Thursday, November 22, 2012

How Jeremy Renner Changed My Life

Years ago, I rented a movie called S.W.A.T., mostly because of Colin Farrell, and I noticed that the actor who played his good-cop-gone-bad partner was a good actor, and I was disappointed that he was the bad guy. Over the years, this same guy kept popping up in other things I was watching - Angel, North Country, 28 Weeks Later, etc. By the time he showed up on House, M.D. (in what became one of my favorite episodes, because of him), I had started referring to him as “that guy that I like” because for some reason I could never remember his name.

Then one night, my date and I went to see The Hurt Locker. In the interests of full disclosure, I have a huge kink for all things military – uniforms, camouflage, weapons, war machines,  the whole bit. I was also interested to see how “that guy I like” would do in this kind of role.

He blew me away. The force and conviction of his acting in that role was a quality that is rarely seen in the kinds of movies I like, and I have never been able to forget the scene in the grocery store where Sgt. James is completely overwhelmed by the options and has absolutely no idea what to do – because he has been so institutionalized by the military, where those kinds of choices don’t exist. He was so good, in fact, that my father (a veteran of two wars) tells me he had to keep reminding himself that it was not a documentary.

Mostly because of the camouflage, I walked out of The Hurt Locker thinking not only is- he a great actor, but he’s freakin’ HOT. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for men who look good in camo and are comfortable handling weapons.) I was not surprised in the least that he was nominated for an Oscar.

However, life and other crushes went on, until Thor. When Hawkeye appeared on the screen and I realized who he was, I got giddy. I was very tempted by Mission Impossible:  Ghost Protocol, but my dislike for its titular star outweighed the presence of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Josh Holloway.

So it was not until the double-tap of The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy that I really fell in love. That was when I started actively researching him, reading interviews and articles, hunting down DVDs, and yes, giving in to MI:4. It was also just in time for The Town to hit HBO, and it now resides permanently on my DVR until I can get the DVD.

I’ve had celebrity crushes before. I’ve run fan clubs for some of them. This one is different, because this one has a concrete effect on my life. One day I was thinking about Mr. Renner, and how he has been tapped to take over two major movie franchises (Mission: Impossible and the Bourne series), and is an integral part of the ensemble cast of the Avengers franchise. It occurred to me that he is young enough that he has a long, profitable (and, I am confident, Oscar-winning) career ahead of him.

Then I realized that although he and I are almost exactly the same age (nine weeks apart), I have been behaving as if my own life is basically over. My health has declined to the point where I can no longer be in my current profession, but I have been doing this too long to be qualified to do anything else, so I was simply existing.

When I realized that if Mr. Renner is young enough to consider that he still has a full life ahead of him, and we are the same age, that means that I am young enough, too. That is what inspired me to decide to go back to school and to pursue my life-long dream of being involved in the film industry.

So when you finally see my name on a movie screen with the credit “Written by,” you will know that Jeremy Renner inspired me to get off my couch and start living. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let's Talk about Depression

Did you know that the latest estimate is that one out of every ten adult Americans has depression?1 That is 10% of the adult population of the United States.  In 2007, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States; third for people ages 15 to 24.2 The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that depression is a major cause for suicide in 90% of cases.That means that nearly one in ten people who have depression will commit suicide. That is a noticeable number of preventable deaths. And yet, no one talks about it. We hide it, or sweep it under the rug, or tough it out. Depression is still a taboo subject for most people, which means that when someone we know does commit suicide because of depression, we are usually shocked and surprised.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have depression. I have had at least three major depressive episodes in my life, the first of which means that there are five years of my childhood that I do not remember. During that first major depressive episode, I came up with my suicide plan, so that I would have a way out if things got bad enough. Every morning, I would wake up and think, “Is it bad enough?” Every night, I would review the day and think, “Is it bad enough?” Obviously, the answer was always “no,” or I would not be writing this now, but the point is, it happened. I never told anyone about these thoughts because I did not want to add to the stress of the situation.

My second major depressive episode retreated (I can’t say it ended because I’m not sure it really did) when I changed my circumstances. The third one, though, was worse, and when it got to the point where I was seriously contemplating suicide again, I went to the doctor. She gave me antidepressants, which have literally saved my life.

As a teenager, I never told my family about my depression or suicidal thoughts because I did not want to add to the stress of the situation we were going through at the time. I did not think I was important enough. Given the high rate of suicide among teenagers and young adults, it’s time to bring depression out into the open, look at it in the light of day, and dispel the idea that there is something shameful about being depressed. First, let’s look at what depression is not. Then we’ll look at what depression is, and treatment options.

What Depression is NOT

1. Depression is not just feeling sad. There are eight factors in the official diagnosis of depression, which will be discussed later, but only one of them is feelings of sadness.

2. Depression is not a spiritual problem. There are some religious leaders who claim that depression is a symptom of lack of faith. There is no justification for this claim, and my personal experience is exactly the opposite. My faith is strong. My depression has nothing to do with my faith; in fact, when the depression is bad, suicide seems more tempting because I know where I’m going when I die, and it will be a place of no more sorrow and no more tears.

3. Depression is not shameful. Most professionals believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or in the endocrine system.4 Other health issues, such as diabetes, are also caused by chemical imbalance in the body, but are not treated as shameful.

What Depression Is

1. Depression is complicated.  For major depression, the medical community generally looks for five of the following eight symptoms: little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling down, depressed, or hopeless, trouble falling or staying asleep or trouble waking up, feeling tired, poor appetite or overeating, feeling like you are a failure or you let yourself or your family down, difficulty concentrating, and either speaking and moving so quickly or slowly that other people notice.5 Fewer than five of these symptoms can indicate depression, as well.

2. Depression is treatable. Depending on who you talk to, medication may or may not be the first line of treatment for you. Medication is a common treatment, but it is not the only one. Therapy works for some people, for some types of depression. It may take some time to find the right combination of techniques, but once you do, you’ll realize that even though you thought you were seeing the world in color, you were really seeing it in black and white.

3. Depression is common. You are not alone. See the numbers at the beginning of this article for the statistics. You are not at fault for your depression. You are worth the time and effort to be diagnosed and treated.

What to Do if You Think You May Have Depression

1. Go to the doctor. I cannot emphasize this point enough, so I will say it again. GO TO THE DOCTOR. Your primary care physician can prescribe antidepressants. You do not need to see a psychiatrist. Take the meds. Trust me on this. They have saved my life. Let them save yours.

2. Try self-help. Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, so add a good Vitamin D supplement to your diet. It should be liquid or a gelcap, and you need to take it with food. If you take a prescription antidepressant, add folic acid to your vitamin regime; it helps make the antidepressant more effective. Do NOT reach for alcohol; alcohol itself is a depressant, and will only make your depression worse. Other things you can try are exercise, sleep, and finding the right diet for you.

3. Find someone to talk to. Sometimes the medications and vitamin supplements, or other self-help remedies, cannot overcome the depression. It doesn’t have to be a therapist. Find someone who can be a friend when you need one.

What to Do if You Have a Friend with Depression

It can be difficult for someone who has never suffered from depression to understand how it really works. Depression, even treated, does not go away completely if it is not caused by circumstance. Keep in mind the Abilify commercials with the dark cloud following a person around. Even under control, the cloud is still there; it just does not direct the person’s behavior. So how can you help your friend who has depression?

1. Listen. Even if you think your friend’s problems are petty or silly, to a person with depression, they are important and overwhelming. Listen to the words, and also to what is not said.

2. Educate yourself. Learn what depression is and is not, so that you know when your friend is speaking from depression and when there may be a different cause.

3. Encourage your friend to get treatment. When a person is depressed, sometimes he cannot see the problem. It may take some education by you for your friend to understand that she is depressed and should seek help.

What NOT to Do if You Have a Friend with Depression

1. Don’t offer an easy answer. “Cheer up,” “have faith,” “it’s not that bad” – none of those are helpful to a person in the throes of depression. If we could cheer up, we would. And what may not seem bad to you may be overwhelming to someone else.

2. Don’t trivialize it. Don’t say “I know how you feel” unless you too have depression, because you don’t know.

3. Don’t turn away. A person with depression needs friends. You never know if a conversation with you is keeping a person from harming himself.

Depression is an insidious condition that can sneak up on a person, developing over time so gradually that the person does not realize how far he has sunk. You can help fight depression and the suicide statistics by education and discussion. Depression should no longer be considered shameful or somehow the fault of the person who has it. Talk about it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Glaciers move faster than this relationship . . .

So I’ve been seeing this guy for a year. In that time, we’ve progressed from 1-2 emails per week and lunch/movie on Saturday to … 1-2 emails per week plus lunch/movie on Saturday. My birthday was last week. All I got was an email afterthought - at the end of the email, “hope you’re having a good birthday.” He’s nice. I like him. I enjoy the time we do spend together, and it’s nice to have someone buy me lunch and take me to a movie every week. But in that time, he’s never reached for my hand and when I told him he was allowed to kiss me, he blushed and stammered. All that to say - if you happen to run into Gerard Butler, Karl Urban, Richard Armitage, Michael Fassbender, Joe Manganiello, or Jeremy Renner, or even a nice normal guy who’s not so damn shy that he can’t even take my hand, please feel free to send him my way. He must be willing to overlook the facts that I’m still working on my weight issue, probably can’t have children, and won’t give up my cats - which, now that I think about it, are probably the reasons I’m still single. *sigh*

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Etiquette of Being a Fangirl, or: How to Avoid a Restraining Order Without Really Trying

DISCLAIMER:  This is an opinion piece. Despite the clever subtitle, this piece does not constitute legal advice, nor does the reading of this piece create any attorney-client relationship.

            Each of us is a fan of something or someone. It’s human nature to admire other people, hobbies, sports, etc.  This article is dedicated to a subgroup of fans – those of us who admire celebrities – and it is my hope that you will consider what I have to say, and become a better fangirl than you already are. There’s always room for improvement, right?

            The word “fan,” according to Merriam Webster, means “an ardent admirer or enthusiast.” The word apparently comes from the word “fanatic,” which according to the same source, means “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.”  Sound familiar?

            Somewhere along the way, the word “fan” stopped being emphatic enough to describe the depth of our devotion, especially to celebrities, and the words “fanboy” and “fangirl” were coined. According to the Urban Dictionary, “fanboy” is used mostly for male gamer geeks, but “fangirl” is used mostly for female geeks who lavish their enthusiasm on actors or fictional characters. For this article, I will use “fangirl” to include all people, regardless of sex or gender identity, who are devoted followers of a celebrity.

            I started thinking about how fangirls behave shortly after creating an account on Tumblr and found my people. The object of my current fangirl crush is Jeremy Renner, who has a large following on Tumblr, but I also know fangirls of Tom Hiddleston, his character from The Avengers and related movies Loki, Landon Donovan (midfielder for the LA Galaxy and US Men’s National Soccer Team), and Sam and Dean Winchester of the TV series Supernatural, to name just a few. Fangirls can create a fandom out of anything or anyone.  We have also redefined the word “obsession,” as I will explain.

            Fangirls use the word “obsession” because frequently the object of our enthusiasm is a ubiquitous, if intangible, presence in our lives. I work out my obsessions by writing original stories using the current object as a mannequin upon which to hang a character. Others paint pictures, write music, or write fanfiction.  These obsessions are usually not harmful, especially to the object, because most fangirls understand that the affection, adoration, and dedication involved is a one-way street. The objects of our obsessions are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the hordes of people who adore them. (Tom Hiddleston is a notable exception, as his Twitter account shows.)  I think that in general, this is the way it should be. Celebrities need to be able to focus on their work and their private lives, and do not need to be distracted or disturbed by the “intense uncritical devotion” we would like to smother them with.

            However, sometimes fangirls can take things too far, presuming on the celebrity’s patience and time. For example, recently when Tom Hiddleston was filming, crowds of people waited outside for him to leave the set. Every day, he would spend as much time as it took to greet them, sign autographs, take pictures, and generally be an awesome person. But did it occur to any of those people that he might be tired and need to go rest before filming again the next day? I don’t know the answer to that. I wasn’t there. But it seems to me that taking Mr. Hiddleston’s attention away from his work may endanger not only his ability to maintain his filming schedule, but also his connection with his fan base. At some point in the future, if his fans keep this up, he will have to choose between work and his fans. He will be forced to withdraw from us, and then what?

            An even more extreme example of a celebrity’s unpleasant experience with a fan happened to Jeremy Renner. After rebuffing a fan’s advances, the fan stole his cat. Let me repeat that. The “fan” stole. his. cat. Is it any wonder that Mr. Renner now takes extra measures to keep his private life private?

            Which brings me to the whole point of this rambling. The key to being a good fangirl is simple: Remember that the person you love, the one you have long conversations with in your head, the one who may feature in your sexual fantasies – that person does not exist. He (or she) is merely an amalgam of interview snippets, characters, and photographs. The actual person has his own dreams, desires, and ambitions, and they do not include you. Even if you are blessed enough to spend a few minutes in his company and he is polite and charming (I witnessed an act of kindness by Nathan Fillion that ensured that I will be his fan forever), he does not know you. He owes you nothing.

            So, here are the very simple rules for being a fangirl:

1. Respect the privacy of the person you adore.
2. Make no demands on his time or his person that he does not initiate. If he does initiate contact, such as an autograph session or appearance at a con, remember not to overtax his good nature.
3. Remember the difference between fantasy and reality.

            That’s it. That’s all there is to it. It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s the way both to keep your own sanity and not end up on the wrong side of a restraining order.             

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Bit of Poetry

OK, so today is National Poetry Day in the UK. This year’s theme is stars.
However, since I don’t live in the UK, I’m going to post a poem with my own theme. I’m an American rebel that way. :-) This poem is dedicated to all the people who are in love with people who don’t know they exist. It is, after all, a love offering from a fangirl.
You don’t know me
You’ve never seen me
If we met on the street 
You wouldn’t know to greet me
You’ve never heard my voice
Never felt my touch
So how is it possible 
I could love you so much?

You don’t know this
But you go everywhere with me
I talk to you constantly
You’re beside me in the car
And walking down the street
And when I crawl into my cold bed
The pillow becomes your shoulder
I can feel your arms around me
And your warmth lulls me to sleep
Your breath on my skin
Your voice in my head

You don’t know me
If you knew how you haunt me
You’d be wary of me
There’s no need to be
I will never tell you how I feel
Never take that chance
My soul would wither
Shrivel and waste away
If I looked into your eyes
And saw nothing

You don’t want me
How could you possibly
Leave me my dreams
They’re all I have of you
And more than you have of me
I will leave you in peace
Leave you to your own dreams
I wish that you would dream of me
But you don’t know me

(c) 2002 Erin M. Allen

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Much More Fun Election

OK, friends, I need your help. I have entered Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write Competition, and YOU get to vote on the first round of entries. The grand prize is publication, which is my dream. Please go vote! You can vote once a day between now and October 11. Please pass on the link and get your friends to vote, too. Thank you!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Real Man, Real Genius

So I was rewriting my List of Necessary Attributes in a Man, as you do when you suffer from POMS,* and I realized that all these years, I've left out one very necessary attribute: The ability to quote the movie Real Genius at appropriate moments. If the following conversation occurs, then I've finally met The One:

He: If there's ever anything I can do for you, or more to the point, to you, just let me know.
Me: Can you hammer a nail through a six-inch board with your penis?
He: Not right now.
Me: A girl's gotta have her standards.

You see, a man who can go through that entire scene with the right attitude - well, that right there is what we Texas girls call A Keeper.

*Permanent Old Maid Syndrome. POMS is an all-too-common condition that strikes a woman who has reached the age of 35 without ever being married. It consists of three or more of the following symptoms:

- A plenitude of cats;
- A lack of a social life ("social life" here defined as three or more non-work-related outings with other human beings per week and/or at least two romantic outings per week);
- Thorough knowledge of Doctor Who, the works of Jane Austen, and/or the works of Charlotte Bronte;
- Virginity, whether actual or technical;
- An inability to compromise social or moral standards for the sake of marital status;
- An inability to disguise or abandon intellect for the sake of marital status; and
- The ability to establish and maintain self-identity without the approval of others.

POMS can only be self-diagnosed. It can never be diagnosed for another woman, and it never occurs prior to the age of 35, but its onset can be later in life.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I will be so glad when this election is over.

The last few weeks have been a nightmare of screeching from all sides. Mudflinging, name-calling, “yo mama!,” and hate just flooding my Tumblr dash and my Facebook page. I’m so tired of it all.
Yes, I get that there are important issues at stake. Yes, I get that the rest of the world cares deeply about who our President is. Yes, I get it. I get it all.
But why do people have to be so strident about it? I feel like I’m surrounded by car dealers yelling and blowing horns and flashing strobe lights and those flailing  creepy-ass tube-people things trying to get my attention. And you know what? I don’t buy cars from those people, so that approach is not going to get my vote, either.
At this point, people have mostly made up their minds how their vote is going to be cast. This final push before Election Day is not going to accomplish much except to alienate Americans from each other and from their friends living in other parts of the world.
I’m sick of politics. I don’t believe any of the candidates, and I don’t think any of them have the best interests of the American people at heart. Once again, I will be voting against the one I perceive to present the biggest danger to my country and my people, and then will just get through the next four years until the next circus comes to town. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Business Law 101 or: Why a Corporation is a Person

There has been a lot of outcry in the social media lately about whether a corporation is or isn’t a person. It seems to me that someone has taken something out of context and used it to lash people who do not know the law into a frenzy. So here’s the scoop, folks. And why should you believe what I say? Because I am a business law attorney. This is what I do, and have done for more than 10 years.

OK, so. Let’s talk about forms of business. When a natural person starts a business, it’s usually a sole proprietorship, which simply means a business with one individual owner. Under the law, there is no difference between the business owner’s personal life and their business life. The owner’s business assets can be seized to pay the owner’s personal debts, and more importantly, the owner’s personal assets can be seized to pay the business’s debts.

So how does an individual protect his personal assets (i.e., his house, his car, his children’s toys, and the cash he uses to feed his children) from business liabilities? He (or she) forms a corporation. The corporation is what we lawyer-types call a legal fiction – it is an entity separate from its owner. It pays its own taxes, nearly always at a higher marginal rate than the owner’s personal rate. It buys and sells property in its own name. It can sue and be sued in its own name. Why? Because the legal definition of “person” includes corporations.  If a corporation was not a “person” under the law, there could be no way to protect the business owner’s personal assets from something horrible that happened in his business.

Let’s take a common occurrence as an illustration. A decides that she has a product that the world desperately needs. Her market research shows a need, so she starts making and marketing the product. A million units later, the manufacturing process hiccups and a single unit explodes, injuring Customer’s child. Customer sues A for damages done to the child.

If A is a sole proprietor, depending on the state where she lives, she could lose EVERYTHING. She could lose her house, her car, her business (remember, this is how she supports her family). Her family could be homeless, and now her children don’t have a place to live.

If, however, A formed a corporation, Customer would sue the corporation. A’s personal property would be protected and her children would be OK. The corporation may be out of business, but A and her family are still on her feet.

Do you begin to see why it is important that a corporation be a “person” under the law? It all has to do with protecting the owner.

Besides all that, who is a corporation, really? It’s people. The shareholders are people. The directors and officers are people. Corporations aren’t faceless. They are operated by people. Those people are generally decent, just like you. Sure, there are a few bad apples. There are in ANY group – of people.

So don’t buy in to the falsehood that corporations shouldn’t be people under the law. If we did away with that very basic point of American law, many more individuals would be bankrupt and out on the streets. Corporations are the backbone of American business – I’m not talking about megacorporations; I’m talking about the small Mom & Pop corporations that are formed every day. Be aware. Be informed. And for all our sakes, don’t just fall into lockstep with any political party’s agenda.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Tragedy

Eleven years ago today, I watched the World Trade Center collapse in the only act of war committed on American home soil in my lifetime. I remember the sick horror of realizing how many people were dying as I watched. I remember that it seemed almost unreal, and the tears streaming down my face and the horror in my stomach were the only cues that I was witnessing actual events. I remember that most of the NYFD and many of the NYPD died doing their jobs that day. I remember the acts of heroism on United 93. I remember the silence while the planes were grounded. I remember all of it. Justice for those who died was a long time coming, but the mastermind behind it all has now paid for his act of war.

But I also remember my countrymen cowering at home and begging President Bush to keep us safe from further attacks, not realizing that you can be free or you can be safe, but it is impossible to be both. I remember the same people pilloried President Bush for doing exactly what we begged him to do in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

So for me, the real tragedy of 9/11/01 is not that so many people lost their lives. It's that the American people chose safety over freedom out of fear, which means that the terrorists have already won.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Great-Grandmother's Prayer

Yesterday, my grandmother gave me a framed photo-set of me as a baby. I was confused by this until she told me to look on the back.

This is what my great-grandmother (Grandma's mother) had written on the back:

"Dear Lord, help little Erin to have good discipline, and to receive it, and God bless this family, Lord, that little Erin may yield to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit when she gets old enough to understand right from wrong and accept Jesus as her Savior.  And that she will be sanctified wholly and live a consecrated and dedicated life for Christ.  Give her a passion for lost souls. Help her to honor hr mom and dad that she may live long on the Earth if Jesus tarries.  This is my prayer for sweet little Erin." -- Grandma Hanson

It's humbling to read something written about and for me long before I was conscious of the world. It's amazing to think of this hidden prayer committed to writing and undiscovered until someone took the photos down. The love and faith that shines through an elderly woman's myopic scrawl just leaves me speechless.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Going Grain-Free

The other day, a friend asked if I had any suggestions for starting a grain-free diet. Actually, I do. Here are a few:

1.  Make sure that grain-free is the right diet for you.  It’s not for everyone. I am allergic to both wheat and corn, as it turns out, so I decided to try grain-free for 90 days to see how it works for me.  If you’re not allergic to any grains, then it might not make sense for you. I’ve started recommending that if you’re considering a change in diet, first go get tested for food allergies. To get the results you want, it may be as simple as cutting out foods to which you are allergic.

2.  Read labels.  If you choose to try grain-free, you’re going to have to find out which foods have hidden grains. You will be astonished at where corn can hide, in the forms of corn starch and corn syrup. Even Campbell’s soup has either wheat gluten or corn syrup in most varieties. 

3.  Go through your cabinets, freezer, and refrigerator.  Throw out everything that has any grain substance in it. I mean everything. Grain-free is hard, and you will have weak moments. If the food isn’t in the house, you won’t eat it.

4. Be creative about what you CAN eat.  Once you get rid of your grains, you might wonder what you can eat. The short answer is meat, vegetables, fruit, and dairy. (I am not talking about the Paleo diet – that requires you to give up dairy and processed sugar.)  Also peanut butter and soy.  Chocolate (if you’re careful about what type).  This is the time to mix things up. I like carrots and mustard, peanut butter and celery, that sort of thing.  Frozen fruit, canned fruit.  Focus on protein – it burns more slowly than carbohydrate, so it won’t give you the crash that follows a sugar rush. 

5.  Give yourself time to adjust.  Eliminating grains is not easy.  I do better cold turkey, but you might do better tapering off. Realize that you will have cravings, and make sure that you have suitable snack replacements on hand.  Don’t try to count calories or carbs or whatever you’ve been doing, either. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re no longer hungry.  And most importantly, if you fall off the wagon, forgive yourself and get back up.

If you have any questions about any of this, just ask. And if you decide to go grain-free, best wishes!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

God Manifest

Feeling a little stunned right now. At lunch yesterday, Caitlin and I were talking about living passively as opposed to living actively, and how we can change our lives if we choose to do so. She's found a book along the lines of the principles of attraction, and was talking about manifesting her dreams. Of course, my approach is a little different, but she asked me, "Why not manifest perfect health for yourself?"

I thought a lot about that yesterday, because the day before I'd heard from the doctor about my blood test results, and they were terrible. Several years ago, I prayed for God to heal my mother's kidney disease, and it is ever so slowly (but noticeably) reversing itself. I know several stories of divine healing, and I began to wonder why I never asked for it for myself. So last night, I told God that I don't need to manifest perfect health for myself, because He can manifest it if He chooses to do so.

This morning, this article about corn gluten appeared in my Facebook feed. I followed the link and found this article detailing all the diseases that have been connected to non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Everything I've been diagnosed with is on this list. Everything.

So I decided to see if any doctor who follows the principles of the Gluten Free Society is in the area. Guess what? The founder is in Sugar Land. A 3-hour drive. And there's a life coach in Round Rock who's been through the first level of his GF certification. Round Rock. I drive there regularly to visit friends.

Could the solution really be that easy? That close? All I have to do is reach out and take it? And there are two guides within driving distance who can help? If I can recover and maintain perfect health by eliminating all gluten from my diet, why should I not do it? It's such a simple solution. And by "simple" I do NOT mean "easy." From what I can tell, what the GFS calls a "true gluten free" diet is actually grain-free.

I will need coaching and guidance and encouragement, but it would be all worthwhile if my body would heal and start working properly.

The timing is so significant. Rarely have my prayers been answered so promptly. "You want perfect health? Here. Here's the way to do it." God is so amazing.