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.

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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.

Things To Do in Dallas

I have lived in Dallas for almost four years now (CRAZY!), and the longer I live here, the more I realize that Dallas is a perfect place to live in your twenties. There is so much to do and so many fun places to go (not to mention all of the young people that live here) — the opportunities are endless. I’m lucky to get to spend my young adult years here.

Over the past few years, I have developed a list of favorite places to go and things to do whatever the circumstances. So here they are:

Places to Go on a Sunny Day

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Katy Trail Ice House

The weather in Texas is one of the major factors that got me to move here in the first place. One of the first things I noticed about Texas weather after moving from Chicago is how sunny and mild the climate was all the time (mild, until about June that is). I love the sunny, warm weather here because I love being outside as much as I can and you are able to enjoy the outdoors almost year-round.

When I feel like being active, I like to walk around the Katy Trail or rent bikes and bike around White Rock Lake. If I want to “brunch” and shop around outside, I like to go to West Village or the Bishop Arts District, both of which offer a number of restaurants and places to shop. If I feel like having a drink outside, I go to Katy Trail Ice House or Deep Ellum Brewing Co (I went for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved it!). They both have outdoor areas to hang out and grab a beer.

Best Outdoor Patios for Dinner + Drinks

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Toulouse

Eating outside on a patio has to be one of my favorite things, and thankfully is something you can do for a majority of the year in Dallas. A nice glass of rosé on the Toulouse patio is something I dream about all the time. Not only is their food my favorite in Dallas, but you feel like you are in a bistro in Paris whenever you eat there.

HG Supply Co. has one of the best rooftop patios/bars in the area. They have a great view of the Dallas skyline and always a good crowd. The only downside is that they do not offer their full dinner menu on the rooftop, so I prefer to eat dinner inside to get the full menu and then grab an after-dinner drink on the rooftop.

Saint Ann is a magical place. I am tempted to put this in not only the best patio category, but also the best “Date Night” category because not only is the food amazing, but the atmosphere is one of the best in Dallas in my opinion.

Places to Read or Study

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Ascension Coffee

I have been going on a “Dallas Coffeeshop Tour” for a while now, trying to find the best coffeeshops in the area. After all the places I’ve visited, my favorite by a long shot has to be Ascension Coffee. The food and coffee is amazing and the atmosphere is good for working on my Bible study or a blog post.

Oak Lawn Coffee also has good coffee and a good environment for getting things done. It’s a lot less “social” than Ascension, so it’s a better option if you get distracted easily.

When I’m in the mood for a really good scone, I love going to Village Baking Co. They recently opened a new location on Greenville that has great seating and a lot more food options than the one by SMU. They truly have the best French pastries and bread in the area.

Things to do on a Rainy Day

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Bowl & Barrel

The first “rainy day” activity that always pops into my head is to go to a movie. I’m pretty particular about movie theaters because I have a hard time relaxing during the movie when the theater is gross. So my favorite theaters are Magnolia in West Village and Highland Park Village Theater. They are both small and clean. And even though they only offer a few movie options, they are definitely worth it for the ambiance.

I also love to go bowling even though I’m terrible at it. Bowlounge and Bowl & Barrel are two fun places to go bowl. They both offer dinner options that aren’t pizza and wings and an overall experience that’s a little nicer than a typical bowling alley.

But if I’m being honest, usually on rainy days I have no motivation to leave my house, so I will grab a Coal Vines pizza and stay at home to watch TV or a movie.

Girl’s Night

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Central Market Cooking Class

Now that Sangria is no longer (I’m truly devastated), my favorite place for a girl’s night is Si Tapas. Sharing a bunch of dishes and a pitcher of sangria is the ultimate girl’s night in my opinion, something that the man in your life just doesn’t understand. (Anyone else’s boyfriend not like to share food???)

Another favorite girl’s night idea is a cooking class at Sur la Table or Central Market. What could be more fun than drinking wine and attempting to be domestic?! Both places offer a wide variety of classes to choose from, so even your pickiest friend will find one that sounds good to them (I’m speaking to myself here).

Lastly, Truth & Alibi is a great bar to go to for a girl’s night out on the town. They have good music and lots of dancing as well as places to sit and talk when your feet get tired.

Grabbing a Bite On-the-Go

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Eatzi’s

EATZI’S. Anyone that knows me knows my obsession with Eatzi’s. It is ALWAYS my go-to when I want something fast and easy. They really do have the best food and a slew of different things to get. WARNING: If you are going for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming, but my advice would be to go for a the salad or sandwich lines (make your own salad or sandwich) or for the hot meal they are offering that day (I always get the salmon and two sides). The carrot cake is also phenomenal, so don’t leave without grabbing it or some other dessert!

If for some reason I don’t go to Eatzi’s, I usually end up at Start. They have a lot of healthy (and vegetarian) options as well as a drive thru. I particularly like the hummus and veggie appetizer or the veggie burger with sweet potato tater tots.

Date Night

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Ziziki’s

While I would highly recommend all the of the places I mentioned in the “Best Outdoor Patios” as good places for a date, there are tons of great date spots in Dallas.

Ziziki’s has amazing Greek food. Last time I took my friends there, everyone licked their plate clean. It’s that good. Filament is a new restaurant in Deep Ellum that offers amazing Southern-inspired food and delicious cocktails. We went a few weekends ago on a double date, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Hibiscus also has great food and a romantic ambiance.

If you’re looking for something a little more out of the box, here are some other date night ideas in Dallas. 

Color Crush: Blush

I’ve never really considered myself much of a “pink person,” but lately I’ve been having a major color crush on all things blush! It all started when Pantone announced that “rose quartz” and “serenity” were the 2016 colors of the year, and ever since I’ve been looking to add some blush pieces to my wardrobe.

I think it’s a great color to incorporate as we transition from winter to spring because it can soften some of your more wintery looks while not looking too springy. Also, there are so many blush options out right now that you can mix it in in the smallest way or as more of statement piece. And all just in time for Valentine’s Day!

So what do you think? Are you crushing on blush?

color crush blush

From top left to bottom right:
Loft BlouseTory Burch TotePaige Denim JeansTassel EarringsKendra Scott NecklaceBanana Republic SweaterLoft SkirtTopShop PumpsCupcakes and Cashmere Jacket

Back to the Basics: Part Two

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In part one, I wrote about how this year I am focusing on getting back to the basics of life in terms of my health, decluttering and time. In part two, though, I want to focus more specifically on getting back to the basics of faith. What does it mean to be a Christian? What causes us to lose sight of what our faith is about?

First and foremost, being a Christian at its most basic level means being a follower of Christ. You believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross paid the penalty for your sins completely. So nothing you do can “get” you into Heaven.

God’s gift of salvation is just that — it’s a gift. You cannot earn it. But you can accept this gift completely and sufficiently as a payment for your sins. 

OK, I need to pause because WOW! Praise God for this wonderful gift. Praise God that we do NOT earn our salvation. Praise God that he accepts me as a sinner and washes me completely from my sin because of His Son’s blood.

..He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit… (Titus 3:5)

So having received this gift of salvation, we live to worship God out of gratitude, humility and love.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

It’s as simple as that right? Just be a living sacrifice. No explanation needed. Well, wait. What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? What does it mean to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27)?

I think it can be summarized well with this verse:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Overall, this looks like getting in the Word and in prayer every day in order to spend time with God (John 15:5). This looks like loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39) and serving others well (Mark 10:45). This looks like fleeing from sins that entangle you and pursuing righteous (Hebrews 12:1-2). This is the big picture.

But sometimes we can get into the nitty gritty details about specifically what Christian living looks like in various areas and disagree.

Person A thinks reading a lot Christian books is necessary (I may or may not be in this camp…haha). Person B thinks listening to secular music is wrong. Person C thinks only holding hands is appropriate while dating. Person D thinks and so on and so on.

I fear that when we get into these conversations, when we disagree and can’t find common ground on things that are so minimal, we are missing the common ground we do have. We are missing the Gospel. We are missing what this whole thing is about. We need to back “home” (or paragraph 2 of this post). We need to be reminded of the grace God has extended to us and look at the bigger picture. If we don’t, the enemy has us right where he wants us: distracted, divided and disheartened.

So this year, let’s all make it our mission to remember the Gospel in every conversation. Remember it when we agree, disagree, correct, love, rebuke and spur one another on. With the hope that these disagreements will be minimal because we remember that we are all playing on the same team.

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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