Monday, February 23, 2015

General Life Update

   Hello blog world!

   I just wanted to pop in and give you a life update. I always hated doing these for whatever reason, but with all the stuff going on in my life I just feel like I could tell everyone in one place instead of answering a million questions of individuals.

   First, I would like to apologize for typos. My baby sister spilled an entire cup of coffee on my family's only working laptop. The laptop survived, but not without damage to the key board. It's now got realllllyyyyy bad sticky keys. And the numbers don't work at all. So this post is going to take twice as long to write up.

   So here is what I've been up to.

   Well, as many of you know, I recently had a kidney biopsy. The results weren't so good and it appears that the lupus has gotten to my kidneys pretty bad. I'm now having chemo treatments every other week. Bad news is the possible side effects of chemo. The big two are losing my hair and losing my ability to have kids. Both of which I was saddened by hearing. But the good news is that I haven't been reacting too badly to the treatment other than my legs going oddly numb and some stiffness, which is more annoying than anything. Plus they upped the dosage of my steroids by a lot. So my lupus is kinda going out of control right now, but I have actually had a good week. I was able to exercise for the first time in a long time, which felt awesome. I'm going in for my next treatment on Friday, so we'll see how that goes. I've really been praying about how God wants to use this. Since I got sick I've been opened up to a whole new community of people, which means a whole new mission field. I'm excited to be able to reach out to them. So be praying for that.

   I had one photo session with a family from my church and it was great! I also got to take some pictures at my church's chili cookoff as well as my nephew's first birthday party. My friend, Maddi, made an incredible cake for the event, which is pictured below.

   Currently my goal is to save up for a DSLR camera which has been incredibly difficult considering I don't have a job. But God is providing in more ways than I ever thought possible and now I'm almost halfway to having all the money for it! I can't wait to grow as a photographer and be able to offer my services more. I've also been toying with the idea of starting a legitimate business someday.
   Today I officially finished all my senior textbooks. I was really trying to push myself this year to do better in school since I've always struggled in that area. Now I want to take the rest of the year to focus on college prep and math. I want to learn how to properly write a paper and all that jazz. 

   Ahh yes....that novel I wrote back in November...yeah that needs to get rewritten. I, however, know nothing about rewriting. I haven't got a clue where to start on two hundred and twenty pages of nonsense and gibberish. It can get overwhelming. But I don't want to give up on this story. It means a lot to me and I really feel God wants me to tell it. In a way, the book was mysteriously prophetic. It was a tough one to write since it involved being very open. God spoke to me a lot through writing it and I would hate to have it metaphorically rot on a shelf somewhere.
   Also, I HAD THE BEST PLOT BUNNY EVER. But I know I can't start it until I finish Forlorn Hope. But I may just have my NaNoWriMo for this year. Mwahaha! It's a psychological thriller esque. I am foreseeing so much research for that novel...but I'm excited!

   Becoming An Adult
   Like I mentioned before, I need a job. But there has been quite a good number of complications with this, mostly stemming from the fact that I can't seem to get an ID. But if all goes as planned I shall be getting that on Wednesday! After that, job hunting. Dun dun dunnnnn. Finding a job is going to be insane because I need to essentially find the perfect job. One what isn't a sitting down desk job and also one that I can tackle on a bad flare day. I want to enjoy it and I also want to work with people. Also, it has to be within walking or busing distance because I can't drive. I have a few ideas but I'm not sure who's hiring right now. I'm nervous because, well, growing up is scary and I hate commitment. I'm worried my body isn't going to cooperate. But I like working. I don't like being stuck inside all day, which is what my life is right now. 
   Then of course, getting ready for college. I'm going to community college, but I haven't got any of that sorted officially. I did my FAFSA but that' it. I need to register for classes and meet with the disabilities office about making accommodations for me, which I am so thankful they are willing to do. Praise God. I've got to save up for college supplies, mainly a laptop, and work out money things. 

   Things On My Heart
   ~That there are so many amazing people and things and great photos and breath taking sights and mind blowing stories I'll never get to experience or see or hear about. And I don't know if that saddens me or inspires me. 
   ~There are so many hurting people all around me and I am at a loss to take away their pain. And lately I have felt crushed by that. But its both beautiful and painful and I don't know if I'm angry by that or happy. I honestly think both.
   ~The stigma around mental illness.
   ~Fellow spoonies who are suffering more than me.
   ~The notion that life isn't a competition
   ~Learning to genuinely love others and listen and not just wait for my turn to talk. 
   ~Striving towards true spiritual maturity. 

   Things I've Been Loving
   Here is a miscellaneous list of things I'm enjoying as of late.
   ~late night bible time with my Christmas lights and candles
   ~The music from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake
   ~Chocolate pie
   ~My friends
   ~Trying new foods
   ~Getting back into fitness
   ~Ludens cough drops and Orbit gum

   Sorry that was longer than I expected. Whoops. I hope you enjoyed this post I made mostly for myself so I know all the crap I need to get done. Writing helps me think. 

   How are all of you?! Let me know in the comments or like my Facebook page and send me a message on there or email me or bother me on Twitter. I'd love to hear from you! 

   Have a great day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Truly Healthy

   I've been meaning to talk about this for a long time now and I've had a lot of concepts about health floating around in my head for some time that I wasn't sure how to fit together. But alas, here I am. Before I begin I just want to state that I'm not a professional anything. I'm no dietitian or nutritionist (yet. Mwahaha.) so keep that in mind. I don't claim to know it all, or really, anything for that matter. These are just my opinions.

   Okay, we can continue.

   I love health and fitness. Always have, and prayerfully, always will. For as long as I can remember I've adored exercise. I used to have to do weights or squats or sit ups while I watched TV because I couldn't sit still for extended periods of time. I used to bike 6 miles to church at least once a week. Of course, that all changed dramatically once I was diagnosed with lupus and I began to have trouble breathing and what not. But still, fitness is my best friend. I have a tumblr dedicated to health, or as well call them, a fitblr; and my Pinterest is stacked with healthy nonsense and exercise ideas and cute workout tanks. My best friend/work out buddy and I regularly take trips to the Nike store or Sports Authority to drool over their sports apparel. And lastly, I would rather play volleyball than watch a movie. Honestly.

   But health is such an important topic to me because mainly, I feel like its talked about in all the wrong ways. See, we tend to think "healthy" and "skinny" are synonyms. Or that working out 6 times a week is "healthy." Let me just say, it isn't. Is physical health worth the sacrifice of your mental health?

   I work with kids who are struggling with eating disorders, so naturally, these things are important to me. On a daily basis I see people who have these sad relationships with food, and in tern, sad relationships with their own body. I am very aware of the problems that come with preoccupation with food as well as negative self image. And I'll let you in on a secret: I've not always had the best relationship with food. I've had self image issues and food issues for a long time and sometimes I still struggle with them. But one thing that helped me is my fitblr. Yes, my tumblr helped me out of self esteem issues. True story. On there I found a community who were dedicated, hard working, confident, and strong people. And they were people of all different body types. Some were vegan, some did keto, some had abs, some didn't; some had been doing this for years, and still others were just beginning. But I learned so much about health and what it means through that community,

   I used to think to be healthy you had to eat all the right foods and exercise a lot. But I found that it is so much more than that. I think a lot of people misunderstand health, and there are a ton of people who believe themselves to be healthy (and have the abs to show for it.) but who are weak mentally and spiritually. Health isn't having a nice body, it isn't feeling good, it's not living off of lettuce; it's being nice to your body, in every way. I went through times where I would beat myself up over eating unhealthy foods, or would eat right but only because I knew the guilt I would feel if I didn't; this my friends, is called eating out of fear. This is so not healthy. I could be eating all the right foods but at what cost?

   Something I have witnessed a lot in my life is people who are genuinely trying to turn their lives around and eat better and exercise more, but I think we gotta be seriously careful in that. There is such a thin line between dedication and obsession; and it is so easy to fall into the latter category, Sometimes we aren't even aware when it happens.

   So in case this wasn't apparent, let me state it openly. Mental health is as important as physical health.

   Paul addresses this issue beautifully in chapter 4 of 1 Timothy. He writes "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things."

   So many people get so caught up in trying to eat right that they end up becoming obsessed with food. It eats away at their mind and steals their joy. Many people won't develop eating disorders, but many will develop distorted eating patterns and an unhealthy relationship with food. Food is meant to be fuel and to be your friend. It's not a burden. One should never feel bad about eating and should never restrict their food intake. Please don't beat yourself up over what you have eaten and please don't stop eating because you feel fat and please don't you ever think you're not beautiful because you're not "skinny." Because health isn't a number or a size.

   You need to remember to feed more than your body; you need to feed your soul. I am a firm believer that chocolate is healthy. For your body? Not so much; but for your does wonders. I'm dead serious when I say that. There's a difference between gluttony and eating chocolate every now and then. And trust me when I say that nothing tastes as good as a bit of chocolate after of a week of knowing you fed your body properly. I am 100% against food restrictions and diet culture, If I had my way, that D word wouldn't even exist in my house; no matter the context. In my personal experience, restriction only leads to binges and guilt and self punishment. It's harmful; not helpful. I think people need to stop labeling foods and good or bad and stop saying they "can't" eat something. Because you can. But you should choose the foods out of self love. never self hate. I think we need to stop eating certain foods because its what we "should" do, and eat the right foods because its what we want to do. Don't exercise because you hate your body; exercise because you love it. I also don't believe in counting calories or any of that crap. Like heck to the no. When you count numbers it begins an obsession. I can't do that to myself. And I am also of the belief that weighing yourself is bad too. Every now and then is fine; like I only do it at the doctor. But every day to every other borders unhealthy. These are ways we start to get obsessed with numbers.

   One last point; you need to know your body and your limitations. I can't stress this enough. Each person is unique and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and no one knows them better than you. So be very mindful of those things. Let me elaborate; for example, I know I have had a past with self image issues and I know I also have obsessive tendencies; if I were to completely restrict certain would be a disaster. I am not willing to risk my mental health for a nice body. So what are your weaknesses? Keep in mind some areas you may be vulnerable. And work on them. If you have self image issues, maybe things you see on tumblr might trigger you, so while getting a fitness tumblr was good for me, it might be bad for you. Either way, know your own body. Keep in mind what foods make you sick or what makes you feel good; how much sleep do you need? Can your body physically hold up after working out 4 times a week or do you need to start less and build your way up? It's different for each individual.

   I'm not trying to bash healthy eating. No way. I am all for it. I love how I feel after a healthy meal and I love working out and being active. I also love  making cookies and eating the cookie dough and drinking coffee in the morning. What I want you to remember is to be aware of your mind and your spirit and your soul; they are the core of who you are. But please, please take care of your body. And do it out of love. Know that beauty isn't a size and it's okay to have a piece of cake. There is something so special about sitting down to have a meal with someone. ("There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good."-Ecclesiastes 2:24.) I want you to be happy and love life and not worry about how much you weigh or what pant size you wear. I want you to have a healthy mind and a healthy body and I want you to love yourself and be confident and eat right and want to improve but to never stop loving yourself every step of the way.

   You are worth it and your body is a temple. Love yourself.