Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elf Myself

Christmas spirit has always come to me easily and quickly which is why this year I am completely shocked that I haven’t been chomping at the bit to start decorating or listening to Christmas music. It’s less than two weeks until Thanksgiving and I haven’t even started browsing through my recipes. I somehow think I’m going to pull off a completely vegan Thanksgiving, having never done it, with basically no prep-time. We’ll see how that goes.

Since I haven’t started feeling that Christmas skip in my step, I’m going to attempt to remember my favorite things about the season that really get my holiday juices flowing.

Spirit starter numero uno is of course….CHRISTMAS MUSIC! So far this holiday season, I have been really stuck on the new Coldplay and the new Florence + The Machine albums…neither of which have anything to do with Christmas. I did give it one half hearted attempt the other night laying in bed right after we said goodnight and turned off the lights when I burst into “Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant…” and insisted that my poor, sweet husband join in with me. I thought that would be enough to start my holiday pilot light but it quickly turned into a giant laugh over how terrible I am at holding a note. So, step one: Break out the Amy Grant Christmas CD’s and get the ever dramatic “Breath of Heaven” blasting through the apartment. (sorry neighbors!)
Spirit starter numero dos is the SMELL of the season. I usually purchase a cinnamon broom around this time of year and that really gets me going! The scent is usually so strong that my husband complains a little. I think I’ll be moderate this year and just purchase a nice Christmas candle. That way, we can blow out the flame and give our nostrils a break from all the holiday joy once in a while. I also need to practice my first vegan pumpkin pie before I actually present it to my family on Thanksgiving Day. I need to make sure I can pull it off without it tasting like a block of tofu. The smell of a pumpkin pie in the oven, vegan or not, should help with jolting my holiday spirit.

Spirit starter numero tres is decking the halls….or living room since we don’t have a hall. This weekend, I’m going to pull out the Christmas décor box and hang the wreath on the door and a garland on the window seal. I usually put up everything but the tree before Thanksgiving so my home feels special for Turkey Day. The tree is real so we wait until Early-Mid December to put that baby up.

The fourth and final step I will take to get myself revved up for the season is to sit down and breathe for a minute……giving myself time to remember all of my blessings and all that I’m so thankful for. I’m going to take time to hold my family close to my heart and tell them that I love them. Since most of them live far away then let the texting, emailing, mail carrying pigeons and phone calls begin! A love fest with your fam is the absolute best way to remember why we celebrate and to get our hearts ready to give Thanks and then to celebrate the birth of our savior. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Battle On, Warrior Princess!

Ok, the title is a complete joke between my mom and I. We both always get a huge kick out of the cheesy breast cancer slogans but it is partly true that fighting cancer is a complete battle and you have to be a warrior to make it! The stuff that I’ve seen my mom go through in the last 2 years is NOT for the weak. I’ve seen her screaming in pain as they injected dye into her that felt like fire going under the skin, I’ve seen her weak as a child after she had body parts chopped off, I’ve seen her wake up in a pool of blood from leaky drains, I’ve seen half of her torso covered in green and purple bruising, I’ve seen her chest bright maroon with burns from radiation…it hasn’t been pretty but she’s survived it all! Maybe calling her a “warrior princess” isn’t that farfetched.

My mom hasn’t had the easiest life. She’s gone through just about every trial a woman can go through. I would probably be a crazy person if I had lived her life, yet she continues to trust God and give Him glory for the little triumphs like meeting a nice realtor or hearing her favorite song on the radio. She has fought this battle and made it through. Her last round of radiation was last week and now she just has some non-chemo intravenous treatments once a week until January but she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The last five years I have seen my mom start a new career, battle for her life and move across the country by herself. She is no wimp. I hope that some of that strength is genetic and I can come by it naturally when I need it. I’m thankful for a mom who has taught me that women can be strong and beautiful at the same time. She truly is a steel magnolia.

Monday, July 18, 2011

28 Years/28 Reasons

In honor of my husband’s 28th birthday tomorrow, I decided to write 28 reasons that I am thankful for him.

1. He is undeniably a natural leader.
2. He dances with me in the kitchen.
3. He dances by himself in the kitchen.
4. He makes me laugh harder than anybody I know.
5. He is always gentle and kind.
6. He loves children and isn’t freaked out by them.
7. He always takes the time to talk me through my over thinking dramas.
8. He stays calm when I get mad.
9. He is amazingly sensitive to my needs and sometimes-difficult-to-detect emotions.
10. He LOOOOVES his family.
11. He is outgoing.
12. He has an incredible sense of discipline.
13. He enjoys eating healthy.
14. He lets me be me, even when he has to bite his tongue.
15. He loves me enough to sweetly tell me when I’m out of line.
16. He spoils me on my birthday and Christmas.
17. He has good taste in music.
18. He respects and honors women.
19. His heart is tender towards God.
20. He is impressively athletic and competitive.
21. He never yells when he’s angry.
22. He likes to learn new things.
23. He lets me drag him to see sites he doesn’t care about when we travel.
24. He knows A LOT about cars and he’s great at his job.
25. He is confident yet not arrogant.
26. He acts just like his Grandpa Mydske.
27. He prays with me.
28. He’s so handsome it takes my breath away!

That’s just 28 little reasons why I love Jesse. He truly is everything I ever dreamed of having in a husband, plus all the stuff I didn’t even know to dream of!

Happy Birthday Jesse!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Food with a Face!

Ok, new blog entry. Where to begin? It has been entirely too long since my last post. Since then I have become vegan (well, 80%), signed a contract with my husband to not have a baby for another year (ssshhh! my uterus doesn’t know about this contract) and I have by far lessened the number of BBD’s in a month. Look at me grooooow!

Enough gloating at my life progress…or not. I’ve wanted to write about my new found veganism for a while now. Back in December, I asked Jesse for a book for Christmas. I was only slightly curious about what Alicia Silverstone had to say in her book “The Kind Diet”. Never in a million years would I have thought that the little teenage twit from Clueless would have something to say that would actually change my life. I’m almost embarrassed to say that…almost. Good thing I don’t embarrass easily, (my friends and family can attest to this fact.)

I know what you might be thinking and NO, I didn’t just read one book and take it as the gospel truth and give up meat and dairy forever. I actually let that first book spark an interest in me that led me to another book, then another and before I knew it I had purchased an entire vegan library. I started out cold turkey, absolutely no meat and no dairy. I LOVED the way I felt. I immediately knew I could never go back to eating the way I used to which was a healthier-than-average American diet. I have since come around to an 80% vegan diet…I sometimes splurge on dairy and eat a bite of meat only when pressured by friends to do so. Everything in moderation, right?

I have only changed my diet because I am disgusted by all of the other “nasty” things that come into our bodies through the consumption of meat and dairy such as hormones and toxins, even the organic versions cannot fully escape this evil. I have way more energy! My body is never sluggish, my tummy never hurts and my head is (for the most part) clearer. I know those are strong claims but I’m telling the truth. I LOVE being vegan.

People are always asking me two main questions. The most common question is “Do you get enough protein?” the answer of course is “duh!” Haha Sorry, the answer is “yes”. The typical American diet has WAY MORE protein than the human body actually needs and an overconsumption of protein is responsible for causing plenty of diseases. Meat makes our bodies acidic which we all have learned causes cancer and it’s also known for upping that cholesterol level which we all know causes heart disease. So, no thank you, I don’t need any extra protein swimming around in this body!

The second most commonly asked question is “Is it hard to be vegan?” Honestly, no. I don’t miss dairy at all and I usually don’t miss meat….unless I attend the Texas Steak Cook-off in Hico, TX and am surrounded by the smell of grilling rib eye’s all day. That was a toughie! I’m not ever hungry; I eat the same amount of food as I always have (which is usually more than the husband!) and I haven’t lost any weight in the 7 months of being animal-product free.
Jesse and me at the Steak Cook-off

I don’t think that everybody has to do what I did but I do think the two greatest things you can do for your body is to drink water and eat a veggie! It’s so simple and it can change so much. Just think about it….

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Battle

A little disclaimer before I begin: Everything I am about to discuss in this post in no way relates to me thinking I need to lose weight, trying to lose weight or thinking I’m overweight. It's about my quest to be healthy. So no need to call me and tell me what a “skinny mini” I am…….HANNAH!

There is a constant battle raging in my mind. It is the timeless fight between good and evil, good and evil food that is. See, I was raised to know a lot about what is healthy and what is not. We were never and I really mean NEVER allowed to have sugar cereal growing up. Friends would actually give me Honey Nut Cheerios as a gift for birthdays and Christmas because they knew how much I loved the forbidden food. So because my mother made us eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from birth, I never lived in the fantasy land where Coke and candy were somewhat ok. I always knew they were bad for me. This taste of knowledge fueled me to learn more so I majored in Health and Education in college. My Medical Terminology professor once told us “Sugar is like shards of glass in your veins, it shreds them”. That visual has really stuck with me and ruined many desserts.

So now you might understand why last night as I’m sitting on the couch watching the A&E Biography of Britney Spears (What?! It was free in my On Demand library) I felt this strong craving for a Chic-fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake at the same exact moment that I felt a strong sense of guilt for having the craving at all. I went back and forth, back and forth at least 100 times before I finally got up, threw a sweatshirt on over my PJ’s and ran out the door to satisfy the craving. I ordered a small and only drank half. I’ve found that sometimes if I just give myself a little taste then it’s not such a big deal anymore and I can move on to eating healthy again. When I got done with the shake I atoned the sin by eating some kale chips... I know it doesn't really work like that but somehow it made me feel better.

Since moving to Texas in June it has been a little harder to eat healthy when we are out. Texas is known for Mexican food and BBQ and both are very good but also very evil! BBQ is basically beef smothered in sugar. Two things that I KNOW are bad for the body and Mexican is nothing but fried flour and cheese. I wish I didn’t know what those things do to the human body, but I do. I can never go back to the innocence of naiveté. When I eat Mexican food and BBQ (which I often do) I can’t get “flour turns to glue in your digestive system, cow’s milk was only meant for baby cows, sugar is like shards of glass, fried foods cause cancer and heart plaque” out of my head. AAAH! Make it stop! Let me eat my cancer causing glass glue in peace!

My ongoing war has actually taken several hits since moving to Texas. Working at a wonderful place that provides us with all the coffee and syrupy flavored creamers we want isn’t too good for my cause either. Caffeine is basically a drug and that headache it causes when you don’t drink enough means you’re becoming addicted to the chemical. The creamers are nothing but sugar and we’ve already covered how I feel about that. I’m also often faced with the temptation to partake in the most wonderful sweet tea on the planet from McAlister’s. Oh, and did I mention that there’s a Sonic on every corner and those Sonics serve my beloved Cheddar Poppers? They are basically jalapeno’s (inflammation causing little demons!) filled with artificial cheese goo then deep fried! OH THE HORROR!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bad Baby Day

Everybody who knows me knows that I have an extreme obsession with all things baby. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. I was the kid at family gatherings that didn’t want to play with the children my own age but instead would rather be deemed the babysitter and watch over anybody younger than me. Middle school and high school played out the same way. It was nothing for me to give up a Friday night movie with my friends to babysit. I would rather be staring into the eyes of a six month old while I fed him his bottle before bed. This behavior may seem unusual…even creepy but I’m just trying to explain myself. Can I use the ever so controversial “I was born this way” as an excuse?
Now that I’m older and have grown to realize I need adult interaction, I have become a well of useless (to some) knowledge about the growing and caring of babies. The girls at work jokingly call me “The Midwife” because of all of the information I force them to take in over our lunches together. I constantly read books, blogs, websites, magazines and watch shows about babies and birth. It’s my hobby. Some people have nice, normal, acceptable hobbies like toy planes, painting, and crafts. You know, the not-so-creepy ways to spend your time. Not me! I study the art of babies. I used to say that I was just trying to be prepared for motherhood but really I just enjoy learning about babies because they are my favorite! It’s kind of similar to Angela (from The Office) and her cat obsession. Instead of being “cat lady” I am “baby lady”.

Everybody who knows me also knows that I do not have any babies of my own nor am I trying to have any babies of my own. Strange, maybe even sad but true. I am a “cat lady” with no cats. This leads me to steal other people’s babies when I am given the chance. Who can blame me when I’m continually around cuties like this….
That say things like this…

Willow says Momma! from Josh Morris on Vimeo.

All of this leads me to have, what I recently labeled “Bad Baby Days” (BBD). This is a day when my love for babies gives me a serious case of baby fever that results in me actually turning into a big baby myself. Symptoms of a “Bad Baby Day” are saying things like (in the whiniest voice possible) “I just CAN’T make dinner” or “Can’t we just buy a house now?” Thankfully these symptoms last only a few hours. I guess the name is misleading since it’s not usually an entire day. It’s also easily treated by my sweet husband who knows just what to say. He gently reminds me about how we are saving up a big down payment for our house so that when we actually have babies I can stay home and enjoy them. He helps me to see that we are following what God has told us to do and when you do that things tend to go a lot better for you! But more than all of that, he reminds me that he loves me and that someday God will bless us with all the sweet babies that we can handle (or afford). So although I do suffer from BBD and I’m sure they will persist, at least I have a treatment plan that works… for now. 
Jesse had these flowers delivered to me at work after I had a BBD a couple of weeks ago. Sweet boy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turning a New Leaf!

OK, I'm done with being a lazy blogger. It's not for you. It's for me. I'm going to write more because I have too much to say and too little time to say it to all the people I want to say it to.

Our church is moving into a new building this weekend. It's going to be incredible! I can feel the excitement in the air around here. Everybody is busy with the new routines and equipment. I work in the Men's Ministry so the move doesn't affect me too much. I just get to be an excited member! It's nice to just sit back and enjoy it. I'm so thankful for all that God is doing in our church.

"We're all about people".....lots of them!

Photos by Scott Pickering