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Kylee Noelle

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Healthy Christmas!

I know I know.. it's been awhile since I last blogged! My apologies! We all know how busy the Christmas season is! Especially since I have been making my own gifts! I am still questioning my thought process on this one! I did not realize the amount of work behind everything! But I guess it's better then getting nothing! I will tell you what I am making AFTER Christmas because well.. I don't want to ruin the surprise for people in case they read my blog! Inheriting another family sure changes the finances for Christmas gifts! I am hoping everyone likes what I have made and that they appreciate the homemadeness and love behind it! Still have a few more things to finish tonight and then wrap it all!

Antonio and I decided to forego gift giving with each other and save our money and put it towards a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon! We have decided to go at the end of May! So since we decided this, Antonio suggested we start focusing on getting into shape for our honeymoon. I thought this meant we would wait till after Christmas to start this, seeing as it is 6 months away! We are enlisting the help of our friend Brent, aka the devil, to help train us once a week. He is also helping us with our diets. So we mentioned the idea to him, and his response, "you aren't waiting till after Christmas you are starting next week, I will have your diets ready when I see you Sunday to train." If only you could have seen the look I shot Antonio at this news. I was not a happy camper. But after thinking about things, it is probably the wiser idea to get on the bandwagon sooner then later. Who knows if we would gain weight during the holidays, and now we won't have to worry.

I would be fine just joining a gym, and changing our eating habits a little bit, but Antonio really wants to do this and said he can't without my full support. And it's not fair to watch me eat normal and make him suffer all alone. So I have decided to suffer with him! Haha! And I won't be complaining when I am seeing results! And this is something we can do together and spend time doing together. I will say it is a lot more work then I predicted, with all the food making!

We are on a no or VERY low sugar, high protein, high fiber diet. And a gallon of water a day! Yes, you heard me, a gallon! That would be 16 8oz glasses of water. Not 8. I wish! It actually isn't that bad with the water. I feel like the last 27 ounces is the hardest for me to get down. But I can attest that drinking this much water keeps you full most of the day! And my energy is way up since I am not super dehydrated. I don't feel so "blah" anymore. We are also both eating tons of small meals a day. I will talk more about it, we are still working on diet stuff. The only time we are allowed to "splurge" (hah! splurge is a joke) is after a work out. Since we burned off a ton of sugar, we are allowed to have some to get sugar back! This sugar would consist of a protein shake made of non flavored soy milk, protein powder, and a banana! WOO! Now we are talking! I know right, splurge is a joke, like I said! But let me tell you, that shake tastes fantastic when you get sugar! And if you pair the right things together to eat, you actually end up being quite full on such a small amount! It is crazy!

He is having us basically cut drastically to shock our bodies and to have us start with core foods, learn a lifestyle way of eating, and then slowly add in things as we go. But if we just have basics then it is a lot easier to stick to a diet and then adding in things will be like a treat! So we are basically only eating chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, fish, sweet potatoes, some fruit, TONS of veggies, tiny amounts of cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt, brown rice, LOTS of egg whites, oatmeal, natural peanut butter, low carb tortillas, and anything else that's basically sugar free. No breads, or pasta. For the most part that is our diet as of now.

Things I have learned this week when he took us grocery shopping, yes our trainer is that awesome he took us shopping to show us stuff! Ketchup has tons of sugar in it! So does BBQ sauce, but mustards have little or none! Most fruit has tons of sugar in it, so you think it's good because it's fruit, but too much sugar! The fruits that are low in sugar are berries. But you still have to watch your amount. Pickles have 0 sugar, and since we are drinking so much water we can eat as many as we want! Salsa also has barely any sugar so we can use lots of that! If you turn things over and look at labels, you should really see how much sugar is in 1 serving of stuff! We are using natural peanut butter, so we can have that! Fish is good, and ground meat you want to get 90/10 or higher. Zucchini and squash actually have a lot of starch in them. Cereals even healthy ones have LOTS of sugar. Greek yogurt has LOTS of sugar! You can make your own healthy hummus and make WAY more then what you can buy in the store for about $5. Milk has tons of sugar in it. Even if it says sugar free, check the back and if it has myletol in it, it's a sugar alcohol and is basically like using sugar. You want sugar and calorie free to avoid the lie of myletol! Eat oatmeal that is old school, the oats in that giant round container. They add a lot of stuff to instant oatmeal! Protein bars are tricky, a lot of them add tons of extra sugar to it to make it taste good. So check before eating one, and if you are to have one, only before or after a work out since you are burning a lot of sugars. The "healthy drinks" like pom or V8 or Bolthouse farms, are loaded with sugar! Look for yourself! I think that is what I have learned thus far! Will let you know more if I find out more.

Our goal is to work out 5x a week. Once with Brent. Ya.. shoot me now. Basically I am going to be sore more then I am not! After investigating, we have decided to join Powerhouse Gym in Ypsi! $25 a month, and they have every kind of equipment lifetime does. Their cardio machines are newer and have tv's on them! They have kettle bells, fitness classes, tanning, and shakes available. For what they offer, this is a fantastic deal! They aren't 24 hrs, but they are 4 minutes from our house, so that takes away a lot of wasted time driving! I am going to try and share recipes as often as I can! I may not have exact measurements and it may only be for 1 person (you would just double everything for 2 people.) If it is a recipe I found I will post the actual recipe, but I am making up a lot of this stuff for the moment! Sorry for no pictures right now, just been way too busy to be concerned with that!

Ok first up we have homemade hummus!

2 cans of chick peas
2 tablespoons Tahini oil
1 red pepper-diced (or any other veggies you would like to add)
lemon juice
garlic powder
food processor

You can either use fresh cauliflower or frozen. I used almost a whole bag of frozen cauliflower that I steamed first.

You want to drain chick peas and add to processor. Add 2 tablespoons Tahini oil. Add diced pepper or other veggies. Add a bunch of cauliflower, not all. The more you add, the thicker it will be. Now the rest of it, is all just to your taste. If you like a lot of lemon, add a lot. I love garlic, so I made mine really garlicky. You could really experiment and add what you would like spice wise. So start blending away and if it's too liquidy, add more cauliflower till it's a thick consistency you are happy with. Once it sits in the fridge for a few hours it will thicken up as well! I didn't realize it so I was getting annoyed it wasn't thickening up as much as I wanted, but it did once being in the fridge. And there you have it! Simple and easy and you can freeze what you don't use! Makes A LOT!

Brown Rice Chicken Shawarma for 1 person
1 low carb whole wheat tortilla
cooked chicken chopped
1 pickle chopped
homemade hummus
brown rice

This is simple enough, combine ingredients and put into tortilla! If it is overflowing and can't fold, then you have put it in too much! You can heat up chicken and rice or have it cold, your preference. I mixed my chicken with hummus and rice and heated it, then added it to the wrap.

Spinach and Egg White Muffins (1 dozen)
12 egg whites
muffin tin/pan
cooked spinach

This recipe could really be altered any way you like it. You could add other veggies, you could add meat to it as well. And you could add any kind of spice you want. I use salt, pepper, garlic, chopped onions, crushed red pepper, and cayenne pepper. You can also add as much or as little cheese as you would like. I added about a handful to mine.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Add spinach to the bottom of each muffin cup. Mix other ingredients in a bowl. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. They will rise in oven. Bake 25-30 min or until top is golden brown. I made a weeks worth and stuck them in the freezer. Then just pop one in microwave for 1:15-1:30.

Mini Turkey Quinoa Burgers for 1 person (this was portioned into 4 small meals)
Olive Oil
1/3 raw ground turkey
1/4 cup cooked Quinoa
1 red pepper-diced (or other veggies)
1 egg white

Cook 1 serving of Quinoa as directed on box. You will only use 1/4 cup of it for this recipe. Add raw turkey, quinoa, red pepper or other veggies, I added a handful of cheese but you can add however much you want, and spices to your liking. I added garlic, pepper, onion, and crushed red pepper. Add egg white last. Mix all ingredients together. Form small patties. Mine made 9. Heat olive oil in pan. Add patties and cook to your taste of doneness. I sided this with broccoli and cauliflower. We aren't eating bread so this is why I added the Quinoa in as starch and fiber.

Ground Turkey Stir Fry for 1 (this is portioned into 4 small meals)
1/3 lb raw ground turkey
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
half a bag of frozen stir fry veggies
olive oil

Cook frozen veggies in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes to your liking. Set aside. Cook ground turkey, while cooking add sauces, and spices to your liking. I added garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cook brown rice separately. After all ingredients are cooked, combine together! Easy!

Protein shake
1 frozen banana
8 oz plain soy milk
1 scoop protein powder

Add all ingredients into blender or food processor, and mix! Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have questions about anything! Hope you try some out!
So this is what I have so far! Hopefully lots more to come! But these are all low sugar or no sugar, high protein, high fiber meals!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

They will just get to heaven before we do.

This post today is not going to be the happiest of topics just to pre-warn you.

I had previously mentioned my friend with the twins in the hospital. Yesterday, sadly, she had to deliver at 22 weeks. They were able to hold both girls before they passed away. My heart breaks so much for them. I love children and I don't have any of my own yet but now starting to get in the mindset of becoming a mother, I can't even imagine how this must feel. Not only to lose one, but two at the same time. And amidst the pain it is so hard to say you are ok with this and to not be angry at God for taking them. We know they are up in heaven with God. Playing with our Savior and just waiting for their parents to one day join them. I am dedicating two videos to them today.

Watermark-Glory Baby-

Celine Dion-Fly-

I felt moved by God to do this post about death today. It is such a touchy subject, yet so many are afraid to talk about it. But why? It's natural, it happens every single day. So many people are told to hold in their emotions and never move forward with the grieving process. When in all realness you need to cry, you need to talk about it, you need to miss them, you need to realize how much they meant to you, you need to grieve. If we just hold on to them and don't let go we end up struggling so much and become depressed, angry, bitter. It's ok to have emotions and to feel like the world has ended. But we have to also realize we need to look at the bright side of things.

God would never give us more then we could handle. He has a bigger plan then we could imagine, and yes it sucks that he takes people away from us. But look at the time you got to spend with that person. We all will die eventually so isn't it better to see all the good things that came from that person's life? They changed yours in some way, shape, or form. Think how much better off they are out of this horrible world. They get to be with God and our Savior. They will just get to heaven before we do. They may have been in immense pain before, and now they are happy and pain free again. As selfish as we want to be and keep them with us, would you rather be in pain or pain free? It is hard to see anyone go, but we will never understand why God takes them from us.

I have lost 3 grandfathers and understand that pain. I miss my papap so much still 5 years later. I regret the time I should have spent with him and realize now how important it is to spend time with family. I also had one of my teacher's in high school lose their baby girl. She lived to be about 3 months. We didn't have school the day of her funeral. I remember seeing her in that tiny tiny casket and my heart broke. Then they went to wheel her into the front for her service and I was just in shock. I had never witnessed anything like this emotion before. I had never seen so many grown men sobbing before. It was so hard to watch this precious tiny child laying there lifeless like a baby doll in front of me. It seemed so unreal. But in the same token, the things that were spoken that day at this funeral were some of the most amazing things and stories I had ever heard. Even through this hard time God has moved in so many ways in so many lives. I could feel God so strongly that day and could see him working in that room. It was a time of celebration, not mourning. People relayed how this little girl had changed their lives and it was beyond moving. And oddly enough, the parents of the baby were more calm and at peace then anyone in that room. I can't even explain what something like this feels like, but in the midst of so much sorrow, they still praised God and made happiness out of sadness. I will never forget that.

It is strange how death can have such an emotional affect on us. It brings so much into perspective. Makes you stop dead in your tracks and really analyze yourself and your life. I find that in times like these it really makes me think, how do I want people to remember me? How do I want to leave my legacy. Do I want people to remember me in a negative way, a happy way, an inspirational way, a Godly way? I hope that people can see God in me when my life here is over. I hope people know how much I love them and care for them. I hope people have been touched or inspired in some way by me. I hope I make a difference in this world. I hope I bring God to someone unsaved. I hope my family remembers all the good times, laughter, and cries of happiness, not the bad things I have done. I hope friends can be filled with happy memories of me and laugh when they think of me. I want to leave behind a good legacy and this has also contributed to reasons as to why I have changed my life for the better. I want to feel as though I lived for a purpose here on Earth and that I have so much to look forward to in Heaven. That this world is not my home, and there is something beyond our wildest dreams and imagination waiting for us. I can not wait to run into my father's arms and finally feel his physical presence. I can't wait to talk to Jesus and ask him questions about his life! I can't wait to see my Papap and baby Bella!

So I ask you, how do you want to leave your legacy? Look back on your life, is it how you thought things would be? Are you who you want to be? If you aren't then why? What's stopping you? What change is needed in your life? If you died tomorrow, is the legacy you have something you are proud of? How would people remember you? We don't know when our time here on Earth will be over, and yes this may be deep, yes this may be emotional and scary, but I just want people to realize just how they are living. Sometimes it takes a good reality check or something big to snap you out of things. I am not afraid to push, to challenge, and to make you think. It will help you grow, it will make you stronger, and hopefully a better person out of it. Really look at your life and admit to yourself the truth. Is this really the best life you could have? When people look at you do they see God? Or do they see negative, partying, drugs, alcohol, anger, bitterness, or someone who is lost? It's up to you to decide that and decide your legacy.

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." Psalms 119:50
''Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

In parting I just have some videos I felt like sharing that are songs. You don't have to listen but I felt like putting them on here. If you do listen to one, I hope one of them moves you. All of these have gotten me through a point in my life.

Lead me to the cross-Hillsongs
Our God is greater-Chris Tomlin-
I lift my hands- Chris Tomlin-
I surrender- Kim Walker-
Your love never fails- Jesus Culture-
Praise you in this storm-Casting Crowns-
To know you- Casting Crowns-
There will be a day- Jeremy Camp-
Cry out to Jesus-Third Day-
Who am I- Casting Crowns-
How He loves us- David Crowder Band-

Monday, November 28, 2011

Now for the outside!

Well as you may know, I have been currently working on my inner self lately and this is still and always will be a work in progress, but now I feel like I am getting off track on the outside! So between holidays and eating with my parents we managed to make our grocery shopping last a whole 4 weeks! We had to re stock on things that will need replenished like milk, cheese, eggs, etc. And had to get supplies for making meals for the holidays, but besides that we made our food last!

So for this next shopping trip, I have decided it's time to go back to healthy! And it's funny because I read all these websites with tips and shame on myself, because I ALREADY know ALL of these. I just haven't focused on implementing them. I used to work out like crazy and love the gym. But it was for the wrong reasons. So now I need to re-train myself to love the gym for the right reasons and for myself. Not to please anyone else, not to go socialize, and not to keep from being lonely! I know I am not "fat" but I just feel so much better when I am in shape and feel healthy. It seems silly to think working out could change your persona about yourself, but it really is true. Even if you aren't a size 2, working out still makes you feel better.

I know my body cannot physically go smaller then a 6, my bones and my butt won't allow it! So I am ok with not being any smaller then that. It really is just impossible. And when it comes to long sleeve shirts, I can't go below a medium because my arms are so long! They already are shorter then I would like with medium, but if I go large then it's all way too big! But I know smalls usually just can't fit because of my height! And I have a short torso so half the clothes in style right now look quite dumb on me because they are made for people with long torso's.

So this is where the be yourself mumbo jumbo comes in! I can't follow the fashion trends, they don't fit me! I have long legs-always need long pants. I have a sizeably large buttox, so therefore I can not fit into tiny pants or skinny jeans. I have a short torso, so long shirts look funny on me. This is not what the "fashion trend" is. It's you must be tall, super skinny, long torso, and abs. Well I got the tall thing! So this is why I need to stop looking at those pictures. I can't have a V or abs like I see because I don't have the same torso to get those abs! It's all about figuring out what looks best on YOU and what fits your body, not what's in or not! If you look cute, feel good, and things fit correctly, who cares if it's not couture or skinny jeans!

So don't wait till the new years to make a resolution about losing weight or working on your outer self. That is just an excuse. You can make that choice any day of the year! Fight those holiday myths of gaining weight and beat them! You can still indulge just do it in a smaller portion! I am not dieting, I am changing my life style. Diets don't work and they make you miserable!

Let's do this!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Holiday recap.

Before we begin with the blog, I have a huge prayer request. A fellow leader from Velocity is pregnant with twins. She went in the hospital almost 2 weeks ago in early labor at 21 weeks. They were able to stop the labor and tried to do a surgery to keep the babies in but it was unsuccessful. So they put her on bed rest until she went into labor again. The chance of survival under 23 weeks in almost non existent and even 23-25 weeks doesn't guarantee survival. At 23 weeks they will be developed enough to survive outside of the womb but would be in the hospital for a very long time. She is almost 23 weeks. She was doing fine until a few minutes ago and has started pre-labor again and is in a lot of pain. So I ask that you please stop for a few minutes and pray for a miracle. Put yourself in her place and try to imagine what it would be like to be in this position. How scared she must be and how scary this would be. The thought of her losing twins just brings me to tears. I couldn't imagine losing one let alone two. She needs a miracle. So please do that, she needs as much prayer as possible.

Moving on. So we went to 5 Thanksgiving's. Yes turkey and I are not bff's at this moment. I have had my fill for quite awhile! It was fun to go to all the different thanksgiving's and see different traditions and share this special time with more then just family! If anything, holidays are a chance to bring people closer! I made Martha Stewart Mac and Cheese. O M G. It was devine! Defiantly one of the best I have had!! Here is the recipe- It is a lot of work, and it isn't cheap to make but it is deliciousss! I would suggest making it for company or for Christmas! I also made these cupcakes- They were super yummy! And super moist! I didn't think this recipe would work but it was super easy and I would recommend it! I made them for my Meggers and she loved them! So did my husband!! I also made these cookie dough bites without eggs- They were pretty good! Not exactly the same taste as raw cookie dough, but no tummy ache after! They came pretty close to the same flavor!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. My family, my husband, my dream wedding, my new life, my job, Antonio's job, our apartment, my new family, our new church, our new church family, my friends, my Lola, those who love and support us, and so much more! This year has brought SO MUCH into my life and I can't even believe the changes that I have been through! I am so thankful God has put me on this path and that I have become closer to Him!

Amidst all this, I am still human. I still have my weaknesses. And Black Friday really was rough for me. I decided to go out at midnight and ended up in the worst store with the worst lines. I should have just waited since all I wanted to buy was Christmas decorations. When I am tired, hungry, and have stood in line for 2.5 hours in the middle of the night, this does not make for a happy Lyndsey. I ended up in bed at 5 and had to be up at 11, so I was not a happy camper.

We were also test driving a Murano we found that was a really good deal. I got a letter in the mail from the dealership and just decided to go take a look at what they had since my lease is up in July. I didn't expect to find anything but found this 09 used Murano that was an amazing deal. So we just decided to check it out and then also go check out Ford and see what we could get with Antonio's discount. We realized the Murano was a great deal but we couldn't afford the payment they wanted so we went back to see if we could get it down. They ended up getting it down to what we could afford, but it was going to require taking longer to pay the car off. Which we were ok with. So I got all excited thinking I had gotten the car and then we find out the bank didn't want us to take that long to pay it off since so many people lately haven't been able to afford paying for cars. So then I was pretty much deflated and I usually get what I want so when I don't, I somehow take it personally. So I left in a bad mood on top of a tired cranky mood. Then we got to my parents house and my mom had told me something that someone had said about her and I am not sure if my emotions were just high or what was going on, but it just sent me over the edge. It's one thing to be tired, and not get something you wanted, but someone saying rude things about my mom when she is like the nicest person on earth and has been nothing but nice to these people just infuriated me! And on top of that we have known these people for a long time and I was genuinely hurt that someone would be that mean about my mother when we have treated them so kindly. So my black friday was just an emotional mess on my part.

It is so very hard to get out of a bad mood on a normal day and even harder on a holiday since you know you should be thankful. It was a major challenge to myself to snap out of this mood and put my mind back in the correct frame of thought. I just kept looking at a ring I have on my right hand that is a scripture verse and kept thinking God is faithful. And I told myself if the car was meant to be and the timing was right I would have it. But it's not, and I need to let it go. Who knows what I will get in July and just have faith he will provide. And as much as I would like to punch people in the face for being mean to my mom, I think those things came out of jealousy and I feel sorry they have to stoop to that level due to jealousy. And I should be thankful I have such a wonderful mother and I am so proud of her. She handled the comment quite well and I know it hurt her but she knows she is better then that. She turned the comment into something funny and has found some strength from it as well. So even through bad things, as hard as it is, we can always find something good from it! It's a daily battle and I hope you can find something good out of hard times as well!

On another note I would like to proclaim my excitement for inspiring a new blogger!! Yay! I am so happy people can read my blog and become inspired in whatever way possible! Here is her blog Daniella Noble. Good luck to her in her blogging! She is engaged and will be getting married next December in 2012 and wanted to start a blog as a fiance and then eventually a wife! Woo wife power! :)

Anddd my last thing, we decorated for Christmas last night and I wish I could turn our apartment into a Christmas Winter Wonderland but that costs a lot of money! So I will have to slowly work our way up to that! I thought it was going to be a jolly time but I wanted to make our tree look perfect and moving your husbands previously post ornament does not bode well in tree decorating. I ended up having to decorate most of the tree by myself. Oops. Guess this is why women do all the decorating! I can't help wanting to make it look nice. So he ended up sitting on the couch angry at me for moving his ornament and refused to help. Then later admitted I did a good job decorating the tree. So I am not sure if that ended well or not? We finished the evening out watching Love Actually. One of my all time favorite Christmas movies! I LOVEEE it! If you  haven't seen it you must watch!
via Google images

Ok christmas decorating pictures!!
First this is my little baby niece Ellisia. This was from Thanksgiving!
Our sliding door window. Little snowmen and penguin stick ons!
Lola had to have her own ornament. She doesn't know what to do with it.
Must try to eat it!
I decorated our windows with ribbon hanging from our tension rod and tied little ornaments on it. 
our Christmas tree and Tv stand!
our first tree!
our tv stand
our door to our apt!

We also got a game to play on Thanksgiving. It is called Urban Myth. It was pretty fun and easy. And the facts they put on there are so ridiculous you don't feel so dumb when you don't know them! So if you are looking for a fun, easy game to get try it out!
via Google Images

Tell me about your holiday! How did it go? Did you struggle with being thankful this weekend?

"Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ- the Message- have run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever- be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:16 MSG

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A little real life wife talk!

Ok this post isn't just directed towards wife's! I am just speaking from a wife point of view and some things may apply more to wives than other things I talk about! Ok now that we have that out of the way let's move on.

So I was thinking about what I wanted to post today as I was doing our mound of dishes. And I had a few things come to mind and my first thing was about blogging and wifehood. Now I love to read other people's blogs as much as the next person and I have come to see a pattern recently in many blogs I see. If you are a blogger I think you will agree with me that you tend to see a lot of the wive's blogs posted seem to be almost too perfect. All you hear about is how they cook a daily recipe with their amazing pictures on their perfectly decorated tables. Or that pretty much every day in their lives seems to be amazing. They never have anything bad happen to them, maybe a broken nail or a hair out of place. You never hear about their kitchen being dirty *gasp* ever. You never hear about their husbands leaving the toilet seat up and they fall in the toilet in the middle of the night, or once again your husband forgot to refill the toilet paper roll and you are sitting there wondering how you can maneuver to get the extra roll from under the counter without dripping pee all over the place. Their blogs are so peppy and happy ALL the time. I feel as though people think they need to post things so people think you have it all together all the time. Uhm hello, are you alive? This is such crap to me.

It is one thing to post about a really awesome few days or something. But I feel like I am not good enough when I read these oh so perfect blogs. I am sure they didn't even make a mess creating their daily blog masterpiece meals! In all actuality they kind of annoy me. I know their intentions are not to say hey I am better than you, I think they just want people to like their blog and see their superwoman powers they contain. Which as a woman we all have those! I just know my superpowers tend to work when they want to, which doesn't happen every day! I mean my mother is super woman, I am convinced of this. She gives Martha Stewart a run for her money and I don't think Martha would stand a chance! But even my mom's super powers take a break and she has bad days. So what I am getting at is as wonderful as those blogs are, for myself, I want real.

I am tired of women having to live up to these perfect persona's of having to do it all. I want to hear about people's struggle's and how they over come them. I want to hear about trials in your marriage that you found a way to work through. I want to know what pushes you through a bad day or a good day. I want to know how you deal with our raging hormones or a bad hair day. I want to know how falling in the toilet at 2 am was for you. I want to know that saying hey, I need a break is OK. I want to know that not having superpowers 24/7 is normal. I want to know we are all the same and just human.

I love hearing about new recipe's and how to remove stains from my carpet as much as the next wife, but I also want to grow and learn as a person. Being a wife is new territory and I don't think you can ever know it all when it comes to that area. I think helping other wives and women is a blessing. I think most people want to hear the real stuff. If you have gone through something you can laugh and say oh yes I have been there, this is my story. Or hey here is my advice on that. People who never have any problems are complete fakers in my opinion. If you are married you know it isn't easy. So as wives why aren't we trying to help each other more often? Because admitting we aren't perfect is a big scary step. I honestly have more respect for the women who keep it real and aren't afraid to say my kitchen has been dirty for 3 whole days! (oh no!!) There are days I want to scream because I am at the end of my rope! But heaven forbid I say marriage is hard or things aren't going so well. There are other days where marriage is like a heavenly dream and we have a great night. I also like to hear about those things!

I feel like there are so many little secrets to making a marriage work and I want to know them. I am sure I am not the only one who wants to know! And I am sure there are too many proud women who refuse to go buy a self help marriage book because they will figure it out on their own. Come on really? Why make your marriage suffer because of your ego. There's a reason you were not born into wifehood. You have to learn how to be a good wife, it isn't just natural, sorry to burst that bubble. And I don't understand why people are afraid to talk about it. Just because things aren't great doesn't mean you are a failure. If anything find a way to fix it! I was talking to my friend about this and she hadn't mentioned anything to me about her marriage except it was great blah blah and then I suggested a book for her to read and it was like a lightswitch went off and she opened up to me about how they were going to counseling and things were so hard. And I thought why do we need to put up such a front about things. We don't have to sit there and explain in detail how things are going but isn't it wrong to sit there and lie about things as well? I told her if she ever wanted to talk about marriage I am here, I will not sugar coat things and I will be real about it. And if you are mad over toilet paper, I am sure I have a similar story.

You would be amazed at how many other women are going through the same things! Even beginning my blog I thought I will only put things up that show how great of a wife I am so everyone thinks things are great! I now realize that I may have been real about other parts of my life but maybe not so much my marriage. So I am here to promise I will be real to an extent and will not be a "perfect blog," I am here to help in any way I can! If you are having a bad day and want to talk, let me know. If you have a question, let me know. If you want prayer for your marriage or yourself let me know. I want women to know that we don't need to be alone during all this. And it is ok to have dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes in the hamper, and a messy place for more then 24 hrs. You are not a bad wife!

I also have a book that I HIGHLY recommend any woman to read that is in a relationship! Whether you have been married 20 yrs or engaged or just dating. This book in phenomenal and it has changed our marriage dramatically! Not to say ours is perfect now, it is daily work. But I feel as though this has given us huge tools and knowledge to work with! It is called Love and Respect.
via Google images

This book is not just for the woman it is for the woman and man to read. It basically tells you why women act a certain way and why men do. And you not only learn about how you act and why you act that way, but you learn why the man does too so you can recognize certain things when they are happening. It talks about the crazy cycle. When wives feel unloved they don't respect their husbands. When husbands don't feel respected they act unloving towards their wives. And so the cycle becomes a circle on repeat till someone jumps off. 

Now as important as it is for a woman to feel loved, it is for men to feel respected. When they feel respected they feel loved. As women when we feel loved we feel respected. So you may think because you are showing love in your way to him that he should be responding lovingly, but that is not the case. You may think you are doing something loving but if he feels disrespected in any way he shuts down and becomes unloving. This was a huge revelation to me. I thought back on all our fights and thought about them. I thought showing my concern over something was the right thing to do. But in the midst of it I never realized what I was saying was being disrespectful. And basically anything to bring him down or make him feel like less of a man or unsupported makes him feel disrespected. I had NO idea! It made so much sense why when I was trying to express I felt unloved he felt like I was saying he wasn't good enough which in turn made him feel disrespected. So why would he be loving after that? So now I understand I have to analyze things I say and make sure I am expressing why I feel how I do without being disrespectful.

It also talks about how men and women see things completely differently. Women wear pink sunglasses and pink hearing aids. Men wear blue sunglasses and blue hearing aids. So you could say the same phrase to both the man and woman and they hear two completely different things. That made so much sense to me! And he gives examples of this. 

He also shows biblical reason as why wives need to respect their husband and why husbands need to love their wives. As women we are wired to love unconditionally. So when we hear unconditional respect we are like whatttt??  What is that? How do we do that? Men are wired to have unconditional respect so they hear you need to love unconditionally and they are like whatttt?? What is that? How do we do that? So you see ladies, men and women are QUITE different. So when we talk to them we can't expect them to understand how we feel or to just get it. Cuz trust me they won't! 

He talks about ways you can show respect to your husband and ways husbands can show love to their wives. Because they have no idea what you like and you have no idea what they like. Our view of respect is completely different then their view! There are SO many other great things in this book I can't even begin to tell you! And it WORKS. I am living proof here to tell you this works! It is REALLY hard to not be prideful and selfish and to say sorry. But when things are done right, the end results are amazing! You will find your husband showing you love in your way not theirs. Like cleaning the kitchen, bringing home a card and flowers. When they feel respected they want to show they love you more! It is quite amazing to watch it right in front of your eyes! So if you have not read this book, PLEASE buy it and have your spouse read it with you as well. I promise it will change things!

The second book I would recommend is the 5 love languages. This book talks about how we all have 5 love languages and you figure out your top 2 and your spouse figures out their top 2 and then you are able to know how to show each other love.
via Google Images
For example my top 2 are quality time and acts of service. So ways I show love are like cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, having food on the table when he gets home from a long day of work, etc. Or watching a movie together, date night. Just having time alone together and having fun. His top 2 are physical touch and words of affirmation. Which are on the bottom of my list. So I may be showing I love him buy making him dinner, but to him it's just food on a table that he doesn't have to make. If he walked in the door I could have no food on the table and I could tackle him and kiss him and hug him and tell him how much I missed him and how much I love him and he would be happier then if I had food on the table when he walked in. It is odd to me since it's not my love language but it's what makes him tick! So learning the others love languages helps you realize you may think you are being loving but they are not receiving that love because they love differently! 

The third book I recommend is Wild at Heart.
via Google Images
This book is about discovering a man's soul. It helps you understand why they do certain things they do and that you need to let them be "men." Like why they play video games, work out, play sports, paintball, need to own a gun, etc. It also explains their need for physical touch and what happens when they don't get it. Why so many men are addicted to pornography. It is quite insightful and I think your man would enjoy learning about why they do certain things!

The last thing I would like to mention is a lesson from our church that was on marriage. It is about an hour long and it brings up many other points that are not in any of these books that are also quite helpful! Remember when you said I do, you said I do for forever. There is no word like divorce in your vocabulary and you need to do everything possible to make your marriage work. You need to be willing to do whatever it takes and admit you are wrong!

So here are a few helpful tips! And I hope these can help someone else as they have helped me! I am not perfect and I will mess up all the time. But I want to be with Antonio for the rest of my life, and it is my priority to make sure our marriage works! If you have any tips, advice, books worth reading, I would love to hear about it! So here is to being real, and I hope as a woman you can know you are amazing whether dinner is made or not! Getting married is a huge step and you are worth being praised for doing so and committing to forever and making it work! Don't give up and know there are so many more out there struggling too! 

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25

Monday, November 21, 2011

Return of the blog

Warning-long blog.. since I am good at those! ;)

Well I know it has been a little over a month since I last blog, and I finally feel ready to come back to blogging. After my last post, I realized there was a lot more going on inside me then I really even knew. I was using this blog as a means to just vent or post funny things, recipes, etc. When I realized just how much writing can open the soul to so much more, things started to pour out at an unimaginable rate. Besides dealing with my new marriage I had all these unresolved issues flowing out of me and I was completely overwhelmed. Every second of my day was consumed with a different thought and I honestly didn't even know where to begin with myself. Writing my previous blog really helped me to realize where I needed to begin. I needed to look at myself and see what it was I needed to work on. If your inside is not healed and healthy, nothing else can follow.

Problem was I had NO idea how to go about this. I wanted to start seeing a therapist and I realized I did work on the issue of being raped back when it happened. It was all the after effects that came with it I had not yet worked on. I had a weird thought process when it comes to all of this and I don't know how to explain it so I am not going to try to because it has worked for me and that's all that counts. I have an amazing support system and after some friends of mine read my blog, they wanted to meet up with me and talk with me and pray for me. I thought this was so nice since I had never had this before. In talking with these girls they opened my eyes to a lot of things. They really made me focus on going to God first with my problems and seeing where that took me before going to a therapist. They weren't telling me not to, they just wanted me to see if going to God would make a difference or not.

I also realized at that moment, I did not have a personal relationship with God that I thought I did. I was raised that you go to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Going to church=relationship with God. I was never taught that you need to hear from God personally, or have a one on one relationship. It was just more of a one entity, you go to church you automatically get God. No wonder it was so easy for me to walk away from Him in hard times. He was just this imaginary person to me, almost non existent for that matter. I had no idea what it was like to crave Him, to want to please Him, to feel His overwhelming love, to know unconditional love. So walking away didn't seem like such a big deal. Who was I upsetting? Just my parents, and they would get over it. So how could I ever miss something I never had? Well it's like searching for a spouse, you feel like something is missing from your life even though you haven't found it. I was missing a piece of my soul I didn't even know I had.

Once I made the realization church did NOT=relationship with God, my wheels starting spinning. My friends talked about the moments they had when they began their relationship with God, and I confirmed to myself that I had never had that. I started to think maybe this was that missing piece I have always been looking for. Then I started to think, ok well I don't have a relationship with Him, now how the heck do I get one? I mean do you just sit there and go oh hey God what's up? It is not quite that simple. I think God knows the right moment that you will be most apt to hearing Him and receiving that relationship. My friends also gave me a bunch of helpful tips in helping with my thinking about body image and self. You don't realize how much tv, internet, and friends influence you.

They challenged me to cut out 1 or 2 shows I watch that are full of drama and see if it makes a difference in my thinking. For example, Real Housewives of anywhere. I thought oh no this is so silly! That doesn't influence me! So I tried to cut it out.. it was difficult. I couldn't believe how much my mind was addicted to watching that drama. I just told myself well it's not happening to me so it's ok to watch it, it's not hurting me! When in all actuality it really was. With this new perspective I began to watch the show and start pointing out how it was effecting me. Seeing all the money, expensive homes, expensive trips, fake hair, fake bodies, fake makeup, fake everything, I realized I was envious of all those things. None of those things seemed to truly make these people happy so why did I want it? All it did was tell me I wasn't good enough according to social standards. And even the standards on this show which were ridiculous weren't even enough. So how could I ever live up to that? They live to have drama, not to be with family and be thankful for what they have. It was amazing the revelation I had after 1 show. I was in shock and understood what the girls meant now. And I decided any shows that I feel negatively influence me in some way shape or form, I was dropping. This is for myself personally, and I realize some shows affect me differently so I am not saying shows anyone else watches is bad or anything, it is how it effects YOU. And that show effects me greatly.

I also realized as harmless as America's Next Top Model seems, it really had a negative impact on me. I would watch it thinking I am not skinny enough, and I wish I was pretty enough to be a model, that will never happen! I wanted to look how the girls looked during photo shoots at all times and it ended up making me feel down on myself. So I also have cut that out. Now when I turn on a show, I ask myself how it will affect me. If it isn't going to affect me negatively and I feel it isn't a bad influence then I will watch it. For example, The Biggest Loser. I know there is drama but that doesn't affect me since it's not about who has better shoes or hair extensions. It motivates me to want to lose weight and be healthy, and I understand I am not 400 lbs so I will not lose 20+ lbs in one week!

And sadly, the Kardashian crazyness has also been deleted out of my life. Especially after all this wedding crap! It has been 3 weeks, and the first two I found quite difficult to not watch the shows. I wanted to sooo bad!! But I told my husband and had to break the news to my mom (we always watched housewives together) that I was no longer going to be able to watch those shows. And my mom didn't like it much at first but she supports me and understands why I was choosing to do so. That way they could help me say no and hold me accountable. It was hard to flip through channels and see that it was on, or repeats that I have missed were on. I cut out a few other programs as well. Sadly most of my Bravo shows I loved are now gone. Top Chef and Bethany Ever After and a few others may be all I can watch now!

I was proud of my self control and it has been 3 weeks since I cut out shows and that craving to watch them has started to subside. As they say, it takes 3 weeks to break a habit! I sit here now and think about how much crap I was watching and how much of an influence it was and am blown away by the results of cutting the shows. I no longer care if Kim K is doing well or if she is already engaged again or blah blah. I realize how calm my life and thoughts are without being revved up by constant drama on tv. I no longer feel the need to look in the mirror 900x a day. Might be down to 600x now! Hey I am working on it! Takes time!! I no longer feel the need to constantly have to look perfect or always have make up on even if I just go to the grocery store. I haven't had a haircut in 2.5 months and I am not going as crazy as I normally would be by now.

I know I have gained weight and although I am frustrated about it, I am not hating myself and thinking I am a cow every single day. I am learning to accept that I am still pretty even if I have gained some weight, and I need to be happy with myself heavier before I can be happy smaller. If I don't I will always think I need to be smaller to be pretty. Thinking back when I was smaller and how much I criticized myself that it wasn't good enough, makes me sad. I realize I should have been happy then and I actually was in great shape! This is a slow process but I see that things are changing with my mindset and it makes me happy. I am still the same size, just a little curvier. I also don't laugh when my husband tells me I am beautiful. I would only believe him about 1 out of every 4 or 5 times when he said it. Now I am realizing he sees the inner beauty and my outer beauty, he isn't just talking about how my hair looks. And when I do my hair or wear something he likes, he compliments that and doesn't say you are only beautiful because your hair is curled today. I am hearing him differently. Before all I would hear was you look pretty today=oh I am only pretty when my hair is curled. Now I see he is just pointing out that he always thinks I am beautiful no matter what, but he noticed I did something different and he likes the occasional change in hair or wardrobe, but that's not what makes me beautiful. Even House Hunters can be negative at times. Especially the million dollar shows. You start wanting that instead of being happy with what you have now. It is odd how shows you think are pointless, may have some way of influencing you. You really have to analyze everything you watch.

I have also noticed I don't look at other women as much as I used to.  I used to constantly stare at others and compare myself. Now I think I notice about 10-15% less. Or I notice and say she is pretty. Not I wish I looked like that. I am starting to try to see the inner and outer beauty of people. Because let's face it, there are a lot of pretty people out there, but that doesn't mean they are beautiful on the inside! This is all from taking out tv shows that are all about looks and status and drama! Look at the shows you watch and really examine the effect they have on you. Is it affecting you negatively? Even a small amount? Try cutting it out for a few weeks and see what happens. You may be blown away with the differences!

They also challenged me to think about what I see on the internet and the friends I surround myself with. I really didn't think this would do much but it has also made a difference. I un-liked any celebrity I felt could be a negative influence. (ex. Kardashian's, Housewives people, etc.) I un-liked any pages that I felt could be a negative influence. (ex. Housewives, model shows,, etc.) I also decided to go through my friends page and delete people who I never talk to, people who are constantly drinking or partying, people from my past that do not need to be in my life anymore (old bar buddies, guys I have liked or dated once or twice, ex's friends & family, guys that could cause me to lust), and people who are constantly negative. You know those people who post a woe me status every single time. You read those and they bring you down whether you think so or not. I just decided to cut all the crap out of my facebook. And I have found I am not constantly on facebook looking at everyone's drama or see the latest breakup or who is doing what. I have started to really not care as much. I need to focus more on what's going on in my life, not in others. I have also tried not to post negative posts. Those only do more harm then good. And now I realize how much other people's post influence me, so mine can also influence others and I don't want to be a negative influence to them either.  And not being consumed by so many tv shows or being online also frees up more time to do other things! Like my new addiction Pinterest! Which I am trying not to post things that are negative to myself!

I know these things may seem silly to some of you. They did to me at first and I didn't really think any change would occur out of cutting some things out, but it's been only 3 weeks and I see tons of changes already! I know it will take a lot of time to change my thinking process and the image I have of myself. But I feel as though I am very much on my way to having a healthy mindset again! So I challenge you, what "crap" do you need to cut out? Try it for 3 weeks and see if it makes a difference! Ok back to my month away.

So after this evening with my friends and receiving TONS of great advice and helpful information, I felt good about being able to make some much needed changes and was excited to see what would happen when I did. I was leaving 2 days later to go on a Fall Retreat for the teens I volunteer with at my church. I was super excited to spend the weekend with my girls I lead and other students and leaders. They say it is like 6 months of small groups in one weekend with how close you become. Only problem was, the only way I could was to be on food crew. Which wasn't exactly what I wanted but I figured if God really wanted me to go, he would find a way for me to, and he did. So I decided I would suck it up and maybe learn something from food crew. I was going to be with the teens and to grow closer to them, this wasn't about me. I could have chosen to stay in the food crew cabin and actually get some sleep, but then I would spend almost no time with the girls. So I decided to stay in the girls cabin knowing I would only get 3-4 hours of sleep. (It was totally worth it.) I had a super crazy schedule with being in the kitchen by 6 or 6:30 and when I did get a break between meals I was at the sessions with everyone. Needless to say I was quite exhausted when I came home!

During the whole time I was on food crew I just kept saying I love the teens, I love the teens, I love the teens! I was there to serve. They brought in a speaker name EJ Swanson. This guy was amazing. He was straight to the point in your face real. And that's what these teens needed. And little did I know it's what I needed. I did not go into the weekend expecting to receive anything out of this process except to become closer to the people there. You know how they say once you stop focusing on yourself, God focuses on you. Well that is exactly what happened with me. I was so en-wrapped with serving and not worrying about myself that this retreat was exactly what I needed. I feel like since my focus was finally off of myself God could work on me full force since I wasn't expecting it. The first evening was quite intense and it got my wheels turning and started to open my heart. And now that  I had the thought of having a personal relationship with God in my mind, I was really thinking about how to let Him in.

The next morning, the second session was also quite intense. They had us do interactive things and journal some personal answers. The whole weekend series was based on God is greater than... and every session was something different. Like God is greater than our circumstance, than we know, our sin, etc. After journaling I started realizing how much went wrong in my life when I walked away from God. I was blown away and could see that I could not handle life alone anymore, no matter how hard I tried. I was starting to admit I needed Him. Something it took me years to understand. My wheels were really going now. The next session they showed this video. This hit me like a train ran through me. It was like everything I was feeling was perfectly said. So many things happened after I watched that. It all happened so fast. I realized I was loving him from afar with not having a personal relationship. I realized I truly could not live without Him anymore. I needed Him. And I really had to get deep with myself if I wanted to have a relationship. I asked myself why? Why don't I have a relationship with Him? And my answer: I'm scared. Scared of what? I was scared of losing myself. I was scared of what He would do with me if I gave Him all of me. Was I ready for that? I was scared of giving up the past 24 years of what I had been. I was scared it wouldn't make any difference if I did have a personal relationship. I was scared I didn't deserve it. Then I started to realize that after everything I had gone through, God was still there. He never left me. He was standing there with open arms to me saying I want a relationship with you. I WILL love you unconditionally no matter what. After everything I did. After walking away from Him and hurting him so much, he forgave me. And he was crying out to love me. No one else in this world would do that. Not after all I had done. And the realization of his overwhelming love shook me to the core.

Why on earth was I scared of this? How could I be scared of someone loving me? I realized he would never reject me. He wasn't like every other person around me. He wouldn't walk away or delete me off his list. I understood what unconditional love was for the first time in my life. And I realized He could heal me. He was greater than my past and could wipe my slate clean. He could make me a completely brand new person. I now knew this is what I wanted. I wanted a relationship with Him and now I wasn't scared. I wanted to let Him in to heal the deepest depths of my heart. I wanted that unconditional love, and I wanted Him to know my life is for Him. I told Him I am ready, I open my heart to you, fill my soul, let it overflow. And this may sound cheesy, but in that moment it was like this overwhelming tingling sensation filled my body from head to toe. It was the single most powerful thing I have ever felt in my entire life. I was nearly sobbing at this point, and it was all I could do to not fall on my knees. I was so overcome and felt like a giant weight had been lifted off of me. I felt pure joy.

I now realized I was a brand new person. I was no longer that old person and all those things that happened to me, they are gone. And I don't need to associate myself with the things that happened to me in the past. They were not who I was. They were things that happened that brought me to this place in my life. I didn't have to let it define me anymore. I now could be who I always wanted. And that was the most peaceful thing I have known. I no longer feel like a piece of me is missing. I feel like a piece of me I never knew I had was found and that was the missing piece I have been searching for my whole life. I was so giddy and happy and couldn't stop smiling. Even though I was exhausted, I didn't care. And I couldn't quite put my finger on it till I got back home. But I had realized that I felt this way before. When was it? When I fell in love with Antonio, I felt this way. So it occurred to me, I fell in love with God that weekend. That weekend changed my life when I so desperately needed it. And I know God led me there so he could show me how great he is.

And on top of all that, students were coming to me to ask for advice and looking up to me as a leader. I could have flown to the moon. I knew this is where I was meant to be. I knew this is what I was meant to do. Watching how God moved in that weekend with almost 175 students was the most powerful thing I have ever witnessed. To see the difference from the first night to the last day brought tears to my eyes. The first night maybe 25% of the students raised their hands during worship. The last session before we left, at least 95% of the hands were raised. It was breath taking. I watched so many students break in front of my eyes and saw God heal them. I can't even begin to share the amazing power that was felt over that weekend. It was one I will never forget. Truly life changing for so many besides myself.

So after that weekend I had A LOT of things to process. I had a lot of new things flowing through me and I needed some time to sort through them and to implement these new changes. So the blog was the least of my worries, and I knew when I came back I really wanted to share the things God has been doing in my life. But I still felt that wasn't complete yet. So I wanted to continue growing and come back when it felt right.

We had a guest speaker a few weeks ago and he was from the Biggest Loser season 2. He is now a motivational speaker about his weight loss and how God helped him through it all. It was fun to watch him, and he said something that literally smacked me in the face. He said my misery is now my ministry. It was literally like a lightbulb went off in my head. That was it. That was me. My misery is now my ministry too. I felt like all the pieces to my life fell together. Anything I was still questioning or wondering why it happened to me now made sense. All I went through has brought me to this point in my life. To this point of working with these teens. I now had a purpose. And I had NEVER felt like I had a purpose before. I realized this is why He made me. I went through all those things, so I could disciple to teens and others about my past, about my misery, about my story, and be able to help others not go down the path I did. I feel like my life has meaning to it now, and any anger I had toward the past was now gone. I would never be here if it weren't for that. And if my story can help 1 person, then my purpose has been fulfilled. I understand my past, and I know God has so many good things in store for me now. I am a new person and I am healed of all those things in my past. I have been put in the right place that I am supposed to be at.

So I took some time to process that as well. So needless to say the past month has been a whirlwind of emotions, life change, and intense healing. I know this will be an ongoing process and something I will be working on daily. But my life has dramatically changed. Lyndsey Perez is now the woman and person I have always wanted to be and will continue to strive to be the best wife, daughter, leader, & friend I can be. Every day is a new day and I am learning so much. It almost feels like I have a new set of eyes and a new heart. It is awesome. I am living proof of what God can do in someone's life who has been hurt so much and been completely broken. He is greater than anything I could have ever imagined. He is the true love of my life, and of all time.

My question for you-
Do you have a personal relationship with God? If you don't why not?

Monday, October 17, 2011

A personal heart to heart with myself.

Just to warn everyone, this isn't going to be your typical blog post today. There will be no pictures of food or recipes, and honestly it may not even be that happy of a blog to begin with. I will get back to normal blog stuff tomorrow! But today, this is going to be different.

This is probably going to be very difficult for me, and I am going to do my best to be honest and I hope you can listen and not be judgmental. Most of you know I have been having a tough time recently and some things have resurfaced from my past that I have never really dealt with and it's time I do deal with it. I am going to talk about some things from my past that have happened because I feel like I have held them in for so long that they have done even more damage then I could have ever imagined. And I want to let it all out and if I can encourage anyone out there going through similar things or that have bottled things up for too long to let it out, then that's all I hope for. This isn't a pity party, I don't ask for your sympathy. I just want to help others in any way that I can and I feel like this will not only help me, but it may help others, so it's time I do this. So when I ask to not be judgmental, I ask that you remember this was my past, it is not my present and I have made mistakes in my life and done things I am not proud of. I am also a different person now and have asked forgiveness from the one person it matters most, and I know He has. We learn from our mistakes, sometimes the hard way, and it has made me value the things I have now and is making me want to better myself and be the best person I can be. Most people who know me have NO idea about these things, not even my parents know everything about me. I hope no one reads this and thinks anything is their fault or feels hurt, this is not my intention. This is my life path, and please do not feel upset if you feel like you should have done something or been there, it is ok. It's over now, and you can now be there for me from the present and onward!

I have discovered that I do not love myself, and if I want to love to my full potential, I need to first love myself before I can love others to the full potential they deserve. And I need to change this. This requires a lot of digging into my past and learning how to deal with things and to let go. And I feel this is part of letting go, so here we go.

I am going to travel back to High School. I grew up being a Christian and had no problems with it. I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Helped out with events at church and just thought I was doing my normal things since this was such a big part of our lives. I was the class pet all the time, but that was only because we moved so much and I learned if you made friends with the teacher first, then you always had a friend no matter what. Not to mention a lot of the times being friends with the teacher was highly beneficial! I went to Belleville High School and absolutely hated every second of it. I had "friends" there, but no actual real friends. My one best friend Jessica, left at the end of 9th grade and moved away. This was heartbreaking. She was the only one I had at that school and that would always be by my side and stick up for me. At this time I was one of those who let everyone walk all over me. I never stood up for myself and just took everything. I hated confrontation, which I still do, but I refused to stand up for myself because I didn't want to cause problems. If I got yelled at, I would just shut down and be quiet and take it. During 9th grade, a rumor was spread about me that was not true and people said I talked about this girl behind her back. Which I never did. Once she heard about this she decided she wanted to make my life a living hell day in and day out. Notice I didn't say at school. This would continue outside of school as well. She would get her friends to IM me on AIM and say mean things to me. If I saw her outside of school she would proceed to bully me. She never hurt me physically. But emotionally, she may as well have beat the crap out of me every day. And when Jessica left, she saw that opportunity and took it. She knew I would be more vulnerable and weak alone. No one else would stand up for me. I went to our school counselors and asked to be switched out of her classes. Nothing happened, and they had to call her in so now she was even more mad that her parents became involved. She used this as ammo against me. Saying her father was a cop and she could find out where I lived and come after me. I endured this all 9th grade and shut my mouth. I begged my counselor to make sure we didn't have classes in 10th grade. I showed up to the first day of school to find out I had 4 out of 6 classes with her. Imagine my horror. I didn't even get a break from her over the summer. The IM's still kept coming even if I changed my screen name. In every class she purposely sat behind me so she could kick my chair, throw things at me, and say things about me. I once again went to my counselor and begged her to help me. She got me out of 1 class with her. So now I had to endure 3 hrs a day with her. I cried every day on my way to school knowing I had to go through this. Everyone watched what was going on, and maybe 1 or 2 people stuck up for me here and there. The only people on my side were of course teachers. My french teacher was amazing. She was the only reason I could endure school. She was the only one I could talk to about what was going on. This girl was in my french class and she made sure this girl was behaved during that class, which was a nice relief for me.

During this time we went to a church I adored. I loved the people there. The teen group was super close and I had so many close friends at church. Then the worst happened. Our church split up. All my close friends left to go somewhere else. And at this time things were so heated between the adults, we were not allowed to speak to those who had left. Heartbreak. I felt like I lost my family. The only place I had to go to escape was now taken away from me. I had no one. Now getting up and going to school every day was beyond my nightmare. The only reason I wanted to go to school was because I had been paying for my trip to France. I was going over spring break with the french club, and thankfully this bully was not going! But after this happened, it felt like my world fell apart.

I hated going to school, I hated going to church. I felt like I had nothing left to live for. I was not in any sports, and the only other thing I did was French club once a month. I started to become very depressed. I woke up, went to school, came home and went to sleep. This was my routine during the week. On the weekend I slept most of the day, and was forced to go to church and hear more about this split. All I was ever around was negativity and anger. It did not help. I just stopped caring. My grades started dropping, and if you know me, I pride myself in good grades so this never happened. I started contemplating suicide. I even thought of how I would do it, and what I would write on  my note. My parents took me to the doctor and she said I was depressed. I had gained about 30 lbs and just had no will to live. She told them they need to make a change for me or this will get bad. So they offered to send me to a private school. I even knew this was getting bad if my parents were willing to pay to send me to another school. So I took them up on that offer and found Agape Christian Academy. It literally saved my life. The people there have no idea how thankful I am for them and I don't know what would have become of me without them. I had a renewed faith and outlook on life. I was happy again and this was home for me.

After Agape I went to Liberty University for nursing. Mind you I already had a little beef with God for the whole church split on the back of my mind. I thought this was going to be a giant Agape. Boy was I wrong. They didn't mention 90% of their secret rules to you when you visited. It was basically prison. And on top of that, the guy running the whole shibang was completely fake. He proclaimed how much of a christian he was and then after that he had a new way of asking for money every time you saw him. It disgusted me. He wanted money for the school sports teams, not to make things better for students. And now I was out of my little bubble from home. There were so many judgmental, hypocritical christian's it boggled my mind. They loved Jesus but yet were out in the bushes having sex. I had no one telling me what to think, and now I had no idea what to think or how to handle this. It shattered my beliefs. I honestly had no idea what to think anymore. Is this really what God wants? Was I so shut in to be this naive that this was really the christian life? I was beyond confused and then my nursing program got messed up and I wanted to leave. Right before I left for college, I met this guy. I will leave names out. He asked me to be his girlfriend before I left. We never even held hands. While I was gone he ended up moving to Italy. While he was gone I found out he was a drug addict, and also sold drugs. I did not know any of this until after I "fell in love" with him. So since I 'loved' him I felt like I had to stick by his side. He went to rehab and was doing great, but being such a new couple and so far apart, it was never going to last. I thought I was going to marry him and it all was just too much, so we ended things. I was homesick, confused, heartbroken, and hating college. I finished the first semester and came home. I had no idea what to think and was questioning a lot of things. I started to become angry from confusion, frustration, and heartbreak. I started to distance myself from church and God. Why would he do all of this to me? I had never been a bad kid, I did everything right. And now all of a sudden I felt punished for no reason. The rule of my house was if you lived here, you go to church. So I still went, but felt completely forced to go and did not like being there. I started to become lost.

About this time I was 18. My Papap had gotten very ill. I was becoming an emotional wreck. My anger with God was skyrocketing. Then I met a football player and I honestly don't know what attracted me to him. I think it was because he had nothing to do with my life at the time and it was something new and different. Maybe an escape somehow since I was so vulnerable and emotional. He was a bad influence but I didn't listen to that little voice inside my head to get away. I was mad and wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. So we ended up dating after about a month. I still had never even held hands with anyone before I met him or kissed anyone. Two weeks before I turned 19, I had my first kiss.

Then the unthinkable happened. I got a phone call from a mutual friend of my ex. She continued to tell me that my ex had gotten ill and went in for surgery but didn't make it through. I was in the middle of target and fell to the floor. My friend had to literally drag me out of there and took me to her house. A few of my friends came over to be there for me as I sobbed for hours. I was trying to get over him, but I felt like he was the love of my life and I couldn't handle this. I didn't go to school for a few days and stayed in bed. I felt like my world had ended. Then a few weeks later I get a message from his screen name on AIM. I thought oh it is probably one of his brothers talking to me. But it said hey it's me. And I was so confused and said I don't know which brother it was. Then it proceeded to say no it's me, your ex. I was floored. What was happening? He was dead! Am I dreaming this? He then said he had blackmailed our mutual friend into telling me he died. He saw I was dating someone new and wanted me to be completely over him so I could move on with my life and forget about him. But after 2 weeks, he couldn't handle the guilt anymore. I was horrified. WHO DOES THIS? This is NOT a joke. Who says they died and then comes back to life? I couldn't believe my eyes. After mourning him now I have to process this. I had enough and couldn't understand my life anymore. Why were these things happening? On top of this I was watching my Papap die.

I would go visit him and since I was in Medical Assisting I knew what all the vitals and stats meant. I would sit in his room and watch him deteriorate. It was one of the most painful things to experience. Then add my ex dying and then coming back to life and I really thought I was in a dream. Then a few days after my ex miraculously resurrected himself, my Papap died. I could not handle anymore. I could not understand how God would let this all happen. I had no idea how to handle my emotions or even know what to feel. I felt like a walking zombie half of the time. And this whole time this poor guy I am dating has to deal with it. I felt so bad for him and I thought it was nice he was there to comfort me.

But he decided he was going to take advantage of the situation. He knew I was weak and angry. He started encouraging me to do not so good things. And I got into a situation I wish I never would have gotten myself into. This is hard to say and probably going to be hard to for you to read, but that night he took advantage of me and even after saying no repeatedly, he raped me. I was in shock, I was scared, and had a giant football player on top of me. I didn't know what to do. I was scared if I tried to push him off, it would anger him and make things worse. So I just was quiet and waited till it was over and did everything I could to not cry. After it was over he walked me out to my car and told me to "just pretend it never happened." I couldn't even believe I was hearing this. I left and made it to the end of the street before I broke down. I called my best guy friend at the time and told him what happened, and he lived out in California. If he would have been there he might have killed that guy. I had no idea what to do. I was so ashamed. I felt so guilty. I put myself into that situation, it was my fault it happened. I didn't do enough to make it stop. I felt like I was the worst person in the world. I though this would never happen to me, but I let it. What would my friends think of me? What would my parents think of me? I couldn't tell them because they would hate me. They would think I was so awful for getting myself into that situation. They would be so disappointed and ashamed of me. Would anyone even believe me over him since we were dating? They would probably think I made it up. So I chose to just pretend it never happened like he said. I pushed it to the back of my mind and said it never happened. Now I had turned my back on God. What had I done to deserve this? Why did he keep letting bad things happen to me? I was done with all this. He was supposed to be this great person who saved me from bad things and instead I was getting nailed with bad things one after another. I wanted nothing to do with Him, and I thought he walked away from me.

For some reason I continued to date him. I do NOT know why. Maybe because if I left, it would be admitting that it happened. So if I stayed then everything was fine. So I stayed. The physically abuse did not stop. He forced me to do sexual things all the time even though I said no. I finally just gave up and would let him do whatever or I would do whatever just so he wouldn't "physically force me." I thought if I just went with it, then it wasn't abuse. But I know now that was still abuse. I went through that for 8 months. Not telling a soul or letting myself deal with the hurt and emotional damage it did to me. I was afraid if I left, what would he do to me. If he had this power over me and I left would he do something worse? Finally one day I had the courage to leave. I caught him cheating on me and felt like I had ammo to leave. But I still refused to deal with everything.

It was a year to the day everything happened, then I had a mental break down and realized I had to deal with it. I finally called my parents and told them what happened. I still only told them and a few friends. I was still ashamed. I hadn't even realized what it was doing to me. I didn't even want to hug a male. Even my dad made me feel uncomfortable. When I realized this, I knew I had a problem. So I decided I needed help. I started going to therapy for everything that had happened that past 2 yrs. After a few sessions I started to feel better and thought hey I am fixed! So I stopped going. I now realize that therapy is like antibiotics. They tell you to finish the whole bottle, not stop taking them when you feel better or it won't get rid of whatever bacteria you have. And I think this is what happened with me. I stopped taking my antibiotics instead of finishing the pills. So I learned how to deal with everything in the moment, but I never worked through everything, let it go, and moved on. Once again I stored it in the back of my mind. Then I encountered my second ex and confronted him about what he did to me. He did not feel as though he did anything to me. This put me in a tail spin. I took 3 steps forward to only take 6 back. Everything I had just learned from therapy was blown to shreds. I didn't know how to deal with this. This is where I started going down a dark path.

I always had body from middle school and on. Especially gaining weight from being depressed. I lost a lot of it my senior year. But after the rape, I lost all respect for myself and for my body. I felt like I no longer had control over it and it was abused, tattered, torn, used, and messed up. Who would EVER want to love me? Who would ever want to touch me after going through that? No one would love me. And I let myself believe that. So I didn't care about my body anymore or what happened to it. I had already endured the worst so nothing could be worse right? I felt that I was worth nothing anymore and let myself be treated that way. I let myself get used, because what's the difference. That's all I knew. I only knew how to be abused and treated poorly. I thought that was normal. I started to seek validation through men. I thought if I was pretty and skinny, and I could get a hot guy, then I must be doing something right. If they liked my body then maybe I wasn't so messed up. I worked out all the time to make sure I looked good. I thought this was how things were supposed to work. When in all reality it really wasn't how things were supposed to be. I thought letting myself be used, was getting approval that I was wanted and liked. I felt that if I got fat, no one would want me and all I hear about are all these hot girls with no fat and how much guys liked that. So I worked for that. I was disgusted with every ounce of fat on my body. Which I somehow could not get rid of. I hated my body even when others liked it. I couldn't find love so I thought I wasn't pretty enough, or skinny enough, or good enough. I felt like fat on my body were signs of weakness from my past and somehow connect me with the feeling of if I am not skinny enough no one will want me or love me. And most importantly, I'm not perfect mentally so I had to be physically. And if I'm not I can't love myself. I'm so messed up inside. The outside was the only thing I could have control of still to not be messed up. I felt like when I am not skinny enough for myself that I am not good enough and not worth anything since that's all I have left. And how do you love yourself when you are one giant ball of messed up and not good enough? So this pattern just kept repeating itself. And the more I was used the more I lost respect for myself and thought being wanted was my cure. When really it was poison. It made me feel worse about myself and make things worse. I was spiraling downwards without even realizing it. I was in a dark place and didn't know how to get out. I could handle this all on my own, I didn't need anyone's help, I thought I was fixing myself. Or at least this was the best I could do and was all I was worth.

Then I met Antonio. At the time I was not expecting him to appear in my life. But he came at the perfect time. There was something different about him. He wasn't like all the other guys and when I was hanging out with him I felt like he genuinely liked me. He wanted to be friends and get to know me. He made me feel wanted in a different way for once. I had heard every line in the book and I have heard "you are pretty, beautiful, etc." but it all went in one ear and out the other because I knew it was just a line. I never believed it. But when he said it to me, for the first time in a very long time, I really believed it. I knew it wasn't just a line. He looked me in the eyes when he said it and he didn't ask for anything in return. I knew this was something special. I never thought anyone could make me feel this way again. I felt like he gave me back a piece of me I had taken away. My innocence and natural beauty was taken from me. And I felt like he gave me that back. It was a piece I longed for. It wasn't my cure all, but it was defiantly a step in the right direction. I knew that if he could make me feel this way, that there was something about him. I couldn't let go of him and I would fight for him. Which I did. He was also in a dark place of his life. It is kind of funny because we both feel like if we never would have gotten to that dark place, we would have never met. But we also feel we somehow saved each other and pulled one another from this darkness. As most of you know we are now married. He found God, and I have renewed my relationship with Him. I realized I can't face this world alone anymore, and when I walked away from Him, so many bad things happened. I tried for a long time to face the world alone but it is impossible. I am so glad I have Antonio and wee can be on this journey together and help one another, I don't know where I would be without him.

What I want to say now is that there are more stories I could add from my past but I am going to leave it with those because I think those may be the most crucial elements to what I am dealing with right now. I have been through a lot and I clearly have some very deep emotional issues I need to work on. When we got married, they started surfacing out of nowhere and very powerfully. I never got to be "intimate" the way God intended it to be. So I don't think I really ever understood intimacy. I relate sex and the emotions attached to it to being used and not being good enough. I really have no desire for it because it makes me think about my past and I don't want to be that way anymore. So I am stuck. I have no idea how to get rid of these feelings. I think my body image is intertwined with these feelings as well, and I will not be able to fix one without the other being fixed as well. My heart has been aching so much lately over all this and I realized I really never dealt with my past issues and they are still a problem for me today. I want to be rid of this past and work on myself.

I want a better marriage and to love myself. I can't love Antonio, or anyone else to the fullest potential they deserve because I don't know how to when I can't even love myself. I understand now that I have only known one way of thinking and never been taught differently and I need to re-program my thoughts and thought process. And for this, I can not do it on my own. I am now reaching out for professional help. I want so badly to get better and know I need real help. I am also reaching out to those around me, and to God for help. I know there isn't anything people can really do to make me better since it is my own battle. But I ask if you read this, just words of encouragement, understanding, maybe a hug, and prayer, lots of prayer! Knowing you are there for more means so much to me and I am so thankful to all those who care about me. Especially enough to read this giant post! I hope to start a new journey in my life and I want to be the person God created me to be. I don't regret what has happened, it has led me here. But I want to be able to love to my fullest and learn how to forgive and to love myself. It will probably be a difficult next year for me as I move on from all these things and make big changes internally. I know God is with me and if he has forgiven me, I know I can find a way to forgive myself. Thank you in advance to those who are by my side through all this!

I wanted to share this not only to let others know about me, to help myself move on, but also to help those who may have gone through some of the things I have. Please if you have and you have not dealt with them or are keeping them bottled in, let them out! Get some help. I know being ashamed is hard and you think the world will hate you for things you have done but they won't. And it's ok to admit you can't do it on your own. It's not a bad thing to seek therapy and get help. If people really love you, they just want what's best for you. You can't hold these feelings in, they will destroy you and make things worse in the long run. If you can't tell anyone yet, talk to God about it first. Ask him for strength and courage to let it out. It's been 5 years for me and I am just now telling everyone. It has been too long. I know you want to be free and let this all go. You can't be free if you don't deal with it. So please if you need help, seek it out. If you would like to talk, let me or someone else know. I just want to encourage people to be the best they can be. It starts inside. Your heart needs to be whole and healed. I hope I can help to give you courage and strength to come forward. I am praying for all those people who are still in the dark and need to come forward.

I will end here. I have a few passages I found that are helping me at this moment. Thank you for listening.
*Matthew 5:4-Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
*Revelation 21:4- ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
*Psalms 70:20-21- "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. 21 You will increase my honor and comfort me once more." 
*Psalms 34:18- "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit."