Archive for ‘Hope’

July 19, 2012

Here’s to Health…

Have you ever felt like you are on life overload? I have felt like that recently. As a person, I am always in some process of self-awareness, trying to learn and better myself. That can sometimes get a little hectic and possibly out of hand.

Recently I have been working on my overall health. This has two major components. The first is to become nutritionally healthier. Since my first year of college up to recently, my weight has been steadily increasing. When starting college, my 5’6″ frame was at around 130 lbs or so. Sometime last year, about 8 years later, I hit about 200 lbs. That number crushed me. I couldn’t believe I had let myself gain so much weight. I hated loking at pictures of myself — I didn’t even recognize the woman staring back at me. About two months ago I finally decided enough was enough and started Isagenix, which is an all natural meal replacement program. I’ve been working with a therapist/life coach/friend who has helped keep me on track and so far, through a change in diet and exercise, I’ve lost somewhere between 8 and 10 lbs (yay!!). This isn’t just about losing weight, though.

The second component is paying better attention to what I put in and on my body. This is about educating myself. First is food. The main reason most people are overweight is sugar. Our society consumes entirely too much sugar – namely processed sugar, which is found in most anything that comes from a package. But processed sugar is also that white stuff found in your sugar bowl in your kitchen. Better options for natural sweeteners  are honey, agave syrup, and brown sugar, which still contain calories but have less impact on your glycemic index. Along with being more aware of the sugar I’m consuming, I’m also more aware of other things I consume. I try to avoid vegetable oil, replacing it with olive oils, coconut oil, grape seed oil, etc. I also have almost completely eliminated partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) from my diet. I am also in the process of eliminating all white flour and white sugar from my diet. These changes aren’t super easy – but eating more whole foods (non-packaged items, fruits, vegetables, and meats) makes it a lot easier.

Secondly: products. In my life I have started eliminating certain products that contain toxins, poisons, or dangerous chemicals. So far, this has included ventures in homemade deodorant, homemade cleaning products, using essential oils to  relieve headaches, goat’s milk soap, and trying out a non-shampoo hair rinse made up of a baking soda rinse and an apple cider vinegar rinse (results post is soon to come). I am continuously going to be looking for healthier and more natural options for my everyday health and beauty products. That being said, any input or ideas from my readers would be greatly appreciated. Other things I’m interested in are homemade laundry soap, dish soap, bug spray, carpet cleaner, and  any no-flour baking ideas.

As you can see, the past two months have been filled with a lot of change. Hopefully I can start paving the way to a healthier and more natural life. Now only if I could drag my husband into it with me… 🙂 Baby steps!!

 

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Make sure you are healthy enough for physical activity before starting any exercise regime and be sure to be aware of any possible allergies, etc before changing up your diet.

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May 23, 2012

Floor of Failure

Sometimes I look in the mirror

and you rear your ugly head

I try to pretend you aren’t there

that you don’t exist

Then I trip and fall flat on my face

You are ever-so present

and all I want to do is cry

give up and lie

on the floor of failure

Tonight I’m facing this

monster that paralyzes me

with fear with invisible power

I can’t put my finger on it

The intangible terror is

dancing with you in

my head

My mouth is dry and my

words are gone

What you don’t know, though

is that I just took my

first step

to no longer being under

your thumb.

May 18, 2012

H2O Project: Changing a Perspective

There’s nothing like a little suffering to put life into perspective.

At my church we decided to take on an initiative to help provide water wells in places where they do not have access to clean water. I talked about this a little bit in my last post. Now that I’m clear-headed and caffeinated once again, I feel as though I’m ready to talk about it some more.

The initiative is called the H2O Project. The idea is that you give up all beverages besides water for a certain amount of time. During that time you calculate what you would have spent on all other beverages. At the the end of that time you take the money you would have spent on other beverages and donate it to an organization of your choosing that will help provide water wells to developing countries who do not have clean water. My church decided to send our proceeds to Living Water International

There are two parts to this initiative, which is why I think it is so powerful. There is the practical money aspect. They need money to make this happen, so we donate our money to those who need it. But then there is the personal aspect. We make a conscious decision to go without something we want so others can get something they need. We don’t have give up something to donate the money. The donation is the easy part. The act of giving something up is the hard part because it involves a little bit of sacrifice and suffering on our end. If we didn’t give something up, though, it would no longer make it personal. Of course being a little caffeine deprived is nothing compared to the suffering the people go through when they have no clean water. We’re talking disease, suffering, and death in so many cases. One child dies every 15 seconds from a (preventable) water related disease.

For me, the lack of coffee hit the hardest. The first week was one big headache between caffeine deprivation and well-timed allergies. But it really did put life into perspective a little bit. I realized that my “sacrifice” was definitely a first-world problem — similar to when your iPod stops working, or when your computer crashes, or when a speech from the president interrupts your favorit show. Those are mild annoyances but not nearly as awful as when your sibling gets cholera from drinking dirty water or when your government deprives your village of a water well because they don’t like your tribe.

This entire experience made me come to two realizations. First, this water crisis is very real to a lot of people across the world (about 1 billion people). Something needs to be done. Second, it really helped me to appreciate what I have. Namely clean water and coffee. That first cup of coffee after two full weeks with out any was heavenly. The best part, probably, was that I got to enjoy it with my mom on Mother’s Day. Since then I have had quite a large amount of coffee, but I tend to appreciate that warm, nutty goodness a little more than I used to. Needless to say, my co-workers are also appreciative of my coffee 🙂

I guess the moral of the story would be take the time to really enjoy the things you have in life — even the small things — and, every once in a while, think about what life would be like without those things. As a first world nation, we are truly blessed — even our poor and homeless have more luxuries than those in developing nations who don’t even have access to clean water. Think about it.

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May 6, 2012

The Clarified Ramblings of a Woman Recently Stressed (and without coffee)

I’ve had one helluva week. As I go through the details of this week, please note that this is fairly unedited and my original draft.

After two weeks of training, this was the first week at my new job where I was taking on my regular job responsibilities. It also happened to be the same week we started an initiative at church to help provide funding for water wells in countries where they do not have access to clean water. The H20 project is an event where you drink nothing but water for a set amount of time while keeping track of what you would have spent on other beverages during that time. Then you take the money you would have spent and donate it to an organization that digs wells for areas without clean drinking water.

During all this, the combination of caffeine-deprivation (no coffee, only water) and sinus/allergy issues left me battling several headaches over the week. On Wednesday we had some terrible storms matched with flash-flooding which left 3-4 inches of water in our basement and a rogue sock in our floor drain did not help the situation. After the basement drained, laundry washing began promptly before the molding commenced, as there was quite a collection of laundry on my basement floor. Before the flooding, I was preparing for a last-minute weekend visit from my best friend from college. This included a kitchen full of dishes to be washed and a spare room that at some point had become a storage unit. After washing nearly all the clothes and dishes in my entire house, my dear friend regretted to inform me that she would be unable to visit this weekend due to various outside forces and responsibilities (bless her heart). I must admit I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to see my friend this weekend, but I really did understand. It was very short notice and spur-of-the-moment. It did, however, give us a chance to plan something more definite for Memorial Day Weekend, which will give me time to get the spare room in order.

Now I’m not writing about this chain of events to complain, though there was plenty of that at the time. There were some small blessings that came out of this past week. When I took on those job responsibilities, I was actually working a week ahead of where my boss expected me to be – brownie points 🙂 I was also forced to do all of my laundry (fold it and put it away due to our weekend guest). I washed all of the dishes in the house (no dishwasher) because of our potential guest. I also had to face the dreaded spare room that I have been hiding from relentlessly. I found myself with superhuman capabilities of efficiency and drive to get things accomplished. I haven’t felt that productive in a while. That’s the thing about those mini crises we encounter every so often. They tend to pull us out of a funk. They put us into survival mode – we need to do what needs to get done because no one else is going to do it for us.

I think when we have those times when life takes hold and won’t let go until we simply go limp in its grasp, we can sometimes throw our hands up in exasperation say, “Well life sucks. What can you do?” I know for myself, I can often just become defeated. That attitude can be so detrimental to our souls. It can drag us through the mud and leave us there. In those times, don’t forget that everything has a purpose. It may not be pretty at the time, but God takes those ugly things in life and eventually makes something beautiful out of them. We just have to take a moment to see that. Take a moment and breathe. As my mother always says; this too shall pass.

 

*After I originally posted this today, I checked my email and this was my daily scripture: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:2-3

This is the lake in front of our house that was our street.