Z: This zebra congratulates all who finished the #AtoZChallenge

I plan to reward myself with candy, but this zebra seems pretty happy about a carrot.

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Y: Youth with Type 1 Diabetes #AtoZChallenge

This week my nine-year-old niece was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after a rather harrowing trip to and stay at a children’s hospital. She’s doing well now, and her and her family and adjusting to life with this disease that requires exacting management.

I’ve been reading about the disease and came across this on Pinterest. It seems there are a lot of misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, which is an auto-immune disease unlike type 2 diabetes.

X: Xanthan gum in gluten-free pancakes #recipe #AtoZChallenge

Xanthan gum is a great ingredient to use in gluten-free food, with a few caveats. First, you only want to use a small amount or you’ll be subject to it’s laxative qualities. The good news is that you only need small amounts to use as a thickening agent. Second, it is sometimes derived using wheat. In most cases, the amount of residual gluten is so small as to be negligible. However, if you are very gluten sensitive, make sure you know the source of your xanthan gum.

While I don’t eat exclusively gluten free, we generally limit consumption in our household. I’ve found I actually prefer this pancake recipe to the gluten-filled variety I used to make.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp. almond flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp. sugar (or a bit more if you want a sweeter pancake)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking poweder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 cups water

Sift together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until few lumps remain. Cook like any other pancake.

W: When Things Fall Apart #AtoZChallenge

To follow is a quote from Pema Chödron’s book When Things Fall Apart:

Some of us can accept others right where they are a lot more easily than we can accept ourselves. We feel that compassion is reserved for someone else, and it never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves.

My experience is that by practicing without “shoulds,” we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body.

V: Victory over fears #AtoZChallenge #MySexySaturday

One more double duty post for the month. Today I’ve got seven paragraphs from Monica’s Match. Monica has a fear of heights, and Jeremiah is helping her down a steep embankment–and helping her achieve victory over her fears.

He maneuvered sideways and down to another root, and Monica followed without missing a beat. He quickened the pace to a rock and then another root. They were almost to the river’s edge. “You’re doing great.”

“Yeah, I am.” Her laugh came out half-choked, but he admired that she held it together.

“I’m going to let you go and hop down the last bit, OK?”

She took a deep breath. “Do it.”

He did, then reached up. “Hand me your load.” He took the poles and blanket and set them by his feet. “You want me to catch you?”

She hesitated and then nodded. “On the count of three. One. Two. Three.” She shut her eyes and half leapt, half fell into his arms. She barely weighed more than a newborn calf.

He hugged her against his chest more tightly then he needed, relishing the feel of her softness. Too bad he hadn’t suggested swimsuits for this excursion. “Got you,” he whispered.


Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.

Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him. But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.

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