Monday, August 7, 2017

An Open Letter & The Significance of August 7th

Last day of our honeymoon in August, 2014
(Too Long To Read? Listen to a recording of this blog being read at the bottom of this page)
     I woke up giddy this morning. Every year (for the past 3 years) this day always strikes me with emotions, and today the emotion was Giddy-ness / Joyfulness / a bubbling fountain of sweet expectations and dreams come true.... I guess you could say, its been brewing in the background of my life for over 7 years, and has popped in to say hello every August 7th for the past 3! I pray and hope it continues for the rest of my years.

     Tomorrow is our 3rd wedding anniversary.

     The sweet bubbling feeling however.... well that always starts the day before our anniversary. As any bride knows, the day before your wedding is full of this anxious anticipation of what is to transpire the next day. Their is this kind of lingering in the moment, and yet a longing for what is to be after this momentous occasion is marked in history....
     For me, the bubbling began brewing when over 5 years ago my now husband but then friend tried to mention to me that he had feelings for me. At the time... I didn't want to hear that... I was worried about ruining the great friendship we had... And yet even then there was something in the back of my mind that whispered that he was the one. In fact, over 7 years ago when we first became friends, I knew that there was something different about him.... But let me get back to why today is so special!
     What few people know is that the day before our wedding was to take place, after the beautiful rehearsal dinner and rehearsal was over, we went on a little outing with the wedding party, my grandparents, my cousin, and my aunt and uncle. Truth be told, I was exhausted! Wedding planning is tough, and we had only been in the same state as all our wedding plans for about 7 days since we had both just gotten out of year long community service programs. We had purchased some flying lanterns and decided to have a sort of special "dream" ceremony of our own. We went down to a dear friends beach, and handed every couple, every friend, a lantern. we told everyone to light their lanterns and before they let them go to lift up a special prayer, dream, or wish that they held close and wanted to come true. 

Our Wedding Party!
     The significance of this was that a year prior I had done this with my housemates and neighbors from Mission Year. At the time of Mission Year, we were all lifting up prayers, wishes, and dreams that we had for our neighborhood that year, as well as personal ones. Mine for the neighborhood was that God would always be present there, found there, and bless that area. My personal one was twofold- thanking God for guiding my personal life and relationship in a way I previously had never experienced... and then wishing that if it was in God's will, that by that time the following year my then boyfriend and I would be engaged.

     Little did I know that God had plans for us to be getting married a year later!

     So as we stood on the beach, surrounded by friends and family, lifting up flying lanterns in the sky the night before our wedding.... We made wishes. Not just for our wedding day- but for the rest of our lives, and for this journey called marriage that we were about to embark on. And our friends made wishes too!And it is that moment that I think back to every single August 7th.

     Tomorrow is our 3rd wedding anniversary!

     3rd may not seem like a very big milestone. Its not 5, 10, 25 or 50! However, to me each year is like a new ring on this branch of my life journey... It marks something accomplished and something to look forward too. It marks something to value and treasure. It marks another season to have and to hold, another unveiling moment of the beauty that is God's plan for us. Another reminder of just how good our God is.

magical moments
     That picture up above captures the beauty and magical moments that resurface for me when I think about not only those beautiful days in the past, but the love that God has blessed us with. Its about us and God yes, but it is also our tribe- the communities that help to make us who we are and make our love fuller.

     An above honorable mention to a couple that falls into that category is my grandparents. We share a great day with them as we got married on their 49th wedding anniversary... making our first anniversary their 50th! What a legacy to be a part of! To say the least... they inspire me. They inspire us. Their journey holds a whole hosts of lessons for us to learn from that encourage and guide us.

My Lovely Grandmother & I     

     I love this picture of Grandma and I. I was feeling SOOOOO nervous when this picture was taken because I have an aversion to being the center of attention in front of large groups of people.... and there were about 300 folks out there, many of whom I would be meeting for the very first time, who were all about to be staring at me! I was also experiencing that bubbling anxiousness that I mentioned before. I look back at this picture and see all of that in my face, I see the joy too, but more than that I look at my grandmothers face and I see the joy in hers. I remember the stories she told me of when she and my grandfather were getting married, and I  think to myself that what I was experiencing was probably very close to how she felt the night before her wedding, and the day of.

     Wedding day aside, marriage is such a wondrous and beautiful thing.

     Does it mean that we are perfect? That we have reached some kind of #RelationshipGoals or love nirvana? No, haha! We are far from perfect. We have our moments where we argue, were I nitpick, and were we sometimes hurt each others feelings... but we both know that no matter what happens, that other person is there for us and still loves us with all of their heart. We are willing to continue the journey no matter what, looking forward to seeing how God will further shape and mold us- as a couple & as individuals.

Dearest Husband,
I loved you before I knew you. God had a plan, and his plan was good. I didn't always believe that a love like ours could ever find me... In all actuality I still wake some mornings delightfully surprised that this love is real and continues on. Its broken down boundaries and strongholds that held me captive. Its awoken parts of my mind that had been hidden away for long periods of time.
Each year with you is a new journey, every day a new adventure. Though those adventures aren't always ones that we take up as willingly as we took up each other, I am forever grateful to God for bringing you into my life.
God had a plan, and he knew it would be good.
When we were in our darkest moments, he knew how to
orchestrate the unbelievable. When I thought romance was out of the picture for me, he knew better and knew best.
We have come from some ridiculously intricate stories, and all that we thought would never be made right or good God has proved us wrong in pairing us with each other. There is no one I would rather do life with- No one I would rather laugh or cry with, no one I would rather argue or eat pho with; You are the one for me and I will forever agree that God had a plan, and not only was it good but it continues to be good and to flourish in ways I never imagined.
When I got lost in God, God brought me to you. When you got lost in God, God brought you to me. I don't know how he made this happen, but I am so glad he did.

We have made it through some crazy times together. Honestly, its nothing short of God that has done that either! From facing things as small as an argument over drier lint, to bigger more daunting issues of infertility and hopelessness, we have always come out from under those storm clouds... and more importantly we have always come out from those raging storms together.
It may be obvious that I have so much love for you. It may be obvious that God has so much love for us. Even still I can't help but say it again: God had a plan, and it is good! May our love and lives forever be lived under his will, and may our passion for him never die. I love you Freddie. Happy Anniversary ❤️

Read More

Friday, June 2, 2017

Healthy Couple: Paleo, Keto, and Spousal Support

I have been trying to get healthier for a while now. Once I found out that I could have more control over my PCOS symptoms based off of what I consume, choose not to consume, and use to heal my body.... I decided I would rather do that than medication any day! Not to say that I am against medication (kidney stones will literally make you cry for pain meds), but if I can take care of myself more naturally via food, then why not?

Of course, this led to months of research, talking to doctors and nutritionists, and figuring out what would be best for my body.

In the beginning, when I was put on metformin, I was told a little bit about how it worked, and then told not to eat carbs. Prior to this I had never counted calories, read the back of food packaging, or really even knew what carbs were... Bread? Pasta? I was seriously overwhelmed, confused, and feeling awful thanks to my symptoms, new medication, and topsy-turvey hormones! So I did what any 20 something who doesn't live with their parents does... I turned to the internet. In some ways this was super helpful, but initially I had no idea what I was looking for or looking up and I ended up becoming so overwhelmed with what I could not eat or shouldn't have that I found myself sobbing in a grocery store parking lot while my husband tried to go inside and find things I could eat.

Let's rewind.

I only remember crying over food twice in my life before the grocery store meltdown. Once was specifically when my mom served tomato soup and mince meat pie on the same night and I was maybe 9 or 10 and really didn't like the taste of either of those things. I had to eat what was in front of me (thats how dinner time at our house worked), which usually wasn't a problem, but that night I was so disappointed I cried over my tomato soup and was sent to bed early.

The other time I cried over food I was in my freshman year of college. I weighed as little as I ever have, and was fairly small in size. I didn't really have time to eat because of all of the extra jobs I had at the time, and silly me figured I'd be fine and sustain myself on Nutella and crackers in my dorm room.... until I passed out in my dorm. My suite mates told the nurses I hadn't eaten in 2 days, and needless to say, for the rest of that semester I had people consistently after me to eat! The following semester, I struggled a lot with how I looked. I had gained  some lbs over the previous semester after people kept telling me to eat- I was a healthy size, but I did not like how I looked. I remember just choosing not to eat. I ate a little, but only when people noticed I wasn't eating. I kept myself busy and away from food. I would workout with the cheerleaders and my suite mate, and ditch the meal they would eat after. One night, a well meaning male friend brought me some fries and yoo-hoo since I hadn't gone with our usual group to dinner. I kicked him out of my dorm, and then just stared at the fries and cried. I had lost more weight, but I wasn't feeling myself and I was far from happy. I knew that not eating couldn't continue.  My relationship with food has been complicated ever since I was a teenager, but it definitely got more complicated during my college years. Eventually the pendulum swung the other way, and I got healthier... until I turned to food for comfort.

Fast forward to present day.

I know a lot more about my overall state of health, and I 'm trying to teach myself how to have a positive relationship with food that is beneficial to mind, body & soul. 

When I started looking into what would help my PCOS, I decided to try going Paleo. In a heartwarming gesture of solidarity (and much to my relief!), my husband joined me and bought a Paleo cookbook to help me figure out what I could eat a little easier. During those months of Paleo eating, I did feel better overall. But I was maintaining a weight- not losing what I need to or would like too. After looking into several different ways of eating, talking to nutritionists, doctors, and people who are currently managing their PCOS via diet, we are switching over to a Ketogenic lifestyle, or Keto for short.

Now, I am no professional, so take what I say with a grain of salt, and do your own thorough research before trying any new diet. From what I can tell, Keto is one of the best ways of eating for managing epilepsy, diabetes, PCOS, and certain other hormone and insulin related issues. Its also suggested by some cardiovascular doctors to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Luckily, I have people in my life who are supportive of this and can help support me and hubby on this journey to figure out what works bests for our bodies. I am excited to start this way of eating, but I also know that it will be hard at first.

I wanted to share this with you all so you can not only get a glimpse into my health journey and how it is progressing, but also because I hope to share my favorite recipes and progress throughout this journey on the blog.

What about you? How is your health journey going? I would love to hear more in the comments below! Also, check out a simple pancake recipe we tried out while Paleo in the video below:

Read More

When Your Past Speaks...

"Woke up this morning incredibly grateful for the blessing in my life I call my husband.
We don't have it all together (by a long shot), and thats ok. We don't have too. God's got us, and as long as we stay focused on Him, that is all that matters. #JesusBringsUsCloser"- Facebook, May 23 2016
The above photo popped up in my memories on Facebook about a week or so ago.

While reading that caption and realizing what I wrote it a year prior, I was a little dumbfounded at how much it spoke to my heart. It was as if God knew I would need a reminder a year from then. A reminder that I don't have to have it all together. A reminder that He's got it all for me. That's so like Jesus isn't it? He brings us freedom when we most need or least expect to receive it, and in unexpected ways.

For me, I find that the Holy Spirit often speaks to me through my past. I don't know if that is because I am young or because I have made a lot of mistakes- I guess that is neither here nor there. Point being, when my past resurfaces and begins to speak, I choose to listen.
I've been that way for many years now... not living in the past, or reliving it (which in some cases is really dangerous), but looking to how God moved in my life or spoke to me in a situation... or realizing "oh, that's what God was doing then!", now that I am on the other side of it- whatever it happens to be.

Thanks to Facebook, we now get these reminders everyday (or at least everyday we were posting something) of what was happening each year before on that same day. And while I think it's a pretty cool tool and invitation to reflect, we only ever put selective / impressive / positive things on our Facebook pages. How we present ourselves on Facebook is often not as genuine or realistic as real life, or it only paints a small portion of the picture. So, I have other methods of listening to my past and learning from it that I use more consistently.

One of these method's is Journaling.

I know I know, to all the people out there thinking "Aren't you just a little to old for keeping a diary?", The answer is YES! That's why I call it a JOURNAL.

But seriously, I've been keeping journals since I was 8 or 9 years old, maybe even before then. Writing is something that gives me life, so typically journaling is easy for me to do (unless I am suffering an outrageously strong bout of writers block). I used to enjoy writing about what was going on in my life, imagining historians finding my journals years later and turning them into a book. Adult me has a bit better of a use for them then leaving them for people to find! occasionally, I will go back and read through my journals. They remind me of where I have been, things I felt strongly, and ultimately what God has done in my life. They hold memories that time would forget. They hold passions, hurts, miracles, and testimonies. When I can't recall something fully, I can go back to a journal and see if I wrote anything down about it. Chances are, if it was something I felt strongly about, specifically in my teenage years, its written down or typed up somewhere.

Then there are times when I just read through them without any particular reason in mind. When that happens, usually something will jump off the page at me- whether its a quote, a memory, a dream, or a prayer- and God will begin speaking to me in my present, utilizing something from the past to get me where He needs me to be.
When your past speaks to you it can be encouraging, motivating, or explaining something. It can bring healing to wounds, and better understanding of self. It can direct you with caution-  "Don't go the way you came, remember we have been down this road before!!" or it can direct you with reminders of who you wanted to be. It helps you to command your present, or to walk into the future with awareness.

Does your past speak to you? Do you create intentional time for reflection, or keep a journal? I would love to hear more in the comments!
Read More

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Instagram Post: Weekend Away


This weekend has been... This weekend has been a whirlwind!

It didn't start the way I had hoped or planned- I woke up with hives all over my legs, in addition to the sinus infections hubby and I both have. We didn't leave when planned, arrive when planned, etc... but we made it. This weekend has been full of joy and rest. We took time to rest, catch up with one another, pray, focus on Jesus, and explore new places. Despite the physical pains we both have on one side of our faces- we persevered through it and found fullness. This weekend has been... another chance to change. A reminder that we are growing individually and as a couple. A reminder that Jesus is a constant guide regardless of opposition. When was the last time you took a moment to catch up with your spouse? When was the last time you were able to focus totally on him, together?
Read More