Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 10...Looks Like We Made It!!!

Hooray!  Day 10!  I stayed up last night making our soup (I think I mentioned that) and was so excited to come home from church and enjoy a nice WARM meal, rather than a cold drink.  It was SO worth it.  I didn't nibble a bit as I prepared lunch, which was certainly tempting!  I'll blog through the pictures! :O)  I will say that our scale broke a few days ago, or at least stopped being accurate, so Mike went out and bought a new one this morning.  It isn't digital, so the weight isn't exact, however here are the figures.
Starting weight: 164.4
Ending weight:  154 ish
I don't feel like the pictures did a very good job at showing much of a difference, maybe that's why people take those types of pictures with less clothes.  Oh well!  The other number that I'd like to share, but don't have available, is the cost.  We borrowed the juicer, which saved us $300.00.  We borrowed the high-end Breville and it was certainly key in our being able to complete this little adventure.  The trips to the store were every 2-3 days at probably $40-$60.00/ trip.  That's after the initial trip where we bought all organic and spent $120.00.  Why would I say that?  To let you know that this isn't something we want to go back on.  We wouldn't mind doing a 3 day fast in the future for a reboot, but we don't want to put ourselves in this way again.  We want this to be the starting point, not the end only to have to come back and do it again.  We will juice every morning, the children as well, and perhaps we'll juice another meal at random points, maybe the weekend.  I think the greatest advantage of completing this is just that: completing it.  I said no to Mom's homemade cookies today (although she did break off a piece and put it in my mouth...yum) and just plain do not want to overeat.  I've got most of our meals for the week planned, including snacks.  I'm finding my way in this, and hope that I'm on the way to a healthy body that can serve the Lord for a long time.  If you are considering this I would say that you should find an awesome juicer and a buddy.  Like most things, this will be easier with someone who knows what you are doing and wants you to succeed.  I had my husband and my best friend. (Note, my husband is my best friend, but also my best friend Kelli is juicing) I also think you need a goal.  Not a weight loss goal, per se, but a finish goal.  Decide (ahead of time) how long you are going to juice and what you are going to do next.  Knowing when you finish and what you have to look forward to are key in being able to press on.  Then,  do it.  Make your mind up ahead of time and just juice it! Below are a few pictures, some pertaining to juice, and others to what I was doing while juicing!

Caroline was not cleaning the bathroom, but her sister was! I love that my children are old enough to help with these tasks, and they are pretty good at it!  

For math this year we are switching gears.  Time Life put out some math books that we are using and this was a game we made up based on one of the "lessons" from the book.  It's a rendition of ski ball only the bags are marked $.25, $.50, $.75, and $1.00 so they had to keep score with money rather than points.  This is for my girls, Anson uses Saxon.  

Here's Jules hoping for $1.00 because I said I might give them the amount they scored.  At the sound of this, Anson wanted to play rather than watch!

This is my Ella.  She's in 1st grade!  When I see my house in pictures I get overwhelmed. There is stuff EVERYWHERE!   She's in the kitchen/laundry room. :)

Mr. Bigstuff!  

This was a cool and rainy day, so I said yes to hot chocolate and marshmallows.  Remember...I'm sipping on juice while they are sipping on hot chocolate!

I caught this sweet picture.  My Caroline LOVES books.  I think most 2 year olds do, but mine especially. :)


After Julia scored over $7.00 I told them they could keep $2.00 of their earnings.  Only putting myself out $6.00...which is bad math on my part!  They all bought altoids with their "earnings" mostly because they love the tins they come in.  The large tins are perfect for Legos.

Alright, back to the fast.  This is lunch today.  My other girls wanted to stay with my Mom for another round of church, so it was a smaller celebration.

This is the Acorn, Apple, Carrot soup and a simple spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts and a balsamic vinegar dressing.  I'll eat the soup a few times this week for lunch.

This was dessert.  It TOTALLY handled my sweet tooth.  Everyone agreed.  These are simple and most people have everything you need right in your pantry.  All I needed to purchase was the coconut oil, which was on my list anyway.  Alright, below are my befores and afters.  I put the skirt on, but didn't want to change my shirt, can you tell a difference?  It's OK if you can't.  I can see a small difference here, but a bigger difference in how I feel and how my clothes feel on me.  Also, I should have shut some doors...good grief! I'm such an amateur a this whole picture blog thing.  So, now you know what's lurking behind all the doors.  

YAY for Team Wessner!  We started and finished and will continue this healthy habit daily.  Here are a few things that I will take away:
1. It isn't impossible to say, "No."
2. There will always be a chance to eat, for instance at the shower, I'll get to eat that food some other time. I didn't HAVE to eat it then.
3. I should not eat until I'm sitting at the table.  No snacking while making meals.
4. My husband is the BEST!
5. The Lord may come get me whenever He wants, but I want to be able to say that I tried my best to take care of the things He gave me.  My body and my family being the biggest things.
6. Trying something new feels good.  Learning how to do something helps me remember what it's like and be kinder to my children as they learn.
7. Fasting is extremely beneficial and needs to be exercised more often in my Spiritual life.
I'm sure there are more things, but I'll leave you with that for now.  Thank you so much for checking in.  Blogging this experience helped me to stay focused and in a way it was a source of accountability.  I didn't want to post the "I just couldn't do it" story.  Because, I could...and I did.  Now, tomorrow, I'll try again.  My motivation will be to depend on Jesus, not food to make me content and to serve the Lord no matter what I do.  So, I'll keep you posted!  Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 8 and 9...almost there!!!

What you need to know is that sometimes when I start shaving my legs I think, "I don't really want to do this today, why did I start?  Now I have to finish."   So, that only takes a few minutes, imagine 10 days drinking every single meal and the water in between!!!  This has probably been one of the most challenging 9 days for me...mentally!  It wasn't physically hard.  The juices are good, and they fill you up and you have energy and lose weight...easy right?  Yes, but every single time you walk into the kitchen there is NO NIBBLING!  Not a date, or a walnut, or an apple or a cracker.  It's totally mental.  That's the game I've never been willing to strengthen, my mental game.

I am so very thankful that my husband did this with me, I don't know how far I would have gotten. Mike and I made a decision that we wouldn't kiss until we said, "I do."  That meant, no kissing.  We held hands and hugged...and that was it.  It was a long 6 month engagement! :)  I decided a few times that kissing probably wouldn't be a bad idea.  We were engaged after all.  We WOULD be married, right?  Mike said, "No."  I grew to love that over the 6 months.  There was an element of safety in his no because I felt like I could trust him.  I felt like if he wouldn't kiss me, his betrothed, he wouldn't kiss another during the course of our life together.  He said it and he meant it.  He also said we'll go 10 days.  So, we have.  Tomorrow we will actually be breaking our fast a little early.  A full 10 days would be Monday morning.  A few days ago I was trying to think of how I wanted to continue juicing and how I wanted to stop.  I'm a little "over it." Mike and I decided that the entire family would get juice in the morning before their breakfast.  Our juice will be our breakfast, but the children will have food in addition to juice.  Already we've seen improvement in the way they feel.  So, back to breaking the fast. I wanted to eat before I juiced again and if I was juicing Monday morning than I wouldn't be eating first.  Also, I wanted to break the fast with a nice meal.  So, I decided that Sunday lunch would be a great time.  This way Mike and I can enjoy the meal together and wake fresh Monday ready to enjoy a juice.  I have already made lunch.  I must confess that I did try a spoon of it and it is DELICIOUS!  We will be enjoying Acorn, Carrot, Apple Soup with gluten free crackers and "reese cups" for dessert.  I am so excited!  I will need to work on the meals for the rest of the week, although I did pick up one of my favorite lunches at Costco.  The microwavable quinoa and brown rice.  I add a few things to jazz it up, but it will be something that I can easily do and easily enjoy.  I will say that if you are interested in doing something like this, the Reboot website is REALLY helpful.  There are recipes and meal plans that can help you move past the reboot and into a healthier lifestyle.  So, that's the plan for tomorrow and I'm thrilled!

I will say that two days this week were really rough, in the morning, until we realized what we did wrong.  We had a beet juice both days and both days it made Mike and I especially,  feel pretty rotten and I got a good bit of reading done in the restroom.  We juiced an entire beet.  I have juiced the beet and had no trouble and juiced the leaves and had no trouble, but the shoots make us sick.  My children drank it, most of them. They were not bothered by it, other than the wretched taste, but they had less than we did.  Julia cried and after chugging mine and wanting to gag I told her to stop.  I couldn't drink much juice the rest of the day I was so afraid it would taste horrible again.  I drank my snack for lunch because watermelon and blueberries sounded better than the green juice.  We made it though the day alright, but was something else!

I found that I like the green juices with lemon, so in the future I'll keep those on hand.  I love the peach pie, as you all know, and will serve that as dessert in the future.  We'll crush ice and enjoy it!  I certainly have noticed an increase in energy.  I'm just not as slow, especially during the lull parts of the day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  Which is why I want to keep this up.  It's strange that it feels doable. I think after doing it for 10 days, 5 times/day, once a day seems like cake!  I look forward to trying new things and incorporating them into our everyday.  I am going to try some beet chips and work on snacks and desserts, those are the areas that really trip me up. I can plan a healthy meal, but I top it off with Moose Tracks!!!! I'm really hoping for the best with these chocolate peanut butter cups.  Also, this seems doable because I can buy this food at the grocery store.  It's not crazy stuff.  It's fresh.  Maybe I'll figure out how to eat seasonally, but for now I'm going to get past lunch.

That's another thing I would like to work on.  Sunday lunch.  One of the things I learned from Marannook is that the Sabbath is that...a Sabbath.  Every other day is leading up to it.  We prepare every single day for our day off.  I was irritated last week because I wasn't prepared and I really want to improve in that area.  I want to do this like I like it! :)  What I mean is, when I'm in the kitchen I want to be there with great joy.  This is my life.  This is my calling.  Feeding these people that God has given to me.  Being prepared so that I'm not strung out.  I want to be a better woman. I want to be the woman that God made me to be.  I look forward to the process.  I know that it won't be finished until I get to Heaven, so I want to press on and enjoy this ride.  Even if it means that I'm the only one in the kitchen. I do say I want peace and quiet right?  Perhaps I should thank the Lord for that sweet gift to prepare my heart for Sunday.  Now, I am off to read and rest my head...I've got a big day tomorrow!

Thank you for checking in!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 7....Determination Sets In

This is a little early, but waiting until the end of the day makes bedtime later.  My children worked really hard on their school work this morning so that I could visit with my sister and cousin (and they played with their cousins) so now they are in Lego Land and Caroline is asleep and I must tell you... my feet are up!  I must also tell you that the toilet overflowed and the floor needs to be mopped, the juicer is  still in the sink from this morning and lunch for 10 people still needs to be cleared, but I made a decision to sit a minute, and then I'll work. (Probably a bad order...but it's raining!)

So, Day 7.  I was expecting a better day since yesterday and it has been.  First of all, I think the bloating was related to something else more monthly than dietary.  So, that is being resolved.  And I feel a little more empowered that I did this at a tough time of the month...a munchy time.  So, it's possible to say, "No, thank you."  (Dang it, I overloaded the I have to get up...wait...yup) It wasn't overloaded, it was not balanced so it was banging around.  I could hear my mother, "Alison!  Get in here and do this right!"  So, where was I?  Day 7.  I'm not digging drinking any longer.  I will, however, finish.  This morning I went ahead and chugged my "un-beet-able" which is, by the way, beatable.  Now I have to focus on the water.  Yesterday I only had 3 of the 5 juices for a few reasons, but wasn't insanely hungry.  I would like to mention that the plantains that I had last night are currently sitting on the kitchen table.  Renee brought them left over and I almost had 1 and stopped.  There was no real reason, other than eating them last night, that I needed one.  I think I'll put them in the freezer and when this is over pull them out and do something tasty with them.  I've never had them because they look like bananas, but I really think they'll help with my sweet tooth.  So, I see where the danger (for me) lies in little "breaks."  So, there will be no more breaking, unless I'm going to break it.  In fact, Renee brought a little dish that looked really delicious.  It had some noodles and ground turkey, squash, tomatoes...Ashley (my sister who was also here) said it was great and the children ate it, too.  Here's the thing, I bet it was good, but do I want to break this over someone's tasty leftovers?  How often do we do that?  Our standards are constantly reduced for something that isn't even that worth it.  I mean, I'm sure it was good...but I haven't eat (UGH besides that plantain) in 7 first meal is going to be BANG-A-RANG!!!  It makes me think about my life in general, especially before I was a Christian.  There was so much settling and not enough standard.  Not enough appreciation for that which was pure and beautiful.  I resort to this animalistic nature when it comes to food.  Then I don't even get the best.  I don't wait to prepare something worth eating.  So, I need to investigate some options and start working a little bit harder on meal prep.  Especially having delicious combinations on hand to ENJOY not just fill a void.

It's telling, going back to just taking what's available.  It's called settling...or not believing.  We have asked the Lord where we should serve Him, where we are best suited and are HUMBLED by what He is pointing to.  More on that some other time, but for the better part of my life I think I was scared that nothing better would come along, so I just took what was present.  Not waiting for the good stuff.  Another food analogy was that this summer we could have cookies with our lunch, but some nights the dessert was REALLY worth waiting for.  If I stuck to my rule of only one dessert/day, which is still too much dessert, then I shouldn't have had dessert, but since I wasn't self-controlled, I had them both. (Until the end of the summer)  So, the dessert, where it was still good, wasn't as special.  So, I am seeing a pattern.  If I peeled it back and back it's a trust issue.  Not trusting that God had good things for me.  Or, even being willing to wait until Heaven.  Is Heaven worth the wait?  Do I think that great things are worth waiting for?  I won't go see what I mean.

So, I think I'll probably need to have a snack this afternoon because we are going to the Chiropractor tonight, which is awesome because it's my Uncle and he should have some incredible juicing tips...and we all feel so much better when we leave!  Since it's Thursday I'm thinking about heading over to Earthfare to pick up what we'll need and then have the children eat for free, sparing me that meal preparation!  It's getting easier, but it's still nice.  So, I'm thinking I'll work in the kitchen and get that looking better and be able to work on some school stuff tonight.

That's all for now.  I would encourage folks to try this.  It reveals what we wouldn't normally see, or even want to see.  There is something good about being pushed and living to tell the story.  Even if it's pretty lame that the story that was so hard is that you drank only fresh food for 10 many people around the world would love that?

Alright, time to get back to life....I've enjoyed this little chat and I'll post more if there is more.  If not, I'll write tomorrow on DAY 8!!!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 6...OR DAY3?

Today was just plain hard.  My eye was irritated so I couldn't wear my contacts and for some reason wearing my glasses makes me tired and cranky.  So, I could liken myself to Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good very bad day....EXCEPT that the day was not ruined!  HOORAY!  The children had a little bit of Lego time (they tried to tell me it was Geometry....I told them I might have gone for Architecture, but not Geometry...well...maybe...) In any event!  I heard that people really struggle on their third day because of the detox and what not, well, I think today was my third day.  It's also getting difficult to drink every meal.  I did a little bit better with my water in the morning which has helped with how bloated I have felt.  I didn't do as well in the afternoon, thankfully there is tomorrow!

So, I did break the fast for a minute this evening.  I have a really neat cousin who recently got back after spending 2 years in Cameroon.  She went with the Peace Corps and tonight she had a  presentation.  She had some of the Cameroonian food, which she said she would, so I was prepared, but I have never tried plantains, and so I did.  They were very tasty and I only felt "guilty" for a minute.  Honestly, I think that's what I needed.  Just a little normalcy. It's bizarre that I almost feel ostracized because I'm not eating my food.  I make the meals for the children and clean them up and I have finally stopped trying to eat the food while I prepare it.  I'll bet I eat 4 meals/day with all of the food I eat during prep time.  Maybe a piece of chicken here, some chips there, that sweet spoon of peanut butter!  All just for no good reason.  So, that habit is just about kicked.  Tomorrow I'll have 2 of my cousins over and my sister, and I'm planning on having a few snackie type foods out, but I'm not going to break this over snacks.  A few plantains I'm not counting!  It's learning how to gather without my mouth full of food.

I think that's really it.  I don't want to carry on and on about how the day was, because it was just rather poor Ali.  Which is ridiculous because I am eating the best food in the house!  Poor me why?  Because I can't indulge?  I can't overeat or graze all day?  Nah, that's for the birds....I had power plantains and I can do this!

One silly thing that Kelli reminded me of while I was lamenting is future Ali.  Here is the back story...I have some super neat siblings.  My one sister, Ashley, is really funny...I mean super funny.  She was telling me a few months ago (after she had her 3rd high maintenance child only 18 months after her 2nd high maintenance child) that she would do things in the present in order to help herself in the future.  As in "present Ashley" would set out the diapers and wipes for the late night feeding so that "future Ashley" would have an easier time and be able to get back to sleep.  She then (in her post partpartum delirium) would thank "past Ashley."  Is that insane...and brilliant.  It's viewing being proactive as serving yourself, in a way.  So, I've been wondering what future Ali thinks about present/past Ali during this fast.  Here's what I think she might say...

Dear Past Ali,
YOU DID IT!  You didn't think you could, but you did.  You paused for a minute to chew some plantains, but you moved on!  You made a decision and stayed the course and I can't tell you how much I thank you for that.  Today, while getting dressed, I pulled the zipper right up on the skirt and it felt so nice.  I walked past the mirror and was surprised to see a little less of me...or us...whatever the case may be.  Whenever a meal is served we think about it.  We consider if we'll enjoy it for a while or if it will leave us sort of empty and lethargic.  There is a plan for snacks and treats and it's so enjoyable. It was worth the work to have some new cravings and new habits.  Not to mention a new "normal" weight range.  It will fluctuate, but it's much easier to move forward from here.  Future Present Ali is certainly more confidant and I have you, Past Ali to thank for it.  So, thank you for having self-control and for not being consumed by that which you should consume.  Life is more than that and with these new healthy habits under your (smaller)'ll have a nice long healthy one to enjoy!  Much love!
Future/Present Ali

Weird, right?  Almost like I have crazy people living in my head....well, this is actually helpful to me as I consider how disappointed I would be if I stopped.  10 days is long, but people do a lot of things for longer...things that are live in Cameroon for 2 years.  Day I come!  Bottoms up!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Good evening!  I was on my way to bed and realized I hadn't blogged yet.  I am actually enjoying the opportunity to blog regularly.  So, thanks for checking!  Today I accidentally licked Caroline's spoon (of cold oatmeal) and then spit it out. I am SO NOT eating something like that first!  Maybe warm with butter, brown sugar and fresh strawberries!  It made me question what I really eat all day.  I don't love this fast, but I am enjoying being able to stick to it.  I'm looking forward to "conquering" it, if you will. When I say I am not enjoying it it's because I do enjoy a delicious meal.  I am thinking when I bow my head in a few days, I'll really mean it.

The morning started off with a Hawaiian Sunrise.  I was surprised that it didn't knock my socks off.  It was tasty, don't get me wrong, and fresh in the morning, just very grapefruity.  I actually enjoy grapefruit, with a little sprinkle of...sugar...of course.  I even had that thought...I should sprinkle some sugar on this!  What a way to go down! :)  I didn't, I have children and they would have totally been disappointed.  I would have been too.  It made enough to feed all of us, with pretty full cups.  It was 1 pineapple, 2 peeled grapefruit, and 6 oranges.  If you are interested.  Mike really enjoyed it.  He brought some mangoes home from the store, I'm excited to see what those end up in.  So, I've got some pictures, I'll let them do the talking.  Some of them are from a few days ago...

This little gem is from Saturday.  I attended a baby shower and then needed to make supper, and juice.  I took this to let you all know that you can do it!  If I can pull it off, so can you!  This is titled, "I'll put the kids to bed if you'll do the dishes." :)

This is what the sink looks like.  I take the juicer apart right after the juice is made, but I inevitably don't have time to wash it, so I let it soak in warm water so that it doesn't get too nasty.  I clean it after every juice, that's 5 a day!

Supper.  See the green?

This was my supper. I really must get better about my water consumption. It's so hard to drink water when you've been drinking all day long.  Maybe I sip on my drinks too long and need to just guzzle them so that I can then sip my water until the next one.  I'll do that tomorrow.

It's amazing what sounds DELICIOUS.  This was what the children had.  Probably needed more greens less rice, but smelled SO GOOD!  I didn't even lick my fingers.

Anytime we are taking pictures Caroline wants hers taken.  Isn't she getting big?  She enjoyed her juice, it was watermelon crush.  They all get in line for that one.  It was good on Saturday, but I didn't add enough mint, in fact it was supposed to be basil, but the next time I made it I dumped the mint in and it was a real summer treat.  With some Sonic ice it would be top-notch. (Did you know you can buy Sonic ice?  Thanks, Jenn!)

This is Anson.  My favorite son.  He always smiles and says, "Mom, I'm your only son."  I think he might still be my favorite.  That boy loves supper!

This is today's lunch.  Green lemonade.  I only used 4 Kale leaves because they were really big, 3 handfuls of spinach, 3 celery stalks, one cucumber, an apple and a lemon.  Also, I don't think I will often take pictures of my food. How do people do that for all those food blogs.  What must their kitchen look like?  Is that why they set up outside?  So, this much food makes this much drink....

This one is rather frothy, I think I left it blowing for too long.  It filled me and I didn't eat my snack, just went straight to dinner time...another green...a new one tonight, Sweet Broccoli. It was smoother than the others, not one of Mike's faves, but I liked it alright.  As far as green goes. :)

In other news, this is what my desk looks like, in my living room.  I meant to take an after picture to show you how I have stowed all of my "stuff."  It's really growing this year.  I have a 5th, 3rd and 1st grader and I am accumulating books that I need to teach them.  They have a home now, the top of my desk still looks a little like that, but again...those of you who think you have to have a ton of space to don't.  I'll post pictures soon of the shelves that Mike built and some of my little storage solutions.  Now that I see I can put pictures on here pretty easily.

OK, this is a picture of one of my ideas that I'm digging and it's not the red thing that needs to be cleaned off.  It's the pictures hanging on the wall.  We use Classical Conversations curriculum although this is our first year not in the co-op.  The first 6 weeks is drawing and then the weeks 13-18 are studying famous artists.  This is the first year it dawned on me to use the works of the artists we'd be studying when investigating drawing/art.  So, I downloaded some prints from the internet (tried to stick to those that weren't copyrighted) and uploaded them to Wal-Mart and had them shipped to me.  Now, I want my children to put their hands on them so I slipped them in this plastic sleeve and then get this...that wall is steel apparently because I used magnets to affix them!  We pulled them down today and it was so easy!  I just want to have things out where they can see them and there really isn't much room.  So, there are 4 more on the other side of the room. I also ordered some postcards from Dover Publications that will also enhance our art study.  Each year I feel like the Lord gives me a new "subject" to be excited about and this year it is Art. 

In the morning the children either do their personal study or we read together from A Child's Story Bible.  (The one by Voss) Yesterday we were reading together about the Tabernacle.  This was fabulous because we taught Julia's class in Sunday School and she had the paper that I told her not to throw away...or so I thought.  
"Jules, go get that paper, it'll be perfect."  
Her sheepish reply, "Mom, I don't have it."  
Me: "You are the worst student ever!  I told you not to throw it away."
Her, smiling, "Well, I don't have a good place to put it, so it just ends up crapping up my desk and eventually you'll throw it away anyway, so I went ahead and did it for you."

So, we went on.  We discussed the details and the sacrifice to which my favorite son added, "You wouldn't be able to stand it, girls.  The smell of that sacrifice was like 14,000 stinky farts."  Y'all, he was totally serious.  I didn't know he was there to smell it.  Turns out that his awesome 1st grade catechism teacher (like, really an awesome teacher) had them smell what burnt hair smelled like so they could understand how fetid (that's a vocab word this week...I hope I used it right!) the sacrifice was.  That's how his 5th grade mind saw it.  So, there you have it, we say crap and Bible Time. I'm thankful for that pointed to the One who was to come.  The One that would put all the sacrifices to an end.  Now we are called to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord, not 14,000 stinky farts.  

So, that's a wrap.  Things in the digestive tract are moving slowly, but moving.  Mike and I both feel fine and are looking forward to moving into day 6 and the second, and final half of our fast.  I need to get a plan.  Even though it feels like I won't be eating a meal for a while, it'll be here before I know it and I want to have a good choice!  So, until tomorrow!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day...4 and still going!!!

I must confess, I have quittin' blood runnin' through my veins!  I get nervous starting most things because of this unfortunate trait.  It was one of the reasons Mike hesitated in walking forward with homeschooling. His exact words, "Babe, I have no doubt that you'd do a great job.  There is one thing that concerns me."  "Lay it on me!" I replied confidently.  "You...don't...finish things, and I just don't want this to be something you don't finish."  That was so very good for me to hear and it has helped me immensely!  I pace myself and I'm aware of my capacity.  I say, very often, "I need to be realistic." Whether it's spending a dumb amount on a filter that will get the stinkin' flouride out of my water because I don't know if I'll go to the clean water well (Earthfare) enough, or whatever it is. I'm constantly thinking, "Will I really be able to keep this up."  I could not juice for 60 days.  I don't think I could juice for 11 days...but I can do this for 10.  I'm going to do this for 10.  I want to finish this because I'm excited about all of the fabulous food that God made for us that I NEVER eat.  Now, I have some ideas.  I will probably juice at breakfast when this is over, and sometimes for dessert...y'all, for real, Peach Pie is SO GOOD!  Here's what it is:
2 Peaches (pitted)
A handful fo blueberries
1 red apple
1 sweet potato
Dash of cinnamon

After a day of "Garden Variety" or "Un-Beet-Able" I'm thrilled for this sweet treat.  If you have a juicer and you've never tried's worth a trip to the store...or plugging in your juicer!  So, I'm proud of myself.  Even if I'm still feeling a little bloated.  UGH  We haven't been drinking our tea, however, and I think that may have something to do with it, so we had it tonight.  It was, actually, a very nice cup of tea and some good time with my husband. I think I can juice and have tea time!  Hooray!!!

So, other than the bloating, I feel pretty good.  Mike and I have heard that you are supposed to be so very energetic and so we're looking for it.  We don't know if we really are energetic, or if we are just supposed to be.  Either way, it's 10:13 and he's getting pineapple ready for tomorrow and I'm not about to fall over.  I do feel like I should mention that this comment is made after homeschooling 3 children and juggling a Sweet Caroline.  It's pretty nice.   What's not so nice is how often you have to go to the store. I can totally see us planting an acre of kale one day in order to do this more "realistically."  Mike, bless him, has been making the runs and I'm so glad!  We've gone a total of 3 times from the beginning until tonight.  It's intense.  So, that's the downside, but we both keep reminding ourselves that we committed to this regardless and we knew it would be sort of expensive.  The other thing is that the recipes get sort of old.  You are cycling 12 recipes around and you eat 5/day. So, tonight we (mostly he) did some research and we've got some new juices in the lineup.  We'll wake up tomorrow with the Hawaiian Sunrise which is juiced up of 2 grapefruit, 1 full pineapple and 6 med. oranges.  Then we'll try a new supper juice.  Supper is always green.  Tomorrow we'll be supping on Sweet Broccoli.  I'm sure it's as sweet as it's name! :)  Actually, we are having fun with it.  Trying new things. There are so many combinations and so many people that are juicing and they are rather helpful.  So, day 4 is great.  I did some Ali math and told Mike that after today we were halfway there and he corrected me ( only he can do) and said, "No, after a full Day 5 we are halfway there."  He's right, but sometimes I just need to do some crazy math to make things appear a little easier than they might be.  The more I say, "no," the easier this becomes.  I think that just might be another change in the future.  No coke.  No sugar until it's planned and prepared for, and that might be a never (but that's super extreme and I'm not sure how I feel about that) but realizing the things that trip me up, trip me up because I allow them to.  So, "no" might be the most powerful tool I have.  We've heard it all our lives, those of us who grew up in the 80's.  "Just say NO."  So, I reckon I will.

Now, it's bedtime.  I also know that I haven't posted my weight, I will...but there has been some loss!  YAY!!!

So, have a wonderful day, and if you think you can't, believe me....we've all got that quittin' blood.  There's other blood, ya didn't quit.  Not a drop was spared until the wrath of God was totally satisfied.  Yeah, pretty awesome, and He calls me His.  That's better that Peach Pie!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 3

I love to eat.  So, that hasn't changed.  There are many things that have, however.  Well, maybe not SO many.  The reality of what I am capable of.  Today we studied the Israelites and the Tabernacle and so we provided Smore's as the snack. (Since the Israelites were "camping" for 40 years) and the helper tried to pass me some chocolate and I said, "Oh, I wish I could, but..."  I didn't feel compelled to take it simply because someone offered it to me.  It's such a social thing.  Not wanting to hurt someone's feelings.  So, there is victory!  I'm thankful for that.

On a strangely related note, I saw an old friend tonight and it really impacted me.  See, this fast has helped soften my heart.  Although it isn't a "spiritual" fast, it is very much  turning into one.  I realized that I've never not eaten for this long.  I've been a believer for 16 years.  The Lord has kept me near his wounded side for 16 years and I can't bear the thought of missing a meal.  Yet, the thought of slimming down my waistline is good reason to go 10 days without eating.  Now, the difference is that I am consuming food, just not in solid form, yet tonight I was convicted and saddened at how little I value the spilled blood.  So, where did this come from?  My senior year in high school I worked at a daycare here in town.  I worked in the after-school room from 3-6:30.  I wasn't alone.  I worked with a college Sophomore named Stephen.  He knew the Lord and he was FUN!  I was so surprised during that year that being a Christian could look like the way his life looked.  He laughed and sang and was kind.  He shared the Gospel with me I'm sure, but more than anything it was his life.  Fast forward a few months after my graduation and I came to faith on January 16, 1997.  I wanted anything that had to do with Jesus.  I would go to Bible studies and weekly meetings, Sunday School and church not to mention any conference!  So, Missions conference (at the church where I am currently a member ) rolled around and several folks from my school went and I got to run into Stephen!  What a joy!  His face looked rather confused and he practically screamed, "What are you doing here!"  With great delight I answered right back, "I became a Christian!"  He was thrilled.  When I went to South Africa I received a support check from him for $73.25.  One of my teammates said he was just trying to balance his checkbook, but I knew him better than that.  He was reminding me to fix my eyes on Jesus.  I may have seen him once or twice after that, always with a sweet brother and sister friendship.  He was called to China, I wasn't, so I didn't run into him.  He's been home for 6 weeks and shared at church tonight. Isn't that crazy that I go to the church that raised him up! Anyway, seeing him reminded me that I was once lost.  Seeing a person that watched me in the wilderness and prayed for me and shared their life with me, it was humbling.  I forget, so quickly that I wasn't always here.  I didn't always memorize scripture and find solace in knowing that Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe.  I take it for granted.  I judge very quickly forgetting that it is grace that I know Him and that I recognize His voice.  It was good to see Stephen to be reminded that I was lost, and now I'm not.

So,  I'm aware, and it's good.  I'm grateful that this is doing a greater work in me than simply helping me get to a more desirable weight.  So, the third day wasn't hard, necessarily.  I asked if I seemed more grumpy than usual and Mike said, "not really."  Which I wasn't sure how to take.  I wouldn't say that I was overly grumpy, just sinful, really.  I was irritated that I had to be in the kitchen while everyone else got to play and it was Sunday and it wasn't fair...just regular toddler stuff.  We went to my mother's for the afternoon and took our juices with us and we were pretty glad for the way it worked out.  Again, learning how to do this when you aren't always home. They keep for a bit (recommended for up to 2 days, 3 is stretching it) when stored properly.  So, we had our snack at Mom's and our supper on the way to church.  Now, we are enjoying our dessert.  We were supposed to have a carrot something and I vetoed that idea because I wanted a treat. I am thankful to have a "treat." That's something I need to work on and if anyone reading this has an easy healthy treat that satisfies that treat (too bad there isn't a pronoun for treat...I keep using it) craving, please pass it on. I know I'll need some good ideas when this is over and the real part begins!  I do feel a little bloated or gassy.  I'm just being honest!  I've tried to make sure that I have plenty of water, but they say that can happen.  So, it is.  So, day 3 is supposed to be the worst which is why we started this on a Friday so we could have the weekend together to be miserable, and we weren't so much.  I will say that Mike got a pretty intense migraine yesterday that landed him in bed at 7:30 last night.  To be fair, I think the real problem was dehydration more than anything because he didn't drink a ton of water and he worked in the jungle that is our yard.  So, I think it was coming.  I'm glad he was home and could get the rest that he needed.  He feels fine today and has, of course, lost more weight than me.  He doesn't mind this either, except he was almost willing to eat a plastic french fry that my nephew was serving up!  We both agreed that we don't want anything "bad" but rather something fresh and full of flavor.  I served the children a pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, olives and feta and almost licked the spoon.

So, now it is time to find my way into bed after this 3rd day of victory.  This day of remembrance (sweet that the Lord's Supper was served today, that's a meal I won't miss...unless I'm in sin of course) of how the Lord pulled me out of the mud and mire and put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of of Praise to Him.  He can do that for you, too, ya know.  It doesn't take much.  Admit you can't do it...and that you often times don't want to, and He will rescue you, too.  Then everything that you do will be an act of gratitude to the One to whom you owe your very life.  So, if this is the life He gave me, I'd like to enjoy it...healthy style.

Thanks for checking in!  I'll talk to ya tomorrow at the end of another successful day and maybe I'll even have some pictures!

Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 2!

So, this isn't as hard as I thought it would be in some respect, and then in some I think, "Wow, 10 days is a good bit of time."  Here is how it's not hard.  The making of a juice.  There isn't a recipe per se with spices and ovens and timers.  You grab what you need and you dump it in.  Ta Da!  Juice.  At least with the juicer I am using.  It's a Breville of some sort.  (Some awesome sort!) So, that's what I was worried about and it's much breezier than anticipated.  The other easy part is that the taste is more than bearable.  In fact, after 10 of these, I am enjoying some of them.  Today the Sport Spice was a bit much, but I drank it and was glad when it was over.  Mike informed me that he just purchased a bunch of beets so I had better acquire a taste!  The children counted to see which one of us could drink it longer.  The coconut water was good after that.  So, those things that I thought would be really difficult, are not.  What is hard is not eating.  I sure do LOVE to eat.  I love the flavors and the textures and the escape that I get from eating.  I'll tell you what, this has been extremely revealing.  I don't necessarily eat to live.  I don't eat for my body, I eat for me.  To take a break, or treat myself, I'm sure this does not sound foreign to anyone.  So, I've seen where I need to repent of running to food rather than Jesus.  I'm not surprised, just a little sad.  I'm a social eater.  We, most of us anyway, are.  Here in America if you are invited to someone's home you ask, "What can I bring?"  Honestly, I always want to bring dessert because I'm so very disappointed when it's not there...or it's not chocolate!  People break out some sort of berry that back and bring out the REAL dessert cause' that looks an awful lot like a healthy snack!  To prove this point, I'll tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, in a world almost forgotten, there lived a young and vibrant college student with very few responsibilities, although she believed she was very busy.  She had an incredible opportunity to travel to a far and somewhat exotic continent where she would live for the summer and tell other college students about the wondrous love of Christ.  I'll skip the middle...although the middle is always the best part (OREOS!) and go to the end where this spoiled rotten, very carefree college student spent about 4 days in the Kalahari Dessert.  It was in a small village that found it strange that these Americans would use their water to wash their dishes.  The students didn't know any better and hopefully didn't do too much harm.  So, the students ate their food outside, for there were no Chick-Fil-A's in Botswana.  At last their adventure came to and end and they packed up and left for a beautiful resort type place where they were going to evaluate their summer and rest.  The first meal that this American ate was delicious, but disappointment came in the form of oranges for dessert.  She contemplated throwing the oranges at anyone or screaming at the top of her lungs.  She chose to eat the oranges and confess her sin.  She had seen the starving children of Africa...and she was to be pitied above all for her thankless and foul heart.

So, I like dessert.  However,  today I saw a side of myself that I haven't seen in a while and it was good.  I went to a baby shower.  Y'all, there was FRIED CHICKEN at this baby shower.  I brought pigs in a blanket (not food...but OH SO GOOD) and meatballs.  There was pasta salad and chips and dip and the table was just laid out beautifully.  However, thinking ahead I brought my "Garden Variety" with me and sipped on that while all others supped on the yummy goodness that is baby shower food.  I did it. I walked in and I walked out and I didn't consume a thing.  I think the victory is that I didn't think I "needed" or "deserved" the food.  I could just believe that I was doing my body a favor and I sipped my drink and chatted with those around me.  Now, if I quit before this is up, then that was completely wasted.  I'll tell you what I realized from that.  It feels good to be self-controlled.  This evening I finished cleaning the kitchen and wiped off the table rather than leaving a few things for tomorrow.  I can truly rest tomorrow.  Exercising self-control, or follow-through is a struggle.  I've seen, through this, that I can do it.  It's not just for other people that are "better" than me.  It's a fruit of the Spirit...the Spirit that I have.  So, it's been strange what I've picked up along the way...even in just two days.  I'm thankful for that.  I don't think a fast is usually about the food...especially not in this country.  There is always something else, a sneaky sin lurking hoping not to be found.  Well, as much as I hate to see my sin...I'm glad to shine a light on it and clean house!

The other hard part is simply being prepared.  It's not like just grabbing an apple so that I don't get hungry, although I will probably do that in the future. It's doing the math and figuring where I'll be and where my blood sugar will be.  I'll tell you this, I was at Wal-Mart today and wasn't prepared.  That place works my nerves when I am not hungry...I was ready to scream.  For real.  They do have self-check outs now, which is awesome since the other 2 lines that were open were flooded with folks taking advantage of tax free weekend. (Why only 2 lines, Wal-Mart? Why?)  So, that was hard, but I hit the coconut water pretty hard when I came home and then Mike juiced me a "Garden Variety." Ohhh weeee!  So, it's just not as portable as food. It will keep in the fridge, but there is no room in my fridge for anything else!  So, I'm sure I'll figure it out, but once this week starts we'll be home anyway, so that will be better.

I think that's it. It feels empowering.  The one thing that I would like to work on is a menu for when this is over. I need to start preparing my list for new meals.  I have a collection of "clean" meals, that my family likes, I just want to move forward.  This is not a "lose it fast" fix.  This is a jumpstart to a healthier life and body that I feel a little better in.

Which reminds me of the conversation I had with my best friend who started her juice fast today.  Her concern was, "Is this the beginning of yo-yo dieting."  We talked about it and felt like it doesn't have to be because this is pretty simple to incorporate.  We've tasted many different juices and can choose some favorites and can replace breakfast or any meal with a healthy jolt of veggies.  I look back on the women that I watched growing up and they usually did what everyone was doing, at least for a time.  We did lowfat, fat free, (I still remember the green Snackwell's box that was Mom's) we did fake eggs, low carbs...and it usually came back to real food.  Sensible meals with little to no white stuff.  I don't feel like there is a ton of guess work.  My uncle is a juice fan and he just goes and buys what looks good and juices it.  It's not that hard.   I don't feel like it's a matter of money or time, but my heart.  What does Ali want?  What do I think I need?  Maybe my "break" is I get to read for 15 myself!  I just need to find something to replace those old treats.  I really think that's the bottom of it.  What do I use food for?  Or does it use me?  So, I will keep on going and start doing some research because I don't want the end of this fast to be the end...but rather a beginning.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I do feel pretty good. I am hungry right now, but I need to go to bed anyway. It'll be like college, drink water and go to bed.  I haven't experienced any major discomfort or irritability that isn't connected with my flesh.  I'm excited to keep going...and right now...going to bed!

Thank you for stopping by!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day Uno

So, this wasn't all that bad.  It was a pretty normal day except that we drank our meals.  Mike had to make two of his before he left for work so he had his "to go" and I made mine fresh.  Or rather, Anson made mine fresh.  What is it with boys and things that plug in?  He just wanted to "play" I'm sure!  I did, however, get my meals made for me, so that was GREAT! what was the line-up? Well, I sort of charted our course (or courses...HA) so that we would have a different juice each meal.  This is how it went down:
Breakfast: Apple, carrot, lemon
Snack: 16 oz of unflavored coconut water
Lunch: A "Garden Variety" it was Kale, cucumber, parsley, and apples
Snack: "Sporty Spice" Beets, lemon, orange, celery, carrot, and basil
Supper: "Mean Green" cucumber, celery, apples, kale, ginger, lemon

I am supposed to have "dessert" but Mike isn't back from the store, and I'm actually not feeling like eating. I think I might be hungry, but I can't drink these fast.  It's strange. With most any other drink (like my favorite Coca Cola!) I can just guzzle them down, but not these.  I put them in a glass with a straw and end up sipping on them.  I don't mind the flavor of them at all, I just can't "eat" so much food so fast.  Which makes me wonder why I'm able to guzzle a Coke in a minute.  Probably because it's not real.  (Just real good! :) ) It took me an hour and a half to get the 16 oz of Coconut Water down.  It was strange.  So, day one was fine.  I heard that many people have horrible days, usually day 2 or 3 and I'm just not anticipating that.  I know that my body is in need of a reboot, but I haven't been out lately and had already started to clean things up a teeny tiny bit.  So, I'm hoping for a somewhat uneventful weekend as far as that goes.  I did tell my children today that if I seem grumpy, I'll excuse myself to my room until it passes.  I didn't need a nap (I'm not a huge napper, but I feel like I want one) and I was not groggy or ill tempered. I took the opportunity to read to my boy.  He's so great.  So, now Mike is home and we're going to top the day off with a "peach pie" there will be no flaky crust, but there are peaches so we've got that going for us!  What else, I'm finding I feel fine and don't need to eat, but I'm a constant eater.  For instance, I caught myself SEVERAL times today NOT putting my hand in my mouth.  Like handing Caroline some Mini Wheats, I'm a "one for you, 2 for Mommy" kinda gal.  That was all day.  NOT taking a spoonful of peanut butter when it was out or a Cheez-It at a friends house, or Caroline's crust...that's a lot of random food...or calories anyway that I don't "need" I just put stuff in my mouth. HOLY COW I'm a toddler!!!! That's seriously what happens.  I just wander around putting things in my  mouth.  That's the hardest part, really.  Also, my teeth feel really dirty.  Is that normal?  Like, I need to brush more often.  Hmm.  Caroline LOVES the mean green.  She kept asking for a "sip" and then it cleared things up just before bed time if you know what I mean.  The rest of the children all like the "orange" and "red" drinks, but Julia likes the green juices as well. I'm thankful because we will be incorporating this into our daily diet...somehow.

In other news...a short blog...a "blogella"

My children are like Mary Poppins' carpet bag.  They carry random stuff with them all over the place.  Every place we go.  It's books, and little animals and legos...if they can put it in their pocket, they have it with them.  I am constantly asking them to leave it "in the house."  Mostly, I insist on this because it will inevitably end up in the van and it's a mess.  Well, last night on our big night out Anson lost his altoids box. I know, right, why an altoids box?  Well, apparently you can store some pretty awesome things in this little treasure box, and when it gets lost, it's a super big downer to a 10 year old boy.  So, I humored him and walked back through Kroger and looked through all of the altoids box.  The real treasure is what was in the box...a "custom" Lego figure.  It's actually Anson as a college graduate. I promise that's what he said it was!  So, he was downtrodden and I went ahead with the speech anyway, "I hate to say it, but this is why Daddy and I ask you to keep things in blah, blah...." so we got home and put the large quantities of food away and he showered.  Well, while Mike, whom we all refer to as "Eagle Eyes" was emptying the van, he found the treasure!  Mostly, he found it because he looked for it.  Anson's little face (well, not so little anymore...he's growing up so fast) lit up.  We'd already talked about the parable of the lost sheep and how we can understand how the shepherd rejoices, how Christ rejoices, when that one lamb is found.  So, when his treasure was returned we remembered that the angels rejoice.  It's a big deal when a wandering soul finds rest in the One who left the 99 to find him.  I pray that my children know how the Lord celebrates over them.  You know who else I want to know that?  Me.  God loves me.  He thinks that I have a treasure in my fragile clay vessel.  I do, too.  His Spirit.  Leading, guiding, changing...keeping me close to the One who sought me when I was astray and using His merciful right arm pulled me back into the green pasture that is His.  There was much rejoicing over the altoid box...and much more over the truth that resonates with us all regarding that Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost and now I'm found...rejoice, my are in good company when you sing His praise!

So, back to the juice.  Mike just served up a super tasty treat!  It's peaches, blueberries, 1 apple, a sweet potato and a dash of cinnamon.

The verdict after day 1?  I'm looking forward to Day 2.  My belly already feels less bloated and I'm glad for the opportunity to change.

This is breakfast.  

This is the breakfast maker.  He was able to make 4 juices total in very little time thanks to this awesome juicer on loan!  

These are not juices. :)  They are excited to try everything and I'm thankful that they want to be in the kitchen...but were on the other side at this particular time. It gets CRAMPED!

So, we are juicing, not the children.  They made their own lunches because Caroline was with my Mom.  There's my "Garden Variety" amidst the variety!  This is lunch.

This face is sort of honest.  It wasn't horrible, but the cucumber is pretty strong.  I'm sure it's an acquired taste.

Also sort of's really not bad.

Here's my Sporty Spice for my snack.  It's weird that they are all the same size.  There is no "snack size."  I liked this one.

This is what went into supper.  This is the Mean Green.  The lemons were huge!  Even though we cut them in half it was still pretty tart, but a nice change from the Garden Variety.

Now this is TASTY!  Caroline just harassed Mike for "more, more, more" from her bed!  This is the peach pie dessert. I think we'll sip these and then call it a night.  Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We're Totally Doing It!!!

So, we've been home from camp for not even two weeks.  In that time I have planned and started school and Mike and I caught a documentary this week that has inspired us!  I know that beauty isn't what's on the outside.  I'm totally for that.  With 3 girls, I try to keep my personal critiques to myself, but let me say that Camp Marannook serves some AWESOME desserts...and sometimes they show up twice a day.  Now, I didn't want to miss out on any of I didn't.  So, um...anyway...I don't feel well.  I feel bloated at the end of the day and just plain blah.  I am NOT BLAMING MARANNOOK!  They didn't make me eat them.  So, I love Camp and it didn't make me feel blah.  Promise!  Also, Ella has been complaining of chronic headaches and we feel like it's time to do something.  She does have an appointment early September, so I wanted to try to see some improvements before we went a medical route.  So, the documentary that we watched?  Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  The quick and dirty is that Joe Cross was just that, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  He went on a 60 day juice fast and is currently living a happy and healthy life pain and medication free.  It makes sense.  If you put good things in, your body will function properly.  We've not been fabulous about putting great things in.  So, after the documentary we both looked at each other and said, "Let's do it!"  That was Wednesday!  So, we are borrowing a juicer (Thanks, Marti!  You're next!!!) and just took all four children on the grocery run and are now having, um, Peanut Buster before we go to bed!  Don't judge me!!!  I'm afraid I won't want it when this is over, so I'm enjoying it now. (Funny thing, it's a Marannook recipe!) In the quiet of the night.  So, I thought since I hadn't blogged in a long time, I'd do my own little documentary right here.  That will be a stretch for me, but I want to share this little adventure, hoping maybe someone else will get up the courage to "reboot."  So,  I was going to blog this and then publish it when it was over so that if I crashed and burned no one would know.  I think that's part of the welcome!  I'll be back tomorrow with the verdict on Day 1.  If you are interested you can watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for free with Amazon Prime, or I think you can pull it up in pieces on youtube.  Also, the   website where you can get details on a juice fast and even a pretty planned out day to help with the level of success!  So, here's to loving the Lord with my heart, mind, soul and strength!!!

We have a bit of a "storage issue" so food that doesn't need to be refrigerated...lives here.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am that Mike's brain doesn't work the same as mine. I told him I'd do bedtime if he'd organize the food!  I totally got the better end of that deal!  Except I did end up washing the dishes from the leftovers.  But the fridge...  

Looks great!  Doesn't it.  Look at all that Kale!  What the Kale?  HA

This should get us through the first 6 days.  The milk is for the children, that's not part of the fast.

So here is the frontal view.  Mike was sad that it's not a typical "before" picture.  
      He said I should take my jewelry off and not smile.  You know, like they always do in those makeovers.  Also, if you are looking close you'll notice there are no floors in my bedroom.  One thing at a time around here! :)

Some people look like this when they've just found out the gender of their baby!!!  I'm NOT pregnant (I wouldn't mind...but that's not a baby!)

It's weird seeing my bedroom on here.

So, that's all for now, folks.  I'm really putting myself out there.  What if I look the same in my after pictures!  Even if I still have the same clothes on? Maybe I'll wear the same clothes so that we can see a difference.  It'll be a surprise!  Well, I'll be glad that we gave it a shot.  And I don't think it can hurt!!!  Thanks for stopping by!