Monday, October 29, 2012

Some things I learned over the weekend....

It was my mother's 53rd Birthday this weekend. And I think she looks as lovely on the outside as she is on the inside. That's a whole lot of lovely going on.

This weekend the temperature dropped dramatically in Michigan. But, the fall weather has been gorgeous. And nothing compliments fall adventures like coffee and long strolls through really quaint towns.

The quaint Michigan town I am referring to can be found here. They also have a covered bridge. That's right. All your quaint little town dreams are coming to fruition right here.

Do sunsets ever get old? I don't know, I just love seeing the day wrap up with such a dramatic display. It pretty much begs me to get out my camera.

It's the end of October. What?! I'm still clinging to pumpkins for a little while longer before my festive side takes over. Have I mentioned my love for Christmas?

Speaking of Christmas: Have you seen the Target Christmas commercial yet?! I have. Multiple times. And I love it. Alright Target, you win.

Tell me about your weekend! What were you up to?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Weekend!

I'm over here today chatting with the talented and adorable Margaret on her blog: Floral & Frayed.
If you have some time today, come and say "hi!"
It's supposed to cool down in Michigan this weekend and my family is definitely looking forward to that.
High seventies this time of year just is not "normal" for us.

Wishing you a lovely weekend with your version of perfect fall weather!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

30 Days :: the basics

30 Days of 'whatever I do'

You can consider this my official plan where I attempt to bear the details to my last post.
I have no idea why 30 days always seems to be the running number for major life changes. 
But, I decided that 1 month would be a great place for me to start making changes. 
It takes awhile to break bad habits and it also takes awhile for my body to almost detox itself of repetitive high blood sugar number readings.
30 days is the official time frame that I am giving myself to really share & seek what God is going to do during this time in my physical health. This is by no means a time limit on Him or my efforts but more of a: I want to record my progress and the overall difference in this period of time.

I am rereading some literature that I purchased awhile ago. 
I have been detoxing my body the last few days by attempting to be aware of what I'm putting into my mouth. 
Let me tell you, I am craving sugar like crazy. This is the hardest part in my opinion. 
It's amazing how psychologically you start craving things just because "you can't have them".
 Am I alone on this point?
Those moments are when I really have to start praying and asking God to work that self control in me. 
Not to mention, I also have to watch my attitude because "hungry" easily turns to "hangry" which is the combination of 'hungry' and it's good pal 'angry'. 
Not a good mix.
It always leads to self-pity. And that is simply not needed here. 

Anyways, so if you are wondering what the fine details of what I am trying to accomplish in 30 days looks like. 
Here are my goals (in list form, of course). 
Follow a low carbohydrate diet (as this is what spikes and raises and my blood sugar...and the complications follow that.)

Cutting out:
Sugar (I may alter this by allowing myself to indulge in something sweet every so often. I simply have not decided on a time frame yet).
Bread, Grains, Pastries,Pasta...(you get the point).
Crackers, Chips, and any other "snack" food with blood sugar raising carbohydrate.
Fruit and Fruit Juices.
Milk and some dairy products with high amounts of simple sugars.

 With this I am taking a variety of vitamins that my body has known to be deficient in. 
And I am trying to incorporate more water into my diet as I struggle with that.

I will be updating posts as I go simply to keep myself accountable and share what God is doing. Because I am choosing to have faith that He is going to do something. 
He never leaves a good work unfinished.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whatever I do

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, 
do all to the glory of God" 
: 1 Corinthians 10:31
That is the verse that came rushing into my head about two weeks ago.
Sometimes God's direction in my life comes slowly:  piece by piece. Other times I have felt the weight of conviction so heavily upon my heart that I know exactly what needs to be done. 

As human beings when we feel physical pain or are struggling with physical issues it can have a direct connection to us emotionally and spiritually. And it works the opposite way as well. 
As I was praying and seeking God for my health a couple weeks ago, I came to the realization that this journey needs to change for me. I can't keep allowing the physical to distract me in my emotional and spiritual walk. I can't keep being half a person.

I have prayed earnestly for strength and healing in my life.
And I do believe that my God has a day appointed for me and for my full healing.
But, as I wait on Him.
As I trust Him with this area of life am I being obedient?
 Am I surrendering every area of my life to Him?
And yes, I really am talking about the food I put into my mouth.

I am inserting here that this is my own personal conviction that God is working out in my life.
So, by no means am I applying this to everyone.
But, I'm not like everyone.
My disease reacts directly to what I put into my mouth. It just does.

Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruits of the spirit. One of those being "self control". And I had to ask myself these questions in light of such heavy conviction: am I exhibiting self control when I willingly shove that doughnut into my mouth?
 Am I really bringing glory to God by choosing to eat things that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt will have an immediate negative effect on my body?
Am I fully surrendering my will and what I want to Christ in this area?
Or have I sectioned it off and simply done what I want the last eleven years without asking Him?
Each question held a painful answer.
I have been simply doing what I want.
Even though I am blessed enough to live in a time where I have knowledge and information that shows me a better way.
I had to come to the conclusion that I am not bringing glory to God when I feel physically bankrupt. Not to mention, this body is a gift. And how I treat it and take care of it does matter. There are a lot of things about this disease that are completely out of my control. My immune system attacked my pancreas. Alright, not much I can do about that one.
But, there are things I can work at, and having the disease itself is no reason to ignore that.

  I can't do anything without His strength. That fruit of the spirit, you know the one: self control. It is just that: a result of Him in me.
He works it out in me through my willingness to run after Him. He works it out in me by the power of His Word.
I can not make one lasting change in my health apart from His grace.
 I cannot do this alone in my strength.
I cannot break eleven years of bad patterns and bad decisions and just chains of perfection without Him.

So I am saying: "God if you will work this in me, by your power, I am going to be obedient. I am going to work at exhibiting self control in this area of my life. I am going to seek to bring you glory through whatever I do."

I am sharing all this with you as an act of accountability but also as an invitation.
 In the next couple days I am going to have a plan outlined here on the blog that goes into some specifics for what this looks like for me.
 But, if you would like to join me in this, whatever it may look like for you, I would love to be able to pray for you and be mutually encouraged.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control..." : Galatians 5:22-23

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some things I learned over the weekend....

Grocery shopping while hungry is never a good idea. 
And I would like to add to this list: grocery shopping on Saturday.
Also, an equally horrible idea. 

I am becoming unable to sleep at night. 
Part too many ideas in my head and part too much snoring coming from erick. 
Rest assured, someone is getting sleep in this apartment. 
But, it isn't me. 

The last of the leaves are falling here in Michigan. 
Soon, we will have a bunch of naked trees just hanging out together. 
Except those pines. 

I am on the hunt for the perfect cowl. Not too bulky. Because I would get lost in it. 
Not to mention, does anyone else suffer from neck pain in the colder months from too much bulk? 
I'm talking: coat, scarf, sweater, and that beast of a purse we lug around. 
My shoulders are crying out for a light cowl. 
Any ideas or suggestions on where to find one? 

Ummm...I am trying really hard (realllllly hard) not to listen to Christmas music. 
I dabbled in some Tony Bennett the other day and I'm officially having withdrawals.

Foggy sunrises are absolutely beautiful. 

How was your weekend? What adventures did you take?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Walking for the Cure

About a month ago Erick and I had the opportunity to walk for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and our hope for a cure. 
I have talked about my life and experiences with Juvenile Diabetes (Type 1) on here many times (here and here).

In all honesty, the day felt very symbolic to me. 
I have never done anything like this. 
Never publicly gathered with a group of people who were all either living with this disease as well, or walking in support of their child, or their grandchild, or a close friend. 
It felt quite empowering and emotional all at once. 

I was choosing to walk for myself, but I was also walking for the thousands of people that were fighting against this every single day. 
It is a battle. 
And there are so many parents out there doing whatever they can for their child. 
For hope. For a future.
I do not take it for granted all the research and support that has developed throughout the years for this disease. 
I know that I have access to resources that used to never be around.
 Matter of fact, there was little hope for a healthy future with this disease even fifty years ago.

So, I want to say 'thank-you' to the people who have donated their energy and their time and resources and encouraging words to this cause and those affected by it. 

You have no idea how much hope you have given us. Life is such a precious thing. 

And to those who have supported me personally by giving me a shoulder to cry on when things get tough and encouraged me to keep going and have prayed for my healing: thank you.
Your prayers of faith have pushed me through the last eleven years. 
And I was walking to celebrate that.

If you want to learn more about JDRF and how you can support the hope for a cure go here.
If you want to find a walk in your area check here.
To learn more about Type 1 Diabetes head on over here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A pumpkin carving soirée

I am not proud to admit that I have never carved a pumpkin. 
For someone that loves fall this much it almost seems like an impossibility. 
This year I owned up to it, and decided it was time to break the chain.
So, we picked out our perfect pumpkins along with our carving devices and got to work at my in-laws house.

Lesson #1: Let me tell you, free hand drawing is not my strong point. My anchor, as a result, is slightly uneven in nature.

Lesson #2: Those little scoops you think you need to get all the pumpkin "guts" out don't work as good as your hands.

Lesson #3: The end result of our pumpkin carving makes us look like hipsters. This is not true. 
For two of us.

Lesson #4: White pumpkins smell like cucumbers on the inside.

Lesson #5: Pumpkin carving in the evening could be categorized as a great success.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Influenced from a distance.

I am unsure if I will be able to accurately express how encouraged I am.
The character of God is beyond what my mind can grasp. About a month ago I wrote a post about almost deciding to give up on this. This space. This blog. I felt as if it wasn't going the way I had envisioned it.

You know, because we all have those ideas and visions of how things are supposed to work out (dreamer meets Type A personality).

And sometimes I recognize (eventually) that God has other plans.

 I realized so clear as day my focus here, within this space, needed to be adjusted.
I needed all my intentions to be running towards Jesus and the cross and His Word and being committed and unafraid to talk about it.
To write about it.
To allow myself to let Him permeate this space.

I had so dearly hoped to attend a conference this past weekend that had a mission that spoke to my heart.
Influence Conference.

My mind was excited at the idea of meeting other women in this community that were writing with a similar purpose. With a similar goal. With the Savior leading the way.
I wanted to be there to meet these ladies that have encouraged me. I wanted to be there to grow.
I wanted to be there to cast my fear aside....and jump. Headfirst into all of this.
 Knowing that if I commit it to Christ, if I lay it down, He will be glorified.
 Somehow and someway He would make something from these jumbled words.

But, like so many other ladies have already expressed, I was simply unable to go.
It was as if the door was just quietly shut.
And at first I tried not to care too much. I wanted to save myself the feeling of vulnerability.

He wouldn't have it.
 I was reminded all weekend long through twitter and instagram and updates and retweets that this conference was taking place and God's name was being glorified.
And I wasn't there.
 But, this is where God's character is beyond what I deserve: it was as if God was speaking to me directly through all of these things.
 I read quote after quote that held instant conviction. Word after word that encouraged me. It was like all these dots were connecting. I felt that way. And someone else just vocalized it.
 God did have a purpose for me in this weekend.
 I was reminded in all these things that He is the center of all of this. And He holds it all together.
He is the one we are running after.
And He is why I continue to be here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lately, in Michigan...

The trees are turning at a rapid rate! I would say that in some areas of the state we are past peak color. It has been quite a show let me tell you. The trees in this state never cease to make my jaw drop at how absolutely vibrant they can get. 
I have been consuming an unusual amount of apples. Is that normal? Oh well, if it's an apple or a pumpkin based food product, I am all about it. 

Erick and I spent some time this past week taking long drives down some rural roads and visiting some pumpkin farms where there is (inevitably) an explosion of pumpkins, and corn husks, and precious animals.

And if that isn't enough to get someone in the spirit of all things fall, the temperature decided to help us along and plummet.
We actually had to turn our heat on in this little apartment because the nighttime temps were only in the mid twenties. 
Yup, a little taste of what is just hiding around the corner!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy Birthday to my dad:

Happy Birthday to a dad that is hardworking.
This says a lot about your character. 
 You have worked hard, sacrificing your time, throughout the years for this family.

Happy Birthday to a dad that is always there to give advice and instruction.
Dad we appreciate you raising us to love Jesus and His truth above all else.
And I appreciate your willingness to sit us down and impart some of that wisdom (that comes from all these Birthdays) when we aren't too sure what to do. 

Happy Birthday to a dad that taught me to love music.
All those Sunday mornings listening to your acoustics in the bathroom taught me a thing or two about singing.
And we knew how to "rock out" at all those concerts we attended.

Happy Birthday to a dad who knows how to keep Christmas well in his heart.
It has always been the most wonderful time of the year for me. 
And I'm sure that has to do something with my childhood memories of you loving it so much.

Happy Birthday to a dad that is actually pretty creative.
You may sit behind a desk, but I know you have inner artsy side.
My bedroom door was plastered with your drawings as a child.
And I still have every single one.

Happy Birthday to a dad that always puts his family first.
We know that you love us. 
And we love you too.

Happy Birthday to a dad that always taught me to do my best.
I know that is all I can do, and anything I do deserves at least that.

Happy Birthday to a dad that gave me a nickname that passes time.
(Not newts)

Happy Birthday to my dad.
 I love you very much!
And I'm praying for many more Birthdays with you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The idol of approval

The idea of this post has been rolling around in my head for awhile. Rolling around, because it is much harder to type it out versus letting it marinate.
Maybe you can relate to the things that I'm about to pound out on these keys.

I have recently admitted to myself that I struggle with the idol of approval. 

You may wonder what I mean and why I'm choosing to call it out that way. 
Let me break it down. I don't like to not be liked. I don't like to disappoint people or make them upset.
In short, I find myself seeking the approval of people around me, making sure I'm not letting them down. Depending on them to let me know that I'm still measuring up to their standards. That I'm still likeable.
You get the point.
And before you know it, you have idolized this thing. Whether it be approval, or insecurity, or dependency, or power, or control, or fear.
You fill in the blank.

The more God has pointed this out to me over the past year (and really refined this area of my life), the more I have realized that I have allowed this idol to prevent me from being about God's business at all times.
And instead I have been about the business of others.
Trying to please them. Trying to satisfy human needs.
Mind you, these things have layers. Idols don't usually develop over night. I can easily remember a time in my early teens years where I began to become self-conscious (insecure) with areas of my personality. That then spilled over into me becoming overly aware of things about my physical make-up that I wasn't too fond of.
That's right, I became overly aware of my flaws as a result of  seeking the approval of people instead of seeking God and His Word more. 

Insecurity leads to needing approval. 

Did you get that?

Insecurity in any area of our life will eventually lead us to the well of approval....and we will sit there waiting for someone or something to come by and fill us up and makes us feel better and validate who we are.

These things will betray us.
 Sooner or later.
 But, you know what God has pointed out to me personally in this area?  
He is God.
 He is worthy of all my intentions and priorities.
And I should be seeking His approval and His alone.

Well meaning people are still human. And when we seek people and things and stuff and hobbies and purpose to fill us up, to validate us, we will never have enough.
Please don't misunderstand me here, friendships and counsel and enjoying the things God has given us are good things. But, when they become the first thing we run towards, the problem lies there.
We will always come up empty.

But, God never runs dry. He is always pouring out His love. He is living water. He is the master artist after all. He crafted us and formed us and makes us into a one of a kind piece of art. How creative is He?!

So here's my point in sharing all of this.
To my fellow believers, to my fellow sisters in Christ, are you seeking the approval of others around you? Are you concerned more with human opinion and is that fueling insecurity in your life?
Lay it down and find your worth and value in the Savior. Come to Him and be filled up. Find your purpose in who He has created you to be. You are infinitely valuable. Seek Him first.

To those that may have stumbled upon this and recognize you are struggling with similar things:
Do you know Jesus?
His love never runs dry.

Monday, October 1, 2012

This is a post about October.

Let's face it. 
It is October.
I'll save you my long (and probably drawn out) explanation of "how could we possibly be here?!"
No, instead I will proclaim on this first day of October, some current enjoyments (of my own).
What are some things that you are enjoying on this first day in October? 
Feel free to express your own shock at the arrival of this month below as well.
This rug that I have been secretly spying on at Target ever since my eyes wandered towards it. It now has a home on my kitchen floor. And I walk over it repeatedly.

Spending time at my parent's house this time of year. I can not think of anything more peaceful.
An apple covered in caramel and peanuts? Yes, I think this is a great way to celebrate October.
My pumpkin. My view.
Am I the only one obsessed with calendars? Specifically ones that walk me through the French countryside? Because I find this exciting people. Another reason to love this month.  

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