Growth.

In the past year, I’ve had the joy of growing closer to God and Jesus.

Through our church, through worship with my fellow church members, through reading His word, I have grown in indescribable ways.

My mind, though it betrays at times to things of this world, has never been so hopeful and free.

When you realize that you are a child of God, sent to be a steward, delivered from evil and sin, were made flawlessly in His image, were washed clean by the blood of our Christ who died for you on the Cross, you realize that your enemies cannot hurt you.

I remember being a rebellious teenager who thought that she could take matters into her own hands. I didn’t believe in God – at least I told myself I didn’t. I lost all hope and faith. I didn’t want to be in this world anymore, but I was too afraid not to be in it as well. I cursed the Heavens and I took out my anger on anyone and anything. I was miserable and felt alone, even when I was surrounded by friends.

I went on like this for quite a while. I didn’t know what to do. Then a moment came. You could say it was somewhat supernatural, something that would be scoffed at and said to be coincidence. But it was my turning point.

I was standing in my shower, crying. I had had a terrible day, one that seemed never to end. I felt worthless and hopeless and all I could do was stand under the hot water and cry. I called out, through my tears, I asked God for help. Mind you, this was unusual for me at that point in my life. I asked God to help me with these difficult times and to make it through. Suddenly, the lights in my bathroom shut off. A couple of seconds, maybe 4-5, passed, and they switched back on.

I was in shock and quickly finished my shower, wrapped myself in a towel and ran down to my parents. I immediately asked them (they were watching TV in the living room) if the power had gone out for a couple of seconds, to which they answered no. I was shaken. I was afraid, I will admit.

You see, the power in their house either goes out all together or doesn’t. There is no way the second floor of the house would lose power and the floor beneath it wouldn’t. From that moment out, I made a conscious decision that that occurrence could not have been coincidental. It couldn’t have been!

Now, did my life change overnight and did I hear the voice of God himself? Not at all. God is not a magical wizard, He does not grant wishes like Merlin or Genie. Instead, He gave me grace and strength and courage to deal with what I was going through. He gave me a sound mind and faithful heart. He gave me a purpose and never ever left my side, especially in my most difficult times.

God uses the broken and the sinners to do incredible things. Since the moment I detailed above, I have believed in the power and presence of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Now, I have been growing in my faith and am joyous to say that my husband is joining me in that journey.

Skeptics will scoff and laugh, they will taunt and ridicule because that is the only way they can feel self-worth. By hating someone for being a believer and looking toward the world for happiness. Enemies will try to pull you away from the grace of God and His only Son because they are afraid. Yet, one that is saved cannot be thwarted while God is with them.

God is good all the time. He has made us all perfect in His image and loves us all exactly as we are. I am so happy to be part of a church who teaches to Pursue Life in Christ, for it is the most important thing.

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Update

I haven’t posted in quite some time. There’s a reason – I’m exhausted. All the time. I hardly get free time to myself and when I do, I end up dozing on my couch in front of the television until bedtime. How exciting!

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a single thing! Let’s have an update, shall we?

My husband and I bought our first house: in fact we closed on it eight years to the day that we started dating – November 17th. It’s a beautiful 5 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom row home. Our neighbors are all very nice and quiet, which is a plus. Our dogs and cat are having a blast, and we are very excited and happy.

Thanksgiving was spent at my new house 🤗, I cooked all the fixings and it was a good time.

My husband got baptized on November 26th (a day after my birthday). I surprised him by having my parents, his mom, sister, our niece and nephew, our best friends from North Carolina, and several other friends show up for his big day. It was a wonderful celebration of his love and acceptance of Jesus and we both couldn’t be more grateful or blessed.

December was a whirlwind of getting ready for Christmas – and I cannot believe Christmas is over! We went to Christmas Eve service at our church (Calvary Church in Lancaster) and I have to say – it was delightful. If you’ve never been to our church, it’s one of those that spreads the message in a modern way, using Christian music from the radio, video taping messages so people who cannot attend can watch them at home, etc. So, they did a recap of the 2017 year at Calvary – and my hubby was featured getting baptized! It was a surprise and honor. Our pastor was so happy and several members of staff came up to Ian afterward and told him how happy they are with him. It was wonderful.

So everything has been hectic, joyous, and very exhausting these past couple of months. We have accomplished so many things this year and we are proud of ourselves!

We are truly Blessed and pray that 2018 will bring us and our family and friends many more blessings!

Happy New Year!!

Click to experience our Christmas Eve Service

The Trouble With Unfounded Expectations

Pregnancy Photos: Before & After
If you click on the above link, you’ll find 15 wonderful photos of mothers. Pregnant in one photo and with their newborn in another. The photographs are inspiring, beautiful, loving, and for people like me – heartbreaking.

For a long time as a youngster, I didn’t see the point in having children. I found them to be nuisances; always loud, whiny, and bratty. I told my uncle one day that I never wanted children. He replied with, “won’t you be lonely when you’re old and the rest of your family is gone?” I thought about that for a half a second and said that I didn’t care, that it wasn’t important to me. As you can probably tell, I was a stubborn child. Who am I kidding? I’m a stubborn adult as well.

As I grew older, I realized that maybe having children would be a good thing. I realized that once I found the person I loved, I’d want to create another human life with them. A baby girl or boy to raise, to nurture, to love, to teach. A small child with my husbands eyes and our thick hair. A pretty little girl with my love of reading and my husbands knack for board games. A handsome little boy with my husbands capacity to fix literally anything and my musical ability.

Well, the day came when I met that person. My husband of almost 5 years. In five years, we’ve not even had a scare. Not one. Every month that goes by becomes harder and harder to bear. Every month we hope that this month will be it, we’ll have good news. Every month we are disappointed. A year into our marriage we were asked when we were going to have babies. At that time we were still quite hopeful. Now people either gloss over the subject (if they know us) or ask us the same question, “when are you going to have children?” When my patients ask, I try to laugh it off – it’s not their business. When family mentions it, I tense up. I can’t brush it off. I can’t laugh it off. I don’t know what to say anymore. There are so many emotions that people can’t understand if they’ve never been on our situation. Anecdotes about friends having difficulties don’t help. Especially when those friends had troubles for a year and then conceived a child – and then another the same year, a few months after the first was born. Telling me that you had trouble conceiving your second and third child don’t help. Honestly, they don’t. We can’t even conceive our first. We’d be ecstatic with one child at this point. We really would.

We’ve gone to a fertility clinic. We’ve been told the problem. We’ve been told that most likely, only IVF would work. IVF. Who can afford it? One treatment equals to almost $10,000. We’ve thought about adoption – over $30,000. Surrogates even cost a massive amount even with a friend being the surrogate. It seems like my husband and I are out of options. 

Sometimes I think, maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t have children. This is just the way it’s supposed to be for us. However, deep down I’m not losing my faith. I believe that everything happens in its own time and everything happens and doesn’t happen for a reason. God has a plan and I need to stick to that truth.

Family

In light of a very recent tragedy that occurred in our family, I want to say something. 

Family is the most important bond you can ever have. It out measures every single solitary relationship you may ever have with a friend.

Family is the only thing that will stick with you when times get rough, when you’re down on your luck, when tragedy strikes. No family is perfect just as no person is perfect. My family is no exception to that rule. We are all a bunch of messed up people that love each other. True, sometimes fights occur, you feel isolated by one person or another, things happen. In the end though, family, true family will always be there. Always with a listening ear, a warm hug, a happy smile, a good laugh. 

I hope everyone appreciates the family they have in their lives – whether it be your own, your spouses, combined. 

Processed

The first time I bleached my hair (a couple of months ago), I instantly regretted doing it at home. Mainly because my hair ended up almost fried and a million hues. Honestly though, the hues grew on me and I ended up enjoying the color!


Well, I figured once my hair was thoroughly bleached, I wouldn’t need to do much but my roots. I figured that I’d go to a salon and get it touched up. I figured wrong. 

Unfortunately, I can’t afford to get it done at a salon because of how thick my hair is and how much work it takes. Personally, I don’t understand how women can afford to go to the salon every month or two…the prices are phenomenal – in a bad way!

So, as it happens with blonde hair, my very dark roots started showing. 


Me, in my infinite wisdom, decided it would be a great idea to have my husband do my roots – bad decision. Not because he did anything wrong, but because I can’t have my hair washed out without having a near panick attack that the bleach is going to seep into my eyes. I know, it’s foolish. Anything can happen though and my mind always jumps to the worst scenario possible. Well, washing the bleach out was a fiasco! I didn’t even want to deal with it halfway through the wash. We used all our towels. We got the bathroom soaking wet. It was a mess.

Finally, my DH put some blonde hair dye just to even out the color, but it started BURNING. Horribly. I’d never felt that before dyeing my hair. The culprit for the burning was a couple of scabs I have on the back of my head – the bleach irritated it and the dye obliterated it!

Hopefully I will look back on this with fondness and wisdom and go to a salon to get my hair done from now on!

“You Can’t…”

So many times people equate diets with an endless supply of dry chicken breasts and salads with the blandest of dressings. For a long time, I must admit, I was the same way!

“You can’t eat anything good on a diet!”

How untrue that is! I’ve lost 22 pounds (so far!) eating bacon, cheese, eggs, heavy whipping cream, whipped cream, steaks, ribs, pork rinds, guacamole, sour cream, ranch, chicken wings, pizza (yes, pizza!), ice cream, “bread”, and so many other delicious foods. High fat, low carb, moderate protein. It is the spice of life. It is a wonderful thing.

Fat-Head Dough Chicken & Broccoli Pizza
Lobster and Shrimp Salad
Keto Lasagna
Bacon & Cheese Quiche
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Cheesy Biscuits
Cloud Bread

I don’t know about you, but to me, this is some good eating! I’ve made nachos using pork rinds with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. I always find delicious ketogenic options at any restaurant I go to. I’ve yet to figure out some sweet treats in the form of baked goods that I could eat, but that’s mainly because I’m not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners.

My new obsession, however, is an ice cream brand called Enlightened. They are wonderfully low-calorie and low-carb. Halo Top is the usual go-to for keto, but I feel that Enlightened is 100 times better and has a lot more flavors to choose from. Some don’t encourage this brand because of the use of cane sugar and technically we aren’t supposed to have any form of sugar, however I’ve been eating Enlightened and am still losing weight. I’ll take it!

So to those who are stuck in the mentality of “you can’t have any good food on a diet,” I challenge you to try keto (as long as you’re able) and see what it does not only for your weight, but for your energy, mental health, and various medical diagnoses (including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.).

I’ll leave you with what I had for lunch today: a pound and a quarter of snow crab legs, broccoli, and tomato-mozzarella caprese!

Ketogenic Me

About a month and a half ago my husband and I traveled into NYC to visit my parents and watch a Broadway musical featuring Josh Groban – Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. Fantastic show, interactive and wonderfully choreographed. Well, I stepped foot into my parents house and was greeted with love, as always. However, there was another aspect to the welcome this time – worry. My parents – especially my mother – couldn’t get over my weight gain. True, I had gained quite a large amount in the past half a year, but I guess I didn’t truly internalize it until that weekend. My mother and I ended up fighting, my husband got involved as always, sticking up for me (which my parents actually respected a lot), but at the conclusion of it all, I made up my mind. 

I had to change. I had to lose the weight. My health was in jeopardy, I felt horrid about myself, and I was almost always tired and hungry. I ate to mask my depression and anxiety. I ate to make myself feel better. Not anymore!

On July 3rd, my husband and I, as a team, decided to take our lives into our hands and lose weight together. We started the ketogenic diet.

Now people wonder, what’s that? It’s fairly simple really! For this way of eating, one must cut all the sugar from their diet, increase their fat and protein intake (more fat than protein), and reduce their carbohydrate intake (I stick to below 20 grams daily myself).

In this way, your body no longer uses carbohydrates for energy. Rather, it uses the fat. By doing this, your body becomes “fat-adapted” and allows effective burning of stored fat in the body. This helps your body then lose weight due to the burning of excess fat that’s stored and just sitting there – which would remain there if you were feeding yourself carbohydrates and sugars, which would usually be the first thing your body would start burning.

So, it’s now been almost 2 months since the husband and I have started our journey and we both have lost 22 lbs! 

We are both looking and feeling better. Happier. Sometimes I know that temptation arises for me – especially in the form of chips, cookies, and milkshakes. However, I remind myself how difficult it was to lose weight so far and I never want to go back to the weight I started with. My husband and I both have a ways to go and will keto on!