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Posted on May 3, 2012 in Wisdom | 7 comments

Isn’t It Ironic?

Isn’t It Ironic?

In an ironic turn of events, I developed a pretty nasty intolerance to soy around the same time I started dating the soy bean farmer…

In a few months, our farm will look like this…

I’ve never been one to get migraines, so when I got that first killer headache that wouldn’t go away, no matter what I did, I was stumped.  I tried drinking more water, sleeping, caffeine, and pain killers.  Nothing worked.  Then a friend mentioned to me that she gets the same reaction when she eats too much soy.  That triggered a memory – a homeopathic doctor had told me a year prior that my body didn’t like soy at all and I should never eat it.  He had never told me to completely avoid a type of food before, although he had helped me deal with temporary reactions I was having to certain foods.  I used to eat soy regularly when I was a vegetarian, but I didn’t think I was eating any soy at that time.

My friend encouraged me to read product labels and join her amazement at how much food has soy in it.  It’s really shocking.  I’ve discovered that these days, nearly every PROCESSED food on the market is made with soy.  Even vitamins are coated with soy.  Now, this is good news on a business side.  Yay for the success of soy bean farmers like my husband!  On the health and meal preparation side, it’s terrible.

I literally cannot buy a loaf of bread without ordering it online or buying it out of town.  No frozen or delivery pizza, no boxed meal where you just add meat, no crackers, no condiments, even many frozen veggies have sauces made with soy…  The list of “nos” goes on and on.  I made a delicious meal, one of my favorites, a couple months ago and nibbled on leftovers for a week.  By the end of that week, I had the worst migraine of my life.  I laid in bed and cried.  Every time Rick moved, it hurt me.  I ended up sleeping on the couch just to have complete stillness, dark, and quiet.  I knew it was a soy headache, but I didn’t know what I’d eaten with soy in it.  I’d made homemade fajitas, Spanish rice, fruit salad, and cookies.

Well, it turns out that soy was in nearly everything I’d made.  It was in the box of Spanish rice, in the pre-made cookie dough, in a coating on the fruit, a filler in the chicken, and in the tortilla shells!  So it appears that I can handle a little soy here and there, but when I get too much and it builds up in my system, BAD things happen.

As a result, I’m turning into more of a typical farmer’s wife than I thought I’d be.  I’m planning to tackle homemade bread very soon.  I’ve switched to making cookies from scratch.  I have to make sauces for veggies and even barbecue sauce from scratch.  Suddenly, cooking is a lot more complicated than it was as a single woman when I ate mainly pre-packaged foods reheated in the microwave.

The funny this is that a few years ago a friend of mine went to Australia for a vacation and came back with stories about how they eat very little processed food.  They make nearly everything from scratch.  She said the obesity rate there is very low and the food is amazing.  At the time I felt very strongly like that was something I should do – cut way back on processed foods.  But actually doing that with my crazy schedule and working 3 jobs just didn’t happen.

In addition, it’s a well-known fact that having too much soy in your diet can influence your estrogen levels.  While trying to get pregnant, or pregnant, it’s best to seriously limit your intake of soy.  Maybe my body is preparing me for something?

So now I am forced to do so or live with a migraine…

From time to time I will probably share some of my soy-free recipes and the reaction of my junk-food loving husband.  But for now, I’m dealing with my shock at discovering the presence of soy in chocolate chips, the coating of apples, mustard, and frozen chicken breasts.  Oh my!

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Posted on Apr 2, 2012 in Fertility, Marriage | 0 comments

Spreading Manure

Spreading Manure

Written on a morning in March…

This morning I woke up with a feeling of joy and well-being.  No alarm screamed at me, demanding that I drag myself out of bed before I was ready and go take care of someone else’s home.  I had my warm, sleepy husband beside me, a large, comfortable bed, a clean home, and amazing Costa Rican coffee waiting to be brewed.  Ahhh…  Can life really be this good?  I shook Rick and reminded him that he wanted to get an early start this morning, cleaning the manure out of his horse’s stall and spreading it in a field for fertilizer.  (At least, I think that’s what he meant by “spreading manure.”)  I walked around our house and opened the curtains, seeing a beautiful morning with green fields of wheat right outside our windows.  I took a pregnancy test, which was negative, and decided to be happy to have another month free from morning sickness and exhaustion, rather than be sad about it.  (Oh, how I want babies…)

I puttered around, making eggs and coffee, putting away some dishes, and wiping down the dust that seems to accumulate within minutes of being wiped away.  I thanked God I had time to clean up the dust and didn’t have to rush breakfast because a baby was wailing to be fed or changed.  There was meat in the freezer to be thawed for dinner, eggs to be boiled for egg-salad sandwiches, and laundry to be folded in the dryer.

Thank you cards from the wedding are still waiting to be written, so I got all my supplies together, wrote seven of them, and rushed them out to the mailbox before the mail lady snuck up on me.  It was such a beautiful morning, not even humid, so I decided to go for my first walk since moving here.  (Sad, I know.)  I got some ice cold water and a cheese stick, put on my walking shoes, and set off for the quarter mile to the barn.  Everything was so beautiful – passing newly planted trees in the neighbor’s yard, the small creek that runs through our property, and the old chicken coop.  I made it just in time as my husband pulled the tractor and wagon full of manure (nice…) out of the driveway.  A real farmer’s wife!  Bringing him a little snack and some cold water after he’s worked so hard.

We chatted briefly as he showed me the bald tires on the tractor and told me what he still needs to do this morning.  Sometimes when he talks about his farming tasks, I just smile and nod.  It’s confusing to me and I’m trying to learn, but if he tries to explain and I don’t get it, we both get frustrated.  So I smile and nod like I understand completely.  One of these days it’s all going to start making sense, I’m sure of it.

79 degrees in March!

He offered to drive me home on the tractor, but I really wanted the little bit of exercise I was getting so I sent him on his way to repair the leaky tire.  When I got back to the house, I poured a big glass of water and turned on a fan in the living room to help cool off.  I can’t believe how hot I got on my little walk – we never imagined we’d need air conditioning in March, so we haven’t gotten an air conditioner yet.

And now here I sit, ready to write more thank you cards, wondering who’s driving the truck that just passed by on our little country road, finishing up my blog, and wondering if any of you will care about it at all.  Should I include the part about the pregnancy test?  Is that sharing too much?  I can just see those who’ve struggled with fertility cringing.

Eh, I’m going to leave it in.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting babies and finding out you have to wait another month or longer.  We had to wait a long time to find each other, and I’m all too aware that many couples struggle to have children and even struggle to be chosen as adoptive parents.  So I whisper a prayer to God, that I will love and serve Him even if He doesn’t send us children.  But please, Lord, please…  How we would love to be parents some day.

Now, the thank you cards will have to wait a little longer because it’s time to start browning the hamburger for dinner.  On the farm, lunch is “dinner”.  Dinner is “supper.”

Manure spreading and all, it’s been a good morning.

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Posted on Jun 14, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Just Goofing Around | 22 comments

A Farmer’s Wife?

A Farmer’s Wife?

It’s been shocking to many, many people (including ME) that I am marrying a farmer and moving to the rural midwest to live in the land of cornfields and barns.  I’ve been asked how I can leave the bustling, fabulous city of Nashville for country life.  Won’t I miss Starbucks?

I don’t mind answering these questions because I had to answer them for myself first.  I had to come to terms with what’s really important to me before I could even consider seriously dating Rick.  I had decided that I was done with casual dating and I could tell he was serious, so I did some soul-searching early on in our relationship.  Just how important is Nashville to me?

I love Nashville.  I love the American southeast.  I have a special place in my heart for magnolia trees, rolling hills, thick green trees, and that sweet, southern drawl.  I enjoy mild winters and how very nice everything is.  If I need to purchase something, I have so many choices that I’d never be patient enough to look at all my options before making a decision.  I live right next door to one of the wealthiest towns in the entire country.  Right down the road from my house are streets lined with mansions.  It is a lovely place to live.  But no amount of loveliness can make up for loneliness.

I have lived a good life.  God has blessed me with good friends.  I’ve really enjoyed city life.  It’s been no big deal to go to NFL games and cheer the Titans on, scream “Fang Fingers!” at hockey games, go to a major concert and see the performer the next day at a pancake restaurant.  I’ve eaten in the fanciest restaurants, traveled the country and stayed in the nicest hotels, and filled my life with good things.  But in all of that, I went home alone every night.  I felt the ache of empty arms when I saw a mother rocking her sleeping baby.  I chafed at never having a home of my own to settle into and decorate and organize just right.

To me, the reality of having my prayers answered for a loving husband, a home of my own, and the hope of children is worth giving up a weekly visit to Chipotle or seeing a celebrity at church.  Not to mention that the idea of wide, open spaces and the safety of country living is very appealing!  I’ve had all the big living I need.  I’m ready to settle down and be a wife and mother.  And writer.  And maybe do a little teaching and speaking on the side…  🙂

I grew up in the area I’ll be moving back to.  Vivid childhood memories of running free, totally unafraid, and feeling connected to the ground beneath my feet draw me back.  I was the wild child who did all I could to get my four-wheeler (ATV) completely air-born, who caught slimy tadpoles in the pond, and whose heart was broken when my willow tree got cut down.  During a recent trip to visit Rick, I sat quietly on a large rock and listened to the sounds around me. let the little ants crawl up my arm.  I felt like I was twelve again – carefree, happy, and at peace.  I’m blessed to still have relationships with people I knew when I lived there, including my grandfather and cousins.

Will I be the typical farmer’s wife, canning peaches and running a tractor?  Well, probably not.  But I don’t think I’d mind learning how to can my own food and avoid the preservatives and unknown ingredients I’ve been eating in food that comes from who-knows-where.  Driving a tractor, though, is something I plan to leave all in Rick’s capable, calloused hands.

By the way, even though the community is rural, there’s a good-sized city within 40 minutes of his house and a grocery store just a few miles from his front door.  The man who acted as my adopted grandfather when I was a little girl (before my grandparents moved there) has a coffee shop just two miles away.  And there’s a mall within 30 minutes of the farm.  See, friends?  I’m going to be okay.  And I even hear they’re building a Starbucks a couple miles down the turnpike.  Oh yeah…

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