Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Intro to "Food Fight!!!!"

Battles and Vices

Everyone has their methods of coping with negativity in their life. Some people go shopping if they have a bad day. Some hit the treadmill if they’ve had a fight with their boyfriend. There is also the group that feels the need to clean everything when they are stressed. These are all habits that can begin forming in childhood, and can be picked up from parents, or peers.

How do I deal with a bad day, not getting the job I wanted, or my Jeep breaking down (again)? Food. For as long as I can remember, I have had a codependent relationship with food. When my parents were fighting, I felt like I had no control. I would seek to gain control in the kitchen. Sometimes, I would just open the cupboards and look for something appealing that may make me feel like I was in charge.

Maybe my sister hurt my feelings, or my brother frustrated me. Food also gave me kind of a high. It emotionally satisfied me. Was I feeling sad? I would go get a Hostess something-or-other, take it back to my room, and suddenly I felt like I could be happy again.

That last thing I said is key. I took it back to my room. My relationship with food was not something I was proud of. I would sneak food, ashamed and fearful of being caught (as if I would get in trouble for eating), and then eat quickly— in a place no one would disturb me in the house. This was usually either my bedroom, the bathroom, or if I wanted a quick fix, I would just duck into whatever room was closest.

Everything changed for me when I went to college. I was still ashamed of eating in front of people, so for the first two weeks, I avoided the cafeteria. It was a big place full of people whom I didn’t know. I had some snacks in my room that my dad left me with, which I rationed out. But soon, my food was gone. So I stopped eating. Completely. When I passed out twice in one day (probably due to dehydration and low blood sugar) and had to be taken to the hospital, I knew that I needed to conquer my fears. I took a deep breath and went to the cafeteria with some of my dorm mates.

I took me a few years to fight back my fears, but eventually I was able to walk into the cafeteria, get something to eat, and find someplace to sit. I still had a few moments here and there of panic when I couldn’t find anyone to sit with and ended up eating alone, but I was still able to calm down enough to eat. And guess what? I survived college.

I am now 29. So, where does that leave my relationship with food? I still have issues. I have tried different diets, fasting, swearing off fast food, swearing off pop, going vegan, and dieting with one “cheat day” a week. You name it, I’ve tried it. But, I’ve not found a lot that works. I think it is partly because I don’t always care about my health. Sometimes I just want a big, juicy cheeseburger with fries and a Dr. Pepper. But, once I allow myself one cheeseburger, burrito, or Panini, it’s all down hill.

I am extremely hard on myself and will beat myself up over these small failures. Instead of getting up, dusting off my britches, and moving forward, I say, “Well you already screwed up this morning. What’s the point of eating healthy the rest of the day?” And that one day turns into two. Then three. Then, pretty soon, I find that an entire week of eating quick-and-easy food has gone by.

I’m competitive, stubborn, and prideful. Which basically amounts to: I hate failing (even in small ways), I don’t like to give up (so I’m really hard on myself if I do), and I don’t like to ask for help (or admit that I even need help). For someone who has issues with food, these are all lethal combinations.

Twelve days ago, I began a diet that eliminates all processed foods. I wanted to detox all the junk out of my body and slowly add in healthy versions of what I was eating. This was partly from just coming to terms with what I was actually choosing to eat— how many chickens come together to make that one chicken tender? Which part of the cow is that beef really from? What is a hotdog, anyways?? Do I even want to know? Absolutely not. It would probably freak me out. But those emotions— those drove me to make a decision.

I am completely capable of taking charge of my life. I can fight this battle— and win! I can tell myself “no.” I can look my fears and failures straight in the eye and say, “You do not define who I am.” I can look at a heaping bowl of fresh, steamed vegetables and know that those nutrients are exactly what my body needs— even if I don’t want to eat them. I can learn to like the texture of a smoothie with a pound of spinach in it. I can learn that caffeine is only harming my body and controlling me.

And so, I write. Writing has always been something therapeutic for me. I have had diaries or journals since I was 10. But why keep it to myself? I am going to be giving the world a peek inside my journey. This blog is a glimpse inside the messy, emotional struggles of a woman battling her addictions with food. I will be posting the good, the bad, and the ugly. My hopes are that women and men alike will feel more comfortable coming to terms with their own food issues.

Reader beware: food fights are never clean. All participants leave looking like a “hot mess.” ::insert picture of food fight::

My Journey to Becoming Gainfully Employed

So I have decided to move back to VA and pursue a Master Degree. Just joining the blog? Read about what led me to that decision here. Abraham Maslow's theory of the heirarchy of needs suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. These basic needs include esteem, friendship and love, security/shelter, and physical needs. In order to provide security/shelter, I need to obtain a job ( to provide food and shelter). This may sound simple, but from 8 hours away, it’s pretty tricky.

There have been a few times in the past that I have been without employment. That may have been due to relocation, being terminated, or resigning. None of those were easy times. It pretty much sucked. I would try so hard to find a job that would allow me to pay bills— a job that didn’t make me want to jump off a cliff— and for many days or weeks come up empty handed.

I have a good job now. I have just received a great review, and will be getting a raise (more money = more bills being paid). So, why in the world would I give this all up? Why would I stop doing something that allows me to live in a world where I don’t have an anxiety attack every time I get a bill in the mail? Because God told me to, that’s why. But for some, that still doesn’t make sense.

I am now entering a world of filling out applications at Liberty University and praying that my resume sticks out. I didn’t include cover letters, which would explain why I am moving back down to LU, which I am now regretting. I am praying that God would provide a job before I move… but I know that this has been a season of God providing for things at the very last minute— which may make me look like I don’t have my sh** together, but it will shine a huge spotlight on God (which is what He does for a living!)

I am doing my best to pray through everything and not try to figure it all out. I don’t want to have to walk through this road again, and would prefer to be obedient the first time. I waited for fourteen months for God to reveal where I was going after He told me to “go.” I’m able to wait for Him to provide for me before I try to provide for myself.

In the past, I have stopped just short of walking out my faith completely. Now, I have an opportunity to forsake all and follow on Jesus’ path… to the finish line. This will be like an uphill hurdle race for me, with the first hurdle being to get a job. Follow my journey to the finish line, as I dive into the pool— trusting there will be water when I come down.

Grace and Mercy

Grace and Mercy: Not Getting What We Do Deserve and Getting What We Don’t

We all make mistakes. We all have flaws. The Bible says that “All have fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), which basically means that we don’t measure up to who God is. The Greek word for sin literally means “to miss the mark.” Imagine a bullseye. You obviously are aiming for the center. But in life, we don’t even come close to the mark. That’s why we need Jesus: to bridge the gap between who we are and who God created us to be.

So, what is mercy? Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Because we are sinners, we deserve the absolute consequences of our sin. If you break the law, you deserve the punishment that the laws states you will receive. If you are pulled over for any offense, as mandated by the law of the road, you deserve a ticket. If you hurt someone, you deserve to suffer in that relationship- which sometimes means the relationship ends.

Mercy is when the judge sees that we have no prior records for whatever crime you have committed, and sentencing you to “time served” or when a prosecutor decides to drop the charges issued by his office. Mercy is when he softens the policeman’s heart and we don’t get a ticket, or get our vehicle towed, or have our license revoked (depending on the offense). Mercy is when we don’t get kicked out of our house even though we’ve lied to our parents again.

Sound crazy? It is! Realizing what we actually deserve, can give you a different perspective. Now, let’s get to the other end of things.

Grace. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Grace is not God withholding punishment- it is Him giving us anything at all. We deserve nothing more than a swift kick in the butt a lot of times. But, He can bless us. Just because. Maybe you need a more reliable car, but no money. Maybe you need a better job so that you can pay off your student loans. Or maybe you don’t need anything. Maybe you want something: a new pair of pants, a guitar, for your hair to just look normal for a day (can I get a witness?).

Grace is God providing money (a donation, a commission from work, a gift) so that you can upgrade on the wheels. Grace is God providing a raise for you, even though you are not eligible for another six months. Grace is God providing a random babysitting job so you can afford those cool pants, or a friend who happens to have a guitar they are not using, or maybe allowing one day without humidity so you can rock that blow out.

Grace and mercy look like different things for everyone. What do they look like to you? What is one way that God has shown you mercy, and one way He has shown you grace?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hey Everybody! Let's Boycott Southwest! (or not)

Southwest Airlines: Headed towards a boycott?

Flying is common thing nowadays. It maybe expensive, but it’s not just for the upper-class. That’s why they have The Great Curtain separating First Class and Coach, right?

So, in a world that screams for equality among people, why would a major airline choose to single out its customers— and celebrities, at that? In 2010, actor and director Kevin Smith was kicked off a flight for being too large to sit safely in his seat. Recently, Billie Joe Armstrong, of Green Day, claimed to be kicked off a flight because his pants were “sagging” too low.

I totally get safety. Perhaps for larger passengers, they should require the purchase of two seats. If they had seats with the flip-up armrests like in those comfy movie theaters, it wouldn’t be that much of an issue. I remember flying to Rio de Janeiro a few years back. Once we were well underway, I moved a few rows back and laid down. There were no armrests to prevent me from sleeping a good 8 hours. I wonder if Southwest has considered these seats for their larger customers, especially in a country where the number of obese citizens are on the rise.

I wasn’t on the flight with Billie Joe, but short of inappropriate body parts showing, there should be no reason that they should ask him to leave the flight due to a distasteful wardrobe. We live in a country with the freedom to wear what we want- even if it does offend people. Southwest Airlines has a policy on attire that states that customers should dress for the safety and comfort of all their passengers. They also have the right to refuse business from people that are wearing offensive clothing. But, sagging pants? Really? Tell him to go to the Duty Free and buy a belt. That is a fixable offense, which probably is more humorous to other passengers than upsetting. With Billie Joe’s instance, the issue turned out to be his reaction to the flight attendant. He challenged them by stating that they had better things to do that worry about what he was wearing.

The new offense? This week, Southwest confronted actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend for kissing on the plane. Note: the use of the present progressive form of “kiss” indicates that it was an ongoing act. Not just a peck, or an innocent kiss. The conversation became escalated, and the confrontation was taken off the plane (meaning the actress was escorted off the plane), and she began her twitter rant accusing the airline of employing homophobic staff.

In this case, I believe the actress overreacted. I cannot see a flight attendant saying, “You are not allowed to kiss on this flight because you are gay.” But, how she took it was that she was discriminated against. We don’t know that. That flight attendant chose to make a judgment call and try to end the PDA- possibly because they worried about passengers’ comfort with PDA, or maybe because a passenger asked them to.

I am all about gay rights, straight rights, religious rights, gender equality. But saying that an entire airline doesn’t like gays (which she tweeted) is such a dramatic statement to make, given that this was one instance with one person. My advice to Leisha: get over yourself. You are not a victim of a hate crime. You were asked to stop kissing in public, which a lot of people actually aren’t comfortable with anyways- regardless of sexual orientation.

On this topic, Jodi Picoult, author, tweeted, “Hugely disappointed in @Southwest Air. I’ve sat beside straight couples making out on their flights, who aren’t booted.” I agree that this would be disappointing. But, I believe that if those couples were on this flight, with this attendant and crew, they probably would have been told to cool it.

It’s all in the reaction. Billie Joe refused to adjust his pants, which probably upset the attendant. He should have just covered up. But, he didn’t. So, he was asked to leave. Leisha felt targeted, probably because of past issues, and became defensive. They weren’t asked to leave the flight because they were kissing. They were asked to leave the flight because of the commotion it was causing.

What would you do if you were their flight attendant? Should they have been asked to leave the plane? Do you think it’s a coincidence that all these people are celebrities?

What do we do with a bully??


In every species, the stronger pick on the weaker. With some animals, it is called dominance- where the one with the stronger personality will control certain aspects of the relationship they have with the other animals. I see it in my kitten and my roommate’s cats. Her older cat is the dominant cat, and keeps my kitten and her younger cat in line. With dogs, the dominant dog is called the alpha. My dog, although usually the youngest one at the dog park, was the alpha. He would take things from other dogs, dominate them physically, and just try to run things. I tried to teach him principles that we often teach kids- to share, to stop picking on other dogs, to just generally chill out- but, he was just a dog. He didn’t have the capacity to care about other dogs’ feelings.

When you take this idea of “dominance” and “alpha” and apply it to human beings, we call it something different: BULLYING. Imagine that you are at work and you see a woman mocking another woman’s outfit (yes, it still happens as adults), or you are at school and see a larger boy knocking another boy into the lockers. Bullying looks like a lot of different things. Men often fight or pick on each other physically, while women often use words.

I remember when the Columbine shootings occurred in 1999. Post shooting, a lot of discussion centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures, and bullying. For our school, I feel like this is when bullying started to be taken seriously. I remember my teacher in 2000 giving a short speech on how we need to respect each other. I noticed a change within my graduating class that year, but I’m not sure if it was because we were all graduating and didn’t care about the competition anymore, or if we were maturing.

Bullying has always existed. Because of the nature of competition within genders and social classes, bullying will always exist. But, what can we do to change how bullying is affecting today’s youth? Do we step in those situations and stick up for the weak? Do we help to build up and encourage the one getting picked on? Do we teach them how to fight with words? Do we work to open the eyes of the bullies?
What do you think?

What is your experience with bullying? What is a realistic solution?

I need your help to name my new song!!! OR Check, check, check... check it out!

On my way back from Harrisburg last weekend, I asked God to help me write a song- a soundtrack to my life right now. He was amazing and gracious, and blessed me with music and lyrics that summed up very well what is going on in my life. If you are just joining this blog: read the previous entry first- the song will make more sense.

Unofficially titled: Prodigal

When I walked away 5 years ago
I thought I could live life all on my own
I tried to make my own dreams come true
On a twisted path, far away from You

But the road turned dark and frightening
And I couldn't see which way to turn
I lost the freedom that I once had
As I became prisoner to my own sin

In the distance, I hear You calling...

My darling girl, I have more for you-
More than you could know
I could bless you endlessly
If you would just come back home
So I took a deep breath
and took my first step
Towards living in freedom again
I reached out to my Savior
As He reached out His hand

How many of you are struggling-
Straining to hear His voice?
Who here is feeling empty inside-
Wondering just how you got yourself here?

The road may seem unpassable,
And the cliff may seem too steep.
But I teel you that there is hope in He-
He who comes with victory!!

In the distance, you hear Him calling...

My sons and daughter, I have more for you-
More than you could know
I could bless you endlessly
If you would just come back home
So take a deep breath
And take your first step
Toward living in freedom again
Reach out to your Savior
As He reaches out His hand

He has abounding grace
And He is waiting for you

Don't you know He has more for you-
More than you could know?
He could bless you endlessly
If you would just come back home
So take a deep breath
And take your first step
Towards living in freedom again
Reach out to your Savior
As He reaches out His hand

If I can figure out how to post a video, maybe I will share for those who can't come to shows :)

What do you think the title should be? I'm open, we can vote on the best one!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"My Journey back Home" OR "Why I decided to move 8 hours away"

Five years ago, I moved to Ohio. I was planning on staying here for a month to spend time with my family before I started my future with my then-fiance. Well, I am still here in Ohio. And I am not married. But the past five years have been a crazy-wonderful-awful experience of hitting rock bottom, making a medium-sized list of mistakes, and getting back up on my feet just to realize that something is missing...still.

A little background? Okay.

In 2004, I began a relationship with a guy who was a master manipulater and charmer. I had never felt loved by anyone like him, so I was easy prey for his soft heart, crooked smile, and twinkling eyes. I was at the end of my bachelor's degree, working at the university I was attending and on my way to start my Master's degree. I had a great place to live, a fulfilling job, and was deeply involved at my church. I gave it all up for this guy.

I was doomed from the start. I knew that God wasn't part of the relationship, but I kept inviting Him into it, wanting Him to bless my relationship with this non-Christian, when flags kept going up left and right. I had warnings from friends, coworkers, and God Himself. But I didn't want to hear it. I was in love. So I stopped listening.

I found myself 8 hours away, without my community, feeling depressed, isolated, and having to face the fact that I probably made a huge mistake everyday. But, pride kept me from going back. I didn't want to break up with him and admit that I was wrong. I eventually did though, when I'd had enough. Andwhen the relationship that I had built myself around crumbled, I realized I didn't have a lot left.

I had a rough, really rough year. Lots of drinking and anger and poor choices. I also tried sewing, reading, exercise... Nothing made me feel better.

I eventually came back to Jesus, got plugged in at church and got my life back on track. But, still something was missing. Like no matter how much I did for the Lord, I kept feeling that I should be somewhere else. I didn't know where, but I sensed that God had more for me than Ohio.

In the past year, I have felt God's voice saying two words, "Go" and "Do.". When I prayed about when and where, I kept hearing Him say, "one year." So I kept listening- waiting for instructing. Waiting for the where and when.

He spoke. At a leader's retreat about a month ago, our pastor was challenging us to commit to be radical for Jesus. I felt like God was leading me to be radically dependent on Him.

This is from my journal that weekend:

"The past three months, God has brought me to a place multiple times where I am shown that He is my provider. Now I am in a place where He wants me to step towards something without telling me who I will be going with. He just wants me to step out, trust Him, and know that He will provide all I need.

The next year is going to be a year of me stepping out and being radically dependent on God. I will trust that He will provide every step of the way. He has called me to something, and He will see it through. It is not my burden to bear."

What I didn't know then was that God was preparing me for the moment when He would reveal that I am to move back to VA to finish what God started. You see, God had me on this path. He has His plan set. Then I chose something else. While I have lived with quite a few consequences for walking away from what I knew God was calling me to, He is gracious enough to welcome me back and allow me to pick up where we left off.

So there it is: I am leaving OH, once again. I am going back to get my MA in Organizational Studies and prepare for a career in non-profits. I am stepping out and trusting that God will provide a job and a good roommate.

Who has had any experiences like this: of returning to what God is calling you to?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My experience with The American Red Cross

About three weeks ago, rains from Hurricanes Irene and Lee pummeled the east coast. Several areas were flooded, including the Susquehanna River along the. City of Harrisburg, PA. I immediately started think about what I could do help.

I created a facebook page to ask people to donate clothing, non-perishable foods, and baby supplies. I started trying to contact local churches or organizations who could get me in contact with affected families. I learned a lot this past weekend, when I drove out and dropped the donations off.

1. The American Red Cross has opportunies to serve with their Disaster Relief teams. This means that when a flood, tornado, earthquake, etc. Occurs, they call up all of their voluntters and ask who can go to that location. These people drop what they are doing and give their time and skills to help those affected. I met people from Calfornia, New Jersey, and Northern Pennsylvania.

2. Most Red Cross chapters do not have the capacity to accept donations. People go to the Red Cross and receive vouchers for whatever they need. They take those vouchers to the local food pantry, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. Those places will have a section set aside solely for Disaster Relief.

3. Some Chapters are able to have simply show up and help, while others require training and background checks before you are able to volunteer. This is to protect the victims, as well as the Red Cross themselves from being hurt or taken advantage of.

4. Many volunteers you will encounter naturally take care of people and give of themselves. They saw I was traveling alone, and that I drove 370 miles to get there and immediately asked how they could help me. Did I have a place to stay? Did I have money for food? Did I have money for gas? I was okay, but I walked away with a phone number for one of the volunteers, $30, and orders to go somewhere nice for dinner and relax. They also said to call if I got stuck, scared, or just needed help and they would brainstorm to figure something out.

If you are interested in donating, volunteering, or learning more about how you can be involved, go to

What has been your experiences with volunteering in the past?