Friday, November 15, 2013

Self Care and Exciting Mysteries

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would consciously and unashamedly dedicate November to my well-being.  I planned to actively take care of myself with more nourishing, home-cooked food, more abundant and higher quality sleep, more reading and writing, more lying in the dark listening to beautiful music (what, you don't do that?), more moving my body, more aloooone time but-and-also more time with friends not named Hannah (although I do love her and my time with her very much).

I've been marginally successful. I've done more cooking than in previous months and although I currently can't stand the sight of a green smoothie, I've increased my salad intake tenfold (or five threefold, whatever). I've had more alone time and spent more time with non-significant-other friends. On the other hand, I haven't read or written as much as I've been wanting to, my daily exercise still only comes in one form: my 10 minute walk to and from work, and the listening to music in the dark thing has been a no-go.The very, very great news is that I have an entire half of a month left to continue to make progress, and I will use those two weeks well!

In other news:

My life is in crazy flux! So many things are changing in so little time. In less than two weeks I will end my term at my current job (I have so many things to wrap up) and be on my way to Nashville, TN for Thanksgiving! Immediately after returning to Chicago, I will start a new full time job (praise), settle into a new apartment, play kitten mommy for a month, and possibly begin preparations to start another Master's program (part time). I'll share more details as these things happen but just know that my head is spinning! A couple of weeks ago when this was all still very uncertain and I was in danger of an anxiety meltdown in my office, my dearest Han, via Google chat, encouraged me with these words:

" I love you dear. Pray to Jesus for patience. I will try to find you some inspirational recorded thoughts from someone smarter than me, but until then just try to love this time as more of an exciting mystery than a scary secret."

I loved that last bit especially and decided from that moment on that "scary secrets" were out and "exciting mysteries" were in. Women's group last night reinforced this for me. During prayer, one of the women asked that God would help us all to celebrate and rejoice at what S/He is doing in our lives instead of allowing anxiety and fear to have center stage. Another woman prayed that we would all find peace with uncertainty and weakness, knowing that it's in those things that God's certainty and strength are exemplified.

I'm still scared. A lot can still go wrong how am I moving all of my shit?! . But in this moment, I'm choosing to make the joy, hope, and excitement of everything larger than my fears.

Oh, and in case you didn't catch it in the first picture, this happened:

3 weeks into my new do, it's already grown out from the starting 1/4 of an inch
Nearly 4 weeks ago, I asked Han to shave my head for me, and she did (she's done it several times before). I did it for completely different reasons than the first time and I love it more than I did the first time.

I think it's a good look for 25. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn and Anxiety

It's Autumn!

Thanks to a couple of cool days in mid-September, I was in the Fall spirit even before summer "officially" ended. In many ways, I oppose norms and like the idea of doing things in ways others are NOT doing them. But when it comes to Fall, I fully support pumpkin/squash mania. Although Fall has barely given us a proper hello, I've already infused my life with lots of squashies:

I've roasted some Delicata and Acorn Squash:

And turned a can of Pumpkin Puree into pumpkin bread, pumpkin waffles, and pumpkin hot chocolate

All vegan by the way.

And I'm not slowing down--I had some very tasty cinnamon spice pumpkin pancakes at brunch with a friend today and  macaroni squash and oat pumpkin bread are up next (both vegan and gluten-free)!

In other news:

Often just talking and/ or writing about the things whirring around in my head makes them less scary and overwhelming. So today, I wanted to talk about the ways I experience anxiety.

Anxiety is a part of my daily life. I have to work through it to be able to do any and everything. Getting out of bed in the morning requires some self-soothing--breathing deeply and telling myself that there is nothing to be afraid of in the day ahead.

Once I get to work, I have to coax myself into starting my tasks for the day. I'm overwhelmed by the number of things I have to do-- I have a deep fear that I can't do any of it well and I become anxious about the idea of trying to do something that I don't think I can do well.

I have to fight anxiety to make and carry out social plans. The idea of spending time with people fills me with apprehension. I'm afraid of not having anything to say. I'm afraid of feeling awkward. I'm afraid of not being able to be present. When I'm feeling down, which is often, I'm anxious about having to perform as a functioning human being. I'm anxious about not having anything valuable to offer. I'm anxious about the burden someone might put on me.

I have to fight anxiety to make phone dates with family friends and worse, to answer the phone when family or friends call.

I have to fight anxiety to dance. I'm afraid of looking foolish even though I know it does not matter if I do. It's paralyzing.

I have to fight anxiety to write--getting words out of my head and unto a page or up on a screen is just...hard.

And then there's the anxiety that comes as a deep foreboding feeling near my heart. It presses down on my chest, expands inside of it, and fills my body with tension. Usually, the cause is a mystery.

And anxiety about the future...

Since anxiety is such a huge part of my life, coping mechanisms are as well-- things like escaping into media, unhealthy alcohol use, excessive sleeping (at one point in my life, no actual time for that now) pleasure seeking, and compulsive behaviors.

These behaviors are often a source of grief and anxiety for me in themselves. Instead of focusing on them, however, and the lack of success I've had in trying to cold-turkey-quit them, I'm beginning to accept that they persist for particular reasons. I've suffered from a  compulsive disorder for the majority of my life. I've prayed endlessly about it, had people pray and fast for me about it, put all of my willpower towards trying to stop it, and come up with various plans to control it. I've cried with Jesus about it knowing he could easily fix my brain, and bring things under control. But he hasn't and I'm believing more and more that he allows it to continue because there's an important truth he wants to lead me to--something he wants me to discover about why I struggle in the first place.

I know I will be free of relentless anxiety one day and I'm learning to accept that that "one day" might not be soon and that the daily acts of focusing on Jesus and seeking God's kingdom are enough.

My overall hope stems from this: Jesus has specifically told me in scripture to not be anxious or worry about anything and to place all my cares on God. He's specifically told me that he came so that I can have an abundant life. Anxiety is NOT a part of an abundant life.

I've been learning about healthy ways to decrease my anxious feelings and I'm going to try implementing those things while I seek the deeper answers/ root causes. I think I might even do a series of posts specifically discussing each anxiety-busting tactic I try.

I bet pumpkin based foods are good for fighting anxiety as well...

Thanks to Starbuck's new "La Boulange" shit, this gem is now very hard to come by, at least on my side of Chicago. Luckily I noticed that the Starbucks in the grocery store I was in this evening, had 3 slices of authentic pumpkin bread, not "pumpkin loaf," which is what they serve in "La Boulange." I immediately purchased a slice! I will stick to making my own from now on but I'm glad I had the opportunity to taste this again before it becomes completely extinct.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Optimistic Reflection

Since December 2012--the month I began my first full time 9 to 5 job and the month I met Hannah--my life has felt like a go-go-go non-stop ordeal. I've cycled through many ups and downs. The downs stand out and seem way more plentiful. I've frequently wrestled with myself and other people; I've done a lot of crying to God.  I've been learning about myself and realizing that I learn about myself when I'm not actively trying to learn about myself. I've been realizing that I am so different from the person I imagined I would be at this point in my life-- that person was pretty one dimensional in comparison. I've been learning a lot about change and growth and evolution and shifts. Life is strange. God is strange. Life is complex. These are all obvious statements, I know.

I've endured many days where anxiety completely took me over. Some days I would know why I was anxious but most days I wouldn't. I've worked through many days of just feeling low--feeling detached from everything, not able to find lasting pleasure in anything. Sometimes I would feel overwhelming sadness and not be able to picture a time in the future when things would feel OK again. That seems dramatic, I know, but it's a real, scary, hopeless feeling I get at times.


For the past week or so, I've been able to maintain a consistent "good" state of mind. And at moments I've been struck by bits of insight and overtly positive thinking. Here are two of those moments:

Moment 1:  

A couple of days ago I found myself dwelling on this fact-- the majority of the people in my life whom I love and am closest to will probably never wholeheartedly agree with me and the way I live my life. This and the thoughts I had surrounding it troubled me. I shared this feeling with Han and her response was that one day I will be so confident in my life and the truth that a lack of approval from loved ones won't stop me from feeling peace and contentment with my choices. That's not verbatim but I think I captured the essence of what she meant. Her statement reminded me of something important: a lack of approval from loved ones affects me most because it reflects my own doubts and things I haven't settled with yet. So it's true that the more I work things out, the more I'll be at peace with my choices--another's lack of approval can't highlight insecurities and questions that aren't present.

Anyway, some time after that, I began thinking about my friends and family in the light of the reality of their actions and responses to me and this really hit me:

I am incredibly surrounded by love. I don't like to admit that I wrestle with my friends and family not approving of me. On the one hand, wrestling has never meant inaction-- I am sad when I feel like people are uncomfortable with me and my choices but that discomfort never has and never will stop me from making my own choices and living my life as I see fit. Kudos to me. On the other hand, I feel people's feelings towards me deeply and it's hard when those feelings are negative and/or troubled.  But in this moment I realized that the people I love and care for the most, are still right there caring about me and loving me back. No matter if I've disappointed them, made them question my sanity and wisdom, or made them grieve for me. No matter how many side eyes I've inspired or how our opinions differ, they're still there. They still love me and would still rather know what's going on in my life than not. I am so supported just because I am me.

Ultimately, I don't think I really want people to always be comfortable with me and approve of me. I need to be challenged and I appreciate (usually belatedly) when challenges force me to explore things more and be really sure of what I believe. Challenges also make me extra grateful for the One who finds me acceptable and lovable no matter what I do. I think what I truly want is for the people who love me to be willing to wholeheartedly wrestle with the challenges I present in the same ways I wholeheartedly wrestle with the reasons I am challenging.

Moment 2:

At work a couple of days ago, at my desk, while blankly staring at my computer screen (it happens ok?!)  it hit me that I am living in a city thousands of miles away from all of my family and am sustaining my presence here. It hit me that I did the work to get myself here and that I am doing the work to be able to remain here. It hit me that I live in a city I love so much and that I am a working individual supporting my existence in a place that gives me life. I am doing that. Now, I'm not downplaying the fact that God takes the ultimate credit for everything good. No doubt, God wrote the story that's unfolding now. But, I've been an active participant.

I don't give myself credit for very much. I am usually very self deprecating and downplay my accomplishments under the guise of being noble and humble. I'm not truly noble or humble in that way. I'm just so self-negative at times that I believe the lie that my accomplishments are a fluke, no big deal, or can be entirely attributed to anything other than the fact that I'm an intelligent, capable woman. So, in that moment, I took some time to name a few accomplishments and be proud of myself: I came to Chicago, made friends, formed a community, got a Master's degree in a field I actually love, supported myself through babysitting/ nannying, got a 9-5 full time job, and have taken care of myself through it all. I've built my own life; I've done important things; I've been a successful human being. Here's to me. I'm claiming my credit.

So... overall, I think what I really wanted to say is that as crazy and up and down as life over the past 9.5 months has been, I am so grateful for the days when I am filled with optimism and hope about myself and my future--where, good things come to mind in a jolt and then linger. Today I feel good and believe that tomorrow will be good. Today I can think about the people and things in my life with positive, tangible emotions. Today I can stand in the brisk Chicago air in my leggings, turtleneck, and cardigan and be happy about how the very cool wind brings with it many pleasant associations--my first wonderful months in Chicago, fall themed beverages from Starbucks, downtown adventures with Karimy (one of which I had two days ago!), snuggles with my comforter, and crushy-lovey feelings.

During this life season my happy days haven't lingered long enough. It's been hard to remember that I have them--not days where I just feel happy for a moment or have some laughs (I laugh at SOMEthing every day) but days where I feel in my soul that things are really alright and working out for my good. I know all too soon I will have a day where things seem dismal or, worse, feel like absolutely nothing. But today I will focus on the fact that I am happy and optimistic!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tales

In pictures and videos:

Breakfast- "Eat Your Greens Smoothie": Spinach, frozen banana, blueberries, ground flax, soy milk, water. I also had 1/2 cup of lentil soup.

Lunch- Veggie Pita I added some of my homemade hummus and balsamic vinegar. 5 oz of baby carrots not pictured.

Came home, logged into Facebook and saw this.  My first thought was "Oh shit, getting quoted..." So what if it's my girlfriend quoting me...

I watched 3 minutes of this 10 minute workout video and decided I wasn't working out today:

I had a little motivational talk with myself and decided I could absolutely work out for 10 minutes. So I did this video:

Next came this raw kale and avocado salad, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing (in the jar) I made this evening:

Scrimp pasta for dinner! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh Discipline

One day I'll be able to call myself a disciplined human being. I'll introduce myself that way: "Morgan Service, disciplined human being here!"  Ok, maybe not. But it would be nice to know that if I did, I wouldn't be lying!

I did not meet my sleep goals for August. I have not, so far, met my unprocessed food goals for September. And I have troubles. Multiplied breakouts- depressive/ anxiety episodes-breaking out in hives every day again-constipated troubles. Sorry [not sorry] if that's TMI.

I've been having technical troubles too. My computer was out of commission for a while because my charger went kaput. Then my phone died and I received a less than stellar replacement. I can no longer compulsively check Facebook or Instagram (verb) every bit of my life. This forced semi-disconnection from social media is good though (I think). I know my father is relieved that I will no longer exceed our monthly data limit. You win Daddy-o, you win.

These past 7 and some weeks have not been all bad, however. I started exercising semi-regularly again. I've also journaled a few times after a many-months-long dry spell.

And I have other new things happening:

1. I'm loc'ing my hair! This is my second attempt ( I started the process in the late spring of 2011 but quit by the end of the summer) and I am sticking to it. So far I am a month in. I wore my baby locs out for a week but am now wearing yarn wraps (no, that's not me in that video) over them. Because honestly, the baby locs stage is just a little too rough for me right now. Not rough as in hard or burdensome. Rough as in "yikes, I don't feel as pretty as I want to!" And I'm fine with that being the reason I'm currently wearing braids.

2. I started a  blog on Tumblr! I'm using it to discuss my experience of Christianity and non-heteronormative sexuality. I found it very hard to keep the blog focused because there are so many amazing, beautiful, funny, clever, poignant things on tumblr. To address that problem, I also made a secondary tumblr blog for my other interests.  

My very first post where I detail the persons to whom A Queer Faith is dedicated.

3. I renewed my library card--it expired in mid-May--and I'm thrilled to be able to borrow books again! Right now twenty three of them are lounging on top of my bookshelf. There's that discipline problem again. But as my good friend, Bianca, put it, "what am I supposed to do?! They're free!"  I'm currently reading 10 books at once Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. So far, I like.

4. I have a camera again (I lost my last one on Valentine's day earlier this year)! A camera separate from my phone! And praise the Lord, because my "new" phone does not take very good pictures and getting pictures off of it onto my computer is more than a trial! Hannah gave me this camera for my birthday. Technically I've had it for a couple of months, but when I brought it back from Nashville, I left it at Han's place and it remained there until this past weekend. I purchased a memory card for it on Saturday and have been a very happy girl ever since.
I look like a professional, don't? 
I used it to take this picture of the pita bread and hummus that I MADE FROM SCRATCH tonight. Can you tell that I'm SLIGHTLY proud of myself?

I won't give up the fight to turn myself into a consistently healthy eater. My latest weapons:

 More to come on this when I can share something that will make you proud of my growing discipline.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


My goal for twenty-five is to embrace my insecurities and to live the life I believe in without apology.

Those goals are broad and vague but the reality of that life would look something like showing off my big forehead with pride, accepting the dark spots on my face, chest, shoulders, and back, loving my slightly lopsided smile, going for longer stretches in between wearing braids, freestyle dancing in public without the help of alcohol, speaking loudly, not saying "sorry" unless I actually am, sticking to a budget and living below my means, tithing, diving into my relationship with Jesus and seeking God's kingdom first, eating an ethical, mostly unprocessed diet, practicing self-care diligently, not being evasive about my sexuality or the fact that I'm dating a woman I love.

It will mean not being afraid to tell people that I'm simultaneously reading a book called Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving as well as Mark, the second book in the New Testament of the Bible.

It will mean reading more and writing more and going for more runs along Chicago's Lake shore trail. It will mean consistently claiming my identity as a Jamaican woman even though I don't have the accent to support it.

It will mean Instagramming make-up-less selfies. That sort of thing, ya know.

Of course, that life won't be my reality entirely the next time July 5th comes around. But by then I'm hoping to have moved significantly closer to being a woman who accepts herself fully, takes care of herself, pursues her passions, and lives with honesty and integrity.

I am thinking of choosing 11 key areas/ activities to focus on to encourage becoming that woman. I often take on too much at once. I lack endurance and patience and am easily distracted and bored. These character traits make it hard to stick with anything as long as I need to in order to see significant growth/ improvement. So the plan is to focus on one  life change, goal, self-improvement activity etc. each month for the entire month for the next 11 months. According to some experts somewhere, performing an activity consistently for 30 days helps that activity to become a habit. I will still try to make little improvements in several areas simultaneously but the activity I assign to each month will be the one thing I will absolutely have to do every day for that month.

That means on the day I turn 26 I'll at least be able to say... I took 11 very helpful, beneficial things and made them a consistent part of my routine

That's something right? The following is a list of potential activities.
  1. August- 8 hours of sleep
  2. September- Whole foods, unprocessed diet 
  3. October- 30 minutes exercise
  4. November- 30 minutes quiet time 
  5. December- 30 minutes end of the day journalling
  6. January- 1 hour of leisure reading
  7. Februrary- 30 minutes creative writing
  8. March- Read a news article 
  9. April- Yoga and meditation
  10. May- Purposeful, daily, blogging, tweeting, and tumbling
  11. June- Oil pulling 
That list is subject to change but I'm happy about the things I have down so far. 

I am also up to something right now. I won't say what until that something is over but it has to do with food, of course. I'll report on it in 7 days when I can claim success :).


Monday, June 24, 2013

[Un] Vegan, Unprocessed, and a Look at My Pantry

I want to be vegan--vegan AND gluten-free actually. 

Green Smoothie/ Nutriblast in the making: spring salad mix, banana, frozen strawberries, cashews, ground flax, coconut milk, water

It has such a nice "activist" ring to it, like it was meant to be part of my identity--Black, Feminist, Queer, Vegan.

But I just can't hack it yet.

The lady friend and I decided to be vegan for June. She'd been wanting to adopt the lifestyle for a while and, as you know, I have been trying to work my way back to it for a while. One night several months ago we discussed it. I threw in the gluten-free part and she said "Are we really going to be those lesbians?" My simple reply was, "I'm not a lesbian."

"Mannah"--It's gross and not our doing

Ha. Anyway, we did really well for 8 days in June. Due to some extremely unfortunate circumstances, however, we had to put our new adventure on hold.

Vegan french toast, tofu scramble, avocado w/ olive oil, sea salt, and red wine vinegar 

I decided I would get back on track this week. I made a meal plan, went grocery shopping, and made a list of every last thing in my pantry.

My mind is rebelling, however. And what's a gal to do about that?

I really want to eat eggs. And to put 3oz of grilled chicken on my salads. I am OK with abstaining from gluten, dairy, and added sugars (except for a tsp of honey in my green tea) but I am struggling with the idea of completely removing meat from my diet! Why is this happening to me? I used to have such "no-meat" fire!

I currently have no animal products in my freezer or fridge  (although a couple of cans of mackerel and sardines occupy some of my cupboard space) so even though I don't feel like it, I will be vegan for this upcoming week at least.


What I really want is to be consistently healthy. Two years ago, I was convinced that veganism was the only way. I learned about it, I believed in it wholeheartedly, I had to do it. I thought everyone needed to do it. I'm no longer in that place;  I no longer think that way. I have spent over a year repeatedly trying to get back to that place, but I can't yet.

Veggie masala burger, spinach,  and avocado, on top of sauteed onions and wheat berries 

I highly admire the authors of the vegan books and blogs I've read and follow, my militant vegetarian sister, and vegan and vegetarian  friends and friends of friends, but I think I've been comparing myself to them and trying to reach their perfection, mainly because they are noble and impressive to me and I want to appear noble and impressive to others. That wasn't the case in June 2011 when I decided to become vegan, and it wasn't the case for the year that followed that decision, but it would be the case if I were to pursue veganism now. I wouldn't be doing it because I wholeheartedly believe life as a vegan is the all-around best way to live. I would be doing it because I really want other people to admire my life.

That is no bueno.
Rice and peas and fried plantains! 

I'd like to give myself the gift of actually sticking to the things I say I'm going to do, of fully applying the changes I say I am going to make, for more than a week or a month. I can't do that in pursuing veganism right now.

I'm not going to run out and eat a burger now and like I said, I currently have [virtually] no animal products at home. I will be vegan, by default, for a little while longer but I'm going to switch my focus to simply eating an ethical, unprocessed, whole foods diet.

Maybe if I get a handle on that, returning to veganism will become more appealing and happen naturally.

Pride in black and white

Stay Tuned!


See  this article by Dr.Mark Hyman. It directly addresses whether following a specific, restricted diet is necessary to achieve and maintain optimal health--a very timely read for me today!


If you are interested, here is my pantry list:

2 Avocados
2 Ripe Plantains
1 bunch bananas
4 apples
2 lemons
1 pack frozen pineapple
1 pack frozen blueberries
1 pack frozen strawberries
½ pack frozen blackberries
1 mango
Dried Apricots

1 bunch kale
1 head romaine lettuce
1 pack spring mix salad
1 pack spinach
1 cucumber
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 red onion
1 head garlic
1 can water chestnuts
¼ pack frozen green beans
¼ pack frozen corn
¼ pack frozen veggies: Mediterranean blend
¾ pack frozen chopped spinach
1 pack frozen stir fry blend
Sea weeds: kombu, dulse, wakame, nori sheets
1 can beets

Grains/ flours
Brown basmati rice
Quinoa- white, red, black
Black “forbidden” rice
Old-fashioned oats
Steel-cut Oats
Brown rice lasagna
2 Gluten free English muffins (frozen)
¼ loaf Ezekiel bread
1 pack cornmeal, fine, gluten free
1/4 pack cornmeal, coarse, gluten free
Brown rice flour
Chick pea flour
Whole wheat flour

Beans/ Bean-based Protein
Black beans
Black eyed peas
Red Kidney beans
Garbanzo beans
Split peas
Pinto beans
Navy beans
Red Lentils
Falafel mix

Nuts /Seeds
Ground chia seeds
Flax seeds
Hemp seeds
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds
Pumpkin seeds

1 carton soymilk
2 cans coconut milk
1 can salsa verde
1 bag sucanat
1 pack arrowroot starch
1 tub cornstarch
2 cans mackerel
1 can sardines
1 pack of beef flavored Ramen

A shitload of spices
Coconut Aminos
Tamari, gluten free
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Rice Vinegar
Umeboshi Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Braggs Liquid Aminos
Virgin Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Anyone want to craft an amazing meal plan for me?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Transferable (?) Love

This past weekend, Hannah and I took a trip to Nashville.

I simply wanted to get out of Chicago for a bit. Hannah wanted to see her mama and introduce me to Old Hickory, Tennessee.

We had fun. I met Hannah's grandparents and they fed me an excellent meal (which included platanos maduros and homemade flan).

 I saw Mandy again--she is a friend of Hannah's who I met a little over a month ago when she visited Chicago. In the company of her mother, sister, best friend, and mother's friend, I watched Hannah get her 7th tattoo. I saw the sights of Nashville and had several meaningful conversations with my gal. It was good.

The most significant part of the weekend, however, was that I was well- loved by Hannah's family and friends and I knew I was receiving this love mainly because Hannah is loved. I couldn't help but meditate on this.

Because Hannah’s mother and sister love her so much, they were happy to act as my tour guides, to drive me to the At&t store when my phone stopped working, to fix me tea in the morning before church, and to call me “honey.”  

Because Mandy and her husband, Rocky love Hannah so much, they were happy to welcome me into their home and to have me play with their children (one of whom complimented my braids endlessly, gave me kisses, told me she was falling in love with me, and declared that we were going to get married). Mandy greeted me like an old friend. Rocky shared an amazing dessert with me.

That they all showed me so much love (and there were many more examples of this than I will list) because Hannah values me and they love Hannah was just remarkable to me. It was important because their love trumped their lack of wholehearted approval of or comfort with my relationship with Hannah.

And as I write this I’m thinking that it was all very Kingdom-like and a good example for me. I should be more intentional about loving people well, regardless of whether I approve of or agree with them, taking the fact that they are very loved by God (who I love) as reason enough. I've frequently stated/ communicated with others that my reason for believing that everyone deserves to receive dignity and justice, to have their voices heard, and to just be treated well is because everyone is made in God’s image. This makes each person as equally and infinitely valuable as the other. Too often that’s just an abstract idea--one that I like to discuss but can forget to practice in my day to day living. This weekend was a good reminder to love for the sake of Love and a beautiful illustration of how to do just that.  

Thank you Abuelos de Hannah, Michelle, Renee, Rachel, Stella, Mandy, Rocky, Dave, and Andrea for teaching me well this weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mid-February Wellness

I sat down a few days ago to write a detailed food update. I couldn't do it. I literally tried for hours and could only produce 2 incoherent paragraphs. I haven't discussed food here since the beginning of November so a large part of me wants to tell you every little detail about what I've been eating. But for some reason, my brain can't make it happen! So I'll  just say that from November to now I've exercised about 4 times and I've been eating the unhealthiest that I have in about a year and a half--mainly junk food, lots of sugar, lots of refined carbs, lots of alcohol. Ironically, I've lost about 5 pounds on this "diet" and am the smallest I've been since high school. Not ironically, I've had the stomach flu and 3 colds during this time-- the final cold lasted a whopping 5 weeks.


I am amused that I managed to lose weight while eating 90% junk and not exercising. I've learned that, for me, the quantity of food consumed has a more significant impact on my weight than the quality of food consumed. Although I scarfed down junk for the past couple of months, I ate sporadically. On most days, due to poor decision making and the lack of an appetite, energy, interest and/ or time, I only ate one or two meals. And so my tummy shrank, and my pants got baggy...and my immune system went on vacation. I had a physical about a week and a half ago and learned that I had borderline low blood pressure. This was also funny to me considering the high sodium content of everything I'd been eating for the past few months. Less funny, however, was that my iron levels were low and that I basically had no Vitamin D in my body! Ok--I exaggerate. My levels were just abysmally low at 19 (according to my doctor, 30 is the adequate level) !

But good news:

Last week's sole green smoothie

I've come to a place where I again have both the desire to eat well, and some of the [mental and physical] energy I need to make that happen. I planned to make February my month to focus on wellness, or something, but we're almost half way through the month, and I've still been eating junk, averaging 3 hours of sleep a night, not exercising, and drinking too much [liquor]. I'm not stressing about it though. Over the past couple months I've really realized that I'm not mentally at the place where trying to be a stickler about food will be beneficial to me. . It's been hard for me to admit, but I have "deeper" things to work on before I'll be able to successfully follow a "strict" food regimen.

So I have some simple daily goals (SDG's--you know you like that) for now:

1. get 7 hours of sleep
2. do 20 minutes of exercise  (not including my walks to and from work)
3. drink a green smoothie and eat a serving of steamed veggies
4.  have 30 minutes of communion with God in whatever form seems best that day
5. journal
6. drink 8 cups of water

A list of 6 things might seem too long, but I have at least 10 other things I want to add. So I am pleased with myself for committing to only 6.

And these are foundational. I need rest, veggies, and water. I need to move. I need God and I need to have sorted thoughts and feelings. I don't think I'll be able to make any other long-term positive changes in my life until those 6 things are standard.

I'll start tonight with a green smoothie and 7 hours of sleep. This is going to go amazingly well.