Welcome to my world...

Hi everyone and welcome to my little piece of the world!

It has been evident to me since I was in about seventh grade, that I love writing and it is a talent I have been blessed with . It wasn't until I reached the ripe old age of 28 though, that I realized God had a much bigger plan for the gift he had given me.

Through blogging on MySpace, I was able to reach not only those that I knew in my own life, but also complete strangers and was amazed at how just my "ramblings" had helped so many people to be inspired, encouraged, or just to think about things in a new way.

From there, it grew into an inspirational column in The Charlotte Observer, then a religious news column in The Statesville Record & Landmark, a speaking engagment for a women's church group and now, a gig as a religion news freelance writer for The Charlotte Observer.

The writing that is closest to my heart though is not the news reporting, but the words that come from my soul - the words that I know God puts there not only to help me to understand life better, but also those around me.

I hope you feel encouraged, enlightened and inspired but what you read here and of course, I look forward to hearing back from you too!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Repairvite Update #2

Sorry that it's taken me a little while to post another update about the diet.  Things have been busy lately but in a very good way.

So as for the diet, I don't feel like a whole lot has changed.  I had my follow-up appointment with the naturopathic doctor about a week and a half ago and he said he thought we were "on the right track."  I'm supposed to keep doing the supplements and restricted diet for 5 more weeks (ugh) and do bloodwork again in about 4 weeks, so we can check any progress at my next appointment.

Overall, I'd say my stomach is less audibly grumbly but that's about the only thing I've noticed.  Actually, that and I sleep through the night now.  Thankgoodness.  My GI system still seems pretty out of whack most of the time though and I always feel SO tired.  I barely have enough energy to stand in the shower, cook dinner or put clothes in the washing machine.  I have no clue how I'm supposed to start exercising.  BUT... apparently all of this is normal for what he thinks is going on.  So I just have to keep hoping that it will improve.  I have to say, Dr. Oz did an episode on Leaky Gut Syndrome the other day and it sounded like they were talking about me.  And I'm sure the lining in my gut won't be magically repaired in 8 weeks so I guess I have to just be patient.

As for the diet part though, I want to encourage anyone out there that's on the same diet or about to be and is struggling or worried, it's not as bad as you think!  The key definitely is being prepared and taking the time to prepare good meals.  I'll admit, that has been very hard for me.  I've always been a fan of "convenience" foods and not taking any longer than about 10 minutes to make a meal.  I don't like standing and cutting or chopping and I certainly don't like preparing a meal for 45 minutes that will take me all of 5 minutes to eat.  But, I haven't had a choice lately and it is definitely easier if I plan ahead and follow a recipe. 

I'll mention again that I found a website that has been a LIFESAVER for me.  It's www.allergyfreemenuplanners.com.  She has the best recipes, all geared toward people on restricted diets and they are all simple and fairly quick.  She even puts together a shopping list for you each week.  Since I really started putting forth the effort of trying more recipes and expanding the list of ingredients I can have, I have made some really yummy things including:

-Carob chip cookies
-Apple cinnamon pancakes
-Tomato free chili
-Grain free spaghetti with tomato free marinara sauce

I've even made bbq sauce, breakfast syrup and "chocolate" from scratch!  Sure it helped that I've been unemployed the past month and had a little more time than usual, but even when I start my new job on Monday, I still plan on following my menu plans each week and hopefully doing a lot of prep on the weekends.

So hang in there and please share your experiences if you are on the same diet.  Or even if you're not!  I'm going to try to keep posting updates as I continue to go along.  And hopefully one day soon, I will write the "I can't believe how great I feel" post!  :-)

Do You Hear That?

That's God moving you.

When you stop worrying, stop controlling, stop orchestrating, stop running around trying to "fix" everything.  That's when you hear it.  And feel it.

"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10

Funny thing is, I honestly didn't think it was possible for me to be still or at least be quiet.  I'm still not too sure about that last part.  ;)  My mind is always going a hundred miles an hour and I'm always try to make sure everything is "under control."  Normally if I lost my job and main source of income, I'd be flipping out.  Applying at every KFC and Taco Bell and trolling Indeed.com into the wee hours of the morning.  BUT this time was different.  This time I knew God was moving me.  It was so obvious... to be literally plucked out of a job completely out of the blue, especially a job that I thought was my "calling," meant that was obviously NOT where I was supposed to be. 

I thought by taking a job at a small newspaper in the middle of nowhere, that I was being obedient and trusting.  Because I was using my God-given talent and I was trusting that the finances would work out even though I was being paid the equivalent of a fry cook at McDonald's.  I even endured the hour and half commute each way, sometimes at midnight, because this was what I was supposed to be doing, right?

The people I worked with were nice, I was getting great responses from my readers and I was getting good experience.  So when I was let go out of the blue, I honestly can say that I didn't even for a second, try to "fix" it.  Which seems really weird actually.  For someone who fixes by their very nature, it's amazing that I never once tried to fix this.  I think I allowed myself maybe two freak-out's in the past month and a half and that was only when I worried about my finances and each time only lasted about five minutes.  Other than that, I just steadily got up each day, sent out some resumes and emails and stayed busy.  But it wasn't like I was working hard to try to stay busy, I was busy.  In fact, I've been busy ever since I lost the newspaper job.  New volunteer opportunities came my way that I am more than excited about and my freelance work took off.  Suddenly, I had several articles in the works for the newspaper (the Observer), a new client to write news articles for, a new blogging client and another client that reappeared from my past... I had written an article on her for the Observer and she had loved the story when it came out.  She reached out to me because she wanted to write a book and said I was the first person she thought of.  After speaking with her on the phone, we signed an agreement for weekly blog work, several press releases, two e-books and the book.  AND she was going to share my information with her whole network of colleagues who may need my help as well.

I noticed even my job searching felt different this time.  Whereas before I would've been more concerned with what the salary was for a job or where it was located, this time it was about how it felt.  Having always been too concerned about what others thought of me, I would have also just interviewed for (and taken) any job that came my way because I'd think, "People will wonder who I think I am being picky when I don't even have a job!"  But this time, I didn't care.  That was HUGE.  And my instincts were stronger than ever.  Let me clarify that, my instincts a.k.a. the voice of the Holy Spirit within me.  The employment agencies would call me about a job (and this should be a good thing) and my stomach would turn.  Well that's a big ol' red flag.  If your stomach is turning at the thought of even interviewing for a job, you probably don't want the job.  Yet in the past, I would've gone and taken the job and then wondered why I'd flake out after only 6 months or a year.  I never even wanted to be there in the first place.  And you know what?  All of those old habits just didn't fit anymore.  That's not who I am and where I am going.  So I took a deep breath, declined those interviews and kept on plugging.  Being selective about what I even applied to, not running out the door to get some random retail job and most importantly trusting that God would provide to cover my bills.  And provide He did.

He got me through the entire time since Jan. 7th without having to borrow any extra money from anyone or miss any bills.  The day I was let go, I came home to a 401k check in the mail that got me through the first month.  Right when February's bills became due and I was down to literally my last $1, my unemployment was approved and I got a deposit that was retroactive for several weeks.  Just enough to pay all of my bills that were due.  And every single time in between, when I'd get to the bottom of my account and need food or another small expense, I'd get a payment from a freelance job, or like today, another small 401k check that I didn't even know I had.  Do you think these are all coincidences?  It is God providing every step of the way.  And I am so grateful for Him loving me so much.  I am grateful that I finally stopped moving long enough to let Him and I'm excited about where I'm going now.

During this same time, I've had several other "puzzle pieces" fit together... my naturopathic doctor "prescribed" me a book to read that I already owned but had never read.  My therapist suggested a movie that I also already owned and couldn't remember if I ever even had watched.  All the pieces were already there and I just needed to put them together.  Even this job that I just got the other day working as a personal assistant.  The movie that my therapist had suggested?  The Secret.  The movie that is about the law of attraction.  One of the main things this entrepreneur that I'll be working for focuses on?  The art of attraction.  Hmm.  Not to mention that she focuses on healthy eating and recipes, which has become my life lately.  I also just was talking to my mother about how I seem to do better with jobs that don't have a "traditional" structure and that's exactly what I found, a flexible job that's fun and can be worked around my writing.

It's as if all these people and events that have been in my life over the past year were all starting to fit together.  Click.

Do you hear it?

Do you feel it?

That's God trying to move you.  All you have to do is be still, be quiet and be moved.