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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."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's ok to take a break.. and eat cookies!

So I just needed to take a bit of a break from the Internet world. I haven't been on my computer much the past week. And honestly I didn't even really feel like it. I am not 100% sure what was going on, but there was a lot emotionally and mentally running through me and I just needed some time to deal with it. I know it is going to take me a while to adjust to married life and slowly but surely we are learning things, whether is be the easy way or the hard way!

Have you ever had anyone say something to you that just made you question your entire personality and self? Then made you wonder if people really like you or maybe you just think they do? Well I heard a comment of this nature and it really messed with me. I pretty much just shut down and tried to process this comment and let myself focus on it so much it was starting to slowly destroy me inside. I was in this weird funk and I just really had no idea what to do with myself. I felt like blogging or facebooking was only going to prove this person's point even further, so I avoided it. I finally decided to tell Megan about it and she is always there with open arms to listen to me and give me advice. And she helped snap me out of my funk. I don't think I have had anyone say something like that to me in such a long time that my guard was down and I let it get to me. Normally I wouldn't listen to such nonsense because I am used to hearing things like that and just ignoring them, but it makes it a lot harder when it comes from someone close to you that you weren't expecting it from. I finally realized that I think the comment was made out of anger and I don't agree with it. I am not going to let this comment get me down anymore, and if people don't like how I am then they don't need to be around me anyways. I have a lot of good friends, and I must be doing something right if they are sticking around!

Moving on to marriage stuff! So, basically when it comes to marriage, you really just need to take it one day at a time. Because every day is different! I can wake up expecting it to be a great day, I am in a great mood, and he is not. No matter how much I try to change this, sometimes it just doesn't work. Learning each other's habits, and what's important to each other takes time. Developing new habits for both of us also takes time. If he leaves a towel on the floor or somewhere one more time! haha He is learning that this bugs me beyond ALL belief. Especially when a wet towel is left on my side of the bed and now it is wet as well! So now every time a wet towel is left out, it ends up on his pillow. I think he is learning.. he will get it at some point!

We go to a date night the first and third Friday's of the month. We meet with other married couples for about an hour, then go out on a date. Some couples have been married a short time, some 5 yrs, some 15, some 20+. So it is nice to hear advice from others who have done this for awhile and tips they have for us! It is also with other Christian couples so we learn a lot of things involving God and how to give our relationship up to Him. A few things we talked about Friday is that love is not an emotion, it is a decision. This may be the most profound relationship advice I have heard this far. When you said I do, you committed to loving this person the rest of your life. And when you are angry with each other you have to remember you decided to love already so you can't let your emotions tell you when you love. So as hard as it may be you still need to say I love you when angry with each other and not let emotions decide for you. This application can also be applied to SO many other things not just relationships! We also learned that when people use the phrase "always" or "never" do you notice it is most used for negative things? Like you never take the trash out or you always leave the towel on the floor. It may seem like they always or never do but chances are they don't do this or do do this 100% of the time. So they really are unfair fighting words. Unless you have substantial proof, like you never clean the oven because they really never have, then it is unfair of you to use these words to express how you are feeling. Do you ever hear always or never used in a positive sentence? Like you always wash the dishes! Or you never complain! Not usually! Think about it.When you have a disagreement, it is best to pray to God for help and to ask him to either change your heart or his heart to get to an answer and work things out. And we have to realize everyone will come with imperfections, they can not be perfect 100% of the time, so you have to let them be imperfect and not expect perfection. And you can't rely on them to make you happy and fill you up. They can to an extent, but you have to let God do the rest. He needs to fill up the rest of your cup that you may feel is empty. He is the one who will make it overflow, not your spouse. I think that was huge for me. You place a lot of happiness on other people in your lives but are you placing it with the most important person in your life? This is something I need to work more on and spend more time with God. Seek ye first and all these things will be added unto you. Seek his love first and your spouses love will follow to help fill you up.

One last thing on this! Our friends do this to let each other know what kind of mood they are in when they come home or see each other after working so that they may know how to treat each other or what they are in for. If she is having a bad day or is really emotional she says I am fragile, so he knows he has to adjust to this so he doesn't do anything to upset her. Or if he comes home and says I had a really bad day at work, give me 30 minutes alone to unwind and clear my mind then we can talk, and she knows not to talk his ear off when he walks in the door and will NOT hear anything she said because he does not want to listen to it. He said at some point in the evening he gives her 15 min of undivided attention and she can tell him whatever she wants. This way she doesn't hold it all in and explode or feel like he isn't paying attention to her. Sometimes we just need to talk, we don't need advice, we just want to vent and be heard. Once we basically word vomit, we are ok! Especially if we are around kids ALL day, we need adult interaction! Then after that we usually can go on about with whatever and feel like we are being loved since we got to talk and have undivided attention. He said 15 min of time can save you hours of arguing or an evening of a wife in a bad mood, and it isn't that hard to do! And as always pray about things on a daily basis and don't be afraid to ask for advice or help.

Church was about picking your friends. It was very interesting. Most of the time we end up picking our friends, who then influence our lives. We let others influence how our life is going to be, when it should be we decide how we want our lives to be, then pick our friends accordingly. We also care more about what we are wearing or take more time picking a car or an outfit then we do picking our friends. We barely put any stock into picking friends when it is hugely important to have the right people surrounding us. Look at your friends, do they influence your life to be a certain way, or did you pick them after choosing how you wanted to live? Do they bring you closer to God or farther away? Are they trustworthy, supportive, caring, loving, peace makers, safe, and followers of God? Do they bring you up not break you down? How do you choose your friends? It is ok to be friendly with people, God tells us to be friendly with everyone. But when it comes to close friends, we should choose more carefully. Be aware that if that person has bad intentions, you will probably get dragged down with them and do the same. Are you choosing how you want to live or letting your friends do it for you? Just some food for thought!

Speaking of food, picture time!! So friday I made French dip in the crock pot. It turned out pretty good! Would have been better with some horseradish but it tasted like something you would have ordered in a restaurant!
recipe: http://bakingbites.com/2008/02/slow-cooker-french-dip-sandwich/

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
approx 3 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast
16-oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 10.5-oz. can condensed French onion soup
6-oz red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese, optional
Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.
Pour beef broth, condensed French onion soup, red wine and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slow cookers have different time intervals that you can select, so work with your cooker. Depending on how the settings on your slow cooker work, the time will vary. Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. Mine took 7 1/2 hours and was falling apart tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low or very low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls, if using. Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the beef juice* into ramekins or other small bowls and eat everything while it is hot. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.
Seves 4-6.
*Note: If there is excess fat in your au jus, simply pour it from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup and let it stand for about 5 minutes so the fat separates. Skim it off, then pour the juice into serving cups. 
I then made this as a side, lemon garlic roasted asparagus. DELICIOUS!
recipe here: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2011/03/lemon-garlic-roasted-asparagus-321.html

Added some sweet potato fries and this was the end result!

Yum!!

Then I made some red velvet white chocolate chip cookies. Guys, seriously, best cookie I have EVER had. Then again I LOVE red velvet, it's my favorite! But when these cookies are warm, it is beyond amazing. I think these came from God directly, because these are heavenly! http://whipperberry.com/2011/03/recipe-red-velvet-cookie-with-white-chocolate-chunks.html
recipe:
Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks
  • 1 box of Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 1 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of White Chocolate Chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add butter and mix until soft and fluffy.  Slowly add cake mix and flour. Once combined, add egg and mix completely.  Add white chocolate chunks, and mix for a minute or so until well combined.  Form dough into one inch balls, and place into the oven for 8-10 minutes. {Yields about 24 small cookies.} 



NOM NOM NOM!
Seriously you must make! And yesterday I found red velvet everything on Pinterest.. this could be bad! I must have them ALL! Last night I made quinoa burgers! They weren't too bad at all. Hubs was a little hesitant at a no meat meal, but he was pleasantly surprised! I also took the cumin out and used chili powder because I had no cumin! But the more flavor the better they taste! 
recipe: 
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
To cook quinoa:
In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, including white parts
1 /2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Olive oil for frying
.
In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, Splenda, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Measure 1/4 cup and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick  - mixture will be slightly sticky.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.
Per burger:  Calories 132; Protein 8 g; Fat 5 g; NET Carbs 12 g; (Fiber 2 g); Sugar 0 g; Sodium 200 mg 
http://eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/love-my-quinoa-burger/







In conclusion, sometimes you just need a break. And hey it's OK to do this! You do whatever is best for you and don't worry about what other people think or say! We are humans, no one is perfect! It also helps when you have delicious red velvet cookies by your side! I guess this is enough for one post! Bad part of not posting for a week, there's lots to say!! 

I leave you with a cute picture of Dyson!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This is real, this is hard.

Where to begin. I guess I will start with my running for the past two days. I got all excited about my new garms and was ready to take on the world yesterday with running. I probably should have taken it easy since I haven't run in over a month but I felt the need to do a 5k for some reason. I was pretty pleased with myself, I was 4 seconds behind my PR! Hm maybe time off isn't as detrimental as I was assuming it would be. I am glad it wasn't 2 minutes or something, I would have died! I will admit though, it was rough. I was proud of myself for only walking about 3 min of it and running the rest of it. I wanted to die at mile 2 and give up but I pushed myself and kept going! It was my first night run and I didn't mind it except I kept thinking I was going to get ran over at some point so that was a little annoying. Maybe it made me run faster! Still the possibility of getting ran over is as great during the day as it is night so not sure what I was so worried about! I defiantly paid for running that much off the bat today. I was sore and tight in my legs. I still drug myself out to run though. However, my mind was not there. I had A LOT on my mind and I wish I could say running was a stress relief for me but unfortunately it isn't. If anything it gives me more alone time to think about everything I just want to get away from. So after a very slow mile because I was so sore, I was done. I had nothing left in me to give and you know I was ok with it. I walked the second mile and did 2 miles in 29 min. It was pathetic, but I know my heart wasn't there and it happens sometimes. I am proud of myself for getting out there anyways when I knew I didn't want to do it. My goal is 35 miles in 30 days. I am 5 miles down! Woo! I am hoping I surpass those 35 miles by a lot though! I just want a minimum of that! The weather is perfect for running now with this weather and I am actually happy to run outside. Running hills kills me but I am trying to get better at doing them!

I have to work over night tonight so I had the day off and decided to make crock pot meatloaf, still cooking, and see how well that turned out. Adding sour cream mashed potatoes and veggies. I also decided to make chocolate chip pumpkin muffins! This is not a pinterest recipe! A family friend makes these and they are delicious! She makes them in the mini cupcake pan and freezes them and puts 2 in a snack ziplock for her kids lunches and by lunch time it has thawed out. I personally like them out of the freezer and let them thaw about 5 min then when they are warm! Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
1 box spice cake mix
1 small can pumpkin filling
Chocolate chips to your liking

Mix spice mix as instructed, add can of pumpkin and chocolate chips to mix. Cook as directed for cupcakes. I double lined the cupcakes because they are so heavy with the pumpkin that it kind of seeps through a little. Let them cool, freeze extras. Super easy!!

Voilla!

I don't know what this Goose was doing or how he hopped up there but I thought it was funny!

Onto some serious things and more to the title of my blog. This marriage stuff.. they really can't prepare you enough for it. You hear people tell you things and you think oh that's silly, that won't happen with us. Ya, well, maybe I should have listened a lot more. The movies make marriage look like it's this awesome, amazing thing! And don't get me wrong I do think it's special and not to be taken lightly, but if it were easy it would be called a  honeymoon ALL the time. When I said I do, I knew divorce was out of the question and to just erase that out of my mind. No what if's or maybe's or thinking that way. Which is hard to do. The first two weeks were actually pretty great. I think it was just that twilight zone and getting used to everything. It was just weird. It didn't seem real at first. I think after the end of week 2, it has hit me. This is real, this is hard. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It's not like I have done this before to know what to do or to have all the answers. I am so confused and have no idea what to do 90% of the time. Then I get frustrated on top of it and it all combines and all that ends in is tears. 

The past few days have been hard, real hard. I am a crier. That's how I release emotion, and most anyone who knows me knows that's how I have to calm down. I am better at controlling it but most of the time I just need to let it out for a few minutes and I am fine. Or else everything builds inside me and I blow up. Today was especially hard and I am dealing with a few personal issues to begin with and they impact our marriage. So it's hard to work on one without it effecting the other. I haven't found this balance yet and it's pulling me down. Today was a day where I just wanted to go home (back to my parents) and I just didn't know what to do. I want to ask for help but I don't want people to think we are doing bad or we can't handle this. If I went to my parents house my mom will know something is wrong. I don't want to tell her too much because I don't want her to worry and think it's her problem and she needs to help us fix things. It's not her responsibility to help me anymore. Plus we have so many friends that know both of us I don't want anyone to think differently of us. So I feel like I try to handle things alone a lot and it's not working so well. I am trying so very hard to lift things up to God but this is already a knew challenge in itself to me so it ends up being doubly hard now. 

I have so many emotions and feelings all the time. After two weeks you really start to see how different the other person and you really are. I feel like a lot of the times whatever I say isn't right or good enough. Or maybe I am not good enough to begin with. We spend way more time together and I think even if I am alone, I just feel alone. I think we need time with our friends to bring us back to a normal level. I hate fighting about stupid things like cleaning up or shutting doors or leaving lights on, but I hear it's a normal thing for marriage. I knew it was going to be hard but I guess I just didn't know how hard it would be. No one is here to pick up after me, or make me dinner, or know to just be quiet and listen to me and let me vent like my mom knows. Everything is so different and it is going to take some getting used to. We have to figure out how to work with each other and know how to fulfill each other's needs since the way we deal or cope are so completely opposite. Sometimes I just feel like I am not being heard, and I am sure he feels the same and has his own opinions on all this. I am just sharing my side, how I feel, and being real. At this point things are rough and I am not going to lie and say oh ya everything is amazing 100% of the time! Because then everyone knows you are full of crap. It's just how to outlet my vents without saying too much or who to tell. I guess I am half asking for advice, half just venting. I find my blog as a space for me to share my thoughts and feelings, and you can judge all you want but this is me. I am here to be real not to pretend to be the perfect wife, because no one can be. I think people identify more with you when you are being real. 

I guess that's enough for today. I pray God can change my heart or his heart to what it needs to be to work on making things better. I pray he has the right people give me the right words and wisdom I so desperately need right now. I pray he gives me the peace to know I can trust him and the calmness to handle each situation with a clear head and to stay calm. There have been a few occasions before where I have needed His help so desperately and today is one of them. I feel helpless and just don't know what I am supposed to do. I pray he helps our marriage every second of the day and helps us to grow and find the right ways to communicate with each other. 

There's probably a million things I could ask about marriage, instead I ask for some advice from you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have you thanked anyone for a smile?

At church yesterday this stuck out to me so so much. We have such a hard time seeing the good in others and thanking people for the little things. We actually had a guest speaker. We had the real Rudy from Notre Dame come. And he was speaking about diligence and that was one of the things he talked about. He asked "have you ever thanked someone for a smile?" And it stopped me dead in my tracks and I thought about it and I don't think I ever have. Words is not my love language and it's very hard for me to show my appreciation by words. (Hard to believe I know). So I find this a great new challenge for me. So now I am trying to see everyone around me even when they have a bad or a good day and try to make it better! Piece a cake right? We also talked about going after your dreams and having diligence to pursue them. And another thing that I really liked was is it your dream to know God? If it is, what are you doing to follow it? And it's so true, we have such diligence to find a mate, or get through college, or do the things we love like reading, blogging, or running. But how much effort are we putting into our spiritual life? Makes ya think doesn't it?
Rudy!

After church I went down to where the teen group is held because the bathrooms down there have no lines! And I heard my name a few times from the teen's who help out at the middle school ministry and it made me smile. Then I heard my name again and someone running full force at me! And it was one of the teen girls and she gave me almost a knock over hug! It was my first one I have received from anyone at the teen group so I was grinning ear to ear and then I almost teared up and I was like no keep it together! It totally made my day! Then I headed back upstairs and saw my co-leader for our small groups and she gave me a big hug and I just thought what is going on?! My heart was so happy and I am so glad to know that I am being accepted into this group! 

Then I went over to Discovery Island which is the infants-5th grade. I am starting next Sunday in the pre-school room. As I was back there I saw my 10th grade English teacher! She remembered me and has a 4 yr old that will be in my class! How cool is that? While I was talking to the ladies who run Discovery Island they said a previous girl who helped had to move away and she just called yesterday and said I hope someone comes this weekend to fill my spot and bam there I was! It is amazing that God puts you right where you need to be in the perfect moment! I am excited to start there and get to know so many more people. The more involved I get the more excited I get to be going there! I am loving our church and it doesn't seem so gigantic anymore because I am seeing more people and feeling more at home there! I also took a scenic route on the way home and here are my few pics I stopped to take. Yes I don't have an awesome camera but here are some shots!


Don't laugh at me! 

After we went to my parents for a bit for lunch then went to Velocity. Basically Sunday I will be at church the whole day! But I am ok with that! And at Velocity we were talking about Purity. Always a fun topic! Our 10th grade girls didn't have much to say which I was kind of surprised, even without much to say it's still an awkward subject!

But I think I may have found a new running buddy! Woo. I would run with Megan but we are on way diff schedules and she runs like a bajillion miles all the time! Christiane is another co-leader and not a very avid runner so I will have someone more on my level to run with! We are trying to start up this week and run once a week together! I am going to try and run tonight. Still have a tiny cough but it's not from my chest anymore! Yay only took 2 weeks to go away!  My garmin came over the weekend so I am excited to play with that and see how it works! It is huge though! My wrists are so small so it's probably even bigger then normal on other people! Oh well I run with my phone so I am used to carrying something with me and this time I don't have to carry it! 

Oh so Antonio spilled his tea ALL over me and it was like a full cup. This was the end result. I do not kid when I say ALL over me.
Ridiculous!
I also ventured off my cappacino world and tried a spiced pumpkin latte. Not too bad, I added some sugar to it and it was better. Just tasted like pumpkin milk to me lol. I am not a huge pumpkin fan but I would get it again!

Ok, enough randomness for the day and I am off to work! Wish me luck on my run this evening, hopefully it doesn't rain so I can be outside! And it is going to suck since I have only ran once in the past month. Yikes. Hopefully I don't die! Thank you everyone for your beautiful smiles!

Q's
1. Have you heard anything lately that really made you think?
2. What is a challenge you can do this week when it comes to thinking of others?
3. Is it easy to show your appreciation with words? Or do you find it tough like me?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lazy Saturday

Well I don't have anything awesome or meaningful to talk about today. Been mostly a lazy football Saturday! Antonio only had to work till about 12 because the computers at his work were down. So when he got home we went over to my parents house to watch the UofM game! GO BLUE! And man was it brutal. Michigan won 58-0, ouch. I almost fell asleep due to boredom!

It was pretty chilly today as well and my mom was in full on baking/cooking mode! She made us these ham, egg, and cheese quiches that we can put in the freezer and heat up for breakfast. She made homemade tortilla soup-delish, and homemade cabbage rolls. I am not a fan of those but my dad loves them! I prefer not to spend my evening in the bathroom! I have been spending the day watching football with my dad, eating, playing with Dyson and enjoying doing nothing!

Some friends of ours dropped by with some stuff they were getting rid of and asked if we wanted it. We got a mortar and pestol (is that what you call it?) bowl/spoon set. Aromatherapy set, cuisinart chopper, some marble coasters, some bone china rice bowls, playing cards, yoga and pilates books, and a 27 pack of ziploc tupperware containters. Is it sad to say I was most excited for tupperware? I am astounded at the small things I get excited over these days! It was nice to not have to cook or worry about anything and spend some time with my parents as they will be leaving for vacation on Friday for 8 days.

I want to wish my bff Meggers good luck tomorrow on her first half marathon! I know she will do great! Hope one day I will be as good as her in running! Love you!!

Well back to football and lazyness as I eat halloween chocolate chip cookies! Happy Saturday everyone and hope you have a great day tomorrow! The guy who the movie Rudy was based on is coming to our church tomorrow so that will be cool!!

Questions for ya:
1. Do anything fun today or were you lazy too?
2. Get anything random/neat lately?
3. What is something you love about your church?