Monday, July 19, 2010

It's a long road to self-acceptance

This is kind of a difficult post to write, partly because it's so personal, and partly because it'll be hard to "save face" after this. I debated about writing it, but I think it's important to be honest with each other and with ourselves. So, here's me being honest...

I have always struggled with self-acceptance. I am constantly warding off personal demons that say if only I were prettier, thinner, more talented, more athletic, more charismatic, more social, more confident, more... I would have more worth as a human being. I would be more loved be myself and by others.

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with these thoughts, but there are very few who are willing to admit it. I can't blame them. Who really wants to go on the record as having self-esteem issues? Who wants to admit that they struggle too? I think that there is a fear that as soon as one does come out and say, "I don't have it all together like I pretend to" that you'll automatically be written off as a pathetic loser who needs to get over it and grow up. It's really, really hard to admit to not having it all together.

I can't pretend that writing this post isn't unnerving, because it really is, but I think it's important. I think that people who struggle with these issues can gain comfort in knowing that they're not the only ones. I think we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we try to hide our struggles. It's as if we're little kids playing hide-and-seek, thinking that if we close our eyes the others can't see us. When will we learn that pushing things out of sight doesn't make them go away? I suspect that trying to hide our struggles only gives them more power over us. Maybe putting it all out there is the first step to managing, if not defeating, those negative thoughts that plague us in our weakest moments.

So, with a deep breath, I'm going to put it out there. I don't have it all togehter. I don't have all the confidence in the world. I don't feel like I'm enough. Perhaps now I can start to grow and become more satisfied with who I am as a person.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big and small desires of my life

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I began thinking about what I want in life. As I lay there with my eyes closed, I made a mental list of the big and small. Here it is in no particular order...

1. I want to have some pet chickens.
No, I don't want to eat them (just their eggs.) I love farms and farm animals, and I would really love to have chickens someday. Ryan says that perhaps we can one day, if we live in an area that would be good for raising chickens.

2. I want to become a better writer.
I feel as though my writing skills have regressed over the years, and I would really love to sharpen them. Writing is such a wonderful, creative outlet. It's the reason I write this blog (because I know practically no one reads it.) It's something I do because I enjoy writing.

3. I want a healthy, happy, lasting marriage with Ryan.
Of course, everyone goes into marriage with this same desire, but many people tend to put less effort into the relationship as the years go on. I want to always have the same sense of admiration for Ryan that I do today, and to always make our relationship a priority.

4. I want to have children.
This is one of my greatest desires. Often times I feel like a childless mother. I want to have children so badly. The opportunity to be a mother and nurturer is something I look forward to in the future.

5. I want to grow in my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
I'm constantly growing, regressing, changing, and struggling with my faith (as all people do.) I'm not asking to be a perfect Christian or to have all the answers; I just want to live my life in a way that even remotely reflects the life that Jesus lived on earth. That in and of itself sounds like a tall order. Like I said, I don't have to be perfect Christian, but maybe a growing Christian would be nice.

6. I want to become a better photographer.
I love photography, and I've always wanted to take some classes. I really enjoy taking pictures of mundane things in a way that makes people see them in a new light.

7. I want to always be reading my way through a book.
Now that I've graduated college, I don't feel guilty when I pick up a book for leisure reading (as apposed to reading my required text books.) I usually feel better about myself when I am reading on a regular basis. I feel like I'm able to take in new perspectives and wisdom. I enjoy non-fiction best of all.

8. Stay hydrated.
I know this sounds like a weird addition to the list, but drinking plenty of water really makes a difference in your overall sense of well-being. It's easier to get out of bed in the morning, and your body is noticeably working more efficiently than when it is dehydrated.

Tell me some big and small desires of your life!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Gift of Marriage

Ryan and I have been married for 32 days, and already my perspective on love, marriage, and sex has been noticeably impacted. I grew up knowing that marriage and sex were sacred gifts from God and that they were to be held with integrity, loyalty, and appreciation. I never really truly understood that until I married Ryan. I understand now more than ever that marriage really is a gift from God. When you think about it, God never needed to create the institution of marriage (although I hate calling it "an institution") but when He did, He gave us this gift of committing the rest of our lives to someone else. Being married to Ryan means that we have a sacred bond that no one else holds with us. That we have an unbreakable promise to be with each other forever, for better or worse. No matter what, I know that he is committed to me, and he knows that I am committed to him. It's such a wonderful thing to know that we hold a very intimate, meaningful, and sacred bond with each other that we don't have with anyone else. God shows me everyday through my life and relationship with Ryan that we really are loved by Him without end.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Super simple, healthy, easy Tomato Basil Soup!

Last Christmas my mom gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received. With it being a few months away from my getting married, my mom made me a recipe book. She put pictures of me when I was younger with my siblings, and sweet sayings and quotes about daughters. She had put together a bunch of her recipes for dishes that she knew I liked. Her recipe for Tomoato Basil Soup was included, and I thought I'd share it with everyone. This is a VERY easy recipe, inexpensive to make, healthy, and really really yummy.

Puree a 28 oz can of tomatos in a blender or food processor.
- about 3-4 cloves of garlic (or a couple Tablespoons of garlic powder.)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of melted butter or margerine.
- about 6 Basil leaves

Blend all that together again, and serve hot. I like to sprinkle a little parmasean cheese in it as well, but that's optional.

This soup takes maybe 5 minutes to make, and has a very clean and fresh taste to it. I like to serve it with homemade bread or Garlic Thyme Buiscuits. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Make your own Yogurt!

My wonderful hubby is an avid runner, and is often likes to make a yogurt smoothie after a run in order to recover some energy. That being said, we go through a lot of yogurt fairly quickly. His coworker gave us a recipe for making our own yogurt at home. This is a very easy and inexpensive thing to do, and saves us money because we can make it in bulk.

Things needed for recipe:

- half a gallon of milk (whole milk will make the best yogurt)
- 5-6 Tablespoons of yogurt with live active cultures (buy a cup of yogurt the first time you make it, but after your first batch, you can just save a little bit of it for the next one. You'll never have to buy yogurt again!)

First, heat a 1/2 gallon of milk on the stove top until it is just about to boil. If it starts to foam a little on the sides, it's ready.

Then, strain the milk into a large pirax dish and let it cool until it is comfortable enough to stick your finger in for about 20 seconds.

Put in 5-6 Tablespoons of yogurt with live active cultures (it will say if it has them on the back of the yogurt container) and mix well.

Put a lid on the container and wrap it up with a few heavy towels. Let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, unwrap it and place it in the 'fridge with the lid on for another day and a half.


If you want to make it again later, set aside 5-6 tablespoons of the homemade yogurt into a jar and keep in the refridgerator for next time.

I ate it this morning for breakfast with wheat germ, flax seed, honey, and homemade jam. Yum!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So many unknowns

Well, there's been a lot going on right now. Ryan and I were married on June 5th, 2010 at 2:00 in the afternoon. It was a beautiful ceremony, and we couldn't be happier together. We've been settling in and getting the proper paperwork taken care of to change my name. Things are just now starting to settle down a bit.
It's been a bit of a struggle for me lately, though, because we're in a sort of limbo phase right now. I'm in the process of looking for a job, and we're trying to figure out where we will live when our lease is up in 6 months. Because we live in an income restricted apartment, as soon as I get a job we'll no longer qualify to live here. We've been looking around for some possible apartment contenders, but it's a little difficult to search for an apartment when you don't exactely know how much you'll be making at the time of renting.
We've seen this one apartment we really like, but we won't be able to afford it unless I get this job that I'm in the process of being interviewed for. Everything's looking pretty good so far. They've interviewed me twice, and they are checking my references right now. It's just so nerve-racking because I feel like a lot depends on my getting this job. Ryan's been so wonderful with trying to calm my nerves about this job, and trying to help me see that if this job falls through that there will be another job. He's been a big support and is helping me to stay grounded. We'll see what happens with the job and apartment situation. I'm trying to remember to trust God and hold to His promise that He will always be with us and provide for us. I just have to be patient right now and try not to go insane!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The day before the wedding...

Tomorrow at 2:00 in the afternoon, my life will change forever. In just a few hours, I will be walking down the aisle to Ryan, and we will be joined as husband and wife. I can't even believe this day has come. I never expected to meet someone with as beautiful a heart as Ryan's. He's my best friend in the whole world, and I'm so in love with him. You know you've met "the one" when they know who you really are, and they still love you anyway.

This morning I finished putting some final touches on my vows. As I read them and imagined what it will be like to utter these very words to Ryan tomorrow, I started to well up with tears. What an amazing man he is. I know he would probably feel a little embarressed by my saying so, but he's the most amazing person I've ever met, and I am so very thankful to be marrying the love of my life and my best friend. What a wonderful gift from God. It's always been my contention that the love between two people is an illustration of the way God loves us. Ryan has given me a new understanding of how deep the Father's love for us is. His love is the kind that is present, even when you're in a bad mood. Even in times of irritation and aggravation His love is strong. His love is the kind that misses you even before you've left. How blessed we are as a Creation to have a God that loves us with such a forgiving and unconditional love. I am so thankful to Him for that love, and for showing it to me in a new way through Ryan.