Beautiful Surrender

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat a blessing to be a blessing!

I was blessed this past weekend to work another Walk to Emmaus, and it did not disappoint. It was an amazing weekend experiencing an outpouring of God’s love.
There is a moment during the weekend where most women realize their brokenness and lay it down. That was such a beautiful moment to me. To see these women broken and laying down their; fears, frustrations, worries, and past at the foot of the cross and know that it is all forgiven and made clean through Christ’s love and sacrifice? Probably my favorite part of the weekend. As crazy as it sounds, it is true. I was afraid that I might get into a bit of trouble after, but I could not wipe the smile off of my face. I was grinning and had tears of happiness in my eyes as I thought of what these women were picking up when they laid all of that down. They are picking up the joy, peace, and love that comes with fully allowing Christ to have it all! Who could ask for anything more? Will it be all rainbows and butterflies from now on? Nope. There will be challenges, struggles, temptations, and sin; but to have the hope and love of Christ, to live in expectation of the glorious banquet that awaits us when this temporary life is through makes it all worth it. We even get to experience God’s love and gifts while here on this earth! They are around us, we just have to open our eyes to see them waiting on us, wooing us back into His loving arms.
We are all broken vessels, but it is through the cracks that His light shines through.

Health Update

wpid-2014-09-20-09.37.59.jpg.jpeg

This is my Halloween post! OK, not really. This is my health update. I just know you are curious.

A quick recap of where I was at the last time I wrote in December:

I figured out I was in stage 3 adrenal fatigue and had basically no female hormones. I was on liquid herbs that made me anxious and jittery, and I was gaining weight at a rapid pace.

I finished the 4 months of herbs in April, and had to buy a pant size larger every month until I was done. That was frustrating, but I pushed through. I didn’t see my nutritionist throughout this time, he wanted me to just stay on the herbs and complete the 4 months then see him. He said that my next step was a detox that would pull the water weight right off of me in a few short weeks and I would be back to normal. Welp, that didn’t work. I did the detox and actually gained a little weight. It was 10 days of no meat or caffeine, that was tough – not going to lie. So after the detox I went back to see him and he said, “you are doing much better than anticipated, you can tell you have been eating 100% right. All we have left are your hormones, and you should be good to go.” That was in early May and I pushed through that month with no results, so I was done. I wanted to see what my body would do off of supplements because I have been on them for so long, and I was tired of hearing, “this is all that is left, you are doing great, just a little bit more.” Whatever. Something is not working and the supplements are not helping at this point. I haven’t really seen any change, good or bad, while off of the supplements; so I think that is a good thing. He did a lot of good for me, I am not denying that at all. I am glad that I went to see him and have made improvements from where I was in the beginning of the whole journey.

That brings me to this week. There was a health fair at work and a chiropractor that I have been thinking about visiting had a booth set up. I stopped by and had an initial posture check and found that I have three points greater than 1/2″ out of alignment, which is “severe.” I made an appointment for Thursday afternoon and went for an initial consultation; assessment, xrays, and adjustment. After my inital check he identified that my left shoulder was higher than right, right shoulder was tilted forward, head tilted left, right hip higher, and 19 out of 27 vertebrae didn’t move as they should. (“Um, what!?”) He looked at my symptoms sheet and said, “this all correlates with what I found, let’s get you in for an x-ray.”

In the x-ray it was found that I have scoliosis of my lower back, and my neck has a reverse curve. REVERSE.

I looked at the image and said, “well, it isn’t TERRIBLE.”

Chiropractor: “It’s reversed, you have a 109% change in the curve of your neck.”

Me: “Oh….”

Yeah, so that is good to know. I will be going to see him for the next several weeks for an adjustment and rehab to get things back to where they should be. He anticipates a full recovery. He quickly identified that I am the type of person to go all out to do things right. I may or may not be a perfectionist in things I can control…I should work on that.

I was sending text messages to my family after and when I said I have scoliosis my dad quickly picked up the phone to call me. “Go to a REAL doctor, Jen!” O, here we go.

I have been to several doctors over the years; have had sonograms, MRIs, x-rays, biopsies, and even a CAT scan. We have ruled out PCOS, MS, tumors, etc. This makes sense to me that this is related to my spine. This is the missing link. God designed our bodies to work well and to heal, but when the nervous system isn’t functioning correctly it can’t work at 100% capacity. Where is your nervous system? Your spine! And mine needs help.

I am excited to get started on this next step in my journey. After the first adjustment I woke up before my alarm and felt well-rested. I’ll take that!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It is a Saturday in September, therefore college football is on. Duh. :-) James is watching the game as I finish the Divergent series. I read the first book early this year, started the second, but didn’t finish it. I am planning to start it over and finish the series soon. It isn’t too shabby; we watched the movie and kept saying things similar to “That isn’t how it happens in the book!” We had the same issue with Heaven is for Real. Great book! The movie wasn’t bad, but there were some differences that I didn’t find particularly necessary.
So, a bit of a fill in on my life from my absence – my boyfriend’s name is James and I met him last April at an Emmaus event. We started dating at the end of December and were doing the distance relationship thing until June when I got a job with the same company he is with and I moved! He is an electrical engineer and I am mechanical…we could probably make some cool stuff together lol we have put together a hammock, that is as much as we have built together. But it went really well! I was pleased with that; those moments can get a little heated – especially when you have two engineers together. He is quite a blessing, I could not have imagined a more perfect person for me! God’s plans are much better than our own. His timing and plans are perfect. More on that later ;-)
Anywho, yesterday I was eating lunch with a co-worker and a woman came in the room who I have only spoken to in passing. She was talking about someone that she doesn’t get along with and ended with “respect is earned, not given” while shaking her finger. Now, she started her conversation with my co-worker as; “this doesn’t leave this room…” while I am sitting right there at the table. She does’t know me from Eve, yet she is going off about someone saying that she doesn’t want to tell others. Yeah, I am sure we are the only people she is saying this to…I took that as, “I am going to tell you, and the people down the hall, and anyone else who will listen.” I am obviously not going to go into what she was saying, because it isn’t to leave the room. I keep secrets. And it didn’t matter anyways. O drama. Anyways – the point of this was her statement of “respect is earned, not given” I have been thinking about this for most of the morning. I have agreed with this statement in the past and even said it myself a few times. However, I have reached a point in my life where I struggle with this. People deserve respect. All people; no matter who they are or what they do – deserve respect. We are all making an impact on those around us, good or bad. We are all making a difference, and I believe that most people want to feel as if they matter. I know that it is not easy to treat everyone with respect due to their behavior or their reputation, but I still think that it should be done! (trust me – I have a hard time doing this at times)
We don’t know or understand what others are really going through. We don’t know what in their past has caused them to become who they are today, so why not give them the benefit of doubt and believe that they are truly good people somewhere inside!? I know when I was at a low point with my eating disorder and such I was not always a good person to those that I love. I am not going to lie – I was cranky and not fun to be around. I had a lot of stuff going on that I didn’t even realize at the time. I look back now and realize I was not myself during that time, but that has changed. I am happier now than I have ever been before, and probably more empathetic and compassionate towards others. It took me several years to get to this point, but it was worth the valley. Maybe others are in the valley.

I try to keep in mind Maya Angelou’s quote:
People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Respect everyone. They have been through a journey that we know nothing about.

I’m back!

I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog, I just haven’t taken the time to write anything for it :-/  I have had a busy year; through May I was traveling every weekend or had a guest, June I got a new job and moved 70 miles away, and have been traveling quite a bit since. I used to write on Saturdays,  but my Saturdays filled up and I lost track of time!  I will fill in some details now that football season is around. I am not a fan, but my boyfriend is…so I will have some time. Until then, I will leave you with this picture I took in southern Illinois a few weeks ago.  :-)

image

Some Shocking Truth

image

There are 27 million people alive in slavery today.TODAY. In 2014.  It is hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that this happens and is so prevalent, it is disgusting.

It sickens me that there is a market for this, people sell people because people buy people.  People steal, manipulate, and abuse people because people BUY people.

As you know, I tend to get on a soapbox about some things and human trafficking is one of them.  I have been around people who have poked fun at it and it didn’t take long for them to figure out my stance. This is not a joke, it is not funny. It is true, it is damaging, it is evil.

Just wanted to share this image, the Super Bowl is a high traffic time in the US. Be informed.

#ShockingTruth #EndIt #SuperBowl

New Focus

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

It is that time of year again. Time to begin making statements on things that we wish to do next year or changes that we want to make in our lives. The New Year seems to be a great time to do this, it is almost like a fresh start. 2013 will be gone, 2014 is here! Man, 2014 seems crazy. The years have flown by lately.
Last year, my plan was to re-evaluate the things I was doing and reduce my stress levels, I think I was successful in this at some points throughout the year. I eventually had no choice this summer when my body was like, “NO! You will do no more!” and then I was later diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal exhaustion.
I mentioned my goal for this year, to heal. That is one of my resolutions, I am excited to feel better and get back into the gym. I am planning to be back in there Thursday and know that I won’t be able to lift as much and will be discouraged initially, but it will come back. I finished another book yesterday, and I found a resolution in the acknowledgements. I read this before starting the actual book and thought, “this is how I wish my life were described, this is how I want to live!” so instead of coming up with a list of items I want to change or do this year, I am going to focus on this:
“I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to the gospel. It burns inside of me. And it seems to get hotter every day. I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, wrestling with it, reveling in it, standing on it, and thanking God for it. For better or for worse, my focus has become myopic. My passion has become singular. Lesser things don’t distract me as easily. I’m more relaxed. What others think of me (either good or bad) doesn’t matter as much as it used to. I’m enjoying life more. The pressure’s off. I’m beginning to understand the length and breadth of the freedom Jesus purchased for me. I’m beginning to realize that the gospel is was more radical, offensive, liberating, shocking, and counterintuitive than any of us realize. And that’s beginning to be okay with me. Like Aslan in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the gospel is good but not safe.” – Tullian Tchividjian Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Am I the only one that gets really excited and inspired to live a life like that?! I could not wait to dive into this book after reading that and I was not disappointed. It is a great read and focuses on the gospel and the impact it truly is. We tend to try to add things by our own merit and think “what can I do for Jesus?” but need to turn the focus around and think “What has Jesus done for me?” everyday. Remind yourself of the price He paid everyday and live in surrender to Him. This is my prayer for us all as we look forward to 2014, time to focus on what is the most important thing that has happened to us and for us. Time to learn the true freedom in Christ. Time to change the focus from inward (“me”) to outward (Christ)
The past several years I have been asleep at midnight and awoken refreshed and ready to take on the New Year on January 1, but this year I might be awake when the clock strikes 12. Or I might have to celebrate with another time zone so I don’t turn into a pumpkin. We’ll see how the night goes!
I hope everyone has had a 2013 that they made changes and grew in some way, and I pray for a life focused outward to Christ in 2014.

Resolutions

This is how I started my morning; coffee, a good book (Jesus + Nothing = Everything) and my white elephant Uncle Si blanket.  Love mornings like this!

This is how I started my morning; coffee, a good book (Jesus + Nothing = Everything) and my white elephant Uncle Si blanket. Love mornings like this!

Good morning!
This year the family had a very low-key Christmas. My sister and her boyfriend, Weston, came in on Sunday and had to head back to celebrate with his family on Christmas day. We had to change things up a bit, but it worked out well. I didn’t mind at all and actually really enjoyed it. Much less stress.
Christmas night I went over to a friends house and we played games with her parents. We started with Cranium, “It’s an easy game to play” she said. Right. My partner and I definitely were in the lead when we ended, but another group never got off of the starting spot. We ended the game and switched to Hedbanz when Erica* came in to join the fun. Hedbanz is a lot of fun, but can be a little tough at times. When you get a funny card everyone looks at you and laughs…not cool! It brought back painful memories. (not really!)
Between games Hannah* made a comment about needing to lose weight and Erica looked at me and said, “yeah, Sarah* is starting weight watchers January 1 too, doesn’t that make you feel good?!” Sarah then patted her stomach and said, “It needs to be toned, look at this, that is not cute!” Neither Hannah nor Sarah are overweight by any means, and Sarah doesn’t have much of a stomach to be patting. I took Erica’s comment as if to say – Jen, you and I are bigger than them, what does that say they think about us? It sounded as if she took their desire for weight loss as a personal attack. I have been there, I get it. Maybe it is my history and sensitivity to this issue that led me to this inference, but that is what I took it as. I wasn’t really sure how to address it at the time, so I just kind of shrugged my shoulders.
Honestly, this doesn’t make me wonder “what do they think about us if they think they are too big?” – It saddens me. They are beautiful young adults who have so much more to offer than just being a smaller size. They deserve to take up as much room as they please. We get so caught up on changing our physical size to in the upcoming year, that we miss out on bigger and better things that are out there for us. If you make a resolution to change your weight next year, understand what is driving you to want to change. Is it health reasons? Is it pure aesthetics? Is it to draw a certain kind of attention from others? Is it to fit comfortably in your clothes? What is your primary motivator?
I want to heal next year. I want to have a physical healing of my body, I want to heal the relationship I have with myself, and to continue to grasp the unfathomable power of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. I don’t want to be consumed with my size, I don’t want to take someone else’s desire for weight loss as an implication that I am overweight, I don’t want to have negative self-talk as my body changes. I have had too many years where I made resolutions with respect to my size and I am done.
I have finished yet another book, that makes 4 out of 23. Watch out, now!

*Names have been changed for the protection of those involved (ha!)

Chris Martin Writes

Pressing more into Jesus Christ everyday

Covered in Beer

by Thomas Cochran. Just another idiot on the Internet...Great.

Daily (w)rite

A Daily Ritual of Writing

Fifty Shades of Jazz

Awakening Mindfulness Improvisations in Literary & Acoustic Portraits Jazz

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 151 other followers