Friday, August 31

a lot to be thankful for

On this last day of August, I am reflecting over our summer and it has been a really great summer for our family. Last year, our summer project was tearing down an old deck, breaking up concrete and regrading the backyard. It was exhausting and consumed our entire summer. This summer was more relaxing and our only house project was hitting our 1970’s basement which is in much need of TLC. We are breaking that project up in small baby steps. That left time to really relax and enjoy each other, work out at the gym, serve at our church, fellowship with friends and family and meet some new friends too!

Our family did say goodbye to several friends and loved ones and through faith we believe we will see them once again in heaven. Some that left were as young as 44 and others, though seasoned with age, it still seemed too soon to say goodbye. Each touched our lives in many ways and, in time, we will find a place for our grief. We will take what they have impressed on us and share it with others.

With life so fleeting, I am reminded to slow down, yet again, and look into my children’s eyes and really look at them, really listen, and linger a little longer as I hug them and tuck them in at night. Yes, there will always be house projects and life gets messy and loud, but they are only little once; once. You never get that time back. So I am soaking in their energy, laughter and never ending questions and focusing on being joyful and content with what I have been given.

And boy, do I have a lot to be thankful for!

... and so much more!

Friday, August 10

I stopped drinking caffeine. What did she just say?

I’m off caffeine.


Caffeine free!

I know it sounds crazy. But it is true. I am caffeine free.

I have had a long relationship with coffee. I remember the first time I had coffee. I was thirteen years old and my older brother, Kurt, shared some of his coffee with me. It was so delicious it was like a dessert. Little did I know that he put more cream and sugar in the cup then coffee! I remember feeling important being able to say that I liked to drink coffee, like I was closer to being a grown up.

When I was a couple years older, there was an adorable café I went to quite a bit, called Louie's Book Store Café. It was a great eclectic nook in Baltimore were you could grab a good cup of coffee, grab a great bite to eat, buy a book and hear great jazz. I loved ordering their coffee and a slice of their rich, chocolate, raspberry mousse. Yum. I felt so grown up.

When I started working full time, I fell into a pattern of drinking coffee in the morning at work. I noticed if I didn’t have coffee on Saturday and Sunday, I would have a headache. So I started brewing it at home on the weekends.

Over the years, I slowly became more and more dependent on the caffeine in my system to the point where I would experience migraines and flu like symptoms (withdraw symptoms) if I missed a day or two. I began to drink caffeinated soda to compensate if I didn’t meet my caffeine quota for the day in order to ward off a bad headache.

There were times when I decided to “get off” caffeine. When I was experiencing some anxiety issues, I read that cutting out caffeine would help in that area. Also, when I was pregnant I refrained from coffee as well.

Over the last couple of years I have been a religious coffee drinker. Every morning, before anything else, I would start the coffeemaker, fix my coffee, sit and slowly drink my coffee and slowly wake up. I actually trained my kids to wait and "let mommy have her cup of coffee" and then they could let the hundreds of questions start to pour out of their curious little minds. I had even asked my husband to let me make the coffee as I found out he was just “eyeing the amount of coffee grinds” he poured in the coffee maker. And that is just a big no-no. Too much or not enough coffee grinds can really take a toll on a body.

I love my coffee, I really, really do. It’s just that, at this point in my life, it’s not really working for me anymore. I found out that I was getting dehydrated very easily even if I stopped drinking coffee by noon. It has empty and extra calories that I don’t need, even if I didn’t make it as sweet as my brother made his.

So it came down to this:

My dislike for my dependency on caffeine was now more than my desire for the taste of coffee.

Simple as that.

So in early June, when I was hit with an unmerciful migraine that put me out for three days, I decided that I would not start back up on coffee. I was so sick those days, I couldn’t keep food down let alone coffee so I knew I was three days into serious caffeine withdraw anyway. I knew I just had a couple more days to push through and then I would see how I could cope with out my morning cup of coffee.

I’m telling you it is not easy. But it can be done. I am not craving the caffeine at all. The only part I miss is the ritual of making the coffee and the smell…oh, the smell of coffee.

A big help is that my husband stopped drinking caffeine two years ago. It would be difficult if he made it every morning and I had to refrain.

The Positives:

I am so surprised that I can wake up without caffeine. Seriously! You serious coffee drinkers understand what I am talking about. When I heard someone didn’t drink caffeine anymore it was like they told me they didn’t need oxygen anymore: I was mesmerized, yet suspicious. I would think to myself, “good for YOU” as I cradled my large coffee mug and pulled it closer to me and also, “…and Why?” The weird thing is that I feel more alert and more stable. I don’t have those caffeine crashes and don’t have to have some source of caffeine with in arms reach if I go out.

I don’t wake up in the middle of the night extremely thirsty anymore.

I am saving money. Have you seen the price of coffee lately? It seems like the price has doubled over the last few years.

I am saving calories. I love my milk in my coffee and a little sugar and those calories add up. Since I stopped drinking coffee, I lost four pounds. Four pounds just by not drinking coffee!

I have more kitchen counter space! I packed the coffee maker away and will pull it out for birthday parties, holidays and dinner parties.

The Negatives:


Alright, occasionally, I miss the smell of morning coffee. It is a wonderful aroma that fills the house and welcomes a new day full of promises. But seriously, besides that, I am very happy with my decision and love this new found freedom of being caffeine free!

So here is my new friend:

Yes, lots of it. I have been a guzzling fool for water.

I even went out and bought this happy, plastic water cup to help me consume even more.

If you want to read a little more about caffeine and its side effects click here.

I never thought I would be able to do this and I am so proud that I am making a healthy choice for my body!!

Excuse me while I go and fill up my water cup! Cheers!