Monday, February 16, 2015

And the Gender is....!?!?

Sunday we spent the afternoon at our first Baby Reveal party
and what a perfect day to do it. Sunny and warm, with a cool breeze.

Our wonderful Community group Leaders, Ben & Megan Glassman, are having a baby, and guess what? Lots of pink is in their future. But even they didn't know that until the pinata was broke open.
It was fully a surprise for everyone! (except the party planners)
It was truly a blessing to be there to celebrate with them and take pictures. Now I want to share some of this beautiful event with you all.

I'm so happy for them, and obviously a community of people are as well.
Congrats to Ben and Megan on your future as parents of a beautiful baby girl!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Just a little Valentines

I'm so happy that Valentines day happened on a Saturday this year.
Last year, although we had a nice dinner out. I was disappointed that we didn't do more. We were still new to the area, I was just getting out of my funk, and I was 20lbs heavier.
This year, I'm lighter, happier, and got to spend the whole day with my Valentine.
also my hubby surprised me with a gift and we had a gift card to a nice restaurant Seasons 52.

Last year has been full of changes, and this Valentine's Day is like a commemoration of how much we have been through, and how much stronger we are now then even a few months ago,
and that in itself made this day special.

I would also like to mention a personal feat. I have been almost a full month off wheat, although it should be all corn as well, I accidentally ate some last week (it's so hard, since it's in everything). But with a holiday, I usually splurge, especially at a nice restaurant. But I kept it together and continued staying strong. Yay me!

 Now I want to take the time to talk about the wonderful man in my life.
I've honestly never met a man as intellectually interesting, with a heart for God, patience to spare, and understanding for almost every situation. He puts me first, and cares for me in way I sometimes don't fully appreciate, but when I try to comprehend how much He does for me, it always amazes me.

(Now for some Super Cheese)
We are like two different puzzle pieces, with different images on them, but fit perfectly together. Of course there are rough patches, but we connect so well sometimes, its ridiculous.

I honestly hope everyone finds their puzzle piece. Their other half. Their partner in crime.
Love is a risk, but you only live once, and living with regret is a terrible thing.

So if you do find you Valentine, in this crazy thing called life, hold on to them, put them first, and make them happy.

That's my personal insight for you all this valentines Day

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What is Love?: An Important Talk on Listening

I was watching a movie last night, and this woman with cancer in this small movie arc with the main character, told the main character that he had a gift, and he was like "oh no, its not my field" and she said "No you misunderstand, Listening is Loving"
And I have to agree wholeheartedly. Of course there are other aspects of love, but I believe listening is key.
I want to talk about two situations of listening.

1. To love people, to care for them, the only way to do that is to listen to them. Listen to their hearts, their fears and worries, their hopes and dreams. You can care for someone on a basic level. But to love them, you have to listen. Know their heart. I believe you can't truly love someone, or be loved in return (in friendship or in spouse) if you don't know where there heart is at.
Because we all say selfish and foolish things at times. We hurt each others feelings, and trample on our dreams. Its inevitable with people, because we are all human.

What does matter, is that we know each others heart behind those things. So that when someone is speaking foolishly out of not being heard, we can hear them, or saying mean things and hurting feelings out of their own hurt feelings, we can care for their hurt feelings, and help them heal.
As Valentines Day is coming up, it reminds me on how this is imperative for couples. 
You cannot care for your spouse or significant other while focusing on yourself, you aren't going to be able to care for them in other ways unless you know their heart. and you probably aren't going to make it in the long run, if you don't know each others hopes and dreams.
Arguing is not going to make any situation better until you both take the time to listen to what the other person is trying to say.
Communicating is nothing without listening.
it's all about listening, because you can't care for someone, if you aren't listening to them.

Then we come to my second situation, which is more faith based.
2. I got in an argument recently with a new friend, on a lot of things, but part of the argument was how, when I was opening up my heart and sharing my hardships, she just quoted scripture and wanted to move on. To me it was cold and uncaring. To her, scripture is truth, so it didn't matter how it is said, since God's word is the Truth.
Nonetheless, by that action, I did not feel listened too and my feelings were not cared for.

I do believe Gods words is the Truth, and it can help every and all situations. Scripture was written for all time, BUT when the Bible was written, I believe it was in a time, where people listen to what others had to say, feelings involved or not. When the scripture was laid down, it was just outright listened to. With the meaning grasped, and if not, I believe people still took a step to grasp it. 
Whereas in today's society, we nitpick everything. We put down those who don't have the same beliefs, and foremost, we think about ourselves, our wants, our needs more than thinking of others. It puts us in a place, to not listen so much when others are talking. Because then others are talking, we are to busy readying ourselves with what we have to say or believe.

I believe, to care for people in this generation, and society. We have to tie God's word, in with listening and caring for others. We can just spit it out figuring it will just sink in and hit people. I know for me, when someone tells me what to do, without caring for me, it makes me feel unheard, which then leads to me walling up and getting defensive. Which I see a lot of people do.
People listen, even if its not what they want to hear, when they feel cared for, when they feel like what they are going through is no less then anyone else. 

That's why I want to reach out to ALL other Christians, or even Non-Christians, to say: just because you are speaking the truth, does not mean you are doing it in a caring fashion, and it may be the opposite of what someone needs. Listen to them, hear their hearts, see the person. 
In a society hell-bent on caring for ones personal needs, we can sometimes end up not feeling cared for at all. and I think a lot of people (I know I have) can end up feeling like they don't matter.

Now I would go on another big rant, tying in how you should put yourself in their shoes (which you should) and understand where they are coming from. That we all don't have the same hopes and dreams. We don't all put the same level of importance on the same things.
But that just ties back in, you can't know those things, unless you take the time, and listen.
Understand their heart.

Listening, is Loving.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Only Place Water can be Brewed

The Water Brewery.

Sounds new agey right? Maybe it sounds like mumbo jumbo?
lol, well I was intrigued. I had heard about it from a friend, and not even much about it, just that it existed, and I looked into it. I couldn't find much info on the internet other then Yelp. (even though they have a website, that I somehow couldn't find) And the reviews on yelp were quite outstanding. For customer service, who as I gathered, are very interested and educated in what they provide, and of course for the water itself.

They Service different types of water. 

Oxygenated, ReStructured, Energized
$0.50 a Gallon

AQUAE Mineral/AQUAE Alkaline
Alkalized OR mineralized, Oxygenated, ReStructured, Energized
$1.00 a gallon

Alkalized, mineralized, Oxygenated, ReStructured, Energized
$1.50 a Gallon

You can also add more minerals to help specific things for +$0.50 a gallon.
Nails and hair support, Bone or joint support, even weight loss.
One thing that I haven't necessarily noticed, but other people definitely have, is that the water also helps hydrate more effectively.

The set up for the water can be costly, but you can get it in different ways. We bought one of their glass jugs, that has a simple stand on our counter top.

For those interested they also sell vitamins, essential oils and other health supplements.

Sure they give off a very new age vibe, and if you like that, then you will for sure love this place. Even if you aren't into that, I would still advise checking the place out. 
Honestly, I'm a picky water drinker. Costa Mesa has nasty water out of the sink. and the brita filters, for me, taste too soft. I don't like it. So for the last few months, we had been drinking water bottles. Not only is that expansive, but the plastic bottles build up fast. So finding this place was a blessing. Cheap, cost effective, water that I liked, and is better for me than regular water. What out of that doesn't sound pleasing?

Oh how Californian are we now :p

Friday, January 30, 2015

Changing It Up

Last week I woke up at 3am and changed my life.
Ok... so that's pretty dramatic, but who doesn't like a flare for the dramatic every now and again :p

I did make a change, not a huge one, but a change I definitely needed.


[drumroll, please]


I SHAVED THE SIDE OF MY HEAD! Yup, I got up at 3am, and decided iI was sick of waiting and debating whether I (and others) would like it, and just shaved it off.
and I gotta say, I LOVE it!

 I definitely feel like I'm more me. I don't know if that makes sense, so let me explain. As I've been growing out my hair, I've experienced a sense of losing myself. Adding the Ombré last spring, brought back a stronger sense of self. Still, I've been craving a change for awhile, feeling drab, and a bit cookie cutter. Nothing wrong with having long even hair, I just felt I was getting lost in the crowd. lost in the societal norms, and its not something I like to feel. After months of getting back into society, working on myself and being more social, I've felt more, and more like I'm getting back to who I am, and not so lost. And this is the change I needed to solidify that a bit.

Of course I woke up the next morning and saw myself in the mirror, with greasy, bedridden hair, and no makeup and thought "Oh shit. What if this doesn't work out well?" But after getting around, and dressed, I felt beautiful and elated, that I had to go out for a shoot. (I was fairly proud of my makeup that day as well)

It's been a week now, and I'm still excited about it. There are still some tweaks I want to add to my hair (fixing my Ombré and adding layers) but for now I'm happy, and I wanted to share this with you all.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Struggle with Loving Yourself

 I want to touch on the subject of loving yourself.

Loving yourself can be such a hard thing to do. Especially when everyone seems to have a purpose, talent or something they are good at. When we value those who are symmetrical, beautiful, thin, etc.
The concept of loving yourself for 'who-you-are' is gaining acceptance, which is something we seem to find hard to grasp.
Even as a Christian, I've struggled with this immensely. Although I know God loves me for who I am, and there are numerous scriptures on how we were all designed uniquely, and have a purpose. That every purpose, talent, job, and flaw, is just as important as the rest. It can still be hard to accept yourself.

Oppression from Society
Loving yourself in this society can be difficult. People post things on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites saying things like: "Screw what other people think", "Be your own person", "We all matter", "You are special" etc. Yet on the flip side, people tear each other down for how we dress, what we do, and what we think. How can we possibly accept ourselves, when society is constantly telling us from all different angles, on all different subjects, that we are wrong?

The Struggle with Self Expectations
Growing up, I've always been adept at psychoanalyzing myself, others, and situations. I would watch movies and even as a child, I could frequently predict what was going to happen.
But in psychoanalyzing myself, I've been aware that I seek attention from others. That I have an extreme need to be liked and popular, to be passion-driven, and be talented. When I haven't achieved those goals, the self loathing runs very deep. But I also have a very strong need to be myself. To be real and its something I remind myself, a lot. To become more accepting of my imperfections. To realize its okay to be flawed.

I grew up watching movies where the moral of the story always loops back around to tell you that trying to be someone else will ultimately make you unhappy, or a horrible person.
So I made it a priority unconsciously, to try and always be myself, to be unique, to have a voice, to figure out what I believe in and take a stand. But that can also manifest in a negative way when taken to extremes. I'm constantly, internally, flip-flopping throughout the week: hating myself to loving myself. Condemning myself for the lack of accomplishments to encouraging myself for how far I've come. Completely frustrated for not being good at the things I want to be good at, to realizing God has a plan for me, and through focusing on him and walking his path, I will feel full, happy and accomplished.

The Physical Self-Hatred
Growing up, I hated my body, and I still struggle with that.
I have a bit of a tummy and I was always thicker then my friends. As I went through spiritual problems, that caused a lot of mental strain a couple years ago. The strain lead to a lot of weight gain out of which I hated myself even more, which pushed me deeper into a mental funk and depression. It was a very dark period, and even ever since then I've been struggling to get the weight off. I was soooo ashamed of my body, with so much hatred for myself, and my lack of direction, I was in tears at some point in most the days.
Along with always being (as my mom would say) shapely, once I was 17, I started gaining a lot of weight. Until I was suddenly in the plus section. Which tore my self esteem apart.
At the time I was dealing with so much hatred and criticism from extended family, I was so stressed, and my energy levels just dropped. That all played a part of gaining weight, but I saw it all as my own failure. Starting to not be able to fit in anything at the stores I usually shopped was so hard, and what really killed was most the plus size stores I found, were for older women. And when I did find things more appropriate for my style, most the clothes didn't fit my body type.
It felt like i was living in a personal hell of hating myself, the way I looked and who I was. Going shopping became this chore. A strain that once being in the fitting rooms for hours having found nothing, would send me into another tail spin of depression, tears and grief for having lost the body that I took for granted, but wanted back oh so badly.
And being shown all the plus size models, and thicker women that were okay with there bodies, or had overcome their negative view of themselves, didn't help in the least.
It just made me feel worse, for not being able to make myself love me.
Everyone acted as though it was as simple as making a choice to like what i see in the mirror, when all I saw disgusted me... and I couldn't change that.

Growing up I had health problems. A lot of them. Mainly Type-1 Diabetes, but add eight other conditions on top of that. My diet wasn't that great, I didn't have a whole lot of discipline either, so I never had a good schedule down. But I did take insulin when needed/remembered, I did try my best to take care of myself, but my blood sugars were never that stable. and from that comes a lot of shame, especially from extended family and doctors. People who didn't fully understand everything I was going through with my other problems.
With most my diseases being auto-immune, they all play off of each other. It was never like one was a major problem to control, but stack them all on top of each other, and it made everything hard to control. Each doctor would only look at the one thing they were specified to, instead of everything.

As an adult, I'm really working on my diet. and I've already lost some weight. but there was a period of time, where I couldn't go to an endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) because I was terrified of them.
I had had so many bad experiences, from being yelled at in the doctors office, to being verbally shamed with every visit. and it gave me a lot of negative emotions to deal with for many years, not just about the doctors/medical field, but mostly about myself.

It took me to focus on getting healthy, instead of losing weight to finally gain a respect at for myself. I still don't necessarily LOVE my body, but I'm choosing to care for it in the right way. and in doing so I've lost weight, I've gained perspective on my beauty, and I'm not lost in my flaws anymore.

Spiritual Persecution
Non-Christians feel judged by Christians, people they view as hysterics who don't abide by logic. While Christians feel persecuted and judged for following a savior and a set of guidelines that define their lives. Mostly because, as Christians, we are told to share God's love and his message, and a lot of people don't agree on how to go about that and do it in a very negative and sometimes even hateful way. But we do still have guidelines that we have to live by. although sometimes christians twist those guiltiness to fit what they think is write, and a lot of times on either end, the world doesn't like that.
From my perspective, as a Christian, I don't sit on some mighty horse, judging and looking down on people, feeling all empowered. I feel hated and wrong by society for my beliefs, for other Christians beliefs, for others Christian's actions against people. I'm scared to open my mouth on most of my beliefs because of what comes after:
Nobody has discussions anymore, nobody agrees to disagree and move on.
It's all a big argument on who is right in every situation.
which can end up feeling a little like oppression.
(Feeling, not saying I am oppressed)

Emotionally over-extended
Since I was little, I've always had my heart on my sleeve, emotionally bleeding for everyone in every situation. I get so overwhelmed, and I meltdown at points, when I see people arguing, and the hatred that gets spewed. Especially over the internet, since I'm on it a lot.
I have opinions, and a lot of them I stand by, especially a lot of my Christian ones. But the way people treat people, whether is religion against religion, or lack thereof, race against race, meat-eaters vs. vegans. We treat people like crap, and forget that everyone has emotions. We get so walled up and defensive, we can't see where the other person is coming from. So things just blow up.

I've gotten so hurt from arguments I wasn't even in, and the ones I have been in, have felt like I was going to die from a heart attack. I've cried over so many things, world problems, country problems, friend problems, that either didn't effect directly, or didn't effect me at all.
even just watching movies/shows with disasters, disease, broken hearts, death, etc. I will get emotional for how I would feel in those situations.
Seeing the negativity in movies, shows, on the internet, in family situations. It can be hard to want to be a person in the world, or when something hits especially close to home, feeling hated, oppressed, or shamed can come into play.

Educational Stigma
For kicks and giggles, lets add in there that I was also Homeschooled. Which of course has its own stigma about it. Nowadays I hear very positive things about it from outsiders and a lot more open minds. but growing up, that wasn't so much that case. I am 100% behind homeschooling, don't get me wrong, I am so glad I was, especially with my learning disabilities, I was able to get a lot of the help I needed in the areas I needed, and I would love to go on and on about the benefits. but thats not why I brought it up. I brought it up because when I was growing up, you definitely met people who didn't think so highly of homeschoolers or their parents, and it got/gets a lot of flack.

A Work in Progress
This last year, I got a lot of deliverance from the cloud that burdened me. I still have emotions surrounding certain area's of my life, and I still go through days of self-hatred, not knowing why my skin is so bad, why I can't get my eating habits and blood sugars under control, hating my body type, my lack of energy, lack of direction or feeling of purpose, feeling hatred from the world on my views or beliefs.

But thats why I wanted to talk about this.
As a Christian, I know what He says about these problems, I go to church, read the Bible, and pray. I mostly know what psychologists and therapists would say, I've seen enough movies with these problems, enough talk shows, and done research in the past. But It can still be soooo hard to follow the right path. While in discouragement is can be hard to even see the right path, because you're so focused on all the other paths that you aren't taking, or the paths other people are taking.

But being a Christian means I'm supposed to be this happy-go-lucky woman, who has it all going for me right?


I’m a person, I’m a sinner, I have flaws, and it takes work constantly bringing those problems, those burdens, and fears, and hatred, to God. Giving them up to him, asking him to take them. Those are things I keep grabbing back from him, or Satan keeps poking a stick at. and I let him for awhile because they are my weak points. giving them completely up, can be hard. we as humans don't like letting go of control. we feel like if we aren't worrying, if we are focused on our flaws, then we aren't caring, or we are prepared.
but God tells us to give all our burdens up to him, and let him take them off our shoulders. that he will light our path, take care of us and bring us what we need.

I have seen with my own eyes, all the things God will do with your life, when you give those things up, and focus on him and the path he wants for you. When you stop being stubborn and actually follow the path he has for you. This year, I had a breakthrough.
I do still struggle, Life didn't turn into a cake walk or anything, but once I stepped forward, and actually did the things he was asking me to do, even though I was scared, He blessed me in so many ways.

I’m not anywhere close to the person I would like to be, doing what I would like to do, or in a place in life to be in. BUT I have to acknowledge, that from where I was, the deep dark pit I was in, I have climbed out, gained perspective, and am slowly moving forward.

Maybe you don't struggle with these problems, maybe you can't relate, maybe you aren't a christian, and don't want to be. and thats fine, I wasn't trying to convert anyone,
I just wanted to share this. for the people who struggle with self image and loving yourself, whether you have reasons behind it or not, whether you are Christian, or not, whether you have a been told you are fat/ugly or not... we all have problems, insecurities, fears.
Not everyone loves themselves, and not everyone is going to feel any different just because someone shared a photo that says "Be who you are".
YOU are not alone in that.

My answer, is a life alongside Jesus and God.
But for those who can't/ don't want to relate.

My advice, my thing to live by, no matter what race, religion, or what you wear:
treat People how you would like to be treated!
If it doesn't come easy to you, then work on it. Understand not everyone has it as easy or as hard as you do, but try and see things from their perspective.
If you want to be heard, then hear others. If you want to be loved, love others. If you want to be treated kindly, then be kind.
And remember, loving people, and respecting them, doesn't mean you have to agree with what they stand for, or the decision they make.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

FOOD PORN: Doughnuts Edition

So I wanted to share this little bit of food porn with you all
From upper left to right; Holiday Malasadas, Double Chocolate, Apple Fritter, Egg Nog, Gingerbread, and Pear Charlotte.
About 4 miles from us is a little shop called Sidecar (I'm sure I've mentioned it before) and they have the best doughnuts!
they have their signature doughnuts, which include my favorite, 'the maple bacon', and have 4-5 doughnuts that change monthly.
Last month (during my break from healthy eating) we got all 5 of December's Holiday doughnuts (listed under the picture)
I must say, I was very much looking forward to the Egg Nog, and was sadly disappointed. It was a bit boring and bland. Nothing special. What did surprise me was the Pear Charlotte. Pear compote with pear cream and pomegranates, topped with cinnamon sugar, on top of a raised doughnut.

Its honestly something i wouldn't have gone for, since I don't particularly like fruit chucks with baked goods. But it was fabulous. Light, sweet, with a lovely pear taste surrounded by cinnamon. The cream is very light, not too thick or gelatinous.