Naturally

No – this is not a “New Year, New ME!” post. You’re welcome.

This is a journey I’ve been on probably for a little longer than I’m consciously aware of. I like to say it’s been for the last 6-8 months but realistically I’ve probably been on this journey for years.  I truly believe that our bodies aren’t meant to be filled with modified, processed, augmented, depleted foods. I also don’t believe our bodies are meant to be covered in chemical, tested, fake, unhealthy make ups, oils, tanning lotions or anything else one might use to enhance their appearance.

I’ve struggled with acne my whole life. Not just acne, but like chronic, disgusting, painful, overpowering acne. Pimples, cold sores, you name it, I’ve had it. And not like inconspicuously placed on my back, arms, or butt that would be easy enough to hide. But all over my face. Now, you can also name any name brand product to deal with acne, and I’ve also had and tried that! Rodan & Fields, Mary Kay, Arbone, Clinique, Nutrogena, Loreal, keep going.. I can list em all! Nothing works. At least not for more than a month of two.

My hair has always come down to my shoulders. No longer. Sometimes shorter! But definitely not any longer. My dream since I can remember was to have hair like a barbie that comes down to my butt.  Maybe that’s pushing it a bit now, but I’ve always wanted to have long, thick hair. I’ve tried every oil, shampoo, conditioner, protectant, leave in treatment you can buy off a shelf. Short of spending upwards of $100.00 on the new “Monat” fad to get healthy long hair, I’ve done it all. And I’ve still never had my hair grow past my shoulders.

Brace yourself for this one – we’re gonna get personal.

For the last 6 months I’ve not been able to have a bowel movement on my own. 6 months. Of not pooping. It’s the worst feeling. I’ve tried stool softeners, suppositories, “poop tea” as my husband likes to call it, Lax-a-day in my coffee every morning and magnesium in my water every night. Thankfully there has been some relief, but not enough relief to go back to normal. If I’m not careful in doing all of these things as many days as possible, there’s no relief and at one point I was 9 days without going to the bathroom. I’ll spare you the details but oh my lord. Never again.

You know what I haven’t tried? For any of these so called “issues” in my life? More like first world problems if you ask me, but for arguments sake, we’ll call them issues.

Natural Remedies.

Coconut oil

Tea Tree oil

Vitamins

Minerals

WATER!

Things that my body should be getting naturally from the food I ate and the things I put into my body. Sure there’s been a touch of natural here and there. But wowsers, what a crazy idea I had about 6 months ago. WHAT IF! all my skin needed was some natural moisturizer (coconut oil) and for me to drink some more water to keep my system cleaned out of impurities and nasty crap! What if instead of face cream after face cream I tried an oil, in it’s pure state, with no modification or additives, that is known for drying out the skin if used too much, to dry out my pimples?! What!?  What if I snacked all day long on fruits and veggies instead of well, pretty well any other snack food you can think of, until my body is used to fulfilling it’s sugar cravings with NATURAL SUGARS!

*Bomb sound* – mind blown.

Okay, so none of this is earth shattering or unbeknownst to myself or really anyone who would read this. I know. Sorry if you think I’ve wasted your time. But holy man alive I actually started DOING these things! Granted it’s only been for 2 weeks, but in those 2 weeks, my face has cleared up so much that I have yet to wear make up or feel the need to wear make up at all. I still need to be crushing more water in a day but I genuinely wake up just wanting a big tall glass of water. Not sluggishly dragging my butt to the coffee pot and hoping for some energy. I haven’t bought shampoo or conditioner in months. Wash my hair with baking soda, rinse with apple cider vinegar and voila, my hair has never been healthier. Guys we need to embrace life the way it was naturally intended to be lived. I have never felt more at peace with who I am and how my life is playing out than I have been in the last month. Unemployed, unsure of the future, no make up, no new clothes, same old self. But so happy. Feeling so incredible in my own skin. Having energy I didn’t know I had in me. I’ve been up since 4 am! And I feel great!

I know it’s been talked about time and time again, not allowing social media, “the media” so to speak, celebrities or corporations define us, tell us what beautiful is, discriminate or put us in a box. Yenno, the whole “love yourself” “love the skin you’re in” “love your body” movements going on. And amen to that! Keep it up fam! But what if! We pushed back on all the products their selling us too, not just the tag lines and definitions that come along with it.

No – I’m not turning into some hippie that doesn’t even use electricity because it could be bad for your health and never touches another piece of bread because, well, gluten – Ew!

But for real, let’s live naturally, beautifully in the context God designed us to live in.

We just might find some incredible things are in store for us.

 

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Distractions

Tonight I’m falling a part a little bit.

Not like, in a super serious, life threatening, gonna end it all sort of way. Just in the way that your body isn’t cooperating, tummy is bloated, you ripped your ‘fat jeans’ when you bent over and you feel all around horrible. Or when your skin is breaking out in all sorts of lovely stress pimples, which [ironically] just make you stress more. When you have a million things going on in your head and no idea which one to tackle first, and even if you could figure out which one to tackle first, you really have none of the energy necessary to do anything anyways. I’m that kind of ‘falling apart’ tonight.

And my first response to such falling apart? Social media.

Sure Nicole, let’s hop on Facebook to see what people are complaining about, celebrating, fighting and stressing over, or just plain mindless things to distract myself with. When I jump onto social media and immerse myself in these things, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Granted, it doesn’t really make me feel any better, stress any less or improve my acne or bloated stomach. And then I write out the beginning of this paragraph and think to myself (albeit sarcastically) “Go figure! Not feelin’ any better about life, wonder why that is?”

Lately, I’ve been catching myself doing this. Stressing, feeling like junk and distracting myself with the most mindless of past times. And when I do catch myself I’ve started to substitute in cleaning. I love cleaning – no sarcasm what so ever. Cleaning makes me feel better, keeps me busy (both mentally and physically) and when it’s all over I feel a sense of accomplishment. However, I also tend to feel exhausted and could clean the same things over and over and over everyday and that eventually catches up to me and then I’m right back where I started.

So, here’s to some new distractions. Number One: Yoga. oh.my.lanta. Yoga. I started to do a 10-15 minute yoga video every once in a while to help you relax, stretch out/open up your hips and help with flexibility. It feels incredible and when I’m finished I feel relaxed, my tension is gone and it’s soooo refreshing! Yessss, I’m a Christian and I do yoga. Get over it. I’m not worshiping some sun god or doing downward dog in an act of bowing down or whatever other weird issues people have with yoga. It’s just a lady on youtube, who gives examples and verbally coaches you through each movement, focusing on deep breathing and calming yourself down, and in the quiet moments when I’m encouraged to ‘meditate’ I pray instead. So relax. God still loves me even though I’ve started doing Yoga.

Number Two: Reading & Writing. Hello. I know it’s the last thing I want to do sometimes, but I’ve started to just leave books everywhere; bathroom, kitchen table, coffee table in the living room, bedroom, rocking chair. I just pick it up and start reading. Replacing the stress, worry and frustration or just straight up ‘grr’ I feel in a day with some positive, encouraging words. Whew. Novel idea, hey? (Nov-uh l; adjective – of a new kind; different from anything seen or known before) Even writing out what’s bothering me helps. My husband (bless his heart) listens to me when I need it, gives me the squeeze I need to help settle me down, but good gracious when I’m on a bender of moodiness for 3-4 days straight, I give the guy credit for putting up with me as well as he does! Writing just gives us both what we need; a break for him and an outlet for me! Everyone wins.

HOME DECORATING = my new fav!

Home Decorating is one of those things where for the most part, I don’t even need to spend money to decorate! I have so many things I’ve been given or have purchased in the past that I’ve never found a spot for or have never put into proper use. It makes me feel like there’s something new in the house (and it keeps me from shopping for something new – because when I do that I just end up stressing myself about money. Vicious Cycle!) and it keeps my hands busy and my mind focused.

 

There’s something so great and rewarding about putting your mind to work. I love seeing the [positive] emotional results of physical actions. I’m intrigued by finding out what makes me tick and how my actions affect my health mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Life is such an intricate, delicate thing that will ever keep me learning, growing, sometimes crying, and changing.

Body Image?

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I sit here typing on my computer, faithful companion by my side, warm tea soothing my sore throat (’tis the season, am I right?) and I’m mulling over the concept of “Body Image”.  I can be honest about my looks, I know my stomach is by no means ‘flat’.  I wouldn’t claim to being ‘toned’ or having abs by any stretch of the means. I know my husband loves my body, he makes a point of making sure I know this fact daily (thanks honey). When labouring tasks need to be accomplished I definitely don’t shy away from them, and will in fact offer up the help when people are looking because I know my body is capable of lifting, hauling, pulling and pushing. I know what size of clothes to look for when I shop simply because I know what size my body is, and I know what is comfortable for me. And I also know what my go to outfits are for a night out with my husband or girl friends to grab a little attention or turn heads, because I know how to show off my figure.

So i;m sitting here wondering – is this my body image?

I threw the words ‘body image definition’ into my google search engine just to snoop around. Without even clicking on anything, I started to see things like ‘body image and the media’, ‘how to have a positive body image’ and psychology reports and papers written about ‘body image and self esteem’ ‘Body Image – Links to national eating disorders’.  And in the midst of all these articles, a suggestion for me – ‘How to improve your body image here!’. I knew body image was a widely talked about subject but good golly, I didn’t really know what I had gotten myself into searching those 3 words. To be more exact, Google tells me that [about] 44,600,000 results came up in .50 seconds. That’s what I got myself into searching those 3 words. Who would have thought?

I looked up the actual definition of “body image”, this is what google gives me according to dictionary.com.

“bod-y im-age; noun. the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.”

Well, that doesn’t seem so scary, does it? Maybe it’s scary for some, and not for others. Let me ask you this: When you close your eyes and imagine yourself, what do you see? Do you see fat? Do you know what a clump of fat looks like? Google it, it’s not that pretty. I can almost guarantee you that when you close your eyes and imagine your body, you don’t picture a clump of fat. ‘Yenno why? BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT FAT! You aren’t!I might have a size, but I’m not ‘a size’. I might have strength, but I’m not ‘strong’. I have fat, but I’m not ‘fat’. I bet that when you close your eyes and imagine yourself you picture a person, probably with some hair (maybe not for some of you that are less fortunate hehe) maybe smiling, maybe not. Arms, legs, eyes, nose, probably a couple fingers and toes depending on who you are. You know why? Because you’re a human being. Because that’s what you’re body image is all about. However you believe human being’s came into existence (that’s another thought for another time) your body image was never meant to be made up of you attributes. Just to drive this point home, allow me to define attribute for you; a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something,  a material object recognized as symbolic of a person. Two words in that definition are so incredibly important that I want to point out to you.

Part

Material 

Your attributes are a part of you, they are not YOU. And an attribute is simply a material object that is symbolic of you, but YOU ARE NOT a mere material object. No – you are so much more than an object. You are an incredibly intrinsic, delicate, diverse and wonderful body made up of cells, molecules and DNA that makes you uniquely perfect in who you are.

Can we stop defining our body image based on nouns and material objects? I choose to close my eyes and imagine my body and the only thought I have is this;

Able.

One more definition for you, because definitions are one of my favourite things.

a-ble, adjective; having the power, skill, means or ability to do something. Having considerable skill, proficiency or intelligence.

Let’s start looking at our bodies for what they are, just that – bodies. And only define ourselves by what they are able to do. Use an adjective from now on, and only allow yourself to be limited by your ability – and even then, push the limits a little would ya?

Becoming

Every time I jump on here to write something, it has in the text box “share your story here”.  I’ve been struggling the last week in being able to put my story into words. Not my life story, not some grand artistic gesture of authorship, because I promise you, you will never receive such a thing from me. But I truly believe that week after week, we all have a story bubbling up inside of us to be shared. And sometimes words on a page (or phone in my case) is the only way to share the story.

So, here we go..

I will not hide my faith from anyone; at least I hope to never hide it. I also will never push or force it on anyone, the same way I hope people wouldn’t push their beliefs on me. And so to live in the middle ground of not hiding, nor pushing, I will confidently and comfortably share about my faith (hopefully) in every post I write.                                        This one is no exception.

I feel like God has me in a very unique place in my life. While some people feel that the universe, or karma, or whatever else decides and dictates where our lives lead, I choose to believe that God directs my life. But what I don’t believe is that God is some puppet master just making decisions and bossing me around! So, if you can track on this middle ground that I’m walking upon, I’ll jump back to this “unique place” I’m at in life.

At the beginning of February, I decided it was time to tackle a new area of my life, and that was my personal health. I decided that I needed to be building a healthy life for myself in eating properly and living an active lifestyle. This was a difficult change for me as I have always been so self conscious of weight, and for once in my life, rather than worrying about “getting fat” if I ate too much, I set a goal for myself to gain weight while keeping active, to finally get to a healthy place in my life. Around the same time I started this change (with the help of someone trained in health and nutrition) it was decided that my current position at work was demanding lots from me, in the form of time and emotional investment, which had me finding myself emotionally and physically worn out. As you can probably guess, this also had my mentally drained and therefor not being able to give as much of myself as I would have liked, in areas I really wanted to participate in. So, on February 1st, I gave up that position and went down to relief, which meant I would only be called to work when someone couldn’t work their shift. I worked all of 2 days in the whole month of February.

In my last post, I talked about wanting to control my emotions.  Well, let me tell you the first 2 weeks of February were tough, having a visa to pay, bills, groceries to buy, and a husband that went to work day-after-day to provide, with me not contributing at all, my emotions were everywhere but under control.  I started to want nothing more than to sit on the couch, sleep, and comfort eat, which went against everything I had decided to do 2 weeks earlier with my desire to build a healthy lifestyle.  It was a tough slugging 2 weeks.

Now this is not to say that my whole 2 weeks were self loathing sadness. My anxiety would eventually get the better of me and cause me to get up, get some things accomplished and my days would have their ups and downs.  In the midst of these up and down moments, I had a choice to make, to spend time in my downs, or to spend time reading, praying, reading my bible and ultimately growing my relationship with God. In the midst of these moments, I was reminded of dreams and passions I had years ago. Dreams of working with young people and being able to take them around the world to do missions work and help people.  Albeit a small start, I started making plans to take a group of youth to Regina to work in the soup kitchen and help some people a little closer to home.  In reflection of where I was at personally, I also grew interested in pursuing my certification in health and nutrition to be able to “coach” and help those around me who might have also been struggling in an area similar to my own.

As these dreams and passions bubbled to the surface and I felt my momentum increasing, it only took a single thought to stop all of those dreams and passions dead in their tracks.

Why?

Why was I spending all of this time and effort to take these kids to Regina? When in all honesty, it takes so much planning, and I could quite easily just volunteer my own time and avoid some of the hassle, and be just as effective!

Why was I wanting to go through all the time and energy to study health and nutrition, when it’s crazy confusing, not my strong suit, and I’m already working with someone who knows all this stuff and can help me!

Why. One small question that so drastically affected what I was doing in my life. I spent more time dreaming and praying, questioning why things were going the way they were going.  Amidst all of this time, I came to one realization that re-focused everything for me.

I would rather leave my life in God’s control and take leaps of faith knowing He holds my life, than for me to take blind corners, with my hands on the wheel having God in the passenger seat.

This became the answer to my why. Ultimately, my life is about so much more than just me, and what I want. God know’s me, He knows the dreams and plans and hopes He has for my life. And if I have real faith, I will allow God to continue to direct and lead my life knowing that He’s making me into the woman He wants me to be.  I confidently believe that God has walked through all of the dark, sad, defeating, unhealthy, troubled times in my life with me (not that he made them happen to me, that was 100% my own selfish doing, He just picked up all the pieces) and has brought me to this moment, right here, right now, with these dreams and passions, because I’m going to become who I needed when I was young for the people around me.

I’m becoming a woman that decides to go for it and take advantage of each new beginning, no matter how it looks! And regardless of what makes sense in my mind, I’m here for a reason and God will handle the rest, because my whole life will be a journey of becoming who God wants me to be, to love the ones around me.

In this journey, I have to start small.  God started this dream with me, a small, young, insecure, basic, simple, small town Saskatchewan girl who was willing to dream big.        And maybe thats why I’m in Manor SK, population 312.

To start small, stay humble, and dream big.

Emotions

Emotion is defined as: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. 

This week, I’ve learned to not always trust and act on my emotions. However, I have also learned that emotions are powerful and influential in ones daily lives. And I’ve learned that sometimes, if it weren’t for my emotions, I would make significantly more stupid and ridiculous life choices, and I can now see how 99% of my previous ridiculous choices have been made out of pure emotion. 

Then, I had another thought. How does it make sense that my emotions can both absolutely make my day! And also cause some of the most ridiculous, self-destructive behaviour and choices?  So, I did some more thinking. Let me share 2 more important words with you. 

Negative is defined as: consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features, not desirable or optimistic, a word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement or refusal. Render ineffective, neutralize.

Positive is defined as: with no possibility of doubt, clear and definite. A good, affirmative or constructive quality or attribute. Consisting in or characterized by the presence or possession of features or qualities rather than their absence.

Can you see how positive or negative emotions have the ability to sway us? 

I’ve done so much thinking about emotions lately. How they affect my choices, how sometimes I don’t have control over them and feel rather that they have control of me. 

I’ve decided to challenge myself. I made a goal in 2017 to make the gym and eating healthy something I enjoy, in hopes of making myself a healthier, fitter, stronger version of myself. Well, I’m adding to that. I want to strengthen myself emotionally this year as well. I want to enjoy emotions, rather than fear them. I want to resist the urge to impulsively act on emotions. I want to exercise my right to decide what emotions I feel and which I don’t (which, contrary to popular belief, we do actually have control over.) I want to challenge myself to just feel things. I shocked myself with how often in this week alone, I’ve had a negative emotion come over me and almost instantly run through my go-to list of things to do, eat, say, watch, distract myself with, in order for that negative emotion leave and replace it with a “positive one”. And my-oh-my, how deceiving those positive emotions can be sometimes. 

So here’s my list, my plan-of-attack if you will, in how I plan to approach my new challenge. 

  1. Feel an emotion, without reacting. I mean, ya, if I’m sad I’m probably gonna cry. I’m a woman, I can’t help it. But when I feel overwhelmed, I don’t need to eat. I can simply feel. When I’m angry, I don’t need to yell. Just feel through the emotion. While, at the same time, if I’m happy, I don’t need to celebrate with a big bowl of ice cream, or half-a-dozen of my favourite cookies! I want to see what it’s like to live my life feeling emotions without instantaneous action based on the emotion. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a very emotion driven woman) 
  2. Re-evaluate my “go-to list” of things to do, say, eat, watch, or distract myself with. So that even when I do run to that list, what I choose on that list will result in a true positive emotion, that I will be proud of.
  3. Write things down. When I notice that 3 times in one day when I got angry I ate a cookie, I need to write that down! I might also need to leave myself a note on the cupboard door to walk away if I’m there out of anger! But I need to be honest and identify what my coping things are for my varying, and oh-so-complex emotions. (Yay womanhood) 

I realize as I’m writing this that literally everything in my life is based off my emotions. My tone of voice, my facial expressions, the emoji’s I use when I text. Everything! What I’m hoping to achieve from this challenge of mine, is some form of control and understanding of my outward coping and behaviour linked to good and bad emotions. This will not happen in a day, week, or month. This will be gradual, and probably be altered once or twice throughout the process, but I’m so ready for it. 

Emotional challenge, here I come! 

Growth

January 6th, New Years resolutions are in full swing. Some probably being kept, some already being broken, some people still deciding what they want their resolutions to be!

I’m a planner, an organizer and I’m very methodical. Things are typically written down, dated, given a time line and a plan B just in case. And for the longest time, if I didn’t have all of that done and in place (especially with my New Years resolutions) I felt like a failure and like it wasn’t going to get accomplished.

I’m so used to hearing “New Year, New Me” and quite honestly it’s probably a phrase I’ve used once or twice over the years. And while this is great for some people and the exact kick in the butt they need to get rid of those bad habits, start good habits, or whatever it may be, this is not the motto I want to go into 2017 with.

I have had quite the journey in my 22 years. I’ve gone from the happy-go-lucky, over achiever, to the insecure, unsure young girl with some very addictive, self destructive behaviour. I settled into my self destructive behaviour for 2.5 years and those were my years of desperately needing a “New Year” for a new me, because I was so displeased with the Me that I had become. I struggled and fought an internal battle of becoming to woman I needed and so desperately wanted to become.

I can sit here now, and quite confidently say that the woman I was in 2016 was who I fought to be!

  • I’m proud of her
  • I’m in love with her
  • I’m impressed with her
  • I’m confident in who she is
  • I believe she is who God created her to be

I can also sit here now, and confidently say that the woman I’m going to be in 2017 will be growing and building on the woman I found in 2016.

I want 2017 to be a year of growth. To continue to act and live in a way I’m proud of, that causes me to fall more in love with myself and the life I’ve been blessed with. To accept the mistakes I make and choose to learn from them, rather than to beat myself up over them. To nourish relationships with friends, family, and strangers! To have a flourishing marriage with my amazing husband. To chase dreams and to walk confidently in the life I’ve been called to live by a God I’m growing closer to daily.

I sit here with a smile on my face, remembering the days in my past when I didn’t even love myself, and constantly asked myself how anyone could possibly love me, if I didn’t even love myself. Thinking I was destined to live a life on my own, on this never ending journey in pain. And now looking on to 2017 completely content with who I am, simply wanting to keep myself growing, feeling more incredibly loved than I ever imagined possible!

Do what you need to do to make 2017 the best year yet. Create a life you love, be confident and happy with who you are, and push yourself to grow.

Happy 2017 everyone

Restart

Well, here I am. Back again after a few months absence. 

Okay, so it’s been over a year. But who’s counting. 

I’m back for a whole new set of reasons this time. And whether someone stumbles upon this blog of mine, or if no eyes other than mine ever glance this way again, I hope to stick with it this time around.  

I’ve recently been encouraged… inspired, if you would, by a friend of mine. Who religiously blogs, once a week, while she’s on a journey of seeking, self-discovery and ultimately change. In one of her more recent posts, I was reminded of a time when I sat down with my journal, and genuinely wrote my heart out, on to those pages. I was reminded of what a strong, encouraging tool it is to write, and reflect. Not only to see where I’ve been, but to push ahead to where my dreams were taking me. 

And so here I am, back again, restarting in a New place, a new time, with new motivation and passion. To not let myself flounder and fall anymore, but to reflect, recharge, and push on. To share my heart, the lessons I learn, both easy and hard, the “light bulb” moments I occasionally stumble upon, and to give myself something to build upon. 

I’m hoping I’ve done what I needed to, to “unsubscribe” people from notifications of this blog, as I hope to write once a week and would hate to bother those who were here years gone by for stories of Africa. Because as much as I hate to say it, I can confidently tell you, the humble mutterings you will find on here now will pale in comparison to the days spent in Kenya. 

So, here’s my first note to my new start! 
Until next week, friends. 

Adiós ✌🏼