffee enemas or how to do them, here are some great places to start:

Coffee enemas and cancer: http://www.treating-cancer-alternatively.com/Coffee-enemas.html

Effects on gallbladder and liver: http://www.gallbladderattack.com/coffeeenema.shtml

Great explanation by Dr Wilson: http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/COFFEE%20ENEMA.HTM

Method/recipe that I use: http://www.treating-cancer-alternatively.com/Coffee-enema-recipe.html

Happy Little Finds: Lavender in My Mailbox!

What could be better than a happy little surprise landing in the middle of your otherwise ordinary day? Um….when that surprise comes in your mailbox, of course!

The other day I received one such happy surprise, in the form of a cardboard box filled with all kinds of natural, herb-y things from two of my dear friends in Tennessee. It made me so happy, I cried. (Seems to happen a lot these days!)

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I opened the box to the wonderful aroma of dried lavendar and chamomile and rose petals, and found big bags of rosemary and red raspberry leaves inside. I was in herb heaven as I pulled out one scented bag after another, dunked my head in and inhaled each one.

It didn’t take me long to realize that all of this herb-y goodness was coming from The Bulk Herb Store in Lobelville, Tn. I have heard a lot of good things about them, and I’ve been a long-time fan of their blog, as it is one of the most practical guides to herbs and natural remedies that I’ve seen. But I had never actually ordered anything from their store.

Now, my girlfriends had done the unthinkable and sent me their “New Mama and Baby Kit.”

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And I couldn’t be more impressed! Everything from chamomile tea to baby bath to an ample sized tin of Eden Salve, and a pretty little notecard, they thought of it all. There was even some arrowroot powder to make my own baby powder! How “crunchy” cool is that??!!

So…here’s a massive thank you to my friends, Andrea and Heather, for such a wonderful surprise, and a shout-out to the Bulk Herb Store for providing me with such a blissful and aromatic way to prepare for the birth of my baby.

I currently have the dried rose petal and rosemary mixture brewing on my stove. And I can’t wait to make all kinds of fabulous creations from the lavendar flowers.

Aaaah. I’m blissed out and ready.