Kristin’s Story: National Kidney Month

Today, I am sharing a story that is near and dear to my heart because it is from my best friend, Kristin (who I’ve been bugging to “guest post” for months!).

We met as Theta sisters at TCU and have been inseparable ever since! So inseparable in fact that we have actually been working at the same ad agency for over three years now since moving to Dallas. She is someone who has been by my side through all of life’s ups and downs both in college and after graduation. I’m so grateful for her continued friendship over the years! And I’m excited that she agreed to share her story with us today!

Here’s Kristin:

I’m not the type of person that cries at work. I think it’s pretty unprofessional. That’s why when I found myself crying in a conference room a little over two years ago I wasn’t prepared.

Being that I live in Texas, I was unprepared for the visits home. At first, it was easier to be in denial — my dad seemed fine when we talked on the phone and just a little more tired when I saw him. But the slow decline in his physical and mental capacity was brought much more into focus because I wasn’t with him everyday. When he began peritoneal dialysis at home it was apparent that no matter if I was prepared or unprepared, my dad was dying. Realizing that it may take years to receive an organ from the National Organ Transplant List my parents started sharing their situation with family and good friends hopeful that someone may be a “match” and consider making the ultimate sacrifice as a live donor; they never asked me. But I didn’t need to be asked. I got tested.

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I cried at work because I was a match. While not “perfect” meeting only four out of the six criteria, it was good enough to be a donor. I was unprepared for the overwhelming feeling that I would finally be able to give back to someone that has given me so much in life — has given me life.

Shortly after my test came through, we got a separate call saying there was a rare six out of six match for him, and since it was “perfect” he was the recipient of a kidney! But there may be a time in the future where my dad will need a kidney, and I will give it to him — without a doubt. I think this is why God gave me two kidneys anyway. So take it; I don’t need both, but you can’t take my Dad — there’s only one of those.IMG_6213

National Kidney Month ends today (the whole month of March). Friends, 26 million Americans are living with kidney disease and another 73 million are at risk. Those numbers are astounding!

Kristin, her dad and the rest of her family are raising money and participating in a kidney walk to help fight kidney disease. If you would like to donate to her team, please click here. Any donation amount helps!

When you donate to the National Kidney Foundation you are joining the fight against kidney disease by:

  • Raising public awareness about kidney disease and risk reduction.
  • Providing free local health screenings.
  • Supporting kidney patients, organ donors and their families.
  • Advocating in Washington, D.C. for government action on the organ donor shortage, funding kidney research and defending Medicare coverage.
  • Educating doctors and other healthcare professionals with the best information in the field. Last year, 64,500 healthcare professionals were kept up to date through NKF’s Kidney Learning Solutions.

Thank you, Kristin for sharing your story! And we are so glad that your dad is doing so well with his new kidney!!

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Grocery Store Finds: Thrive Market

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Whole Foods is often referred to as “Whole Paycheck,” and we all know why — the place can be EXPENSIVE. A couple weeks ago, I was doing my regular grocery shopping for the week, which includes buying four KIND bars (my favorite pre-workout snack), and as I was checking out, P looks at my four KIND bars and asks if I had ever looked into buying them in bulk instead of individually. To be honest, I really hadn’t thought about this, but because he is a numbers/finance guy, apparently he has.

The next day after doing some research, he found my KIND bars on Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Thrive Market. Since I’m not an Amazon Prime member (meaning no free shipping) and Walmart.com didn’t have the flavors I liked, I went to the Thrive Market website. I was amazed to find my favorite “dry goods” that I buy regularly at Whole Foods sold on Thrive Market for a discounted price. I couldn’t believe it!

My favorite granola (Purely Elizabeth), my KIND bars (all the flavors I like), olive oil, spices, rice, etc. It was AMAZING. P also found his favorites, including KIND granola and Emergen-C — both for several dollars less than he usually pays at Whole Foods.

Needless to say, it didn’t take much convincing to sign up for Thrive Market and make my first order. I bought several bags of granola, three boxes of KIND bars, olive oil, salt, pepper and some of P’s requests (granola and Emergen-C). Because I spent over $49, I got free shipping and free coconut oil and protein powder. I also saved an additional 15 percent off my first order.

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The package came only four business days after I made my order online (I ordered on a Friday and received it the following Wednesday). The packaging was very secure, especially for the olive and coconut oil. We only had one issue with a bag of granola, which I emailed Thrive Market about right after and they immediately issued me a credit and discount on my next order. Overall, my experience was great!

On top of that, I saved a lot of money. Each bag of granola was $1.04 less than I pay at Whole Foods, and I saved $0.20 on each KIND bar. While that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money in one week, over the course of the year that’s $27.04 on granola + $41.60 on KIND bars, which more than pays for the membership fee of $59.99 annually. And that’s only for two items that I purchased. P also saved money on his items!

Another aspect I loved about Thrive Market was the wide selection of health foods they had. They have all of the (in my opinion) “odd” ingredients that my healthy recipes call for (like almond flour, almond oil, hemp seeds, etc). And they have categories for Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan and Raw diets. Those categories make it easy for people that follow those diets to find what they are looking for and possible discover new things!

Thrive Market also has a variety of beauty products, vitamins/probiotics and household supplies. I haven’t purchased any of these products yet, but I’ve definitely browsed the categories looking at all they have to offer (A LOT!).

Finally, for every paid membership to Thrive Market, you are also donating a Thrive Market membership to a low-income family. As Thrive Market stated on their website:

“Every year, 49 million Americans experience food insecurity while 80 percent of low-income families resort to buying food they know isn’t healthy just to make ends meet.”

Your Thrive Market membership can give low-income families an opportunity to invest in their health too!

So if you are a health food shopper, at least check out the Thrive Market website and see the brands/foods they have to offer. And then next time you are at Whole Foods or your regular grocery store, do a comparison of the prices. You may be amazed to see how much you could save with a Thrive Market membership! I’m definitely looking forward to discovering new things and making my next order!

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February Edit

A lot of my favorite blogs and sites do a monthly post about all of the finds, buys and things that they are loving for that particular month. And because I enjoy reading those posts so much, I thought I would share mine too! I know we’re already a few days into March, but here were my favorites from February:

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  1. Thrive Market — I’m so excited to share this with y’all! Thrive Market is basically an online and discounted version of Whole Foods. All of my favorite “dry-good” products (think granola, spices, KIND bars, olive oil) are on the site at a discounted price. I just got my first shipment in yesterday, and I’ll be sharing more about my experience next week. Stay tuned!
  2. Meal planning — In order to make my weeks and mornings run more smoothly, I have been taking time on Sundays to get my lunches and dinners together (at least getting my veggies chopped up). I bought these containers at The Container Store and like how well they hold up in the dishwasher and the various sizes they come in.
  3. What I’m currently reading — I started Fates and Furies a couple weeks ago and could not get into it at all. Since it’s my book club book, I needed to press on and keep reading, so I did, and I have to say the second half makes the first half so much better. I’m nearly done with it, so we will see how I like the ending. I’m also halfway through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and have found it really interesting so far. There have been a lot of ideas presented that I hadn’t given much thought to before, so it’s given me a lot of food-for-thought in terms of keeping organized. I’m hoping to finish in the next couple weeks.
  4. Cupcakes & Cashmere Leather Jacket — I have been wanting a leather jacket for a while now, but the price of them always seems to stop me from actually buying one. So when I saw this faux leather jacket go on sale at Nordstrom it was a no-brainer buy! I’ve worn it multiple times in the short two weeks I’ve had it and absolutely LOVE IT!
  5. Moment app — I stumbled across this app a couple weeks ago and downloaded it to my phone right away. Basically, it tracks the amount of time you are spending on your phone, and so far I have found it really convicting. Hopefully it will continue to make me think twice about wasting time on it.
  6. Tangerine La Croix — This is a new flavor of La Croix that is exclusive to Whole Foods (or at least that’s what the sign at Whole Foods said). I really liked it and will be putting it in rotation with my other favorite sparkling waters.
  7. New Balance Shoes — I bought these on sale from Nordstrom after eyeing them for a while (and unfortunately they are sold out now). This is my second pair of New Balances, and I’m pumped to have another color option at my disposal. They are the BEST run around shoe!
  8. Zoodles — These are my new go-to food. I’ve used them in several dishes as a “spaghetti” substitute and also as a vegetable side dish. Since I don’t have a spiralizer (yet…), being able to buy these already spiralized is awesome and so convenient! This company also makes a sweet potato version that I have enjoyed as well.

To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat

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First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to me regarding last week’s post. To be honest, it was really hard for me to write and talk about some of those things, but hearing all of your feedback and support made it so worth it. Part of the reason I started this blog was to talk about my struggles with a healthy body image.

Several years ago (before I started blogging), I stumbled upon a blogger who openly shared about her struggles with an eating disorder. Her openness and vulnerability inspired me to want to be more open about my own issues in hopes that not only others could relate and know they were not alone, but that we would combat these negative thoughts together.

Satan wants us to keep all of our sin struggles to ourself. He doesn’t want us to be authentic and vulnerable with others and God because he knows we are set free when we confess our shortcomings.

Two passages on this topic come to mind:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

So if you are struggling with a healthy body image or an eating disorder, talk to someone. Don’t give Satan the power by keeping it to yourself. I hope to continue to write about eating issues and share my journey to finding freedom from my struggles.

But now onto the real topic of discussion for today: my transition to eating meat (only chicken so far) and what I think this will look like in the future.

I knew about a month or so ago that I wanted to surprise P for Valentine’s Day with barbecue chicken. He LOVES barbecue, but we have not been able to eat it together since we’ve been dating because barbecue restaurants rarely have anything vegetarian to eat (except maybe a baked potato and cole slaw). So I thought the ultimate surprise would be to not only make his favorite kind of food but eat meat all at the same time!

But there was no way though that my stomach was going to be able to handle barbecue chicken at the first go around, so I spent a couple weeks prepping myself to get there, mentally and physically. I had also never cooked chicken before, so that was something I needed to do some research on.

Prior to going to the grocery store, I did research to learn about Whole Foods meat grading scale and where the chicken comes from at my local Whole Foods. Once I had confirmed that the chicken was hormone-free and antibiotic-free, I was ready to try it. I asked the butcher for only half of a breast (got to start somewhere) and after a confused glance or two, he eventually obliged.

In my research I had also found this AMAZING tutorial on how to cook chicken. And when I went to cook the chicken, it turned out perfectly the first time! (This was a miracle in and of itself.) I seasoned my chicken with a little olive oil and lemon pepper (the same way I cook most of my fish), but only ate half of the half breast because I was concerned it wouldn’t sit well the first time. But I felt find the rest of the night and the next day when I ate the rest of it for lunch. (This was a good sign!)

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the first chicken meal
Two weeks later, I tried chicken again and upped the intake to half a breast per meal, seasoned and cooked the same way. And again I felt fine after eating it. So after this second experience, I decided I was ready to make and eat the barbecue chicken.

I found this recipe for barbecue chicken “burgers” and was especially drawn to it because I could throw all the ingredients into the crockpot and not have to worry about it. The recipe suggested eating the “burgers” with guacamole and shredded cheese, so I did exactly that. I also made some roasted okra (P’s favorite) and bought sweet potato tortilla chips at Whole Foods (these were a BIG hit!).

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chicken burger, okra and sweet potato tortilla chips
Despite my nerves, everything turned out great and his reaction was priceless! I wish I could have gotten it on camera because he nearly cried. Yes, cried! He was so excited! And he LOVED the food as well. It couldn’t have gone any better.

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he was so surprised!
I felt totally fine after eating the barbecue chicken the first time, but when I tried eating some of the leftovers the next day, that didn’t sit as well. I think moderation is key, and I overdid it by trying to eat the two meals so close together.

Overall, I would say it was a very successful surprise! It was something that I know meant a lot to P, so I’m glad I did it.

But there were (and still are) some mixed emotions after, only because I feel like I have failed at being a vegetarian. This is completely irrational thinking, considering I was a vegetarian for 5 and a half years (and you can’t really “fail” at being a vegetarian), but I can’t get the thoughts out of my head.

So what does this mean moving forward? Am I a meat-eater? A part-time vegetarian? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been hard to label, and I frankly don’t want to put a label on it. I have a tendency to do things ALL or NOTHING, 0 or 100, so this type of restriction I don’t think is good for my personality type.

I like the idea of eating what makes sense in each situation. For me, I think this looks like still eating mostly vegetarian or pescatarian. I love eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains for my meals. But I think sometimes there will be moments where eating chicken or some type of meat is my only option and instead of eating nothing (which I have done), eating the meat is the better route to go.

I’ll update y’all as I go along because this is a journey, and I’m not sure where it’s taking me right now. In the meantime, thank you for your support, love and encouragement! It means the world to me.

The Year of the Chicken

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This past weekend I had chicken for the first time in five and a half years. Well, technically that’s only partially true because I first tried it a couple weeks ago, so that I could get my stomach ready for the “big reveal,” but you get the point.

I’ve been a vegetarian for five and a half years. And I love being a vegetarian. After all I had a Vegeversary Party to celebrate five years of it! I also cook lots of vegetarian dishes (several of which I have shared: here, here and here). Part of what defines me is being a vegetarian. So why change? Why eat chicken?

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was thinking about eating meat again, that I was calling this the “year of the chicken.” When I first became a vegetarian, I always knew that I would eventually start eating meat again. I never thought it would be a forever lifestyle, mostly because I didn’t think it would be sustainable with a husband and family. But having been single for most of my twenties (with a few short-term boyfriends here and there), I never saw a reason to start eating meat again since I was usually only cooking for myself. So five and a half years later, here I am.

When I started dating P, I told him all of this. And although being a vegetarian was (and I quote) “not his favorite thing about me,” he accepted it in hopes that someday I would eat meat again (someday being sooner rather than later). It wasn’t a big deal. He ate everything I made (vegetarian or not). He would almost always have me choose restaurants, so that I wouldn’t have issues finding something. And when in the rare occurrence, he would pick, he would look up the menus and find a few things for me just so I had some options (he’s the sweetest, right??).

Hear me when I say, I did not start eating meat again solely for my boyfriend. He definitely played a significant part in the decision, particularly in speeding up the timing of when I did it, but there’s so much more to it.

Another big contributing factor was the annoyance of it in social situations. (I talked a little bit about this in my Thanksgiving post.) Whenever you go to someone’s house for dinner or you go to a nice restaurant, there are times when being vegetarian is not feasible. I remember several instances where the only thing I could eat at a party was a dinner roll and some cheese or even restaurants that I had to make a meal out of random sides. And when we went to Colorado over New Year’s, there was literally nothing I could eat in the house for breakfast or dinner. Everything had meat in it.

And you don’t want to be the person that picks through their food or rudely rejects a dish that someone prepared. You don’t want to be difficult every time you go out to eat. You don’t want it to be a big deal, but sometimes it is. So when I stumbled across this TED talk a couple months ago, the speaker’s points sparked my interest. I had never thought about being a vegetarian part-time because for me, it was always all or nothing. But his argument made me think a little differently.

And that’s not all. Health-wise, I think I used being vegetarian as a crutch in a lot of instances. I used it as a way to be restrictive in my eating without being “suspicious” of having disordered eating patterns. There were many times where I wasn’t eating properly, not getting enough protein, not getting enough calories, and I justified it in my head because of the “diet” I was on.

Now, do I think that being a vegetarian for five and half years was a cover up for an eating disorder? Not all the time, no. I know I had pure intentions to start and continued to have pure intentions for most of the time I was a vegetarian. With that said though, if I’m being brutally honest, I know at least part of the reason I stayed a vegetarian for so long was because I feared eating meat again. I feared gaining weight.

Even typing this now, I feel so silly saying that. Who fears chicken because they think they will gain weight? I know how irrational I sound, but it’s how I felt, how I still feel as I venture into new territory.

So with all those reasons in hand, I decided this was the year. I knew it would please at least my mom and my boyfriend. I knew it would give me more flexibility in social situations. And I knew I needed to get over my irrational fear of gaining weight. It was time.

Next week I’ll share how I handled the transition (those first couple meals) and what I think my diet will look like moving forward.

Back to the Basics: Part One

unsplash treesThe best way I can describe 2016 in the 20 days we’ve had so far is like drinking out of a firehose. It’s funny because I have always thought of January as a sleepy month, a month where you’re getting over the post-holiday blues and getting back into the swing of things. But not this year.

And I truly can’t complain. The activities and events that have filled my calendar so far have been fun, rewarding and beneficial. I love all of the different things I have going on in my life right now. But that doesn’t deter from the fact that I need a regroup. I need to evaluate priorities again and get rid of the “clutter.”

My new year’s resolutions were mostly about my faith. And that is purposeful because it is the biggest area I want to see growth over the next year. But after reading so many inspiring posts and articles these past few weeks, I’ve been inspired to take the approach I’m taking with my faith to all areas of my life. So this is going to be a “back to the basics” year.

This plays out in several ways, but mostly boils down to de-cluttering, to getting rid of things in my life that are meaningless so that I can make time for the things that are important. This is a lesson I’m trying to learn and re-learn.

Last year, I got really hung up on the details, the little things in life that in the grand scheme of things weren’t the most important. I over-extended myself into so many different areas that I wasn’t able to focus on the things that mean the most to me. This year, I can’t promise that I won’t over-extend myself (because who am I kidding?!), but I am going to promise to not spend so much time in the details and non-critical, non-important things of life.

P makes fun of me with this because I have a never-ending to do list filled with mostly menial tasks that I have a really hard time prioritizing. He always asks me what’s on my “must do” list instead. Hilarious, thanks P. but that is what this year is going to be about. Tackling my “must do’s” so that I don’t sacrifice the “basics” of life.

As best as I could categorize, here is where I see this playing out:

Health

I need to get more sleep PERIOD. I need to make it a priority to be in bed at 10 during the week no matter what. How can I expect to be productive and effective without a good night’s sleep?

I also need to drink more water. I spend so much time and energy on my diet and eating healthy it blows my mind that something as easy as drinking water is difficult for me. Although I’m not making it a resolution like last year, I need to make a point to be drinking more water.

I’ve been calling this the “year of the chicken.” There are several reasons why I’m going to be looking into adding meat back into my life (but we will save those for another post). I want to re-look at the dietary choices I’m making and evaluate what I think is most healthy for me in this season.

Finally, I want to get back to cooking more regularly and cooking different things. Because of my 2014 resolution, I have a few go-to’s that I always make. But I want to expand my horizons this year and get back into cooking new things. How are you going to learn if you don’t try, right?

De-cluttering

I need to de-clutter. Mind you, my house would not be categorized as cluttered. I clean out my closet and things at least once or twice a year. Everything is always picked up and clean. But after reading so many articles about a minimalistic wardrobe and de-cluttering your house, I want to re-look at this again. Plus, it’s good to have a good clean-out every now and then.

And on that note, I just bought Marie Kondo’s book and can’t wait to dive into it. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it and hope to incorporate some of her de-cluttering concepts, which I know will translate themselves to all areas of my life.

Time

Time is the ultimate enemy for me. I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to do. This year, I really need to hone in on where I’m spending my time. How can I manage those 5-10 minute pockets of downtime better and not scroll through my Instagram feed for the 100th time that day? How can I make the most of my time while remaining flexible and free for some spontaneity too? How can I make time for the things that matter the most to me? These are all questions I need to process through and evaluate.

I also want to make more time for reading. During the first half of last year, I was reading about three books a month and loving it. But during the back half, I was lucky to read one book a month. Now there are a number of factors for this (looking at you, P), but hopefully I can make it a priority to make more time for it. After all, there are so many benefits to reading.

And lastly my blog. Writing and sharing what’s on my heart has been such a joy for me this past year and a half. There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I would love to write and execute on, but time always seems to get in my way. I hope to find a better way to schedule time for writing this year because writing and using my creativity to come up with post ideas have become a favorite outlet of mine.

Now this is not meant to be another round of resolutions. Good grief, I don’t think adding resolutions would help get “back to the basics,” do you? This list is however a reminder to myself of the areas where I wasn’t successful last year and where I want see growth in 2016. So hopefully on December 31, 2016, I will be able to look back and say I successfully got back to basics and formed healthy habits again.

Part two will be coming your way shortly. And for that part, I want to focus on my faith. Stay tuned.

Links I Love: Resolution Edition

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We are two weeks into 2016, and I am just now feeling settled from all of my holiday traveling and getting back into my usual routines. I’m starting to make some headway on my own resolutions, and have been inspired to make a few additional small goals for 2016. It already feels like it’s going to be a great year!

Have you noticed all of the great articles on resolution making and keeping that have been floating around the internet? I sure have and couldn’t help but share a few of my favorites! I categorized them in case you were looking for something specific, but if not they are all worthy of a good read!

Making & Keeping Resolutions

  1. 7 tips for keeping your resolutions (Camille Styles)
  2. Advice from a former Twitter exec on reaching your goals (Relevant Magazine)
  3. Bringing balance to your resolutions (The New Potato)
  4. Making a resolution that actually sticks (Relevant Magazine)
  5. The guidelines I use for making a resolution 

Health Resolutions

  1. 3 reasons to get more sleep — this was a convicting read for me! (Desiring God)
  2. 10 ways to actually stick with your “healthy eating” resolution (The Everygirl)
  3. A good perspective on factors that influence our relationship with food (Cupcakes and Cashmere)
  4. 3 damaging lies that women believe about their body (The Chalkboard)
  5. How to be more positive (The New Potato)

Life Resolutions

  1. How to stay organized at life (Camille Styles)
  2. 4 ways to practice the Sabbath this year (Relevant Magazine)
  3. How to find more time for reading books & a 2016 reading challenge (The Everygirl)
  4. One blogger’s goals for 2016 & the books she chose to correspond with those goals — LOVE that idea! (Natalie Metrejean)
  5. 26 small things you can start doing right now (Thought Catalog)
  6. My tips for making the most of your mornings

Faith Resolutions

  1. A place to start when you’re feeling spiritually stuck (Desiring God)
  2. The one book you must read this year (Desiring God)
  3. 12 promises to keep you motivated in your Bible reading (Desiring God)
  4. Tips on reading your Bible (Desiring God)
  5. My tips for memorizing Scripture & sharing your faith 

What are you resolutions for 2016? I would love to know!

#SomethingNew January: Skiing

IMG_5434Over New Years I went skiing for the first time. Growing up in Chicago, our family never went on “cold weather” vacations — we had all the cold weather we could take during Chicago’s six-month long winter. And because I don’t like the cold weather, I never thought twice about skiing. That is until I started dating someone who LOVES skiing. So for his birthday which also happens to be New Year’s Eve, we went skiing with a big group of friends.

I would love to sit here and say that I couldn’t wait to try it out — that I was beyond excited to go barreling down a mountain at full-speed, but you can obviously tell that was not the case. Not only was I terrified about getting hurt having heard countless horror stories of people tearing their ACLs, but as I checked the weather closer and closer to the trip, the temperature seemed to drop lower and lower in Colorado.

So I did as much prep work as I could before getting there — grabbing everything warm in my closet and making a few much-needed trips to REI to get socks and anything wool that they had. I was prepared. I had all the gear, so I looked the part. Now I just needed to bring my A-game, so that I wouldn’t get hurt.

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After all that anticipation, the day was finally here. We picked up my rental skis, boots and poles and headed to the mountain for my ski lesson. We practiced our “pizzas” and wide S’s down the bunny slope. Then, we practiced getting on and off the lift and eventually graduating to bigger bunny slopes. We practiced and practiced, until finally it was time to just go for it. Go for the green!

My first time going down the green slope was probably the best run I had that day because I had no idea what to expect. I remember asking my ski instructor, how much of a difference there was between the bunny slope and the green, and he kind of looked at me and laughed. I don’t think I ever got that answer, but that was for the best because once I knew what to expect, I kept psyching myself out.

The other couple runs I did that day were less successful than the first, but successful nonetheless. I fell only a few times (maybe three or four) throughout the day, but needed to work on SLOWING DOWN and not panicking and flailing when other people were around (which you can imagine was often).

Going into this trip, I knew I was going to have a hard time skiing with P. I never want him (or pretty much anyone else for that matter) to see any of my weaknesses. So I wanted to be perfect at skiing right away (much like a lot of my other #SomethingNew attempts). I didn’t want him to give me feedback. I didn’t want him to see me fail (my version of failure at least). I wanted to be the next Lindsey Vonn after day one.

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But putting that kind of pressure on myself automatically set me up for failure. When P did try to help me, I got defensive and completely shut down. I wanted to figure it out by myself. I didn’t want his help and I didn’t want him to see me struggle.

Thankfully, I have a gracious boyfriend, who looks past my stubbornness. So after pleading with him to let me figure it out myself, he left me alone and I went down several more times before ending the day with a much-needed glass of wine.

Three cheers for the bars at the bottom of the slopes!!!

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Day two was a million times better!! Not only was I able to sleep on everything that I had learned, but I had a different mindset going into the day. I didn’t have to be perfect, and P didn’t expect me to be perfect. By taking that pressure off myself and reminding myself that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” as I am (a beginning skier), I was ready to take on the day!

P and I skied together the whole second day. It was magical, romantic, fun and terrifying all at the same time. I loved getting to experience it all with him. He was so patient with me, so encouraging and so gracious. I’m beyond grateful for him.

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And my skiing got better and better throughout the day, but more importantly my insecurities of not being “good enough” became less and less powerful. Even when I fell or flailed or did something dumb, I was able to laugh at myself and not take it all so seriously. I don’t have to worry about being “good enough” for someone. My security is in the LORD alone.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

The LORD is continuing to break down my pridefulness by putting me in situations where I will not excel the first time, where I can’t be perfect because I’m not perfect. He continues to refine me in my relationship with P as I continue to find insecurities that I didn’t even know existed, like not being good enough for someone. Wondering how can pride and insecurity exist at the same time? That will be a post for another day. But basically, the #SomethingNews are back this year because I still have so much headway to make in extending myself grace and letting go of perfection.

So will I ski again? Yes. Especially because P enjoys it so much. And honestly it was pretty enjoyable. I can see why he likes it so much. Would I choose a cold weather vacation over a beach vacation? Probably not, but that’s okay. At least when we go again I will know what to expect and I will never have to deal with the dreaded “first day of skiing” again. He tells me it’s like riding a bike when you go again. I hope he’s right.

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