Second, I retired in April. It was a hard decision to reach but one that I am now satisfied was the best choice for me. I had a career that was given to me by God. It was a true calling and one that I enjoyed for 20 years. I know that there is more in store for me and I look forward to the journey.
Reality Check #1:
Making gluten free bread isn't as easy it might sound. I shared my experiences with you in October 2010. I can now say that while I haven't mastered the art of gluten free yeast bread my success far outweigh my failures at this point.
There are healthy options to pasta! Don't get me wrong. I love pasta. Who doesn't? There are other choices that may be just as good and maybe a little healthier. Over the past year I have discovered new and delicious alternative grains. Chia seeds, buckwheat flour and quinoa are things that I have found and really love.
There is such a wide assortment of alternative ingredients, gluten free products and an increasing awareness of gluten intolerance. In the last year I have had the opportunity to meet with many people who have been gluten free for decades and heard from them the challenges that they faced. They are true pioneers and deserve a special note of thanks.
Reality Check #2:
Visiting fast food restaurants can be a challenge and probably not the healthiest of options no matter what diet plan you are following. I am truly a recovering fast food junkie. When we became "empty-nesters" it was so easy to stop for "go-fers". That helped to contribute to a number of health problems not only for myself but for my husband. Fortunately, I already made a concentrated effort to cease such behavior making the transition to gluten free a little easier. A word of caution, should you go into any establishment and say "gluten free" and they stare at you like you are from another planet.....leave.
Reality Check #3:
While baking and making tasty gluten free baked goods is certainly a part of being gluten free it isn't the whole story. Any special diet requires diligence. It is important to read food labels and to be aware of how food is processed and prepared. If I had been as cautious over the years about what went into my body I am sure I would be in much better condition than I am now. While I have been blessed with fairly good health, I know that my lack of concern in my earlier years help to lead to my weight issues as well as other health related concerns. I can't go back in time but I can take what I have learned and move on from there.
Not only is it important to monitor what goes into your body it is also important to get plenty of good physical and mental exercise. Challenge yourself!
Reality Check #4:
A spiritual life is very important for my sanity. For the past 20 years or so I have been involved in many 12 step programs. Some of my involvement has been personal and some professional. The basic principle behind these programs is that there is a power greater than ourselves. Do you have any idea what a relief I felt when I accepted that simple principle for myself?
I have spent a great deal of my life working very hard to be worthy of that power and it dawned on me the other day that I have always been worthy. My higher power is God and He has lead me and directed my steps over the years in ways that you can't possibly imagine. I am so thankful for all that He has given to me and I will continue to strive to live the life that I have been blessed with.
Reality Check #5:
Family and friends are what it is about....I am working on giving myself permission to be good to me. To take time for myself and to enjoy the life that I have made with God's help. I I have been blessed with a wonderful family.
I have a wonderful husband that I have shared my life with for over 30 years. A beautiful daughter who now has a family of her own and the most caring son that a mother could possibly have. There are 2 beautiful granddaughters that I have been able to share much of my summer with. A wonderful son-in-law that loves my cooking. Father-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins. The list goes on and on.
Then my friends. Really close friends can be counted on 1 hand. This use to cause me concern. I have come to the realization that it isn't quantity that matters but quality. My friends are very high quality!
What does the coming year have to offer? I'm not sure but I know it will be very special as long as I look forward to the journey.