partying is overrated

So lately I’m obsessed with the Bible and learning as much as I can about its’ contents. Everyone should read the Bible even if they aren’t a Christian. It’s a powerful book with helpful verses that can help anyone in pretty much any of situation.

There’s a video series on Youtube by Chuck Missler called “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours” that has 24 1-hour videos that discusses all of the biblical stories, hidden meanings, the history of hebrew, astro-physics, chemistry, biology and more. I’ve watched the first 2 so far and am watching the third today. Very awesome material. Curious at all about how it all began? At least watch the first hour. Check out the videos here.

Anyway, in hour 2 Chuck talks about the Hebrew words for day and night; “Boker” and “Erev”. The literal meaning of these words is :

Boker: orderly, discernible, morning

Erev: obscurity, disorder, evening

I wrote the meanings down immediately. It was so interesting to me that morning meant clarity and evening meant crazy. How perfect is that, really? I mean, of course it makes true sense. In the morning we wake up and have a clean slate in front of us. The day is ours and we can set intentions to have the most productive or destructive of days as we please. Our energy is new and our minds are rested. Our toes flex, we inhale deeply, and it’s time to pick up on what we left off yesterday and begin anew.

In the evening we’re tired. It’s been a long day, and it’s time for relaxing. Warm foods, movies, books, fluffy sweatshirts and slipper time. Or perhaps an alcoholic beverage for some, to unwind and get their mind off of the day. Now I won’t be a hypocrite here. I enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then. In fact, I used to indulge in many. The first time I got drunk was when I was fifteen years old at my friend Kathleen’s house. I drank 4 bud-lite’s, browned out, took off my pants and tried to put on my friend Kathleen’s pants from inside her dresser. After stumbling past the red and white cooler outside on the deck next to where Kathleen’s mom and friends were sitting. Such shenanigans.

I drank a few times in high school but preferred to smoke pot. I started smoking every day in the summer leading up to my junior year, and for the next year and a half through my parent’s separation, losing our house, switching schools and a few other crazy things. I clouded my brain so I didn’t have to face the reality that was my life all around me.

When I went to college I didn’t even really know what to expect. I had smoked my way through college prep in high school and wasn’t even that excited to go. All I knew was that I wanted to go where my current boyfriend was going. So I applied there… And then broke up with him 2 weeks later.

I smoked and drank in college because it seemed like the thing to do. Everyone fed off of each other’s energy when it came to drinking which influenced people to get more and more drunk or do stupid things.

College was a blur, and I’m definitely not too proud of some of the things I did while I was there. I didn’t even party nearly as much as some people I know and I still think I did so too often.

During those years I basically lost touch with God and prayed to Him when I needed something or when I was scared but usually I was too focused on my empty, worldly wants all around me.

The night is disorderly. The night is obscure. Humans are meant to be in harmony with the Earth’s natural cycles. Going to bed with the sun, getting up with the sun. I have been on this schedule for some time now and feel the best I have ever felt. When my body is tired, I listen. When I have something emotional to face in my life, I do so –And let’s be real, there’s always something to face. But I don’t cloud these feelings anymore. I drink a nice IPA or a small glass of wine every now and then but I have no desire to escape or mask what I’m feeling any longer.

Being sober is a privilege. It’s an advantage. The more I’m sober, the more I can be progressive and tuned in to the things I really care about.

Never again will I suffer through a hangover of any kind. A wasted morning or a wasted day due to gluttony. I won’t make drunken decisions and pretend to talk with or make plans with people that I don’t really vibe with. Never again will I feel the pressure to “go out” for the sake of going out, as if that’s the “cool” thing to do. Or that’s what young people should be doing. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money. I don’t need alcohol to be an excuse to dance or hang out with friends. Or to enjoy the night in solitude reading or writing. I’m simply bettering myself by avoiding these behaviors.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. — Ben Franklin

Do you have a peer pressure story or story about why you stopped getting high? Post in the comment section below!

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Does Having Kids Scare You? Christmas in July version

All this hot July weather gets me thinking of cold. So let’s talk about snow a minute.

Living in the north east means experiencing some serious winters. The winter tends to come on slowly and sheepishly before she releases her mighty pillage of frosted flakes onto every windshield, sidewalk and Weber grill in sight.

Winter begins with a freak storm in late October or early November and then nothing for a while. Things start to cool down at night in November and slowly get colder in the daytime in December but there isn’t much snow. By Christmas time, residents are usually kinda peeved at the entire season; nobody wants cold weather without snow (or Christmas).

By January it’s bitter cold. It snows lightly. Everyone thinks: although it’s cold, it’s a pretty mild winter!! But they’ve spoken too soon. Yes, every year the same pattern of events unfolds; and by February, the snow-Kracken is released. “Let it Snow” is the theme song of the month of New England February’s when constant storms unravel from above and stack snowy blankets all over the towns of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York at worst. This past winter Boston broke the all-time record for snowfall in the city since 1919. Check out some Boston Storm Sample Coverage here.

So what do people do on wintry days in New England (AKA half the year)? Plan for the warm season of course! That’s right. I personally spent months this past winter studying hard to obtain my Guide’s License to be a registered Sea Kayak instructor. Wind, weather, gear, and safety procedures were among the top things I studied while meditating on the idea of getting paid to paddle along the beautiful coast.

It was mid-April when I realized I wouldn’t be a guide this summer. I couldn’t. I would be… a nanny. Quite a different occupation, really. My goal went from relaxing with a bunch of yupps on the crystal waters, a dab of sunblock on my nose, to cleaning up crumbs and doing my best to ignore armpit-farts all day. If you’d told me that’s what I’d be doing a few years ago, I’d have laughed (classic but valid truth).

Truth is, the idea of having kids scared me ever since I’d conceived it (no pun intended). I used to believe that I would never be a good mother since I had a bad relationship with my mom and didn’t think she did her job well. I believed that there wasn’t another chance for me to become a good mother and that it was pointless to try. If I were to raise a kid, he or she would become a little monster and I would have to live with that fact physically for 18 years and mentally forever. It was more simple to throw out the idea completely.

I used to believe that I didn’t relate well to kids and that I never would. I taught swim lessons for five years and hated it for a long time because I simply did not know how to talk to kids.

And then something stirred inside of me — not a baby, thank God. But a feeling of interruption. A voice telling me that I wasn’t reaching far enough. That I was settling for a false truth; a boundary that was blocking all of my potential. A chance to extend greater than I once thought possible. A barrier forever unbounded, with remarkable, unending faith and promise that anything is possible. This poem describes what I was feeling:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
attributed – sir francis drake -1577

…Why shoot for the ceiling when you can shoot for the treetops?

……Why shoot for the tree tops when you can shoot for the stars?

………Why shoot for the stars when you can shoot for the moon?

Does having kids scare you? Then let it scare you no longer. Do you come from a troubled background and believe you won’t be a good parent? You will  be the best. Do you not know how to relate to kids?

It takes practice. Parenting is an art.

It takes a whole lotta time and a whole lotta heart.

But the miracle revealed at the end of the day

is more than any sea kayak guide can say.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Having kids is scary, but so worth it. I can’t wait to have kids of my own. And I’m extremely thankful that this nannying job came around to prepare me to become a good mom.

Are you/were you scared of having kids? Drop a comment in the section below!

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italy, Mexico, and Japan for dinner

Yuuuuum I can barely contain my excitement to share the amazing dinner I had last night with you all! It was a taste of three countries, all on the same plate. Everything was crunchy, fresh and simply delicious.

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After a long day gardening, dog-walking and nannying, I was supah glad to throw this delicious dinner together in less than a half hour!

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There’s nothing like fresh-picked kale out of the garden to add a delicious raw crunch to any rice dish. I simply added one large chopped leaf of kale, half of an organic carrot and a dash of soy sauce to some pre-cooked basmati rice I had in the fridge and voila! Crunchy rice side dish.

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Next thing I did was wash a couple of medium zucchinis & crank them through my veggetti to produce these beautiful zoodles. I sautéed 4 sliced baby bella mushrooms, 1/4 a red pepper and 1/4 a yellow onion in a pan and added the veggies to my zoodles with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of s&p. Mix together BAM an amazing veggie pasta side! Amazing.

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Thirdly came the veggie burger. It was a pre-made MorningStar spicy black bean burger that I simply microwaved for 90 seconds out of sheer laziness. I normally cook these babies in the toaster oven but was real hungry so I opted on the microwave. (Ya win some, ya lose some).

Atop the burger I piled fresh-picked lettuce, cilantro and dill from my garden (picked 15 minutes before!!) and some hot salsa. A beautiful combination of spicy, crunchy flavors in between a fluffy bun.

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I had two plates of this.

Yay for vegan dinners and netflix after a long day ❤

Thanks for reading!!
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children are like dogs. part II

In my last post about how children are like dogs, I described the two kids I nanny for and how they strongly resemble a couple of my favorite neighborhood dogs, Huckleberry and Maybe. Yesterday while I was walking the dogs again, I made another connection between the furry four-legged mammals and us bilateral human beings.

When my younger brother was growing up, he hated to eat tomatoes. In fact, he stayed at the table and wouldn’t leave long past when dinner was over because he refused to eat his tomatoes. Now, these were not MY parenting tactics. Trust me, there’s a lot of things my mom did that I will never do with my kids. And one of them is getting in between my children and their relationship with food. Read more on this in Alyson Schafer’s parenting book Ain’t Misbehavin’ (book review here).

The fact is, kids say they “don’t like” foods all of the time. One of the kids I nanny for finds a new vegetable to say is his least favorite every day. I’m pretty sure we’ve only got a couple vegetables left for him to scold. A good way to look at your kid’s actions (or your dog’s!) are that they are a way of meeting a basic need. H makes up new vegetables that he doesn’t like as a way of creating conversation. He believes his inflexibility will hurt my ability to prepare him foods and meet his mother’s demands of making sure he eats his veggies. Perhaps he believes that not eating veggies will result in more attention from me or mom. Just a theory.

Another example is that my younger brother hates tomatoes. He used to sit at the table while our mother told him over and over that he can’t leave til he eats them. He had mom’s attention. He had our attention too. Everyone at the table was on the eat-your-tomatoes-brigade. He was on center stage and eating up the attention. He learned that not eating tomatoes = getting attention from mom and everyone else. Who cares if it wasn’t positive attention. This kid was seeking attention and he’s got it. Now he’s a theater major. Ha

Now back to Maybe the dog. Maybe refuses to budge. She hates walking. Should I really force her to come on long walks with Huck? Another dog down the street is notorious for short walks. His name is Fred. He’s also known by many to be the mayor of the island. Perhaps Maybe can go to Fred’s house while I walk Huck.

Same thing with kids and eating their vegetables. Moral of the story: we gotta sharpen our listening skills. What are people really communicating when they won’t eat a certain food or won’t come on a walk? Children and dogs alike are stating something important to them. Maybe’s message is more straightforward: I am lazy and do not want to walk. Kids messages have more depth. Usually, it’s not the tomatoes that they don’t like. What do your children crave and why?

Every sin is a false attempt at meeting a basic need. – Neil Anderson

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A must-read parenting book: Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Alyson Schafer (Review)

Last night I had a dream that I baked some sweet potato fries and some tempeh and presented it to my younger sister for dinner. Upon laying the dish in front of her, she wrinkled her nose and said “I don’t like sweet potato or whatever that is”. Now the reason I dreamt this was because it actually happened yesterday! But not with my sister. With the kids I nanny. And just with sweet potato fries. Who actually doesn’t like sweet potato fries? Most likely… nobody.

As nannies, babysitters and parents, we’ve all experienced what a complete bust it is when our kids tell us they “don’t like” what they’re being served. The proper response to this behavior, according to psychologist and parenting expert Alyson Schafer, is replying to our children “I’m sorry you don’t like what’s for dinner tonight. Hopefully there’s enough other stuff to fill you up”. She says getting angry, upset or taking our kids’ words personally is only fuelling the futuristic fire of our kids turning up their noses.

Schafer gives advice on child’s eating habits and SO many other topics in her book Ain’t Misbehavin’ regarding picky eaters, bed-wetters, temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, and child capability among others. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “Never do for a child what a child can do for herself”.

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One of Schafer’s main messages in this book is viewing one’s role as a parent from the eyes of an encourager. By encouraging our kids to do their own personal best, figure things out on their own, learn teamwork among siblings and in the household as a hold, we set a foundation for independent, capable children without to resorting to mindless obedience and helplessness.

We don’t give children enough credit for their true capabilities when it comes to helping around the house, getting up on time, fulfilling their roles in the family and being their awesome, creative selves. Too much time is spent nagging the to stop bothering their brother, to clean their room or brush their teeth, or simply taking the tasks upon ourselves to do the work that they’re capable of doing themselves.

Alyson gives some truly fantastic parenting tips that will forever change your relationship between your children and your family. Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Alyson Schafer. Give it a read!

sibling smores-gasbord!

My siblings came for a short visit this weekend which was an absolute blast. I met them in town Thursday evening and we went out to dinner at Tandoor which is a delicious indian place on Exchange St.

I started off with a roti bread with the various chutney sauces for dipping. And then got the aloo muttar (potato/pea curry) over mountains of basmati rice. Though I got some indigestion Continue reading

Is not life more than food?

When I graduated from high school, my youth group leaders and pastor at the church I attended for years gifted me with “The One Year Bible” and signed it with nice messages. This bible is really cool because it separates the chapters into 365 segments called “Day 1” through “Day 365” making it an easy task to read the entire book in one year. The chapters are mixed up and out of order as well, combining similar contexts for a pleasing even flow.

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Long story short, five years later and I’m finally reading the darned thing. And it’s amazing. Haha honestly the Bible has some crazy stuff in it that you wouldn’t expect. I’m only on “Day 8” AKA “January 8” (whatever) and I had to stop in my tracks to share these verses with all you food lovers out there. It may sound silly to some, but for a long time I believed that I was ruled by food and the way I looked. So I guess this is for food lovers, food-obsessed people, image-obsessed people, and people looking for a deeper meaning. Kay here we go:

Matthew 6:25-34

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life– whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all you worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

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always chasing part II

“In the grand scheme of things, this moment is a speck. But in this moment right now, it’s my everything.”

Nora

youremyeverything

She tells me that she’s passed into the threshold of caring about him.

She tells me that her head spins with anxiety and doubt, hoping to hear from him.

…how he’s 32 and couldn’t be leading her on

She tells me that their time spent together is so natural

She also says she has parts of herself hidden away

That she’s afraid to open up about her true feelings because she doesn’t want to scare him away

She tells me that she hasn’t slept in days contemplating the possibility of a reality with him

She tells me that he isn’t in a good place to have a relationship

She tells me she needs reassurance

ineedyou

&& I listen to her words with a pang in my heart

For painting that same story was a suffering art

Always reaching for the broken though the broken denies your hand

And then making it your mission to become part of the broken clan

Sing their songs and dance their dance, and perhaps you’ll win their heart

But hiding your values from judgemental eyes only sets a saint apart

From love

From life

From moral understanding

And at worst, apart from God

For a worldly test, a failed test nonetheless, uncovers the falsities that are sought.

I have dreams about chasing. But relationships shouldn’t be based on chasing. It’s too tolling. We need to communicate with each other and be on the same page as the people we surround ourselves with. Otherwise everyone would be either be mindlessly babbling or purposely isolating themselves.

lovemekittyOnce again, Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably crap.”

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5 reasons for having kids

I’m never having kids. Yech!!!!”

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That used to be me. The kid in the mud, yes, as well as the person saying they don’t want kids. I used to think about kids in disgust and with contempt. The yelling, screaming, messy, accident-prone beings running around the Earth getting into trouble left and right and not knowing which way is up were NOT appealing to me. I imagined myself always being tired, always getting into fights with kids and n Continue reading