Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lilies, Dresses, and a Fresh Cup of Coffee.

Many of you know I have an intense fascination with three things: Yellow lilies (my favorite flower), pretty dresses, and coffee. I'm not sure when these fascinations started, but I do remember they all held deeper meanings in my high school songs and poems.

I have wanted a pretty and flowy yellow dress (the kind that spins when I twirl) for quite some time now. I have wanted that dress so I could dance upon shamrocks in Ireland. I think this desire started sometime around 10 years old. There is a very large part of me that will always be a very little girl, and I' determined to never let that part of myself die because this part of my heart is so filled with imaginative dreams. This figurative yellow dress became a sign of happiness for me in my childhood days.
When I was younger, there were a few things that always took my bad day and turned it around. One of which was dancing in my living room to the newest Point of Grace album, another of which was playing outside imagining I was in a distant land with my future husband who was enamored with how beautiful I was. I would dream my husband and I were traveling and playing music to the masses, and I knew he always liked to dance with me in our living room while I was wearing the new dress he had bought for me. The yellow one that made me look like Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast.'
I don't know why the yellow lily has always been my favorite flower, but I can't remember a time when it wasn't. When I was 14 I took a trip to New York, and one of my favorite memories from the trip was walking through the park in springtime among the radiant cherry blossoms watching the salesmen hand out yellow lilies to the lovely ladies who strolled along. It was like a movie, really. All the colors were wonderful, but the yellow lilies added a certain brightness none other could. The lily is bright and echos of something beyond itself; it is not just a flower. It is an entity which brings a smile and a warmed heart to all who behold it. It is truly one of God's most beautiful creations.
I have come a long way since 10 years old, and I have experienced much in the nine years that have passed. I no longer play imagination games on the swings by my gazebo, nor do I venture into the park to see the lovely ladies gaze upon flowers. I spend less time trying to fulfill my "list" of 'before I die,' and focus on the rudimentary day to day. But last night spoke something different.

Last night I had a chance to experience my imagination again, but this time it was with my Jesus. My Love. There are very real and very deep hurts in my heart that sometimes feel like bottomless chasms (no doubt, a product of a fallen world. Stupid Eve just HAD to eat the fruit...) Those parts that have been damaged and shot cause the imagination to sometimes be a painful place to enter. What once was a haven of future dreams and outlandish hopes becomes a battlefield of disappointments, and the enemy has had his chance on the higher ground for far too long.
Hearts were not created to be broken, and love was not meant to be painful. Perfect love that the Father gives to us was created to heal and restore and bring feelings of insurmountable joy. When a heart is broken because of fallen circumstance and a broken world, a disconnect inevitably happens in the heart. Hopes and dreams have the tenancy to become calloused parts of the mind. This is tragic, because God created us with such an ability to dream in a reality beyond human expression and experience. It's the beauty of how creatively artistic He made each and every one of us.
Last night, I came face to face once again with the healing power and mercy of Jesus Christ... if you have never laid your chest on His heart and allowed yourself to be held by Him, you are missing out. The throne of Jesus (or in my perfect world, a couch in the middle of a green pasture) is encompassed in love. He is my protector, my deliverer, my friend, and most dear to me, the love of my life. He will never leave or forsake me. He is enamored with who I am, and He loves to dance with me. I don't know why His compassion always takes me off guard, but I love that it does. I love that I am never ceasing to feel amazed and in awe of how great He is to me. I've come to the epic realization that no matter how far I run, or how broken I am, He will never turn His eyes away from me. He will always pursue me with a passion beyond comprehension.

So I'm making a fresh pot of coffee (the drink I believe is Jesus' favorite), and I'm going to start fulfilling my 'before I die' list with My Love-my Savior. I know He has amazing plans for my life. Plans that never leave me alone or out to fend for myself. His perfect love casts out all traces of fear locked inside this brick-wall of a heart. His love is like a flash-flood of redemptive cleansing, washing away any pain I ever knew. Washing away abandonment and replacing it with a veil of His covering.

Jesus is the best coffee-mate a girl could ever dream of. Cheers, friends.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Anything But Stagnant.

As I sit, pondering the multiple things I'm thankful for whilst eating a homemade pumpkin muffin, I can't help put reminisce on the memory of last Thanksgiving.

It was cold in Nevada, and the house wasn't decorated for Christmas yet. There were feelings of sadness carved in the Turkey, and the stuffing was packed with nostalgia. I'm a vegetarian, so I don't remember what the Turkey tasted like, but I do remember the kitchen was busy, and the peach-raspberry cobbler was to die for. I remember a lot of things about last year: One of which being it was the first and last Thanksgiving my family had spent in Nevada. Ever since I can remember, my family drove down to Southern California for Thanksgiving to celebrate with my extended family (18 cousins) in a food and estrogen packed house. Why did we skip last year's chaotic festivities? My parents had made the decision to move to Granite Bay, CA in the summer. They wanted to spend their last holidays in the house the kids grew up in. We had some of my mom's family over and another guest I'd rather not remember.

Last Thanksgiving was full of confusion for me; it was such a time of transition. I had been attending William Jessup University for almost an entire semester, and had not remembered the first two. Summer and fall of 09' were not my favorite times. I felt the separation from my old church and old friends begin, but I still hadn't fully connected to my family in Granite Bay and Rocklin. I was lost, scared, and terribly lonely. I just didn't know where to go, or who to turn to. I was wondering in the wilderness between past and present. So naturally, I chose to live in-between both. I was with who I knew I once loved and who I wished would love me. And like a thief in the night, my world was turned upside down once again. Before I could even blink I was back where I started, but moving forward faster than before. The next couple moths were definitely packed with both great and terrible things, but I finally started to come alive again.

Though I wish to glaze over many events of last year, I cannot say I would like to omit it completely. The Lord is mighty to save. He is the restorer of the broken; And I was so broken for so long. He rescued me from myself and from a life of devastation. All there is to say about that is Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found; Was blind, but now I see. The Lord has shown His Providence in such a tangible way, and I feel like I am walking in a Marvelous Light that I never knew. There really is no turning back when you see God's own hand pull you away from a pit of mire. Walking through that dark period really did strengthen my faith and give me a passion for the name of Christ I never before knew.

Now, I've encountered this year. The house I'm in is full of food and people. It is louder than rush hour traffic, and I couldn't be more satisfied. I couldn't be more thankful. I am in an environment of people who are honestly for me. I am surrounded by support. I am enclosed in the most wonderful protection. I have an insane family who loves and cares for me. I have friends who make me laugh and will hold me when I cry.

I have recently been reflecting on how thankful I am for my family at Bayside Church. I have never been in such an uplifting Godly environment. I have never felt so blessed to call leaders my own, nor have I ever felt so welcome and embraced. God's blessings have been so abundant over the past year. For the first time in my life I am amply aware I am in the right place at the right time, with exactly the right people. I am loved, appreciated, protected, cared for, and challenged daily. Every single tear of anger and sadness I cried has been answered, and I have been blessed with more than I ever asked for.

My God is my King, and I am so in love with Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior.

My eyes have seen the Glory of the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Paper in Blogger Form.

This is re-written in journalism form from a biology paper.

The rates of autism in America’s children has spiked dramatically in the past twenty years, to where Autism is actively affecting 1 out of every 500 children. If your child is born autistic, there is no doubt your family doctor is giving you multiple treatment options such as medication, treatment, and perhaps multiple family therapists to assist in your coping. Though all those things are hypothetically good treatments for an autistic child, you are covering up the problem rather than solving it. Since there is no known cure for autism, you are intoxicating your child with multiple medicine products inevitably ample with side affects such as ‘drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea’ and so on. However, more serious side affects may include liver damage, depression and possibly death.

Dependant on how serious the child’s case of autism is, he is subjected to either major neuroleptic medication(Thioridazine, chlorpromazine, thorazine, haloperidol and risperidol), or minor neuroleptic medication(Valium and Librium); both medications serve as a type of tranquilizer to the brain. The main function of the medicine is to reduce the activity of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that acts as a messenger between nerve cells. If the medication is administered throughout a long period of time, the recipient of the medication runs a high risk of ceasing to develop his/her own dopamine all together, due to their desensitization to the chemical.

In the world of fast food, TV dinners, Gerber’s baby food (which is PACKED with process sugar), and medication at easy hand, the world of proper and balanced diet is neglected more often than not. Most women while pregnant enjoy late night binging on potato chips, ice cream, and French fries, and with that are filling their child with a lack of nutrition before they are even born. Unhealthy eating habits surround America from the Mcdonalds down the street to the aspartame-laced lollypop handed to us in the doctor’s office. It is no huge surprise America is obese on Atkins, packed with behavioral problems in the cafeteria lunch line, and infected with alarming rates of child autism. From before we are even born, we lack the nutrients for a balanced life. If diet is even a partial cause of America’s unhealth (which it irrefutably is), then wouldn’t the logical conclusion be to assume diet could act as a partial control for the symptoms of diseases such as autism? Dr. Daniel Lufer from the Harvard medical association highly suggests it can be. He says over 90% of diet can be directly correlated to any health issue present. Whether that be neurological health, intestinal health or otherwise: Health is a key factor in fighting disease and bodily dysfunction. (Harvard Health Letter, 2009)

In personal research regarding alternative treatments for autism, I quickly found most FDA, or government sites were fairly anti diet control for the treatment of autism, and most other sites, which included anything from medical to personal testimonies, were pro diet and environment control. The national institute of neurological disorders and strokes (NINDS) was the first website that came up while searching the FDA’s ASD treatment options. The author states there are a number of controversial therapies or interventions available for people with ASD, such as environment change, diet control etc. But few, if any, are supported by scientific studies. He then cautions parents against any treatment other than medication in a controlled setting. (ninds.gov)

Since the medical practice (not all, but most) appears to distribute hard medication so liberally, it is not entirely shocking to see most autistic children never receive a blood or allergy test (Perhaps they’re allergic to a ‘brain-food?’), nor are they given a strict diet to adhere to other than ‘eat one hour prior to taking medication.’ Thus, the possibility of diet-control to alter the affects of one's autism are never even tested.

The fast food industry has EXPLODED in the past ten years; there is one on almost ever corner. Fast food is full of pesticides, trans fats, mercury and inorganic meats full of prosthetic hormones that have been genetically altered. The meat products used in fast food restaurants (and most restaurants in general), are taken from animals either mistreated or disease-laden. They are usually not grain-fed animals, but rather survive on injections which make them fat faster, and an ample supply of corn products. Since even the meat we eat is inadequate, “healthy” American’s are bound to be malnourished and full of unhealthy hormones, ecoli, overdoses of estrogen or testosterone, and pesticides. Since an Autistic child is already lacking in proper nutrition to fuel and heal the neurological inconsistencies, is it completely foolhardy to assume taking in large amounts of unhealthy and unnatural products that are difficult to break down might assist in possible spikes in a child’s autistic behavior? If a healthy individual is malnourished for long enough, their body will eventually revolt and develop a disease, whether it happens at childhood, or past sixty years of age. The body is not built to process unnatural and processed foods.

Dear FDA: Please stop allowing so many chemicals, unnatural products, dangerous hard medication, and Mcdonalds to infect our children from the womb to adulthood.

It is amazing how many health dysfunctions can be controlled (at least partially) by a healthy lifestyle. Take large amounts of leafy greens, not valium.

That's my conclusion =). Haha.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Candy Dance Lane.

The faces of those I once loved
Haunt me until I direct my gaze
Any direction other than up above-
I'm known for the worst parts of me
From five to eighteen.

Oh, tender heart and calloused campassion,
Did you ever think you'd fall head over feet
For a plan that echoed violently with calamity?
Cause I couldn't have imagined I'd be forced to be born an adult
With my childhood as a poltergeist.
I didn't think things would change
From New York to Candy Dance Lane.

It's not about who's to blame, or who's at fault.
Mundane and bitter thoughts only cause wrinkles to the eye-line,
And we all know that's the marker of the mile
Of e-harmony driven cat lady.
The plan to move in darkness was always shady
But fifteen year olds haven't exactly developed critical thinking.

The faces of those in the now comfort me.
The places I've come to know echo of the best nineteen.
So, I stand, certified adult
Because there was a murder in the city
Of a five year comedic tragedy
With my name on the billboard.
Bright lights still shine on that drafty small town
But I'm different and live in the now.

Maybe some day, five years from now,
I can revisit the history of a 13 year reign in a worn-down town
Of cop-outs and happy shops that sell green under the radar
Maybe I'll revisit that t-boned totaled black car.
Maybe I won't feel like I have to run so far
To escape something that has my name written in the Candy Dance ruin.

Dear History, redemption of your John Hancock is coming soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Go Veg, or Go Home.

I have to decided to fill a goal on my "before I die" list. I have decided to become a vegan next semester. Despite popular belief, I am not doing this so I can protest naked or anything... I'm not even doing it to take a stance against KFC. I'm just doing it because I've always wanted to try it. It sounds like a challenge. It sounds fun. It sounds like something I would enjoy. Do I support animal cruelty? Absolutely not. I think God made the animals, therefore, we should probably be nice to them and not inject them with growth hormones that make their legs break and hearts fail before the age of 2. I also don't think sickly and malnourished animals is something I particular want to put in my own body. I'm not a huge fan of the FDA either; I think they are greedy and evil consumerists that allow Americans to consume foods that make them fat and disease laden...but that's another blog.

All that aside, I'm already a pescitarian, meat makes me moody, and being a vegan will force me to be healthy 100% of the time. It's also a great opportunity to do research on proper, balanced veganism (not substituting soy for everything and it's mother). I love a challenge, I love cooking, I love veggies, and I love vegans. Hence, next semester I am becoming one. It's on my list, and crossing things off gives me satisfaction.

Along with this new health/spontaneous hippy extravaganza, I've decided to group other healthy habits in with it. I already lead a fairly food/exercise healthy lifestyle, so that's not something I'm particularly nervous about faltering on. However, I have SEVERAL other unhealthy habits I'm not a huge fan of. I hear stress is the biggest killer, so I've decided I need to fix my stress life. I am not at the place in life where I can have a day off... and that's okay. I understand being in school and working full-time isn't exactly a tea-party. However, it would be false to say I can't give myself at least five hours a week to spend doing something that relaxes me, something that's a me-thing. I'm committing to be a balanced individual. I'm committing to not going crazy (in the bad, 'I need PMS pills' way.) I'm going to actually be in the place I'm at as much as possible. I.e. When I'm at school, I'll be at school. When I'm at work, I'll be at work. When I'm with family, I'll be with family. Something tells me that will be much healthier than having my mind be all those places at once. I'm not a super-hero... I don't even own a cape, and my thighs are not pillars of steel. I'm just a fashion-loving woman on the quest to become a healthy and balanced individual, one legume at a time.

That's my story.
Go health.