Health, Life

Why I’m Eating a Vegan Diet

For the past year, I’ve been working on losing the 25lbs I put on after my wedding. Yes, you read that right: 25lbs on my already chubby frame. On January 1, 2017, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I liked to fake affection and refer to it as my “happy weight”: I married the guy I’ve had a crush on since I was 5, we both have good, stable jobs, and we’re saving for a house. It’s easy to joke and talk about how happy we are, but when I’m truly honest, I know it wasn’t happiness that started my downward spiral.

A month after our wedding in 2015, my husband and I were visiting London for an international congress that our church organization was hosting. There were members from all over the world, and it was truly an amazing time of sight-seeing, meeting fellow believers from around the world, and experiencing the meetings.

After my husband left London to go back to our home in Brooklyn and his job, I was headed to a friend’s wedding in Northern Ireland. I was sitting in a hotel room the day before my flight when my husband texted me.

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Life, Spiritual Walk

How to Find a Mentor

It was October 2016 and I was preparing for a conference that my department was hosting that month. My coworker and I were talking about last-minute details, specifically an area I was in charge of in the main hall with programs and resources for the delegates provided from our department and the main speakers of the event.

“One of the speakers wants to share a few resources. Could you print them and make sure they are available to everyone?”

Of course I said yes, so I proceeded to print out 400 copies each. And when I saw what the first resource said, I was irritated.

The speaker was discussing mentorship, and I still didn’t know what to do about a spiritual mentor in my own life.

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Life

Happy “You’re an Adult” Day

 

This past Thursday, October 12, was my 26th birthday. My plan had been to post something heartfelt and meaningful, reflecting on 26 years of life, but occasionally I get an idea in my head and it simply won’t come out onto paper (or in this case, screen). So I took a few days to think about it.

Instead, I couldn’t help but ponder all of the ridiculous adult things I had to do for the first time this year, or consider what adult things have become a regular occurrence in my life.

It’s become a common theme among my friends: are we really “adults” when we sure-as-anything don’t feel like them? Don’t adults have it all together? I mean, my mom had three kids by 26 and I can’t fathom the idea of one. Well, friends, I am now closer to 30 than to 20, and yes, I am an adult. This is how I know:

26 Ways You Know You’re an Adult…

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Health, Life, Spiritual Walk

Why I Gave Up Television

(But only for a week!)

Earlier this year, I was preparing for the Lenten season and I had an clear conviction of what I was supposed to give up for 40 days: television. Now, I’m not talking about just live TV–I’m talking network television, Hulu, Netflix, Optimum online, AMC.

I was beginning to notice a trend in myself: get home from work at 4:15PM, turn on Channel 2 and watch Judge Judy until 5. Keep the news on and listen/peek at the TV while I made dinner. Watch TV through dinner, then depending on whether or not my husband was home would determine which shows were next. We watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on weeknights, so the news stays on until they start at 7. If he isn’t home, at 6:30 or so I usually lay down on the couch, with my big fluffy blanket, and watch Hulu.

Rarely would I concentrate on my writing, blogging, or just read a book. Even rarer would I want to get up to clean the kitchen, or go to the gym to work out, nevermind try to workout at home. Once I was on the couch, comfy and happy, I only had the energy for that, and maybe some Facebook or Pinterest while I watched.

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Life, Spiritual Walk, Writing

Stuck in the Circle

It’s taken me two months to write this post, and I’ll tell you why: I have been stuck in the lies and circle of self-doubt and comparison. If you’re being honest with yourself, you may know exactly what I’m talking about.

I started this blog with a clear message from God–words like “safe space,” counseling, young women, and love all came at a moment of complete clarity where I knew this was a project He wanted me to invest in. It’s been almost one year since I heard that message while chatting with one of the special guests at a media conference I attended for work. The conference was supposed to be a learning experience for my social media position, but ended up speaking specifically to me about my place as a writer.

But once I started, fear set in. Who am I to say I am a writer when everything I’ve submitted this past year has been rejected? Who am I to say I’m a writer when I let so much time pass between blog posts? Who am I to say I’m a writer when the only steady gig I’ve had has been the Young Salvationist magazine, which still has connotations of being a “lame” teen magazine that The Salvation Army is “required” to publish.

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Life, Spiritual Walk

A Time of Preparation

The summer can be a time of relaxation: kid’s are out of school, days are longer, the weather is nicer. On the Sundays my husband and I have been able to go to our home church, the pews have been mostly empty (which I attribute to summer camps and vacation, not a general godlessness with the warm weather). I was watching a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and he summed it up perfectly: we spend all fall, winter, and spring in our hometowns, only to leave them and travel elsewhere when we finally have weather at home to enjoy.

Well, for my husband and I, this summer has been anything but relaxing. We’ve had a constant stream of what are we preparing for next? First, it was our jobs, and the large event that is commissioning in The Salvation Army. Once that weekend was over, it was getting ready to be guests at a music camp in New Jersey. We’ve now been back from that for a little over a week, and next Thursday we leave for Camp Meetings in Old Orchard Beach, ME. As soon as we return, we go our separate ways, with my husband working and teaching at another music camp and myself going to visit my parents and then going to a prayer ministry training in PA.

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Life, Marriage, Spiritual Walk, Weddings

Two Years Later: Our Story

The night before my wedding, I was waiting for my sister/Maid of Honor, future SIL, and best friend/bridesmaid to get back from Target to take me to The Cheesecake Factory for my Bachelorette party. I wasn’t interested in doing anything elaborate, but they insisted on running out before we left. I had previously written my vows, but I felt like I needed to rework them before the next day, so I sat down with my computer and read through them. In the end, I told the story of how I had a crush on a certain young man for most of my life, and how I followed trusted God with every step along the way.

At 7 years old, I developed a crush on a boy at my church in Batavia, NY. His parent’s had been assigned as the pastors a few years previously, and though my first crush was not him, it quickly became him when I realized how cute he was. Who can remember why a crush is developed at a young age, but I can remember going to church and being excited to see him. During a musical when I was 8 or 9, my mother was the director, and had that young man and myself dance together during one of the songs: “Cast the nets, cast the nets, casts the nets in the seaaaaaaa.” (You may recognize that song if you did any children’s musicals at your church in the 90’s or early 00’s: I did Fish Tales 2 or 3 times at least.)

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Life, Spiritual Walk

An Unwanted New Beginning

I’m feeling a bit sad and sentimental today. Last night was the finale for the end of the program year at the Spring Valley Salvation Army, and in two weeks is the final party for the mentoring program I’ve been volunteering at with the Spring Valley High School.

Last year at this time, I was saying goodbye to the church and the after school program that my husband and I attended and volunteered at in Brooklyn. I was feeling heartbroken, lost, and uncertain about out next steps. I didn’t want to find a new church, and I especially didn’t want to attend the specific one that God kept on leading us back to as the most logical choice. But the drive and the tolls were becoming too much of a burden on our finances, and everyone was supportive of our move away from our church and to the next. I was so stubborn with God–I felt like it was His job to give us a new solution, since I was so unhappy with the one He was proposing.

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Life, Spiritual Walk

In the Details

I have eight unfinished blog posts sitting in my draft folder, waiting for me to flush out why it was I felt the topics were important in the first place. Over the past month, I would start one, get a few sentences in, and ask myself what the point was. Why did I feel compelled to write about a particular subject? I kept getting hung up, stuck, uncertain about how to proceed.

I know that what was truly holding me back was that this topic has been on the forefront of my mind and I had to get it out before I could move on to anything else.

In the current season of my life, my prayer list is full of some pretty heavy prayer requests and concerns. They involve big things for myself and for my husband: prayers for the direction of my career, for our family, for my husband’s career, for our future house hunting, just to name a few. I feel like there are so many things that are just up in the air and we don’t have a clear direction of who/what/where/when, etc.

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Life, Travel

How I Saw Hamilton on Broadway

I didn’t realize how large of a phenomenon Hamilton was until July of last summer. My husband was invited to be a special guest at a music camp in western Pennsylvania, and I was invited to accompany him. We were at the camp for a week, and toward the end of our time, the camp had a “soloist night” for the kids to participate in. The director of music decided he would do the closing number for the night and sing “My Shot” from the Hamilton soundtrack.

Before that summer, I hadn’t listened to the soundtrack, and it wasn’t until a few months later that I caved. I really wanted to experience Hamilton live on stage before I could recite all of the lyrics from memory. I wanted to go into the musical without any preconceived notions about what it would look like.

The director ended with his song, brown cape, and 1800’s getup, and the kids went crazy! Here was this group of 6-14 year-olds, more than 8 hours away from New York City, singing along to the Hamilton lyrics! Of course I knew that Hamilton was a big deal, but I lived 20 minutes outside of Manhattan. It’s not uncommon for me to attend a conference or event where a “night out” means free Broadway tickets and a ride into Times Square. But for us to be in a rural area of Pennsylvania where the kids knew every word to “My Shot”…that’s when I realized it.

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