How to Be Patient

There’s no point in fighting about whether or not the traffic light is going to turn red. You can pray to God “Please Stay Green. Please Stay Green.” and it will still turn red depending on the order and timing of the light. The light turns red not because God is a cruel God or doesn’t want you to get to your appointment on time, but because that is the natural Order of things.

learning to be      c o n t e n t       with the red light

Though I have always been one of those people who races through the orange light (and maybe part of the red) when the color has already turned. I am that person who bounds across the street when there is a “don’t walk” sign because the coast seems clear. If you’re from the Northeast like me, you understand. We got places to be 😉

But I gotta ask myself honestly… When has it ever been worth it to rush through that light and risk getting into an accident or getting a ticket because of it? Life continues to show me how unpredictable it really is every single day, and how we can never know what’s around the bend.

Like this random Virginia snow storm for 10 minutes 🙂

What thing in your life are you just trying to

be through so you can make it to your destination more quickly?

An awkward conversation, perhaps

Or achieving a weight loss goal.

A job interview.

The beginning steps of a relationship.

The hard parts of a project.

or waiting for something that’s out of our control.

This last one is the hardest, and most like the traffic light; we know the light is going to turn green, orange or red, but we can’t control when (trust me, I’ve tried!). **Oh, unless you’re Whoopie Goldberg from Corrina Corrina, who can turn any light green. 🙂

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**This movie’s supah cute

 

Knowing A) we can’t control the lights and B) when we rush through we could get in trouble or get hurt indicates C) we should live carefully and abide by the rules of the road. After all, rules are put in place for our safety and everybody else’s well being. Right? Right??!

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There are exceptions to every rule.

 

Also,

the last time I checked “haste” was not a fruit of the spirit. Maybe it used to be the 10th fruit but couldn’t wait to be picked so it jumped off the tree. 😀

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If you’re unfamiliar with the fruits of the spirit, there are nine of them listed below:

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These 9 characteristics listed above are what Christians strive to become like. More loving, joyful, peaceful, patience, kind, good, faithful, gentle and able to control ourselves.

 

The Bible doesn’t encourage us to rush into things or to rush around. That would be the hasty, which is not a fruit we want to bear.

Being in a hurry is not from God

The Bible is all about the importance of paying attention to God’s timing. And he tells us to be content in whatever situation; even if that means being late to where you are going.

 

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him —

the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and of might,

the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord —

and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Isaiah 11:1-3

So let’s give up rushing

Let’s give up being frustrated

Let’s grow more in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control

Let’s quit rushing around today and just do the next right thing. Pay attention to the next set of lights, and when they turn orange, slow down, STOP! and enjoy the time to think and reflect and observe what’s going on around you! Be thankful for the red light.

Be thankful for the red light

🙂

A prayer for the day:

“Lord thank you for counseling me in the midst of the morning fog. I was but a lifeless stump who couldn’t grow when your spirit came upon me and breathed life into me. And now I am growing in Your orchard among similar trees who bear all different sorts of fruit. Some shiny, some crisp, some juicy, some tangy, some sweet as honey, some with flowers, some tall, some short, some wide, some with deep roots, some that need more water than others.

Thank you Lord for counseling me to care for my tree as you would. With more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Thank you Lord for every gift I have. I acknowledge them as an outpouring from and of You. I am a little Christ, mirroring the Everlasting Father and Giver of Life so the world may taste His goodness on a human level. Thank you Lord for using me, an unworthy servant, made worthy by your blood.”

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Go and have a calm day.

Love,

xo V ❤

 

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Moving to Virginia

People ask me all the time: “why did you move to Virginia? ” Seaford, Virginia: not the most metro, hipster, saving-the-world, hip place to be. There’s more cars than people and less trees than roads. The constant humidity is similar to living your life inside a sauna and everybody has carpets and air conditioning. Allergies are more common than not and people don’t take clocks seriously. It’s not limited to any one group of people. When people say meet at 5, it’s 5:30. And this is definitely true when shopping: people do not make haste. All the cashiers and people standing in line have all the time in the world.

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So why would a mid-twenties college graduate, outdoorsy, activist, artistic, northerner move to the tiny town of Seaford, Virginia? And the answer, my friends, (drum roll please)

 

is Jesus.

What does that even mean?

As somebody with a strong Southern accent might say, hang on naya. We’re gittin there.

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Once upon a time…

I was living on an island in Maine eating local food from the Portland Co-op, gardening, riding the ferry to and from work every day and riding around the island on my bicycle. And I just wunt satisfied (another Virginia-ism). I wunt fulfilled. I had a couple friends but they weren’t all that close. [***Except N <3***] I had a couple of jobs but they were hellish (#nannywars). I had done a couple diets and was back to square one. I had dated a couple guys which both ended quickly (thank God 😉 ). I had a head full of sparking thoughts. And then the spark found the kindling: Jesus. I needed … to be closer to Jesus…!

But Jesus is dead. How can you be closer to someone dead?

So I started to attend church again. And I craved being around Christians. And I met a couple solid* Christians on the tiny island Baptist Church named Jack and Gerri.

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*When I say “solid” I mean bold. Bold about their beliefs. And willing to stand for them. And live by them. Practice them. And preach them!

And Jack & Gerri invited me over to their big, beautiful house. && I got to know ’em. Jack told me about the business he started. I walked their dog. We ate ice cream. I met their friends.  My new Baptist friends were always having missionaries come and stay with them. They surrounded themselves with peaceful, humble people who knew so much about history, the bible, and current events.

Jack gave me a book full of knowledge. Just what I wanted. I hunted knowledge like a hungry animal hunting their prey. I couldn’t get enough of it. Knowledge about Jesus and who He was.

I need to be around more people like this, like Jesus.

And then I heard a voice.

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Velvet, you must go to Virginia.

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It’s weird, I know. But I couldn’t ignore or deny it. And it isn’t totally out of the blue. I have family in Virginia. My pen-pal/ favorite cousin lives in Virginia. We’ve been faraway friends for life and have grown very close in the last couple of years.

After hearing the Voice, I visited Virginia for six weeks and stayed with my cousin in her apartment. It was an experience. We shared her bedroom for ~5 weeks. Her bed. She shared her bed with me for five weeks! #goodfriend ❤

She was always surrounded by people. Boyfriend, friends, neighbors, people she worked with and for. And every time I felt …. so …. loved by everyone I met. People were different than in Maine. They smiled and waved and said “how do you do?”. They helped each other out and were joyful and successful and prioritized their families. And she talked about Jesus all da time. Nonchalantly in conversation. Nobody did this up North.

I had much to learn.

I met several families that every member was in love with Jesus and loved each other. I didn’t think families like these existed. But truly every family has baggage and nobody is perfect. And when your situation has hit rock bottom, everything else is glorified. But there are better and worse ways of doing things & handling drama and issues; and I liked what I saw. It was different to me and I could benefit from the newness. I was seeing Jesus.

&& I returned home in mid-December, and left my precious bicycle in VA because I knew I was going back ~*~

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Mt. Monadnock in the winter; Jaffrey, NH

At home

I was contemplating my next move for about 3 weeks…

when my Great Aunt Patsy Sours passed away. Her funeral was in Virginia in January. I was going back sooner than I thought! 

At the funeral procession, a friend I had met when staying with my cousin offered me a job to live and work for her family, take care of their grandmother. I would be in Virginia, in the home of strong Christians, and I would see how their family lived, walked, worked together and were mirrors for Jesus all throughout.

After much contemplation, it became loud and c l e a r that this job was exactly where I needed to be.

It became clear that this situation was exactly what I needed at the time in my life and the lives of the family I was moving in with.

It became clear that this family and I couldn’t have ever matched ourselves together.

The Voice was loud and clear.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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A season to give for others.

To be a loving, forgiving, active, dependable, reliable family member.

A season to study, to teach, to become involved in a large community where people keep each other accountable.

To have a church, a bible study group, an additional weekly bible study.

A season to love like Jesus did: love people He didn’t know and wasn’t related to, but forgave them for their human sins and mistakes and showed them the love He wished to see.

I moved to Virginia to be in the light.

Where it’s brighter, hotter, less cold in so many ways; and where joy and love can be vibrant inside me and shine out to others.

I moved to Virginia to experience living in a Christian home with fellow Christ followers.

And to undo so many habits that were ingrained in me from my family life.

And so much more. These are surface level changes I was going through. And there are so many more to come. 11 months in Virginia so far. Not sure how many more.

It’s been an adventure. I love it. God has blessed me tremendously and continues to do so.

Have you ever felt called to a place?!

xoV

 

 

Similarities Between Dating and Cooking (for the ladies)

God designed us to live with a partner. We live the best quality of life with a partner. A partner-in-crime, a friend, a spouse. We are designed to desire marriage and unity. Though sometimes, finding this partner seems to take a little too long and we consider settling for the next Joe that comes round the block. But like cooking with haste, dating with haste means resulting in waste.

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Did you ever come across that perfect recipe that seems too good to be true? Only three ingredients, and hardly any work at all! For me, this was sprouted sourdough buckwheat bread.

Yeah, the name alone is a mouthful, I should have known!

But I reeeeeeeeeeeally wanted this easy-as-pie bread to be my next favorite recipe. Is pie really considered that easy?

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I went ahead and made the bread. Starting with soaking and and sprouting the buckwheat. Then processing it into flour. Adding salt and water. Letting it sit on the counter and ferment. Baking that bad boy.

All those steps were fine and dandy. Even fun and anticipatory. The measuring, the soaking, the mixing, the blending, the baking. Kinda like dating…… 😉

But as for the eating……. drum roll……

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You guessed it.

It was the worst thing ever.

The bread tasted terrible.

The texture was terrible.

It smelled bad. It looked worse. I never made it again.

Okay I did actually try to make it again one time. And it STILL SUCKED. I would rather eat

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Maybe not.

So what went wrong?

Simple: the ingredients were wrong. There was no butter, oil or eggs in it. The flavor of buckwheat alone isn’t that great in my opinion. It was too bland, too dry. Too gross. The texture was off. I should have known all of this when I read the recipe.

But I really wanted it to be great. I really believed it was going to be awesome. I was psyched about it like bread is psyched about butter.

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But in dating and cooking alike, believing something will be great is different from something being great. If the ingredients are all wrong, the outcome will also be all wrong.

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Ladies, don’t settle for the bad ones

Don’t settle for someone that is less than your standards. If hottie #1 takes an interest in you but has some weird regimes, take it slow. You don’t have to try and compensate for his weird regimes as if he is the last man on earth that will ever be interested in you.

Odds are, he is FAR from the last. Like a recipe, give the relationship time and TLC, adding things slowly and with care, and seeing if it turns into anything worthwhile. If things get too funky, you don’t have to get involved.

Kitchen tips: When in doubt, keep the heat lower.

Also, tell your friends about him and get their opinions. It’s better to feed one bad cookie to one good friend than twelve bad cookies to twelve …

I forget how that saying goes.

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Hottie #2 is showing some real potential on paper, but he’s coming on pretty strong. Like a million miles an hour strong. He’s totally boiling over but you can’t control his output like you can with a steam-whale.

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So what do you do to relieve the pressure?

Turn the heat WAY down

Give him some space and just keep an eye on the situation. See if you both are a good match once the initial excitement has worn off. If he makes you feel the same irksome, uncomfortable way each time, cut off the heat completely, turn on the fan, and pour the mixture down the drain! Once it’s cool enough, that is.  🙂

😉

🙂

😉

🙂

😉

🙂

And then there’s hottie #3. He’s a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kinda guy, but seems unsure of what he wants. Sometimes he gives you a little sugar. Sometimes he gives you a little spice. Keep this one on the back-burner on a low simmah and be careful not to add too much sugar or salt since you aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes recipes turn out unexpectedly good. ❤

Or not!

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The fact is, we’ve all wondered about the outcome when beginning to talk to a new potential dating candidate. We create scenario after scenario in our heads from what the first date will be like, all the way to what the wedding day will be like. And it is very tempting to try to expect people to fit the person we are picturing in our heads. But alas, esa no es la vida. We cannot force a man to be the man we need any better than we can force an egg to be the sugar we need.

eggs don’t equal sugar

At the end of the day, the right man will present himself who has just the right amount of sweetness, is the perfect texture that we oh-so-adore, and leaves you feeling more satisfied than a winter stew.

But like cooking, we need to input good ingredients to get good outcomes. We need to stay true to our values, not be swayed and bend to someone else’s moral compass, and definitely not settle for less than what we love and deserve.

If you are craving a recipe with chocolate, don’t settle for one with cinnamon, or you won’t be satisfied.

We need to be patient and not turn up the high heat: every chef knows this will burn, char, scar and ruin dishes. Don’t rush into a relationship just because you want to make it happen so badly. Good things take long amounts of time to turn into better and beautiful things.

And above all, remember that dating, like cooking, is an art. The outcome of dating should be to find a suitable life-long partner that will bring you great joy and satisfy your human desires for community, intimacy and trust.

Like cooking, whatever you put into the relationship will change the outcome. Especially the amount of time. Fine wines and cheeses are best when aged. Flavors soak in over time and become richer and more decadent.

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Which recipe will you cook next?!

xo

V

The Easy Thing To Do

The message of this post is that it’s easy to hate others and it’s easy to hate ourselves.

I’m not here to judge you.

I’m here to love you.

It’s not always the easy thing to do, is it?

As brothers and sisters on this planet, it is our job to keep each other accountable. Some of us have different ways of doing that. For some, judging and mocking and feeling proud when we are ahead of others is how we spur one another on in “love”. I know I have cackled maniacally when people around me stumbled, and I was a bit smug that I wasn’t the one stumbling. Though it’s funny how God has a way of reminding us that we are no more important than anyone else on this planet. Sometimes His ways are more uncomfortable than others.

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But the point is this: we are here to intercede on our brothers and sisters behalf; not criticize.

When someone is doing something wrong, or clearly needs help growing in a certain area, and we happen to have a better way of doing it, we should teach them.

“God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede

-Oswald Chambers-

The easy thing to do is hate. To judge, sneer, mock, laugh, be proud, be self-absorbed.

That is too doggone easy.

The easy thing is to compare ourselves to others and feel as though we are “winning” if we aren’t as clumsy, gluttonous, obsessive, non-confrontational, ballistic, attention-seeking or rude as the people around us.

The easy thing to do is to cut people off. To decide it’s easier to brush off hard conversations, “deal” with things later, stop talking to someone instead of working things out. Run away and burn the bridge. The easy thing to do is to just build a new bridge.

Hating others is easy

Why does it seem easier to run, hide, and hate? Keyword “seem” here. Since really, avoiding loving people in the first place makes things 10x harder in the end. It’s a hard lesson to learn and sadly, some people never learn it! I know people in their 80s who still can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to looking past the offensive person or situation and seeing it as a test from God; an opportunity to grow and do the right thing. An opportunity to shed light in the darkness and grow something new.

When people offend us, criticize us, mock us, laugh at us, treat us badly, hurt us, hate us, and reject us, we should simply: respond in love. At first, it’s hard.

Forget hard. It’s ridiculous. It’s extremely difficult. Seemingly pointless. You may think “The other person doesn’t deserve it. They can keep screwing up and I’m not going to help them because they deserve to suffer.”

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Which, they just might deserve that. But that isn’t for you to decide. It is not our job to criticize.

C r i t i c i z i n g   i s   e a s y .

It’s a cop-out.

It’s the automatic, child-like desire of the human heart to hurt people back when they hurt us first.

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But it isn’t what Jesus intended for us. That’s why Jesus died for our sin; so we will be saved from our meager selves and be able to shine His divine light and live according to His Holy Spirit; not our own. Not our own sad, selfish, cackling, childish, hateful, struggling selves.

It’s not easy to look past others’ faults and love them.

And not because they first love us.

But because showing others love that isn’t from ourselves is a testimony to the love that God has for us.

It’s also easy to hate ourselves.

Besides criticizing other people whether they are failing, we also criticize ourselves when people are doing better than us! When others are more successful in whatever area we are striving to be successful in, we let others successes, blessings, and happiness kill our joy.

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This is coming from Satan.

Isn’t it awful?

Shouldn’t we be able to celebrate others happiness’s and riches and not compare them to our own and wish we had it better?

Being dissatisfied with what we have is poison.

Comparing our worth to others is poison.

Judging and criticizing others is poison.

Yet it’s where our hearts naturally go. It’s the natural response.

But wait

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Do you wish to break away from these responses and rise above yourself to a love and satisfaction that can only come from a source that’s bigger than you?

Do you wish to grow from a childlike response to a mature response?

Do you wish to be satisfied in who you are no matter who you stand among?

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He makes us anew and loves us just as we are.

Comment with questions, responses, stories.

xoV

Kingdom Builder

I have recently had a revelation… I am a kingdom builder.
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Each day I mold a new stone, shiny and smooth, made of the same materials as bone.

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Each day I work to mix the wet with the dry. Each day I savor the hard work I sigh.

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I trust I’m building up and I trust it’s all for good. I trust that the masonry l’m learning is what I should.

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I’ve left foundation after another behind me so broken. Stone pieces so scattered; just temporary tokens.

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My new kingdom is a smaller but different work of art. I’ll never start over again, the bricks will never come apart. Wherever I travel I won’t start over new. The brick and the mortar of my saved soul is held with new glue.

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I’m building a kingdom, this time on a stone.

It’s different this time because I’m not building alone.

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I used to think it was easy to carry it all myself.

I’d keep the bricks in my closet and the cement on my shelf.

I kept the trowel in the bottom drawer and the level in my pocket.

I stored extra sets of wheels whose teeth were worn on every sprocket.

I was afraid to let go of the old and begin to trust the new.

I stored up materials for centuries, until I ran into You.

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“Give it all to me, dear one, and put your hand on the plow. Your kingdom work has just begun, and this time has eternal value.”

In me a sense of wisdom grew, that came from an outside source.

I trust I am working for good, without feeling regret or remorse.
Each day my fruit doesn’t always bear an obvious new rendition.

But focusing on my one true goal gifted me with ambition.

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My work is adding up, I didn’t leave any ashes behind me.

The future landscape is endless. And I have all of eternity. What I don’t finish today, I can always do tomorrow. Each moment is a gift, I give thanks and have no room for sorrow.

And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Daniel 7:27

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Are your daily decisions contributing to building an everlasting kingdom? Or do their results go up in smoke at the end of each day?

Love xo V ❤

Sense and Sensibility/Adventure

If you’re into elegant love stories, Sense and Sensibility (S&S) by Jane Austen is a must-read. It tells the tale of two sisters looking for love in the midst of losing their father, fortune and familiarity/comfort of their home. Kind of rings true to my own life actually, except that I don’t have a Colonel Brandon or Edward Ferrars pining after me (read on to know the devilishly handsome blokes I’m referring to!”.

 

Ferrars, Brandon  😉

The story is about love, loss and the importance of waiting on the right timing for magic to happen.

My current roommate is an Austen lover and knows the story (and several other of Austen’s works) practically by heart. When I moved to Virginia in February, it didn’t take long before S&S was in my left hand and a cup of black tea with cream was in my right (also compliments of my tea-drinking-Austen-loving roommate… ps. she’s single!). My roommate, let’s call her “C” kept me accountable for reading by oh-so-innocently inquiring as to where I was in the story and what had happened last. Following each *ahem* interrogation, my feelings went from annoyance, at first, to gratitude and joy in knowing how dearly C held this story in her heart.

Not only did her joy over the story bring me joy, but it gave me a deeper sense of understanding the characters, plot-line and overarching themes in the novel. After weeks of reading the book, we were ready for the film. Of which there were two versions btw. First we watched the Emma Thompson/Hugh Grant/Alan Rickman/ Kate Winslet version (AKA the good one), and then the old sappy one (of which I don’t recall who was in it because it simply wasn’t memorable), and then the good version again. The soundtrack makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFQ_N3mSusA

Now, six months later, C & I are ready to hit the theater. We are attending the play! in Washington D.C. this weekend. 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ The seating availability online looked pretty sparse and we weren’t sure if we’d get seats. I joked that maybe when we want to order, someone will have just returned the two best seats in the house.

Twenty minutes later, I called the theater to inquire about seats and the woman working at the box office said “lucky you called when you did… I have two seats available only because someone just called in and returned them……… and they’re the best seats in the house! Orchestra, row G. Would you like them?”

 

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So that was insane.

Though i couldn’t say “YES” right away because C was on the phone with a friend that was interested in coming with us. I tried to explain the seating situation to C and get her to put her friend on hold, but the lady wouldn’t stawp tawking. I had to tell the box office worker I’d call back, after asking her a dozen or more stalling questions and asking her to please keep the seats warm for us.

5 minutes later, once it was evident that C’s friend couldn’t come whether she wanted to or not, we were calling in for the seats. When the lady answered the phone I vibrantly exclaimed “It’s meeeee!!!” to which she replied, “um, I just took over a shift and wasn’t the one you were talking to”

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“… but I got the scoop and figure you’re calling about the two seats in G??”

phew, lol

So there you have it. We’re off to D.C. to see the play. We have the best seats in the house. Which, by the way, we paid the “Under 30” price and saved $70 between the two of us!!! (I have never heard of such a discount before, but hey, I’ll take it!)

It’s truly the little miracles that brighten life so so much. From the story, a seed, to the movie, a plant, and now to the theater, a flower… I hope you get as much ever-growing joy out of this story as we did!! ❤

 

xov

 

family

It was 7:00 am and the sun hadn’t risen from behind the trees yet. The air felt damp and as if  a cloud had recently departed. My feet took one step after the other as my legs, arms, shoulders, back and lungs started to wake up. I breathed in deeply and said hello to the man walking his dog on the opposite side of the road. I’d see him again one block and three hundred ideas later and we might gather a little more about who we each are from a distance. Only if we were in the same vicinity day after day would we really see the depths of who we each are, what makes us tick, and what our eating habits are.

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That’s what families do. You wake up every day and see the same faces and bodies dance around in similar patterns. In and out of the kitchen boiling water and frying eggs and swiffering the floor. You see a sister through a window out in the yard picking the dead off of pants, gathering tomatoes and searchingly looking up at the sky as a book lay gently open on her lap. You see a brother on the opposite side of the counter-top, eating an impromptu luncheon at 2:00 in the afternoon with his fingers, and licking the crumbs off of his thumbs. A mother drops a glass jar on the kitchen floor and smiles matter-of-factly as she hunts for the broom.

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We do things out of love for each other. We give each other time to think through what we’re saying and don’t rush each other. We talk openly about plans, meetings, dates, gatherings, aspirations and try to do what we can to please and help each other. When trouble faces us we are not quick to blame each other, but we graciously inquire as to what happened, how it happened and how better we can do things next time.

We teach each other and learn from each other at all ages. Some of the smallest children can be some of the best teachers. Lord knows we need faith like a child. And that kids say the darnedest things! Combine these two qualities and you’ve got a young, wise comedian in your midst. A five year old thinker who innocently challenges what you think you know; who sucks in any and all information around him/her like a starving sponge and plays it back like a recorder at any later time or date. So don’t go getting angry at your child for repeating things you’ve blasphemed in their presence! They heard it from you, after all.

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And my, oh my, this applies to all family members; not just cute children. We are all mirrors of each other. Mirrors and teachers. And like a mirror, all qualities are revealed in the looking glass. We must always be careful to emit our most fruitful qualities so we aren’t unpleasantly surprised by our own bad karmas; which we all have!

Humans are not perfect: we will all wrong each other at times. And when we do, uncomfortable conversations will follow. Or feelings of avoidance. Or actual avoidance. And when this is the case, all operations must cease until the bad feelings are ironed out. That’s what families do. They stay on the same page. They communicate. They collaborate. And when a family binds together, their force is so strong that nothing could break them.

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Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and the like are such gifts to us. Such intimate relationships we are born with are often taken for granted but we must NOT take them for granted. Knowing the ins and outs of our family members’ lives is such a unique and peculiar insight to another human being. We keep each other accountable. We empathize and sympathize with each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to gift each other. We can reach out to one another when we need help. We can spend time with each other and enjoy it. We understand each other and don’t have a choice. We know each other.

Family is such a complex concept. People we love without condition; no matter if they hurt us, wrong us, frustrate us, shock us, offend us, walk on us. These are people we protect and stand up for and tell the hard truths to. People whose actions we keep accountable. People we know and love and feel a pang in our hearts for when they hurt. People we think about, love and miss from afar and can pick up right where we leave off.

Family says:

I love you as you are, and nothing you can do will keep me from that ❤

I miss you, and my doors are open for you whenever you return ❤

Family is:

Not confined to blood relatives ❤

Always somewhat broken ❤

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Call your family and tell them how much you love them. Even if it’s hard. Even if there’s hurt. Even when it seems easier to distance yourself. Your family will always be yours… always

xoV

enjoy Today

The clock striking 12:34 is a reminder of the inevitable interconnectedness of the Universe.

The Unity.

What I mean is, you and I, we’re the same. And I need you, wherever you are.

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coffee on the screened porch

Dear Reader,

Today could be the last day to

drink your morning cup of coffee and snuggle into your favorite spot on the couch.

stroke your dog’s back and greet him with a scratch behind his ears.

step out onto the back porch and inhale the freshness of the morning breeze

crack two eggs  into a cast-iron skillet and hear the sizzling butter working its’ magic.

hear the quirky sounds of your best friend over the phone.

get lost in the pages of a good book.

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Every moment of every day is a gift. We are gifted with our eyes to see and ears to hear. We are gifted with our noses to smell and hands to hold and legs to carry. We are gifted with places to stay and food to eat and people to serve and enjoy. But we don’t always think of our days as gifts. In fact, it’s easy to take our days for granted, and we do. We curse our days and call them “bad”. We curse our gifts and compare them to others’ gifts. We crave more than what we have and aren’t satisfied when things don’t go our way.

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What if every day was really a gift? What if every day was a chance to be joyful about everything?

Even our missed alarms

broken-down cars

humid summers

technical difficulties

lost possessions

hurting bodies

broken relationships

uncomfortable feelings

tolling addictions

and unfair instances?

What if all parts of our lives were gifts to be thankful for — Good and Bad.

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summit of Mt. Monadnock at sunset, 7/16/16

I think they are.

I think we grow, like flowers in a rain storm.

I think we build up — like skyscrapers in a city.

I think we reflect nostalgically, like mirages in the water.

I think it’s all important; the successes and the failures. The losses and the gains. The peaks and the valleys. The ups and the downs. The broken and the healed. The strong and the weak.

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me & my two older brothers, 1994

I think we are all in this together — and the more we bring each other up, the more places we will go. The harder work  we endure to live in comfort, the greater the harvest we can enjoy.

But if we don’t enjoy Today, we don’t enjoy tomorrow. I believe that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.

So if we spend our days grumbling, we cause others to grumble;
And if we spend our days mumbling, conversations aren’t clear.
And if we spend our days stumbling, we cause others to stumble;

But if we spend our days humbling, we’ll know that God is near.

So go now and enjoy your day. All the ups and all the downs.

Formulate a contagious smile from the remnants of your selfish frown.

 

Love you all ❤

V

 

 

seasons for change

Bees are buzzing

Life’s awoken

Trees are budding

Spring has spoken

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seedlings  🙂

Leaves have grown

and birds have flown

and lives have sown

a tapestry.

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Here we live and breathe each season

Peaks are rising without reason

Bringing us to joyous heights

We enjoy laughter and other delights ❤

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thankful for health, and bike rides with anonymous friends! (and shy herons, hence the one drawn here  😛 )

But storms bring rain and lightning bolts

We run for cover and pray, and hope

God make me into a stronger man

to endure more pain as I grow old

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And the rain soon stops and the clouds part ways

And we return to the mountain where the birds and beasts play.

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summer sun means natural highlights! 🙂

 

But we remember the storm

and all that we learned

and are thankful for this dance

as our lives leap and turn~

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Hey reader,

Thanks for celebrating the beginning of June with me!  ❤

Hope you find some time to get outside and enjoy nature this summer.

With Love,

V

Why I’m Glad I Got Sick

The Chest Cold Chronicles Pt. 1

Today marks day eight of cold strain 134. I’ve been quarantined to my room for eight days and couldn’t eat dairy (besides a little butter in my coffee) #missyoukefir #missyouparmesan.

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Close-up of my bulletproof coffee (AKA coffee blended with butter & coconut oil= ❤ ❤ <3) in my favorite mug!

I’ve gone through eight boxes of tissues (no thanks to no dairy! 😛 ), eight buckets of chicken soup with eighty pounds of kimchi and garlic in it, and wayyy too much sauerkraut mixed with horseradish (this was a mistake).

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A sample breakfast delivered to me! The bowl of what looks like brown rice is actually kraut & horseradish. >_<

Although I was wiped out from walking downstairs and back up one time, I did enjoy having my roommates bring me my meals in bed! Another  examples of my lovely meals:

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Aren’t they the best?

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Part II: More bulletproof coffee & some of the sweetest fresh-picked strawberries 🙂

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By day four they were trying to make me laugh just to expedite the phlegm-hacking process.Gotta clear out the ol’ sinuses amirite — hence the horseradish *shudder*.

Besides all of the lovely food stuffs brought to me three times a day (not counting mugs of ginger tea with lemon & honey, cups of green juice, and gallons of filtered water), I was also getting treated with steam baths 2x a day and oil diffusions.

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Teach me how to Steam bath:

Boil one pot of water and place it on a tray with a towel separating the pot from the tray.

Add a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint or other essential oils to the pot.

Cover yo head with a towel and lean down to the pot of oily steam. Inhale for 10 minutes.

Besides steam baths, I also covered my chest, neck and glands leading to my ears in coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint  oil to open things up and get the mucus moving.

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When I wasn’t inhaling or topically applying peppermint oil, it was being diffused in my room. Buy oils and a diffuser from my favorite company here!

Sometimes I put lavender oil around my ears and temples to relax and soothe.

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Aside from good foods and oils, I was taking extra supplements in addition to my regulars (magnesium & vitex… I will do a post on vitex soon). What I took was:

1,000 mg Vitamin C with two meals a day

250 mg glutathione twice a day

1330 mg curcumin once a day

200 mg Niacin three times a day

Curcumin is supposed to help fight bronchial inflammation.

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Niacin is good for a whole range of things but is mainly marketed for raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. The truth is, there are endless benefits to taking Niacin. The reason I take it is because it helps relieve anxiety and depression, and also aids in sleep.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, has only one side effect: it produces a “niacin flush” that looks and feels similar to a sunburn and lasts between 15 minutes and an hour depending on the amount you took, what you ate/drank prior to taking it, and how many histamines are in your body. Here’s a picture of what I looked like with a flush a few days ago:

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My arms were very splotchy and my chest, neck and face were on fire!

I’m sure I’ll do another post on niacin in the future, but if you’re curious about taking this vitamin, check out Dr. Abram Hoffer’s site.

Just be careful to discern what is true and what’s a lie from big pharma. 🙂

To top the post off: Here’s why I’m glad I got sick (maybe the real reason you are here 😛 )

*to practice accepting help and service from others ❤

*to learn more about health! 🙂

*to have time to pray for others ❤

*to practice resting and being patient! 🙂

*to practice expressing love and appreciation to those who do so much for me! ❤

*to reflect on the direction my life has gone in the last few months 🙂

*to learn to trust God and surrender doing what I love so I can regain strength and grow even stronger ❤

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Backyard chillen after 5 days quarantine. #lookingood #eligible #singlenessisreal

See guys? Next time you’re sick, remember this:

Being sick isn’t too bad. We can learn a lot when we’re sick, whether we want/intend to or not!

Love you all ❤

V