Monday, October 19, 2009

new buddy!

i may have neglected to introduce this guy:



this is my new buddy/nephew wyatt. my brother patrick and his wife jennifer had him right before we moved out east. it was bittersweet to say the least! my first nephew and i barely got to see him :( i get pictures of him occasionally but i definitely feel like i'm missing out.

things are finally settling down for us, praise God! our apartment is coming together although we still have a few boxes here and there. we make weekly trips to ikea, which is like disneyland for me... i am such a sucker for affordable swedish design! we finally got Maryland insurance for our car as well as the license plates and my driver's license, all of which was similar to a root canal in terms of fun-- i had to remove all the window tint from our car for our car to pass the safety inspection. Maryland is such a party pooper sometimes.

we finally made a new friend and he happens to live about 10 feet away from us! his name is Tony and ironically he is in a hardcore band that is actually pretty good. he and Eric have a lot in common and I'm thankful that Eric has someone he can chat with and go to shows with. now i just need a gal pal who likes crafts!

we have a promising lead on finding a church. i had checked out a church on my own that's down the street from where we live and although it totally seemed 'doable,' i just didn't feel that familiar connection. my friend michelle got me in contact with a girl in our area who loves her church, and that looks really hopeful! i think once we have a church family, we will feel like that last puzzle piece is in place...

i am totally in domestic mode at the moment and enjoying being married. i really like my new job- i do check-in/check-out for a group of cardiologists who seem MUCH nicer than the folks at the last job, and i've decided that even though i work more than i'd like, work makes me feel 'functional.' i've been cooking and cleaning and decorating and just enjoying "playing house." i get so much fulfillment out of serving people, especially my husband. it's funny to me in a way because that quasi-feminist side of me never really wanted to 'wait' on someone, but the spiritual part of me enjoys being the 'helper.' i really enjoy the dynamic God created between a spiritual husband and wife and i'm thankful that it somehow just makes sense to my otherwise rebellious persona...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

we made it!

after several months of planning, researching, scrapping plans and starting over, we finally made it out east. we originally thought we'd settle in virginia as that's where most of the jobs in my field seemed to be as well as my current school (northern virginia community college), but God seems to have led us to college park, maryland, home of the university of maryland. after two prospective living situations fell through, we decided to check out a small apartment right on the green line metro (eric requires metro access for both work & school). the picture on craigslist looked fair enough, but when we got to the apartment to view it, we were honestly kind of disgusted- less than 500 square feet of room for the two of us with dated appliances and college kids both upstairs and down. at first, the only advantages to the place were 1) no minimum income requirement (most places we checked out wanted us to make at least $37,000 a year), and 2) literally RIGHT on the metro line- usually we'd have to take a bus or bike to a metro station, but here the station is literally about 100 feet from our house. really, those two points were what sold us on the place- we could afford it, the landlord was willing to let us sign a lease the day we saw it, and eric can get to class in 20 minutes by metro. granted, it reminds me of my very, very first apartment (yikes), but we honestly began to fall in love with it. it's cozy for sure and the kids downstairs are actually pretty sweet (all inviting us to play beer pong and sharing their wireless), not to mention there's an IKEA down the road! despite the parties and generally disrespectful college kids, it's actually a really cool area to live in because sooo many things are within walking/biking distance: five guys burgers, a bagel shop, starbucks, chipotle, subway, a chinese place, noodles and company, cold stone creamery, jason's deli, pizza, wings, sushi... you know how college campuses are.
eric was lucky enough to stay employed with whole foods, and he now works at one of the busiest locations in the nation. it's like an airport! i'm currently working with a group of neurosurgeons, doing the ol' 9-5 type deal again, every day. right now we dont have a lot of quality time to spend with each other, which is definitely an adjustment in terms of 'being married,' but we have lots of things we'd like to do in the area when we finally get 'settled.' there is so much to do here and DC is accessible within about 20 minutes! and so much is free! it's definitely not home quite yet, but it will surely be entertaining for the next two years or so...

Friday, August 14, 2009

married.

it's official. on August 1st, 2009 I became Mrs. Rachael Dillard O'Dell. i'm still getting used to the name!





now, we must pack our 2 lives into one and move to Virginia within the next week. so much to do!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

uncomfortable.

my last post alluded to the fact that there is a lot going on in our lives. eric is working full time and going to class AND trying to help me plan a wedding. i am working full time, trying to plan a wedding, and trying to find a place for us to live a month from now. my brother and i recently flew out to Washington, DC for a few days to look at properties and check out the area. we thought we found a nice place for eric and i to live but for a few different reasons, that place may no longer be an option. so, here i am, thinking that the rigorous application process was for naught, feeling like i wasted a trip out east, wondering where the heck we are going to live in a few short weeks. our wedding is in two weeks and i'm trying my best to keep the stress of the living situation from ruining our wedding and honeymoon plans, but it's definitely weighty. neither eric nor i have ever had to be completely uprooted, let alone from one area's price of living to another area with a much higher price of living. it's daunting to say the least. i feel certain in my heart that God has a place set aside for us to live, a place that we can enjoy and nest in, and yet the stress of 'just finding it' is becoming overwhelming...

if you pray, please pray that God will lead us unmistakably to a safe, clean, enjoyable place to live in the DC area.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a mighty whirlwind

a lot has been going on and normally i would be overwhelmed by it all, but to tell the truth, it all makes sense to me in a crazy way...

first of all, eric and i are getting married. we knew within about a week or two of our dating (which began about three years ago) that we were "right" for each other, that we would be good for one another in the way that God intended. we've been through some crazy ups and downs and im sure i can speak for both of us when i say that there is such a feeling of 'peace' and 'this makes sense' in our relationship. we even talked about getting married this fall and having a lovely fall-themed event... which brings me to the next item of interest. eric has been studying american sign language for the past two years and applied to gallaudet university in washington, DC just to see if he'd get in. backstory: gallaudet university is the only deaf university in the US. they only admit 20 hearing students a year to their ASL program. so if a hearing person obtains a degree from gallaudet university, they can pretty much do whatever they want in the interpreting field (it's like the 'harvard' or 'yale' of sign language schools). so... imagine our surprise when eric got in. he's 1 person out of 20 people across the whole nation that got into this extremely competitive program. holy crap, right? so... about two weeks after we get married, we're moving to washington, DC...

so as you can see, we do indeed have a lot going on. getting engaged, planning a wedding, participating in said wedding, packing, finding a place to live, moving, going to new schools... all within about 2 months' time. it's funny because eric and i would look at some of our friends' crazy lives and say, "maybe one day God will call us to live like that," and here we are, not knowing what kind of money we'll be able to live off of or where we'll be living in the next month and a half. but, it's been more than obvious to both of us that God's favor is upon us and our marriage, so there's a lot of peace to live off of there. now we must trust Him to carry us to the next life stage...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

 


so this one time three years ago, this boy told me a story about his mom and how she sometimes acts during church. we were standing on the top level of a parking garage-- we still barely knew each other and as he was telling me this story, he grabbed my hand and said,

"sometimes she grabs my hand in the middle of church service... like this."

my thoughts raced and the butterflies in my stomach nearly made me puke, but i somehow managed to find a true Rachael moment in it:

"did you just use that as an excuse to hold my hand?"

"uhh... yeah... heh..."

and that's a good indication of how charmingly things began for us. which brings us to now, to tonight, in which the boy in the photo and the boy in the story are the same, and all of us were together again on the same top level of the same parking garage, in the same spot even... except this time he asked me to marry him.

of course i said yes :)

the lighting's bad and i know you cant really read it on my face, but this boy makes me happier than i ever thought i'd be in this human life. i am so in love with him and who he is and who he's becoming. i'm grateful to God for bringing us together and more than excited to see what He has in store for us...

<3<3<3!!
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Terebinth Spa/Brother, Sister Press

my good friend Allie recently started her own business, Terebinth Spa, in which she offers a night of homemade, organic spa treatments for office, home, and church parties. doesn't this sound amazing? just talking about it makes me feel relaxed and peaceful. i went to a party she threw at her home and it was so much fun to munch on snacks and do some self-pampering with other ladies. if you know Allie at all, you already know what a peaceful, loving, nurting person she is- just being around her is a peaceful, sweet experience, so "allie + spa business" makes perfect sense to me. it's inspiring to see her act on her dreams and i'm excited to see what God has planned with her and her projects!

i too am hoping to get more involved with some dreams of mine, namely the little shop i opened on etsy.com... i love making all different kinds of things and i hope the summer break will help me to invest more time in those projects. i've also opened an etsy store with the intent of using it as a collective for the people in our church body who also enjoy making things but maybe dont have enough time/product to open a store of their own. it's actually a dream eric and i have shared since we started dating, to have a little collective/collaboration within the church body and to reach others in different, creative ways. i truly hope it will allow us to reach people and to grow both artistically and in terms of community. keep your eyes open for Brother, Sister Press!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

a desire fulfilled is a tree of life

i promise not to get too mushy, but... i cant resist posting this:



i love this boy a lot. he is the most beautiful, patient, sweet person i've ever met. we compliment each other in so many awesome ways. even though we've hurt each other a lot, we love each other a lot and i'm thankful that God has put us together as only He can-- to learn how to love another well and to show others God's love. Godly love doesnt give up or call it quits when things get rough, and that's a lesson i've needed to learn for a while. i'm thankful i got to learn it alongside the most beautiful person i know...

<3

Thursday, May 7, 2009

provision, perception, presence.

lately i have been very comforted by the Fullness of God. He is in control always, ordering all things for good. How silly it is of me to worry about anything...

"God provides for our needs and everything beyond that is a blessing."

i have been very busy with finals and unfortunately that has made it difficult for me to respond to amazing, amazing letters/emails/packages from friends. it's also been difficult to make time for God, whether that be time spent in the word or time just being mindful/connected. i've noticed that the less frequently i engage with the Spirit, the less frequently i perceive things correctly. while i'm not happy about this, it's definitely a cool lesson to learn. i am very thankful that my emotions do not always accurately reflect reality, and that that which i am feeling is not necessarily truth. i will be very relieved when i am done with school for the semester and can focus more energy on being part of the community and growing closer in my relationship with God.

as for my previous bloggery... God really is kicking some ass, blowing my mind, showing me some amazing, amazing things... i'm so thankful for the ways God loves me and wants to bless me. i'm thankful that He knows the true, deep desires of my heart and brings them to life in ways i never expected. i have such a burden to see others come to know God as i have and to reside in His truth-- it has been absolutely life-changing for me and i desire so much to see others experience this kind of joy, peace, and love in their own lives...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

mind, blown.

do you ever get so psyched about what God is doing that you just can't contain it?

i just have to say... GOD IS KICKING SOME SERIOUS ASS.

confirmation is so freakin' awesome! holy crap, dude, God loves me a lot!

i pray pray pray that the people i care about will come to know God like i know him, and even moreso...

sorry to anyone who doesn't want to hear about Jesus-type stuff. it's kinda my life anymore, and i'm fine (even psyched) with it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

rooted in love.

i am pretty excited to meet the person God has created me to be. i have had glimpses of this person in the past but was never comfortable with her enough to let her stick around. for a person who has struggled with self-esteem issues lifelong, this is both challenging and comforting. i've dealt with all those typical 'girl' issues in life- being pretty/skinny/smart enough- and i'm so glad that God calls us to a higher place in life, a place where God is bigger than those issues. when i see myself through the lens of God's truth, i get really excited because i actually like that version of me, and the old version of me who wants to please and be loved by everyone is really very tired. in God i have realized that i am smart, loving, loveable, worthwhile, sensitive, understanding, sweet, charming, talented, wise, beautiful, and good. those last two are probably the hardest for me to say because i've had such issues with seeing myself as either of them- i always thought i had to be pretty and nice for people to love me, and i struggled with being either of those through different times in my life. i've felt ugly and mean, in fact i've felt downright horribly about myself; i've thought that i was unlovable in my messy state. how untrue this is! i am so thankful that God has shown me how much He loves me and accepts me as i am and gives me all that i need to become all that He has created me to be. when i catch a glimpse of His truth and see things with Godly perception, it blows my mind!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Acts 2:42-47

The Fellowship of the Believers

[42]And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [43]And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44]And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45]And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46]And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47]praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.


this passage really lays on my heart in a way that makes me want to get my hands dirty. brothers and sisters, let's make community happen, let's get messy, let's see what God has in store for us.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

month 1.

it's been about a month since march 18th. i know being vague is just *so mysterious* and what not, but it will suffice to say that march 18th of 2009 was probably one of the worst days of my life. i continue to say "bleh!" in it's general direction. but! my point is that it's been a month. a month of ups and downs and highs and lows and tears and peace. i'm glad to look back and see 31 days between myself and that awful place. to be honest, everything that has happened has been worthwhile, even the hard parts. i know that there are things happening in my life that wouldn't have happened otherwise...

one of those things that i am especially thankful for is my growing love for others. God had been laying on my heart a need to be with others in community, and although i shared His desire, i just didn't know how to make it happen in myself. God is truly loving me through others and challenging me to find out what it means to have true brothers and sisters. before this, i had no idea how much i really needed a family in the body of Christ- for so long i've distanced myself from people, afraid of being hurt or not being 'accepted.' i've learned that because i am truly accepted by God, i can be accepted by others and accept them in return. being hidden in Christ is a great comfort to me, and i am still only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding how God sees and loves me. for me, this is all very necessary and exciting stuff to be learning! i know that we only know in part, but i feel that God has given me huge amounts of understanding in terms of how He's working in my life and around me, and that is such a huge blessing, especially for someone who always likes to have the answers.

"...our darkest nights are days to You..."
(mewithoutyou)

Monday, April 13, 2009

i said good day.

today was the first good day i've had since march 17th.

i woke up early and went to take a test at school. did well despite the perpetual dark cloud that's been hovering above me for the past few days. came 'home' (i've been living with my pastor Danny and his wife Niccole for a few weeks) and intended to read/pray/fall asleep for the rest of the day when Niccole knocked on my door and asked me to go to Tea's Me (awesome tea cafe with amazing BLT's/pastor Danny's unofficial 'office') with her- can't turn down a pot of hot amazing naturally sweetened tea on a rainy day. we go. it's still raining and cold when we go in. we sit by the fireplace, drinking champagne oolong and munching our delicious sandwiches. i ask her advice about current life situations. she tells me some things i need to hear. we talk about friends, life, church, conflict ("carefrontation"?), hope, pain, vision. i get fed in more ways than one. i purchase some delicious vanilla honeybush rooibos and japanese cherry green tea. we leave, and it's still horrible weather yet i don't seem to mind anymore. we drive slowly through fall creek neighborhoods and ooh and ahh over cute homes that are for sale. we shop at ridiculously overpriced omalia's for meals for the week. we head home and decide to go to big lots instead. we look at cute furniture and garden things. niccole picks out a table for a craft project. i buy some lotion, some bargain-priced yerba mate soda, some soup, and more tea soda. i remember why i love big lots so much. we leave. we arrive 'home' to find a mysterious pink box on the dining room table- danny announces he has an amazing present for all of us from the flying cupcake- three cupcakes of different flavors, including my current favorite- red velvet elvis. danny divvies each cupcake up into three parts so that we can each sample. i clap my hands with giddiness and gobble up the not-too-sweet gourmet deliciousness and finish it off with a cup of my newly acquired japanese cherry tea. niccole and i make a run to the library where i put some books on hold for a research project. we return 'home.' all three of us together watch the chronicles of narnia and eat a delicious dinner of grilled shrimp salad with fresh tomatoes and clementines. i finish mine off with a dish of tart mango frozen yogurt. chronicles of narnia ends and i feel spiritually inspired. i decide to take an amazing hot bath and have some 'me' time. now i am here, having finished an awesome journal entry for today (both online and in my 'holy spirit journal'), with a hot cup of vanilla honeybush rooibos, ready to drift off into a restful slumber after some quiet time with the Lord...

ive said before that i fully believe that God speaks to us in very personal ways. i believe today was a true breakthrough for me, an answer to prayer, and a gift from God. the last few days had been difficult and i felt i couldn't see around current life situations- today i feel like i had my vision restored. God answered so many prayers for me today in so many ways that i cant even explain it... it just proves to me how much He cares about me and hears my prayers. I'm thankful to serve a God that loves me well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

thankful heart

about two years ago or so i was at a very dark place spiritually. i wanted badly to connect with God, yet felt that I couldn't find him anywhere. i wanted to worship Him and praise Him and yet I couldn't find the peace to do those things, so I began to pray that God would give me a thankful heart. i am so thankful that He answered that prayer because today, even though i am struggling with some trials and tribulations, i can easily find things to be thankful for:

-wisdom
-understanding
-Godly perception
-knowledge
-friends, brothers, and sisters
-patience
-mercy & grace
-forgiveness
-the living word
-being called
-the Holy Spirit
-newness
-redemption
-freedom in truth
-peace
-growth

this is just the tip of the iceberg. sometimes i find myself thanking God for the same things over and over throughout the day, in awe of all that God does for me and all that He provides for me. i am truly thankful to be thankful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

great lake swimmers

a few months ago i realized after the fact that one of my favorite bands, great lake swimmers, had played in indianapolis. i was bummed that i didnt get to see them, but even more bummed that i am officially 'out of the loop' as far as what's going on in the music world (note: i typed 'music scene' and then immediately BACKSPACE- the word 'scene' leaves such a bad taste in my mouth).

my playlist as of late definitely reflects my more contemplative state. sometimes i get in these moods where only a few bands can really 'get me' and i end up listening to only those few bands. here is a sampling of my latest favorites:

great lake swimmers:
river's edge
rocky spine
changing colours

first aid kid:
you're not coming home tonight
jagadamba, you might
i met up with the king

reindeer section:
you are my joy
budapest

here's the rest:
page france- jesus
david byrne & dirty projectors- knotty pine
new pornographers- use it
american analog set- promise of love
bangs- i want more
riverboat gamblers- a choppy yet sincere apology
sham 69- borstal breakout


one of my degree requirements in liberal arts is to take 5 upper-level classes outside my major. fortunately for me, there just so happens to be a class on rock music in the 70's and 80's, aka, 'my whole childhood'- with my dad being a musician, i more or less grew up on this stuff! its a really fun class and right now we're studying punk rock, which has brought about a renewed interest in some of my crustier musical preferences- MC5, iggy pop, television, new york dolls, etc... can you believe i get a grade to identify these bands? now if only someone could teach a class on early 21st century emo... just kidding :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

all joy.

something that i've been especially thankful to learn in my walk with Christ is how to be joyful in my trials and tribulation. i can't say i'm good at it or that it doesn't hurt still, but i've been blessed with mountain-moving faith in this area. the past few weeks have been difficult; i've had to deal with one thing after another- deaths in the family, as well as an especially painful event that i never, ever imagined would transpire in my life. but! i am still here. i am still believing. in fact, i am believing that God can and will take all this awfulness and bring something truly amazing up out of it. He has already changed me in ways that i could not change myself, even though i wanted to so badly. i believe that i am lucky to serve a God who is faithful even when i am not, a God who loves me regardless of how poorly i may love others, a God who loves me enough to turn my ways from the grave, and a God who loves me enough to discipline me. i am learning patience, hope, longsuffering, and love, and even though it is painful, it is priceless.


oh, and i'm 27 now! yuck! at least i got a new ipod touch out of it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

venting over rude drivers.

will someone tell me what is up with rude drivers? this is my biggest pet peeve. i used to have some pretty bad anger issues, and i honestly feel like i have a handle on all my old triggers EXCEPT for rude drivers! like, it's totally okay to cut someone off or ride their tail because there are vehicular bodies between you- since you aren't face to face, in the flesh, it's OK to drive like a jerk! at least that's what people seem to think. people are always tailing me on my way home from school, like im just going waaaaaay toooo slooow, but hello, im doing 75 mph in a 70 zone. i figure thats safe enough but nooooooo, dudebrah's SUV isn't emitting enough toxins at this speed, so i either gotta move out of the way or speed up. what happens if i do neither? i have to admit i kinda like pissing people off in this way. if i just stay in my comfy 75 mph zone and play dumb, eventually i'll get the brights flashed at me or they'll wise up and go around. i prefer they do the latter obviously, which is what they should have done when they realized i wasn't 'up to their speed.'

i say all this because this happened tonight, some dude in a sparkly white car with illinois plates slowly crept up on my butt and then flashed me his brights- mind you there is only FEET between us and there's plenty of room for him to pass me. so i stay put. he eventually passes me but i was so pissed that i gave him the bird. it's been a really long time since i've flipped someone off- i immediately felt like i was in trouble and the following conversation occurred between me and God:

me: "sorry, God..."
God: "you're not sorry for flipping him off. you're just sorry that you got caught."
me: "yeah. you're right."
God: "it's not my fault that guy drives like a jerk."

some heavy pondering occurred after this conversation. was i in some sense taking out my anger on God? it didn't seem so, but it was true that in expressing my anger in an ungodly manner was against God's wishes... very interesting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

feelin' the pinch.

i was very irritated today to realize that someone had stolen my calculus textbook from my car. at first i thought that someone must be really bored to be stealing textbooks, but when i realized that i'd have to pay $146 to replace the dang thing, i wasn't all that surprised. obviously i haven't been able to keep up with homework or study for quizzes, so i'm not making the best grades, but to make matters worse, money is really tight. i have enough money to buy a new book if i need to, but from here on out, things will be tight and will get tighter. as far as our household, dad still has no work, mom is no longer allowed to work overtime, and i'm more or less living off school loans. i knew the time would come when we'd have to seriously scale back on 'luxuries,' and i've been telling myself that i'd do fine when that time came, but lately i find myself spending money on groceries left and right with raw food experiments and what not. i had to have a semi-revelation recently about how much i spend on things i dont need, which is a lesson that i thought i knew well enough but has proven otherwise. i'm certainly willing to learn and i'm somewhat excited by the challenge of spending ONLY what needs to be spent...

speaking of raw food experiments, i concocted these cookies the other day:

Raw Carob Banana Chewies
equipment needed: food dehydrator
1 banana, mashed
1/8 C raw carob powder
1/4 C raw organic oats
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Mash banana well. Mix in carob until a pudding-like consistency forms. Add oats, mix well. Stir in walnuts. Drop by spoonfulls onto fruit roll tray, drying screen, or dehydrator tray. Dry in food dehydrator at 105 degrees for 6-8 hours or until dry.



these were good but i think i'm going to add in a little more spice next time, maybe some cinnamon or ginger. yum!

i've been eating a 60% raw diet the past three days and aside from some protein issues, it feels pretty awesome. i think smoothies are my new kryptonite, especially with some acai berry puree. today i had raw tacos for lunch (lettuce for shells w/ "taco nut meat", "black pepper cheeze" made from cashews, heirloom tomatoes, and yellow bell peppers. pr'y dang good!

Monday, February 16, 2009

lol @ e.d.o.



isn't he cute?

tonight i got really frustrated with him. like, i-could-wring-your-neck frustrated. we've been going to the same (small) church for three years now, with the same 20 or so people, and somehow he still doesn't seem to know any of their names. these are people we hang out with on a weekly basis! people we are friends with! it escapes me!

anyhow, after voicing my concern of his name-memorization skills, we went to whole foods, where he had the perfect chance to make fun of my memorization skills ("what's that stuff called? oh yeah, guacamole"). i think it's completely perfect that i have a relationship in which my significant other can make fun of me and i respond with ROFL-style laughter.

he sure does drive me nuts some days, but i can't stay mad at a face like that. i'm a sucker :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

score!

eric just left me a voicemail stating the his employer, Whole Foods, is going to be collecting and donating produce to the Peter's House meal ministry on a weekly basis!

FANTASTIC.

new ears



i just bought these custom-made from etsy... and am eagerly awaiting the postman's arrival!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

food addict

you can't tell anymore, but for a good 3 years or so i was vegan. i was very meticulous about what foods i ate and was always checking the ingredients label to make sure i was eating what i wanted. i was probably at my healthiest (and skinniest!) at that point in my life; i remember once i shocked my doctor when she took a blood test and found that my cholesterol was 27- i suppose you'll have that when you're not eating any animal products. anyhow... slowly i became lazy, decided i really loved kraft mac 'n' cheese, and eventually began eating meat again as well, which brings us to today- today i have very little discipline when it comes to my diet. i am a sucker for steak 'n' shake fries dipped in honey mustard, and i believe that the culver's down the street has the city's best cheeseburgers. truth be told, i am a sucker for "American" food- pizza, fries, 'fair food', ice cream, hotdogs, burgers, etc... and yet i loathe them at the same time because i know they're so unhealthy for me.

last week i spent some time at my friend allie's house where she and i discussed her inclination towards raw food. she mentioned her belief that God intended for us to consume food in this manner, at it's peak of nutrition. something about that conversation stuck with me, and i remembered how i used to feel about factory farms and pesticides and chemicals and processed foods. after our convo she had me help her make some raw guacamole and i surprised by how easy (and delicious) it was. ironically i had been reading a cookbook called "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson (which i highly recommend). it talks about the healthier forms of food that are available to us and why we shouldn't be eating such processed/chemicalized version of those foods. this is something that is actually very important to me and through reading this book i truly realized how lazy i'd become with my eating habits. after reading this book and talking with allie, i felt that it was high time i began to re-think my diet; not only did i feel awful about what i ate, but i've gained weight and other maladies, most of which could be chalked up to poor food choices coupled with lack of exercise.

ironically, this topic was brought up a few more times through the week, through books i'd found at my house and conversations with other people. honestly, i feel like God is challenging me to change my eating habits, which is strange to me- has God challenged anyone else in this manner? perhaps He desires that i see my body in a different way than i have been, which is something i struggle with anyhow...

i'm slowly trying to incorporate healthier foods into my diet. last night i went to whole foods to see eric and buy some fresh produce and a sugar substitute. right now i'm making my own raisins and dried mangoes, sipping on some yerba mate. can i really swear off coffee? we shall see.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

goin' against yr mind

i realize this is going to sound ridiculous, but every now and then during the process of waking up in the morning, i find myself humming a song that was in my dream. in my dreams i can write the most amazing stuff! but when i fully wake up, the song is long gone. sometimes as im dreaming lucidly i even try to sing out loud in an attempt to remember melodies. i remember once when i was in about 6th grade or so, i woke up singing, "i wanna go to jupiter, to jupiter, to jupiter..." of course i have no idea what the lyrics meant but for a 6th grader the melody was pretty impressive.

do you ever come across songs that you think are just "genius"? it's hard for me to explain, but every now and then i encounter a song that just makes a lot of sense musically. i think i discovered Built to Spill's "Goin' Against Your Mind" over a year ago and it is definitely one song that i will never, ever get sick of. i'm pretty sure that if there was a constant soundtrack to my life, this song would play a few times. the whole thing's just pure genius, kinda mind-blowing for me really. doug martsch is seriously underrated.

(if you click the link it will take you to the band's website, where the song should start playing.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

at peace

lately i have been feeling very content, very happy with where i am in life. i think somewhere over the past few years i began to feel a great dischord between where my life was and where i wanted my life to be, if that makes any sense, and i can say with great relief that that period is behind me. lately through working at peter's house and just milling through daily life, i have come to feel as though God is truly using me, and for me that is the ultimate goal. i am definitely not perfect nor have i "arrived," but things are good. i've noticed that when i go to peter's house to hang out with the homeless folks, i genuinely care about them. i mother over them. i enjoy dishing out plates of food for them. and i dont feel endangered, even though the house is located in one of the worst areas of the city. the house truly has a peaceful feeling about it, and i get a great blessing from providing these folks with a healthy, home-cooked meal. i am 100% certain that that is where God wants me, with people who are broken like me.

i've also had a glimpse of where my "career" (if you can call it that) may be going. i have become friends with the Mexican lady who cleans my workplace after hours. i've been really grateful for the opportunity to practice my spanish with her, and today she told me that she understands 90% of what i say. for me this is awesome! i certainly get flustered from time to time and forget a word or use the wrong tense and she'll patiently finish my sentences for me. her husband was with her today and just having a conversation with them in their native language was a real blessing; i think i get some sort of high off of being able to communicate with others in a situation where there might normally be a language barrier. i guess it makes me feel like i can relate to a person even more, and i feel that's my purpose in life- to relate to others, to join them on their level (whatever it may be), to show them Christ's love.

it's certainly a relief to feel like God can use me. at certain times in my life i have felt as though i'd screwed up too much, that i was "too [something]" for God to use me, and i think that began to change when i began to understand how God sees me (and i'm still at only the tip of the iceberg). like i said, it's a relief, it's a feeling like i'm moving in the right direction even though it's not "my" direction, a freedom in a sense. i'm definitely ready to get my hands dirty.

Friday, January 9, 2009

in with the new.

christmas and new year's have come and gone. 2008 went by so fast! i have to say, it went pretty mildly for me...

check out this awesome sweatshirt! eric hand sewed the applique...


(you can see the detail much better if you click the picture... as usual, i'm not very good at taking pics of things. good thing i never went through with that 'going to college for photography' thing!)

so that's one thing i got for christmas. eric outdid himself this year!

since this past fall i have been getting more and more involved with Peter's House, a homeless shelter run by my friend William. it's been really cool to see this project evolve, and i've come to a certain knowledge that my involvement has been no accident. a few months ago i came up with the idea of having someone from our church group fix a good, home-cooked meal for the home's Thursday night house meeting. i volunteered to get the ball rolling and at first we had only planned to provide the meal every-other Thursday due to my personal lack of funding and lack of people involved. i am happy to say that the idea has formed into a meal ministry of sorts in which we can provide food and fellowship. one of the other gals from church caught wind of the ministry and shared my enthusiasm for providing the house guests with a good solid meal, so with Natalee's help we are now able to serve a meal every thursday night! her family has donated food, her employer recently gave her like 20 cases of frozen cookie dough (dessert!), and a coworker of mine asked me if she could cook an upcoming meal for the house which i might add can hold up to 20 people. all things that prove to me that God is psyched about it.

which leads me to my next exciting tidbit... William, who runs Peter's House and owns the house itself, is letting Natalee and me transform the backyard into a garden! while hanging around the house the other day, i daydreamed of turning their backyard into a garden and teaching them to compost so that they could rely on their own backyard for good food rather than pantry food... when i mentioned this to Natalee, she jumped up and down (just like i do!) and said, "I just did that to my whole backyard last summer!" I was speechless! She also knows how to can, too. I brought the idea of gardening up to William and he was for it... so exciting! i can't wait for spring. everybody get ready for the Peter's House Garden of Eatin'!

classes resume next week. if things go as i have semi-planned them, i will graduate in the Spring of 2010. this is both relieving and daunting for me. lately i have been asking myself, "Can i really get a job speaking spanish? is a spanish degree enough to pay the bills?" i've said for a while now that i one day hope to help the people in my community who speak only Spanish, whether it be teaching English or doing some sort of social work. who knows, maybe one day Indy Alliance Church will have a Spanish service! i've had a great opportunity to practice spanish with a lady who cleans the doctor's office where i work. over the past few months i have gotten to know more about her and her family- right now she is off work as she is pregnant and due to give birth next month. i simply couldn't imagine going through childbirth in a country where i do not speak the language. yikes! i have made her some gifts and conveniently, her husband is filling in for her as he works as a landscaper and is out of work at the moment. tonight i spoke with him for what seemed like hours about mexico, his work as a truck driver, his family and the dangers they've faced to come to our country, and many other things. by the end of the night i had been invited to come to their house to dine on one of my favorite mexican dishes... pozole! after she has her baby and as much rest as she can get (since she's a mexican, she does not get much time off from her job...), will have a great dinner, polished off with an "American" dessert of my making. i'm excited :)

bendiciones!