Timeout with Tricia

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Grain-free, dairy-free leads to HEART-freedom February 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 10:18 am

“I want you to cut out grain and dairy for four months.”

Um, WHAT?!

My husband’s brother, who is both a muscle and digestive specialist, instantly became one of my least favorite people when he uttered that statement point-blank in January. Apparently, through his assessment, he realized that my digestive system is stressed and not doing the work it should be doing. Yes, my digestive system is working, but foods made of grain and dairy are not being digested as they should be. (And I have the physical ramifications to prove it.) Hence, the needed break to allow it to heal.

When he uttered those words, I felt like my life was about to end, and, honestly, in that week leading up to my restrictions, I ate as much bread and chocolate as possible!

I’ll admit. I love food. I mean, I adore it. I’m thankful that I’m a relatively “small” person in stature and weight, but the jeans have gotten a little tight since I got married last April. (Can I get an “amen,” married women?!) This has discouraged me greatly. While my eating isn’t that bad, I still enjoy a slice of bread or something sweet . . . or two, or three, most days of the week. And my tight jeans have shown that.

I’ve been 99 % grain-free and diary-free since January 27—minus a few nibbles and a “cheat meal” at my favorite Indianapolis-area Italian restaurant that had been on the calendar for a few weeks already. Some days my cravings have been so intense, and I’ve almost given in a few times. This feat has NOT been easy every day, and I miss so many of my favorite foods: coffee creamer, bagels, breads, pasta, ice cream, chocolate, cereal, pancakes, and most any dessert. But it’s getting easier, I must say.

You wanna know something? I’ve not felt this good physically in I can’t remember how long. No headaches, no bloating, no indigestion, and no stomachaches. I am in disbelief at how great I’m feeling. And my jeans! My jeans are looser than they’ve been since I became a wife.

And my heart is changing too. I can sense God doing a work in me spiritually. I believe food had become an idol in my life. It was something to look forward to, something to be excited about, something I was seeking satisfaction in. Seriously, my focus on food was WAY too much, too often, and too strong. It’s almost like I was excited to just get my hands on food!

I no longer look forward to snacks or meals in an unhealthy, obsessive way. And truth be told, it goes both ways. I have so often not eaten some foods because of my fear of gaining weight. Almost as if any kind of dessert or junk food is evil. I’m not joking here. That’s idolatry in itself, too.

But on Saturday, I’ll get practice on enjoying a dessert without seeing it as pure caloric evil (although I may pay for it with physical side effects later!). I’m not really supposed to eat cake for months yet. But Saturday is an exception. The cake will either be pink or blue, depending on what is revealed when my sister, Kristen, and her husband, Kirk, cut the cake at the “gender reveal party” for their little one. How could I not enjoy a slice of baby-excitement-heaven with our family and Kirk’s family?

Just don’t tell my brother-in-law. 😉

 

Busy, yet lazy January 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 3:17 pm

Last year was busy for me. During the first four months of 2012, I planned a wedding, while the last eight I began learning what it means to be a wife. (I’m still learning!) Not to mention, I moved to another part of the city, have a bigger house to clean, and now have a longer work commute than before.

 

Despite the busyness of 2012, I got lazy. In the midst of learning how to balance my time in this new season of life–and trying to become a pro at mastering my to-do list–laziness set in–especially laziness at being intentional in relationships.

 

Most importantly, though, laziness in my relationship with God became an issue too. Of all the things vying for my attention, spending time with Jesus was pushed to the bottom of the list. Sure, I made time here and there to be in the Word, but I knew I was not being intentional enough. And, honestly, I missed Jesus.

 

Towards the end of 2012, God got my attention, specifically telling me that he wanted more of my time simply because he delights in me. The word that he kept bringing up was intentional. Be intentional in focusing more on relationships, rather than worrying about having a spotless home. Be intentional while spending time with your husband. Most of all, be intentional and focus on more time with your Father, rather than that pesky to-do list.

 

Jeremiah 29:13 is one of my favorite verses, and I’ve found this promise to be true: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So far, 2013 has been a rich time of intentional intimacy with the Lord and others. I plan to keep it up.

 

 

Sacrifice October 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 8:31 am

One of my closest friends lives in a Muslim country and her recent blog post MOVED me. Because of security issues, she asked that I not give the link to her blog post and that I not reveal her name and where she lives and works.

 

 

Let these words resonate in your heart as you think of how Jesus was and is our ultimate sacrifice. And remember to pray for Muslims worldwide—that Jesus would become known to them.

 

 

Today, October 25, is the most important holiday for Muslims, the sacrifice holiday. On this day, Muslims are to purchase and sacrifice a lamb, sharing the portions with family, friends, and the poor. It is symbolic of the lamb that God provided for Abraham in place of Ishmael. In thinking about this last night, it did not all make sense to me, nor did it prepare me for what I witnessed today.

 

As soon as we ventured out the door of our apartment, there were blood trails all over the floor and into the elevator. And the smell that began to run through my senses was nauseating. As we turned up the street, nothing could have prepared my heart for what I saw. There were slaughtered lambs in the street, and the blood that mixed with the quiet rain drizzle moved through them like a small river of red. Then I saw a lone, living lamb within feet of the lifeless corpses, and everything within me just wanted to set it free.

 

And there was that smell. It was everywhere in the air–the smell of death, everywhere. The streets, the apartment, everywhere.

 

All I could manage to say was, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Thank you, Jesus, that you were and are my sacrificial lamb.”

 

Yet in this all, as disturbing and sad as it was, is, it has given me a completely new perspective and reality of the gospel. Christ is my sacrifice. He has already given me His heart. Like a transplant, His life now beats in mine. I do not have to do this, to “do good,” and find a way to pay for my sin. Jesus alone is my Savior who has already atoned for my sin.

 

So as much as I would rather not have witnessed what I did, I am thankful I did. Because it allowed me to witness my Savior in a way like no other.

 

1 of 9 October 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 7:14 pm

I’m pretty sure that I’m one of nine people who can really understand how tough the past 12 months have been.

One of nine who knew October 13, 2012, had special meaning. And that November 23, 2012, will have meaning as well. One of nine who can completely get why the tears arrive at the most random times, even on the happiest days.

Don’t get me wrong. On April 28, 2012, I married my best friend, and I adore him. The last six months have been some of the most amazing I’ve ever experienced. I can’t imagine my life without Adam, and this season of life is beautiful and blessed. I am so in love with my husband and am honored to be his wife.

But I have moments some days where a song lyric brings tears. Or a memory suddenly assails my mind and tears follow. Or a conversation reminds me of my grandparents, whom we lost last year.

My mom has one brother (living, anyway; a brother died in infancy before my mom or living uncle were born) and he and his wife have two grown children. That makes four. My parents have three daughters, which, before husbands and grandchildren came along, made five of us.

Four plus five equals nine. This past weekend I texted back and forth with one of those cousins, just one day after the one-year anniversary of Grandpa Street’s passing. Within that texting exchange, I realized that I am really not alone in how grief seems to creep up at random times.

I am one of nine. And that brings such comfort and relief, knowing the other eight get it. They understand the concept of “compound grief” (think, compound interest), because they’ve experienced it. How on earth do we grieve the loss of Grandpa, when, just 41 days later we said good-bye to Grandma? We were all close to Grandma and Grandpa. They were our biggest cheerleaders and adored their kids and grandkids.

This is not to say that others who loved my grandparents haven’t grieved their untimely passing. Far from it. After all, they were so loved by so many. All I am conveying is that at least there are eight others who were close to them who can understand how grief just easily creeps up some days.

Here is what I said to my cousin in those texts messages:

I can get over losing grandparents. But what is still SUPER hard for me is losing them both so close together. I function fine day to day. I am not depressed and couldn’t be more happy about my season of life. But there are moments on some days where I am just flat out SAD. These past twelve months have felt like compound grief. 

What helps the most is knowing there are at least eight others who understand this grief and GET IT. Get why and how this has been so hard. I am so grateful for that. 

I am doing quite well, actually. I am functioning, eating, working out, sleeping, laughing, loving, and enjoying life immensely. I love being a wife, aunt, sister, daughter, and friend! But, man, some moments of my day can just be sad. I snap out of it almost as quickly as the sadness arrives, but I look forward to the day when I don’t automatically think of calling Grandma, only to remember that I can’t. The tears are lessening, but they still come at times.

I adore my family and the family I inherited on our wedding day. My husband’s family has been so, so, SO supportive in loving me early in our marriage–and they have grieved with me. The nine of us original Allen and Street family members will continue to walk through this journey with the love and support of spouses and extended family members. That makes my heart so grateful.

But I am also thankful to be one of those aforementioned nine. My grandparents instilled in us a love for family, so that’s how we’re going to move past this season of life. Our God is faithful and will continue to carry us as we love each other through this.

 

13.1 September 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 7:46 pm

I did something recently that I never, ever, ever thought I would do. 

I, Tricia Rife, ran a half-marathon! In the grand scheme of life, I know there are more impressive things I could accomplish like finding the cure for cancer, living in another country, or inventing the next smartphone. 

But considering the fact that I have often taken the easy way out and quit because I felt uncomfortable or was afraid to fail, completing this race was a big deal.

Before I ever attended kindergarten, I quit preschool after just a few days because I was so shy. I quit piano lessons a few years later after a very short time. I quit choir in high school after only one year and never even dreamed of trying out for show choir because I was too scared to try singing and dancing together. 

So, when my sis asked me (for the third time) to run a race with her, I said yes before I could talk myself out of it (but soon after wondered what the heck I was thinking). I began training months in advance and honestly thought I was crazy at times for thinking I could plan a wedding, train for a race, and be a new wife at the same time. But I persevered, doing my best to follow a training regimen as best I could.

Then, a respiratory infection hit at the end of July followed by a 10-day vacation. And next it was a tweaked back. For three weeks leading up to the race my training was subpar, to say the least. A week before the race my knee started hurting, and I was so discouraged. 

Just six days before the September 1 mini-marathon, I complained to my parents that I did not want to run the race at all. The only reason keeping me in it was because I’d promised my sister that I would do it. I was an absolute baby that morning, until my sweet dad said something loving yet firm. That’s when I knew I had to follow through that coming Saturday.

So, after one long run and a short jog during race week, I found myself standing at the starting line with Kristen. I was nervous and even had a horrible dream in the wee hours before I awakened for the race. Two-and-a-half hours after our first step (yeah, not the fastest time but I wasn’t running for an impressive time ;)), we crossed the finish line! My tired body and Kristen’s painful hip crossed together, hands held and smiles on our faces. We ran the entire race together, encouraging each other when finishing seemed impossible. I ran through stomach/side pain for a few miles, while Kristen finished on an incredibly sore hip. 

I did it!

I finished something I never thought I’d even have the courage to start. And I had the best time running with my sister. Now I feel like I can do anything! (Okay, maybe not anything, but I just ran a 13.1 mile race–with a few minutes of walking here and there, mind you–so most any physical feat seems possible.) 😉

Next up?

A marathon, anyone?! (Just kidding.) For now, I’ll enjoy running just for fun. 🙂 

 

The empty closet July 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 6:29 pm

My sisters and I took a road trip this past weekend, our first trip back to our hometown without any husbands or children. Just the five of us: Mom, Dad, Staci, Kristen, and me. Our time away totaled only one night, but it was all we needed.

The main reason for the trip? To visit my grandparents’ home and their graves at the cemetery. We’ve all made trips back since their deaths, but this is the first visit we’ve all been together. And at the risk of sounding sappy or poetic, the trip was beautiful.

Their house is a bit of a shell now, most of their belongings and possessions sold or divvied up between family members. We girls, in fact, took a few more items to use in our own homes. There’s not much left, but that’s okay. Even if it had been completely empty, the visit would’ve been worth it. Even when someone else moves in and my grandparents’ handprints are no longer evident, part of them will still be present.

Memories. They’ve been gone for months, but for the first time I’ve realized the importance of memories.

I think of them everyday, often reflecting that it’s just impossible that they’re gone. Their untimely deaths were just 41 days apart. I’d just begun to grieve Grandpa’s death last November when I received the call that tests showed Grandma’s brain activity was non-existent after an unexpected stroke.

During this most recent visit, I ventured back to Grandma’s room at the house. I opened her closet, recently emptied of its many shoes, shirts, and slacks. With both hands on the closet doors, I stared. And started to cry. I walked to the window and whispered through tears how much I missed her–as if she could hear me.

I reflected on a day in mid-October when Mom and I volunteered to help Grandma select her outfits for Grandpa’s viewing and funeral. I sat on her bed while Mom pulled numerous shirts off their hangers. Grandma tried on each one, and we gave our honest opinions. She smiled as we helped, a woman without her love of 56 years. She seemed tired after years of taking care of him, yet relieved that her years as caregiver had ended. All the while, Mom and I patiently helped her until she made her decision on the best outfits for the long two days ahead.

That memory is still so sweet to me, maybe because it’s one of the last I have of her. After that visit in October, I never saw Grandma alive again. My next visit home was for her funeral.

I never understood how important or special memories could be. Until today. My quiet five minutes in that bedroom were enough to remind me to never let those memories go.

 

I wish I were . . . June 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 8:57 pm

Ever struggle with the “I wish I were(s)”?

Too often I play the comparison game: I wish I were more creative. I wish I had her style. I wish I were a better writer. I wish I weighed fewer pounds. I wish I could decorate.

I’m a new wife with an incredible husband of just two months. We bought our first home together, a 1945-built home with an addition added on in 2003. The house is beautiful, spacious, and full of character. But as with any old–or newly purchased–home, it needs a few updates: a larger kitchen, modernized woodwork (at least in some rooms), fresh coats of paint, weeds pulled, and, most glaringly, furniture to fill it.

If I step back and think about all the updates the house needs, I get terribly overwhelmed and it feels like things will never get done. I get in “task mode” and forget everything around me. I begin rushing to get things accomplished and remain fixated on issues. I forget to celebrate the little things, like unpacking five boxes of books in one night. Or that three of the rooms have been painted, a set of curtains has been hung, bedding has been purchased, hardware has been replaced in the master bathroom, filled boxes of accumulated possessions are dwindling, and multiple trips to Target and Wal-Mart have been accomplished to buy household items. (My husband has done an AMAZING jog in helping get tasks accomplished around our house, I might add.)

Instead, I focus on what still needs done:

Their house is cuter than ours.

I wish this were done.

I wish we could buy this.

Or, worse, what lacks in me:

I wish I were . . .

Perhaps the hardest thought for me to let go of is the fact that I am not a decorator. Right now, my house is bare in most rooms, furniture and décor touches lacking. Between little time to shop and trying to determine what furniture or theme of décor I want to choose, the rooms look less than appealing to me–especially the room with Precious Moments-themed border and yellow and blue walls. (That room can’t be painted soon enough!)

Every day I seem to battle the lies that my house will never be cute or trendy. (Cue the internal thought: I wish I were a decorator.) If I’m not careful, I can get stuck there. Really, what I need to remember is that filling a home and decorating take time. And if I need a little help from Pinterest or my interior designer sister, then so be it. For now, though, I’ll need to make the choice not to keeping thinking I wish I were . . .

When will I realize I can’t do it all and who I am right now is already enough?

 

Thankful Thursday March 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 7:32 am

1. Recently talking about memories of Grandpa and Grandpa Street with one of my sisters.

2. Tucking in my sweet niece, Camille, last night.

3. Having a trustworthy fiance who is enjoying “clean” bachelor fun out west with this guys.

4. Grace. No other explanation needed.

5. Solid friendships!

What are you thankful for today?

 

Sustaining grace February 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 8:30 am

This fall my maternal grandparents passed away within 41 days of each other. Grandpa’s death was somewhat expected as he battled various health problems for 20 years, including Alzheimer’s disease the last seven. Grandma’s massive stroke just days before Thanksgiving was not expected. It was a shock, really.

My family has struggled to understand why things have happened this way, and, honestly, the last few months have been difficult. Some days I still catch myself wanting to dial Grandma’s number for a quick chat. Then reality sets in again.

I’ve asked God my fair share of questions, but a sermon excerpt from Dr. John Piper, a well-known pastor and author, has brought some comfort and clarity. Piper bases a sermon entitled “Sustained by Sovereign Grace–Forever” on Jeremiah 32:36-42 where the prophet speaks about God’s promise to restore Israel after its Babylonian captivity. Piper defines sustaining grace in a four-line rhyme: “Not grace to bar what is not bliss, nor flight from all distress, but this: the grace that orders our trouble and pain, and then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.”

Piper says it is unbiblical to celebrate a grace that does not allow pain or heartache. One of the reasons God provides grace is to sustain us when, in His sovereignty, we grieve the loss of loved ones, or receive devastating health news, or lose our dream job. It is His grace that gives just enough courage and strength to keep trusting Him even when His ways don’t make sense. His sustaining grace will carry us.

In what way is God currently asking you to lean on His sustaining grace?

 

 

 

A courageous “yet” December 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 1:58 pm

Yesterday I picked up my wedding dress. Today I’ll meet with a florist to discuss ways to make my day beautiful.

The reality of my wedding’s arrival date of April 28, 2012, is becoming obvious! But so is another reality.

When I left the store with my wedding dress in hand, I sat down in my car, and almost pulled out my cell phone to tell the news. Almost.

Almost . . . because the one person I couldn’t wait to tell was my precious Grandma Street. I could just hear her expression, too. “Grandma, I just picked up my wedding dress!” “Did you?” she would say with her common voice inflection and drawn out syllables–a reply I’d often get if I’d done something new, fun, refreshing, or adventurous. I could always hear an incredulous smile in the way she said it.

The reality of my grandma’s absence is honestly still setting in. That she’s gone hasn’t completely sunk in yet. Grandpa’s absence, too, is overwhelmingly disheartening at times, but with Alzheimer’s stealing his mind so much before his October 13 death, the circumstances make the loss a little easier. After all, he’d not been “Grandpa” for months long before he passed.

But Grandma? Grandma died just 40 days after him on November 23. We weren’t ready for her passing. In fact, I’d just spoken to her via phone on November 20, the day before her massive stroke left her unresponsive and on a ventilator. She wasn’t supposed to be gone so soon. She was the “rock,” Grandpa’s caretaker for 20 years, a feat that wasn’t easy after he succumbed to a 23-feet fall onto concrete in 1991. For those 20 years she cared for him day-after-day when the health issues mounted.

In my opinion, Grandma seemed to have another 20 years of life!

Now, neither grandparent will watch me walk down the aisle in four months toward my groom. Grandpa died before Adam asked me to be his wife, but Grandma knew I was getting married. That’s one reason she would’ve loved to hear about me picking up my dress–because we talked about wedding details in those eight days between my engagement and her stroke. And she seemed to love those conversations.

The emotions and grief feel as if they will overtake me sometimes, with the smallest memory of either grandparent drawing tears to my eyes. I’ve been drawn lately to the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament, where the prophet Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem. For 3 ½ chapters, Jeremiah’s grief is evident in despairing detail. (“Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean,” 1:8; “my eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within,” 2:11; “I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is” 3:17).

I felt depressed just reading his words. And the words have resonated within my spirit like I never expected.

Yet.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:22-26, NIV).

In the grief, pain, and agony, Jeremiah experienced the hope and faithfulness of God’s presence and mercies. His heart probably still felt heavy and unsure about Jerusalem’s future.

Yet he believed God.

Yet he decided to wait for Him.

Yet he chose to see God’s goodness by hoping in Him.

I am called to do the same. Even when missing my grandparents seems unbearable or when I forget that, as believers in Jesus, they are in heaven and I will see them again someday. Even when I want to call my grandma on my way home from work to talk about my day or when I wish she’d call with a weather report like she so often did.

Even when I put that wedding dress on on April 28 and wish both could see me in it. Or when I discover I’m pregnant with my first child. Or when I forget what the smell of their house is like or miss the simple ways both grandparents made me laugh.

Yet I will hope in Him. Grandma and Grandpa would want me to live not just in the “yet” but past it.

Never have I known such a courageous “yet.”