Friday, November 8, 2013

Look at Her

A college friend and I have been chatting about experiences in our lives and we both simultaneously admitted that we had been comparing our lives to other women. Women that seem to have it all together. We think this based on what we see of their lives on social media.

She has the perfect body
Her husband must make bank so she can stay at home
Her kids willingly choose veggies over gmo tainted gummy snacks
She works 40 hours a week, and fits in 14 hours of cross fit a week
Her husband looks just like young Paul Newman, and does charity just like him too

This will make you go crazy. Life online is unrealistic. But, I do it all the time and I must stop. 

I certainly don’t expect social media friends to Instagram pictures of their negative pregnancy test with a caption saying “Well, there is always next month #ttc2years #clomidfail #IVFnext #retirementfund.” Or post a 15 second clip of an epic fight about money with a spouse on Vine #foreclosure #secondjob #shouldhavemarriedadoctor. Or tweet about how badly they want a chase a bottle of vodka with a bottle of wine #249dayssober.  

We don’t hashtag the bad, we hashtag the good.

I have to constantly remind myself that I am called to be thankful and, in everything, I am called to love and trust Christ.

When I am dwelling on what is going on in her life, and her life and her life, I am unable to do the things that I am called to do because envy and "what if" is deeply seeded in my unbelieving heart. I cannot be or become who I am called to be.

Monday, September 30, 2013


During the first week of my freshman year at BC, my friends and I went to the campus organizational fair. There was this really cute guy with a sweet goatee manning the Karate Club table, so naturally I signed up for Karate. Weeks in and I was hooked. However there was one exercise I struggled with.
Usually at the beginning and end of each class Dr. Minnix, our sensei, would have us sit, close our eyes, breath and silently clear our minds by counting. Once a stray thought entered your mind, you would stop, clear it out and start the count over.

This is how it went for me:

Can I get away with size 14 font on my 5 page paper? Dang it!
*I can’t believe I almost killed Dicegay…
I like this color of nail polish…

My mind, is like a freight train. I could be making millions if those freight train thoughts were productive. Sadly, they are not.

I find that I have this same issue not only in my everyday life, but it intensifies in my spiritual life.
I remember a friend of mine said that she finished the entire Bible in the matter of weeks. It took me 3 years to get from cover to cover. It can take up to 30 minutes for me to read a chapter, and that is not because I am delving into every single word. I am constantly distracting myself.

This is what Psalm 91, my favorite chapter, would look like in my head:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I wish  raw kale and spinach didn't taste like slugs
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a pet rabbit? Would it get along with Grayson
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
Nick kissed Jess. I wonder if this will mess up the entire mojo of the loft?
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
Did I set my alarm?

Obviously not much has changed since my freshman year. Psalm 91 is probably the most beautiful passage in the Bible and I ruin it! My thoughts are irreverent and irrelevant. My quiet time is being attacked and I am not soaking in what I should be learning and applying to my life. 

Several women from my family/framily are reading Crazy Love together. (Guess who is way behind in reading? Me!) While discussing our readings, my cousin brought up the parable of the sower and the soil. Good soil retains the Word of God, the bad soil does not. 

I am bad soil. I am a lukewarm Christian. 

My goal should not be reading through the New Living Translation, but to desire to learn from each word. It is time to set new goals. 

*Story for another day

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Nose

I like my nose. I always have. It is cute. It fits my face nicely. It is my favorite feature about myself. So you could say that I am pretty vain about my nose.

I noticed a tiny white spot on the right side of tip of my nose. It started to periodically bleed, usually after I dried my face with a towel. It started to get slightly bigger and puff up. I finally asked my GYN-PA to refer me to a dermatologist and she, being an amazing woman, did. Sure enough, the prognosis was Basal Cell Carcinoma: the most popular, easily treatable and typically non-spreading skin cancer. It required Mohs surgery and plastic surgery.

I arrived at the Dermatologist early in the morning for the Mohs surgery. They gave me local anesthesia in my nose which burned like fire with a hint of sneezey. The doctor scooped out the tumor plus a precautionary extra layer of tissue which, in all, was the size of a large green pea. They controlled the bleeding, bandaged me up and I went to the waiting room while they tested the tumor. If the cancer remained, I would have gone back in for a second scoop and would have repeated the process until all the cancer was gone. Thankfully it was clear with just one scoop and they sent me to plastic surgery.

The surgeon numbed me back up, good times, and then started cutting away. It felt like he was raking my skin. He had to borrow skin from the middle of my nose to fill the tip, then he borrowed skin from the bridge of my nose to fill the middle, then he had to pull the skin tightly from the side of my nose to cinch the bridge together. It was so tight I felt like and looked like I had a face lift on the right side of my face. The incision looked like a backwards 3 from the bridge of my nose to the nostril. 25 stitches in total.

He bandaged me up and discharged me. Before we were a mile from the hospital I started to bleed, which made me panic, which made me start to cry (ugly girl cry), which made my nose bleed more. So we headed back and we applied pressure, yes, pressure. Pressure! Pressure applied to a nose that was just tortured. A nose that was no longer numb. Finally three nose dressings later it had stopped bleeding enough to go home. (After Googleing, I found that bleeding was pretty uncommon.)

The next day my body, especially my feet, were sore from being so very tense and nervous through the surgeries. My nose, cheeks and eye lids were swollen, blue and tender. But the worst was behind me, with prayer and Tylenol, just days later I felt pretty good. 

Since the surgery my nose itches, has moments of stinging and cold burning. It feels heavy and numb along the scar. My nostrils are different shapes. But all in all everything looks and feels better than I expected.   

In the picture: Top Left. My nose before, you might notice a little lighter spot with a tiny pink speck, that is the cancer. Top Right: My nose after surgery. Lower Left: My nose after half the stitches were removed a week after surgery. Lower Right: My nose 4 days later after the final stitches were removed. 

So what did I learn?

1. Be proactive about your health. If you think something is wrong, stand up for your health.
2. Check your self, before you wreck yourself. Use your vanity and notice changes in your skin.
3. Anyone can get skin cancer. I'm young. I don't tan. Most of the sports I played were indoor sports. When I was outdoors as a kid, I spent more time in the woods than out in the open. I use SPF every day.
4. The smell of cauterized, betadine covered skin does not leave your memory quickly. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Peaches for Pirates

Tonight was a night of comfort food and this capped the night off perfectly!

Drunk Peaches

Slice 4 peaches in half and pit them. Place them, flesh side up, in an 8x8 oven safe pan.
Lightly sprinkle brown sugar over the peaches

In a bowl:
1 heaping tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of agave nectar
1 shot of spiced rum
1 dash of nutmeg
1 dash of ginger
1 dash of cinnamon
1 dash of salt
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

Warm mixture up slightly so that the coconut oil becomes liquid. (I just use a warm bowl)

In a small bowl mix:
1/2 cup of crumbled nuts (almond, pecan or walnut)
1/2 cup of oats

Evenly sprinkle the nut oat mix over the peaches
Evenly pour the coconut oil rum mix over the peaches
Lightly sprinkle brown sugar over it all.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and serve warm over vanilla ice cream!

You could use whiskey or bourbon to make this a true southern dessert. If you do this, then remember to use pecans!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pinterest Fail or Prevail: Chia Seed Pudding

I live in a very rural town. We have two grocery stores. Not much selection. At all. So, when Mike and I were driving through Charlottesville, VA on our way back from vacation I stopped by Wholefoods and bought some Chia Seed. I have heard great things about this wonder seed so I wanted to see for myself.

I made this chia seed pudding from the Baltic Maid's blog.

I would say this was a prevail. It had the consistency of tapioca pudding, which is a personal favorite of mine. I would say that this recipe is a bit large for one meal. So I am now cutting it in half for breakfast and I add about a half cup of frozen blueberries to it.

Again, if you have a very sensitive tummy, like me, this one takes a bit of getting used to. Also it is a strange texture (slimy and crunchy) so that might cause aversions for some.

Chia Seed offers a good dose of sticker shock, but a little bit goes along way. 1/8 of a cup is all you need.

If you don't like it, you can always make Chia Pets with your left over seeds.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pinterest Fail or Prevail: Kale Salad

Everywhere on Pinterest I see kale this & kale that.

Varieties of kale are growing in my garden as we speak, so, I have been wanting to explore recipes for this amazing super leaf! Last night I tried this Better-than-Trader Joe's-Kale Salad. It started off as a Pinterest Prevail, then by the end of the night it was a Pinterest Fail.

(Photo by original blogger)

Let me explain the fail portion: I have a sensitive digestive system and the kale was a bit too much for it.  I thought I was safe because I used baby kale. Not the case. So next time I will have to chop and steam the kale a bit. It was delicious enough for a "next time".

Here is the original recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ¾ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 cups of finely chopped kale
  • 1 can of rinsed and drained chickpea
  • 2/3 cup of dried cranberries (rehydrated)
  • 1 cup of prepared edamame bean
  • Some mint and basil
  • Carrot Shreds
  • Garnish with cherry tomatoes and slivered almonds 

You pretty much just toss it all together.

Of course I did "this and that" with the recipe. I omitted the carrots and added green onions. Instead of almonds I added pumpkin seeds (quickly becoming my new favorite snack.) Then I added white balsamic vinegar to the dressing.

I spent April just eating away. Chips, pizza, DQ Blizzards, you know, the works. My poor digestive system was in tangles by the end of the month. So my goal for May is to eat as raw and as veggieful as possible.

I made these raw beauties last night too to help me fight my desire for an Oreo Blizzard: German Chocolate Fudge Bites. Three words: OH MY GOODNESS! (Double the recipe, I think it processes better. Also, I bought Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, which I think is much better than Hershey's original cocoa powder.)

Happy raw eating!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pinterest Fail or Prevail : Stuffed Peppers

My friend, Lacey, blogger extraordinaire, inspired me through her series of blogs titled “Pinterest Test Kitchen.” So, I am going to follow her lead. Lacey and I are real people with real lives. We are busy, we work, and we have picky eaters in our families. We need meals and projects that work.

The truth is, Pinterest can, and eventually it will fail you. When it fails you, you end up with a grumpy family and a full compost bin (ain’t nobody got time for that.) So my goal here is to try out recipes and let you know “Fail or Prevail.”

Tonight we prevailed VICTORIOUS!

Here is my take on it because I do not like to follow recipes to a T.
Grocery List (In Order of how you find it at the store so that you can copy and paste it to your list)

4 Large Poblano Peppers
3 Average Sized Jalapenos
3 or 4 Tomatillos
1 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Red Onion
1 can of Corn
3 Chicken Breasts
1 Bag of Colby Jack Cheese or Block (I’m lazy so I get the bag)

Things already in your spice rack:
Sea Salt

This is a meal for 4 hungry people- It takes 1 baking sheet, 1 Pan, 1 cutting board, 1 mixing bowl.  
  • Grill up your chicken in a bit of EVOO and diced it up into about dime sized bites. After it is fully cooked, let it cool.

  • Slice your jalapenos in half and de-seed them. Cut your tomatillos in half. Leave your poblanos whole. Coat all of this in EVOO and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Place them on a baking sheet and broil at 500. Broil until the peppers are tender. Remove and let the Poblanos cool. BUT immediately put your tomatillos and jalapenos in your blender (I love my Magic Bullet) with a dash of salt and pepper. Blend until it is liquefied and set it aside.
  • Dice up about a cup of red onion, tbls of garlic and tbls of cilantro (really however much you like) add all of this to a large bowl. Drain and add the can of corn. Add the chicken and a cup of cheese. Dash it with cumin and pepper and salt to your liking. Mix it up.

  • Once your poblanos are cool split them open (not in half) and de-seed it. Stuff them with your chicken and veggie mix.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425.

Once you plate your peppers, top it off with the tomatillo & jalapeno sauce.

This is really amazing with some black beans and rice.

This is a pretty healthy meal… exclude the cheese and it is a really healthy meal… but why would you want to do that!?

This meal is Mike approved and will become a regular meal in our household.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cover to Cover

I was struggling.

Men have been going to war for eons.

Women have been saying goodbye to their husbands since war began.

I was not unique in this, but I was struggling with deployment none-the-less.

One night, in the thick of distress {ugly crying} I heard the song Psalm 91 by Sonicflood. The lyrics struck a chord with me and I wrote the words on my heart.

“God you are so many things.”

I have been reading the Bible since I could read, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what those “so many things” were. That night, in the middle of excruciating missing, I made a commitment to read the Bible cover to cover to find out who exactly God is.

Tonight I shut the cover behind Revelation 22:21.

It took me nearly three years.

It was an epic, trying, emotional, frustrating and fulfilling journey. Sojourn.

With all 2272 pages of Eugene H. Peterson’s Message accounted for, I discovered that I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg on finding, seeing, knowing who God is.

Tomorrow night I will break open Genesis 1, New Living Translation, and start the journey over.

“You are my refuge and strength. You are my hiding place.” That is who God is… just to start with.


PS. For those who feel the call to read the Bible through for the first time and you want to start with the Message, feel free to ask me about my thoughts on starting with that translation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's Been One Year

March: Flu Recovery (the same flu from the last post)

April: Broke my right arm because I fell down {Clumsy Much?}

May: uhm-teen doctors’ appointments

June: Finally adapted to being a lefty

July: Epic wedding in Asheville with friends

August: Endless work and physical therapy

September: Admissions Travel Season

October: Admissions Travel Season month 2 and FRANKENSTORM! (Awesome storm for us but insanely tragic for the Northeast)

November: Wonderful Thanksgiving with sisters, parents, brother-in-laws, nieces (one was being in utero) nephews and cousins  

December: Volleyball league & Christmas with the Lavoies = games and good conversation until the AM

January: Interviews and the decision to leave my job for a new career

Feburary: Hello Hannah! Grown ups, Abbey and I, flew to WI to love on our new niece.  

It was a doozy of a year to say the least, but I learned so much. Mike deserves a medal for surviving this year with me. He was a hero in many ways {too many to list now, but I will soon} Thanks Mike.