Monday, December 29, 2008

Matching PJ's


Every year since I was a little girl it has been a tradition in our family to open ONE present on Christmas Eve. My sister and I would tear into our gift each year, olny to find a new pair of matching PJ's for us to wear that evening. While my sister often complained that the gift was lame, I as the little sister always thought it was so cool to finally be matching my older sister. As the years have gone on, the tradition has remained. My sister and I now giggle with excitement as we tear into our boxes, anxious to see what that years jammies look like. Not only do my sister and I match each year, but John and the kids have also joined in on this oh so fun tradition. Oh and did I mention.... my mom makes the pj's herself each year! :-) I look back now on all the Christmas's I've had and I'm so greatful for all our little family traditions.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

INTRODUCING......

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the new member of my family....

TIRZAH!!!!

My adorable new pup was rescued by the Rancho Santa Fe Animal Shelter on Dec. 9th 2008.

Tirzah is a Whippit/Toy Terrier mix who weighs in at a mere 9.6 lbs.
Tirzah is extremely lovable and docile with a quirky and spunky streak that keeps me laughing.

She makes a wonderful addition to my quaint little apartment.

What a blessing it is to have such a sweet puppy!




Hi everyone, my name is Tirzah and as you probably already know, "Emily" is my new human. I'm adjusting well to my home. I'm already learning lots of new commands such as, "down", "go potty", and "sit". I'm also all signed up for puppy obedience training starting next Sunday... I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress. I've also made a new friend, my human and her family call her "Nala"... she wasnt sure just what to think of me at first, but I think there's a friendship in our future. I can't tell you how amazing it is to finally have a loving family, a warm place to sleep, and unconditional love.... and all of it just in time for Christmas!!! Isn't God good?





Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Video" by India Arie

Alright you guys, I found this new song that I'm absolutely crazy about! I couldnt figure out how to download the song onto the blog without dowloading the whole music video, so when you first play it, follow along with the lyrics as you listen instead of watching the Video. The lyrics are amazing! I've also put in bold the specific parts of the lyrics that I love. Oh yeah, and the song is titled "Video" by India Arie. Enjoy!!!!


video

"Video" Lyrics

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I dont

Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I wont

Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes

It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

Im not the average girl from your video

And I aint built like a supermodel

But, I learned to love myself unconditionally

Because I am a queen

Im not the average girl from your video

My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes

No matter what Im wearing I will always be india aria (insert your own name where her's is!)

When I look in the mirror the only one there is me

Every freckle on my face is where its supposed to be

And I know our creator didnt make no mistakes on me

My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; Im lovin what I see

Im not the average girl from your video

And I aint built like a supermodel

But, I learned to love myself unconditionally

Because I am a queen

Im not the average girl from your video

My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes

No matter what Im wearing I will always be india aria

Am I less of a lady if I dont wear pantyhose?

My mama said a lady aint what she wears but, what she knows

But, Ive drawn a conclusion, its all an illusion, confusions the name of the game

A misconception, a vast deception

Somethings gotta change

Dont be offended this is all my opinion

Aint nothing that Im sayin law

This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share wit

Yall

So get in where you fit in go on and shine

Free your mind, nows the time

Put your salt on the shelf

Go on and love yourself

cuz everythings gonna be all right

Im not the average girl from your video

And I aint built like a supermodel

But, I learned to love myself unconditionally

Because I am a queen

Im not the average girl from your video

My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes

No matter what Im wearing I will always be india aria

Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks

I dont need that to have a good time

Keep your expensive car and your caviar

All I need is my guitar

Keep your crisp style and your pistol

Id rather have a pretty piece of crystal

Dont need your silicon I prefer my own

What God gave me is just fine

Im not the average girl from your video

And I aint built like a supermodel

But, I learned to love myself unconditionally

Because I am a queen

Im not the average girl from your video

My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes

No matter what Im wearing I will always be india aria

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy in the Lord

Each season of life I seem to find myself faced with a new challenge. Some are of course more difficult than others, but regardless of what it is I'm faced with, I can rest assured its all according to God's plan. About a year ago, I entered a new and challenging season in my life. As most of you may know, I was diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease called Interstitial Cystitis. To simplify it, my body mistakenly attacks the lining of my bladder as if it were a foreign body. This causes my bladder to become severely inflamed and irritated for no apparent reason. The pain is chronic and feels as if my bladder is filled to its absolute capacity, ready to explode, when in reality there is not a drop of urine to be found. The pain is beyond irritating. Some days are worse than others, but regardless of how "good" of a day I'm having, I always have and always will feel pain in my bladder. I've recently realized that despite the pain, life must go on. I cant whine and complain about how uncomfortable I am everyday. As my mom once told me, "you can visit pity city, but you cant live there".... and as annoying as this saying may be sometimes, its also very true. One thing is for sure, I refuse to let this disease steal my joy! If we all waited until we felt perfectly healthy from the inside out to experience joy in our lives, we'd always be miserable. Our bodies were not designed to be flawless. I've had to learn find joy outside my pain, for true joy doesnt come from our circumstances, but rather from the Lord. We all have our burdens to bear... interstitial cystitis is mine. Sucky? YES. End of the world? Certainly not! If anything its been a blessing. Isnt it true that when we're in pain or agony we turn to the Lord more? Well I know it true for me, and being in pain almost everyday has caused me to turn to the Lord time and time again. He reminds me daily that He is in control. My disease is out of my hands. Not because I dont care, but because the Lord can handle it far better than I ever could.

Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain you."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stress

Let the count down begin.... yep you guessed it, ITS THE WEEK BEFORE FINALS!!! AHHH! I'm stressed and freaking out as usual, but I'm also trying to keep in mind that God is in control. I just need to get through these last two weeks and I'm home free! Please be in prayer that finals go well... especially my History final (which is gonna absolutely kick my butt!) Thanks everyone.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reflections

Today is a sad day... it marks the last day of my six month mentor program "Tandem". I feel so fortunate to have had six wonderful months with my Christian mentor Julie. Julie and I met once a week to catch up, talk about the happenings in our lives, and support each other through prayer. It feels like just yesterday I was about to begin the program, not knowing who God was about to bring into my life or what exactly He had planned for me. I've learned that God knows me far better than I even know myself, for He so wonderfully hand picked the most amazing woman to be my mentor. She has guided me through rough times and celebrated with me in joyful times. She's been a listening ear when I needed to vent, and a wise counsel when I needed advise. No matter what I found myself facing during those 6 months, Julie always lovingly pointed me back to the Lord. She not only dutifully met with me once a week, but she kept me in constant prayer throughout our time together. As a young Christian woman, I cant stress enough the importance of having another Christian woman in your life to mentor you and guide you along life's path. I had no idea just how influential a mentor would be in my life, until I took the leap of faith, made myself vulnerable, and committed my time and heart to my mentor. Even though our time of meeting is up, I know Julie and I will be friends for years to come. God has forever etched a place in my heart for her, and I'm so grateful He did. It has been an amazing journey, and I recommend it to every woman!

Mentor : A wise and trusted guide.


Titus 2:3-5

"Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited."


Hebrews 10:24

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Heart At Rest

Alright, I've officially been inspired. As many of you may know, I've become obsessed with the book Captivating. If your a woman and you've never read it, you MUST go out and buy it right away. It's an incredible book and definitely worth the investment. There's so much of the book I wish I could share with you, but since that would take far too much time, I figured I'd share my newest inspiration....

"True beauty comes from the inner part of us. Our hearts. A heart at rest. A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough. In fact, the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating and enjoyed is our striving....

She exudes a sense of calm, a sense of rest, and invites those around her to rest as well. She speaks comfort; she knows that we live in a world at war, that we have a vicious enemy, and our journey is through a broken world. But she also knows that because of God all is well, that all will be well. A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become. In her presence, we can release the tension and pressure that so often grip our hearts. We can also breath in the truth that God loves us and He is good."


"A heart at rest." Doesn't that sounds peaceful? My new prayer is that God would create in me a heart that is not anxious, not stressed, not insecure; but rather a heart that is completely content and utterly at rest. I want others to feel calm, comfortable, and at home around me. I want my beauty to ooze from the inside out. True beauty points not to the person who exudes it, but instead points to the Lord, drawing others to the beauty and grace of God. How awesome is that? Dont you want others to be drawn to the Lord simply due to the inner beauty that you possess? Just a little food for thought.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Bunny Friend

Every once in a while, when I arrive home late, and the parking lot of my apartment is free of people, if I'm lucky, as I walk to the stairs I'll run into an old friend of mine. No its not a person, but rather a little grey and white bunny no bigger than a box of tissues. The first few encounters the bunny and I had, I thought nothing of it, other than the fact that he is quite adorable. But as time went on I began to notice a pattern. The nights I would run into him where always the nights I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, or alone. Then one night it hit me. This bunny wasnt just any ordinary bunny, he was God's gift to me. This simple little grey and white bunny was God's reminder of how much He loves me. God knows me, He knows what makes me smile, what makes my heart beat a little faster, and what takes my breath away. He knew that this cute little bunny would bring a smile to my face and sunshine to brighten my day. Each time I look at my tiny friend I'm reminded of just how good God is. It's about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Question to ponder: How many so-called ordinary things do you pass by on a daily basis, that are intended to be God's gift to you? God is constantly trying to woo us... dont miss what He wants to show you.

Victoria's Secret

I dont know if any of you knew, but being the TV junky that I am I couldnt help but notice that last night was the ever annoying Victoria Secret Runway Show. Can I just vent about this a moment? First of all, I've always been curious, who the hell is Victoria? And why can't she keep her damn secret to herself? Second, do you ever see the Chanel runway show televised for the world to see? No way. So why must we parade half naked too thin models down the runway in skimpy lingerer while the entire nation looks on? Do you think for a second that their intention is to sell the merchandise they're so annoyingly flaunting in our faces? Heck no! This disgusting show does nothing more than demean women, portraying them as objects of lust and desire to the equally disgusting men who drool over them. Now, I dont mean to sound like some loud mouth feminist, because I guarantee you I'm not. But there is something wrong when we as women begin to believe there is nothing wrong with runway shows such as the Victoria Secret show, not to mention their almost R rated commercials. Only 8%, yes you read that right, 8% of women in the WORLD naturally have bodies built like the Victoria Secret models. But when we flaunt these models for every woman to see and compare herself to, we are exponentially adding to the dissatisfaction, poor body image, and eating disorder issues that are already running rampant in our world. About two years ago, I probably wouldnt have even realized how offensive adds and shows like these were, but now that I find myself recovered from an eating disorder, I am hyper sensitive to the destructiveness of the media on women today. Lets stop turning a blind eye to the slow and deceptive deterioration of women. Satan hates women. He hates her beauty, her strength, and her powerful potential to be all God created her to be... His goal is to destroy us... Lets not let him. Put you foot down and stick up for not just our current generation of women, but the next one as well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Overwhelmed


Strange how a single day can bring out so many emotions. From laughter to tears. From frustration to enjoyment. Some days can easily take you from one end of the spectrum to another, and today was definitely one of those days. These are the things currently running through my head... WARNING! could be hazardous to your own sense of calm and well being.


  1. Finals week is rapidly approaching and we all know that with it comes a crap load of stress... the kind that makes you want to pull your hair out and scream, "I'M SOOOOOO DONE!"

  2. Christmas is right around the corner... translation: I'M BROKE!

  3. My upcoming weekend that was supposed to be filled with studying, has now been replaced with family and church obligations. Its not that I dont love both these things, its just that... well... I'm OVERWHELMED hello?

  4. My head is spinning about this big "decision" I'll be making in the next few months (dont feel left out that you dont know what it is I'm trying to decide... I'm not telling anyone actually)

  5. My apartment is now borderline disgusting... I hate cleaning with a passion (I'm so not domestic)

  6. I'm exhausted due to a lack of sleep these past few nights.

To be honest, my list could probably continue on for another hour or so, but I'll spare you from the boredom of having to read it. I have to admit, sometimes I simply use this blog as a personal journal. Its a place where I can go and write my thoughts, share them with the world, and not be ashamed. I am who I am... good days and bad days included. While I was sitting here typing my list of grievances, I glanced over at my little black purse lying on the floor. "What in the world is sticking out the zipper??" I bent down, picked up the purse, and pulled the little piece of paper out. I found myself looking at the Ladies Christmas Tea program from last night. In a matter of seconds I was reminded of our speaker Donna who spoke about the hectic nature of the Christmas season, particularly to women. She compared it to being in a canoe that has just flipped over in an icy cold lake... suddenly we scream out "help I'm drowning... help!" When rescue arrives, we have gotten ourselves in such a tizzy we cant comprehend whats going on around us. Meanwhile, our rescuer is desperately trying to get our attention by saying "Ma'am look at me. Look at my face. I will help you, just hold onto me and trust me." Donna then proceeded to tell us that is precisely what God is trying to say to us when we feel so overwhelmed that it feels as if we're downing. God is tell you, "Emily (insert name here), look at me. Look at MY face. I will help you, you just need to hold onto me and trust me."


Thank you Lord for that much needed reminder!


Joshua 23:8


"But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now"

Love

Ok so its 11:30pm right now and I cant sleep! Ugh insomnia can be frustrating sometimes. Anyway, I was lying in bed thinking about where I was emotionally, physically, and spiritually a year ago today, and it suddenly hit me.... I'm finally ok. For the first time in what has felt like a lifetime, I'm finally ok with who I am. I no longer have a never ending list of things I want to change about myself. I've learned to not only accept who I am, but love who I am. Thats right, I actually love my short temper, my procrastination, my cluttered car, my impossible hair, my celulite thighs, my perfectionist nature, my short frame, my big feet, my crooked bottom teeth, my autoimmune disease, my nail bitting habit, my forgetfulness, my bodies curves, and my big butt. Yep you read that right... I love all thoes things. I love them not because I have to or because I've simply resigned myself to, but rather because God gave me thoes qualities.... and thats precisly what makes me unique. Its amazing what God can do with a broken life when you allow Him to heal it. Not too long ago I wasn't simply a cracked pot.... oh no, I was shattered into a million little pieces. But God is so good. I dont care what anyone says, I truely believe God is still in the miracle making business! Anyway, once I found myself on the mend, the Lord lit a firey passion within me. A passion to share my story and be an example to girls and women who have found themselves in the depths of self hatred whether it be through low self esteem, an eating disorder, or the never ending body image issues we all face as women. There is hope. Every woman can live a free life... and every woman deserves a free life. We dont have to be bound by shame any longer. It reminds me of a passage from my favorite book Captivating,

"I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I've ever met feels it - something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and, I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone."

Its easy to love the things that are "pretty" about you, and measure up to societies standards... but I challenge you to start loving what you hate most about yourself. This can be a daunting task, but ask God to help you love. You'll be amazed how a little of God's love can free you up immensely.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Glass Slipper

While out shopping today I just couldnt resist this adorable plaque... I guess its the hopeless romantic in me that drove me to purchase it....


I knew my love for shoes would come in handy one day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

5:30am the alarm sounds. Its early, but I'm ready and excited to start my day. I groggily climb out of bed and make my way to the shower. As I step into the steaming hot cascade of water, I can somehow tell this is going to be a pleasant day. Step one, Make-up. You know how sometimes you go to put on your make-up as you usually do, but for some odd reason it comes out flawless, making you wish everyday could be so effortlessly simple? Well today was the that sort of day... or so I thought. With my make-up finished I moved onto step two, style hair. Within fifteen minuets I'm finished with my hair and looking into the mirror amazed and dumbfounded at how great it looks... man what a good hair day! Finally I glace over to the floor where my adorable outfit lies waiting for me to put it on and walk out the door with an extra bounce in my step... if only life were that easy. I put my new top on first.... cute, check! Next goes the necklace... funky and fun, check! Finally, I go to put on my pants when... disaster strikes! UGH! No no no no this is NOT happening. I love these cute blue pants, how could they not fit? I struggle with the pants for a good ten minuets, jumping up and down, sucking in my stomach till I cant breathe, and lying on the bed in a final and desperate attempt to get the damn pants to button. In the end, the pants won. I found myself sitting on my bed at a sudden and unexpected cross roads.... I could have a major melt down, whining and complaining about how fat I've gotten, only to come to the conclusion that my diet and rigorous exercise routine starts today, OR I could remind myself that these pants where bought when I was still an unhealthy size, when my life was consumed and controlled by my eating disorder, and when I allowed a number sewn onto the inside on my pants to rule my life. You'll be happy to hear, I chose the second option. Today is a new day.... I refuse to be defined my a number, and I refuse to believe that I'm fat just because of my pant size. So now comes the difficult part. What is heavens name do I do with these pants that dont fit? Do I hang them back up in my closet only to allow them to taunt me? Or do I accept that I will probably NEVER be that size again.... not because I'm fat, but because this is the way God created me! He didnt make me to be a size 2.... so what? My body is a temple unto the Lord, and to make myself sick just so I can claim a size our culture deems acceptable is ridiculous! About a year ago this type of morning would have devastated me. It would have set the tone for a miserable day, but not anymore. Instead, I found a different (and equally cute) pair of pants to put on, I grabbed my "knock your socks off" yellow purse, and walked out the door with a smile and a sense of contentness. I'm happy with who I am... but I'm even happier that pants dont rule my life anymore. It reminds me of a song we sang in church last night.....

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."