this morning

as I spent Monday morning sleeping the weekend off (in a facilitating-a-junior-high-retreat way, not in a Duke-girl-socialite way), my dear husband ran to CVS to buy more Allegra-D (the only way to survive autumn in South Carolina) and then sat in the next room, reading “his friend” (we use this phrase very liberally in the Hylden household) Rod Dreher’s blog.  When I awoke at noon (maybe I’m becoming the junior-highers with whom I spent the weekend…), I checked my email and found this excerpt:

“I started it on Sunday September 3. Here’s why I bring it up now: I found that after doing without wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes, the mono symptoms had dramatically declined. Not gone away, but gotten a lot better. Normally I have constant inflammation in my nasal passages, and feel worn down, as if my body were doing all it could to fight off an invader. That still happens, but not nearly as often. Every day I was having to take a nap several hours long, in the middle of the day. I’ve only had to do that once since I began this diet. I even noticed that symptoms of Raynaud’s Syndrome, an autoimmune condition with which I was diagnosed six or seven years ago, have become milder.”

While his wife was starting up the seasonal sudafed regimen and sleeping several hours in the middle of the day (of course, those two alone are probably related), Jordan stumbled upon the witness that broke the camel’s back.

IMG_0203I’ve been wondering about the relationship between gluten and autoimmune diseases for years (having activated my Rheumatoid Arthritis about this time of year 13 years ago), and toyed with going gluten-free two or three years ago.  In the end, my passion for baked goods, pasta, pizza, and all the good things in life (even a burgeoning affinity for beer) won out over trying a lifestyle without wheat.

The voices in my head of my doctor-father and my common-sense-filled (child-of-a-farmer) Midwestern husband, had helped my rationalization, along with colloquial witnesses that attested at least a six-month cleanse period before any effect was noticeable.

With the shift of Jordan’s vote and my generally-antsy feeling at this seasonal shift, I’m ready to try it.  Maybe not for six months, but if changes are noticed in a mere 5 days (as in Rod’s case), surely a few weeks is a reasonable goal.  Starting today (for better or worse, I didn’t have a croissant or any gluten this morning before my resolution), till the end of October (coincidentally, the anniversary of the day my RA went full tilt), I’m giving up gluten.


As last November dawned, I remember thinking to myself, “Good lord, where did September and October go?!”  Trinity had hosted the former Archbishop, Lord Carey, I’d started up with the Canterbury College Ministry at USC, launched a monthly Drinks & Discussion, and I turned around, and autumn was gone almost without a mention or moment of reflection.

May this intentional and somewhat terrifying commitment demand a bit more attention to the present this season.

How are you mindful about what you eat and how it affects your general well-being?

happiness list

Focusing on positive moments, events, and experiences, every week.

1. spontaneous hour-long phone conversation with a friend this week (it’s the unexpected heart-sharing moments that stop time and

2. the super rainstorm Friday morning, and the chilly breeze this morning.IMG_0269.JPG

3. Water boiling-advisory lifted just in time for the all-day retreat Saturday (Such a first-world problem!  It felt a bit like camping out in my own house; the thing I missed the most was my shower–what a luxury and reset button…)IMG_0272


I’m not prayed-up enough yet.

There’s this apocryphal story from the high school I attended, TCS, wherein our faithful and frightening (maybe just to me–her expectations and deadlines helped me through college, but were so intimidating as a 17-year-old) Senior English teacher, Mrs. Markwood, agreed to a lunchtime meeting with one of our more challenging fellow students…

According to the legend, the student darkened the classroom doorway–Mrs. Markwood’s desk being located in the opposite corner of the room–and our beloved teacher, having not quite caught her breath from the last class, exclaimed, “Oh dear… Wait there a minute–I’m not prayed up enough to meet with you yet.”  Reportedly, she returned to her desk chair, bowed her head for a solid five minutes, and then ushered the student in for their meeting.

I suspect the story was shared later that afternoon as a point of amusement on the student’s part–how could someone be so earnest as to chew up meeting time with prayer time?

Now (doesn’t that always happen when we grow up and look back?), I find myself enlisting Mrs. Markwood’s phrase–I haven’t had the courage to say it to any parishioners yet–but I have started sometimes carving out a few intentional minutes of prayer before meetings which I do not relish attending (and even meetings I *do* relish attending).

In the phrase is the admission that it is not on my own patience and strength and graciousness that I deal with people–only through power, resolve, energy that comes from somewhere else is anyone able to live and behave with patience and compassion and joy.

Prayer is truly one of the most important things I learned from my teachers at Toledo Christian; acknowledging our need for peace beyond what we can white-knuckle for ourselves, and seeking out the source of that energy, peace, patience, and joy.

how to make: berry tea loaf

They can sort of pass for quick bread, but they’re really more like cake–tea loaves are the best.  They’re the perfect thing to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea.


Without fail, I use this recipe.


Though, this one, full of chocolate, is a major fave, too (From BAKED EXPLORATIONS).

And PUMPKIN BREAD, from a few years ago, on this blog (originally inspired by a Greek teacher of mine from college–he’d make it for us on test days).


It’s one of those simple pleasures.

How I limited screen time by offering my kids unlimited screen time.


tricking myself with this today…

Originally posted on Narrowback Slacker:

As a freelancer who makes her own hours,  I’ve learned a few things about personal momentum. I’m a morning person, and my peak productive time is before 10:00am. If I start my day by sitting at the desk at, say, 5:00am, and digging in on actual work, I’ll keep going all day. If I start the day by, say, cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry or phaffing about on the interwebs, I’m in trouble. And if,  God forbid, I sit on the couch and flip on The Today Show, all bets are off; I’m not moving until bedtime.  I think of it as Newton’s Law of Personal Momentum, for I am an object that will either stay at rest or stay in motion, based on where I am at 5:30 am. 

My kids are the same way. And because they are youth existing in the 20teens, they are drawn like…

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