Monday, July 28, 2014

No Strings Attached

I am currently reading the book "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller, and after only 7 chapters in I have cried twice. This little bit of time has been a revealing soul search, let me tell you! Literally.

What he has written about so far has been simple, yet profound (great book review, right!? Amazon top verified reviewer, here I come!). Seriously though, it is bringing an awareness to my hidden (and ignored) insecurities. I didn't even realize until tonight that I have slipped back into the insecurity of believing that Jesus doesn't like me. That He wouldn't like me if He "really met me." (As if He doesn't know me already, *insert eye roll* but you get the point.) I am able to depersonalize it and delude myself into thinking I haven't exposed myself, my true self, to Jesus since He isn't actually here in person. And along with this delusion comes the belief that I would never be His choice. The lie that I'm not chosen. The picture of being lost in a crowd of other "unwanted ones", a root for my struggle with loneliness.

In his book, Miller writes "Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God's love will." Ouch. I was writing all this in my journal tonight and decided to look back at my last entry. Of course, it's about earning my righteousness and by being disciplined. I have ALWAYS had the mentality of "I just need discipline to fix my life." I never think of it as a bad thing either, because in it I am acknowledging that the source of all I need is found in God. I just go about it the wrong way and depend on the wrong things. Instead of simply (and I do mean "simply") placing my trust in Him, I make a check list. My confidence comes from incorrectly trusting myself to fulfill my newly written goals - thus earning what I am seeking.

"If I go to church more regularly... I won't be so lost in what I am supposed to be doing with my life."
"If I read my Bible more... I'll be more willing to love."
"If I spend 20 minutes in prayer before work every day... I won't spend the whole day complaining."

All those things are good, and they place me in the position of being closer to God and more attune to to His will... but are they the actual source? No.
My receiving that joy, contentment, wisdom, compassion, etc., has become to me a reward of having perfect discipline. And the mentality that without perfect discipline, I will never be fulfilled.

I don't accept what is freely given.

Are all those things that I mentioned good and godly? Yup. Will they light a fire in me to pursue Him even more, and to build the desire to obey His will? Yes. But do I have to depend on MY efforts, MY work, MY accomplishments to save me from a life of loneliness and emptiness? Never.

Typically though, it is beyond my thinking to imagine receiving those things mentioned without first proving myself worthy, proving myself "like-able" through completing those tasks. I struggle so much with the fear of not being lovable. I fear I can never make another close friend. I fear that I am too "__insert disdainful word here__" to be invited to a gathering. I fear being forgotten. I fear that my best friends will never love me as much as I love them. That I will never be valued by anyone other than my mom and aunt (there is no doubt of their love, they don't allow it.) My best friend recently posted a status on Facebook where, after she commented that she was craving pancakes, her husband made her cinnamon pancakes, freshly made blueberry topping, and homemade whipped cream. I caught myself wondering if someone would ever want to do something like that for me on a regular basis - and found that I can't really picture it. Now, do not get me wrong and take me for being ungrateful. I have wonderful family and friends that do many sweet and generous things for me. My mom loves me more than anyone in the world. But other than receiving the occasional gift and being a temporary house guest in the home of a highly hospitable person, I can't picture someone serving me without the expectation of return. Usually I feel that I give the gifts, I bake the food, I take the time. I can't picture a marriage where we serve each other as equally and willingly. Is this being selfish? Undoubtedly. Don't think I don't recognize this. It is still a place where I struggle in my insecurity of fear of being unlovable, and a left-over choice.

It's the same in my relationship with Jesus. I forget that He gives without a request alongside it. That He wants to give me good things when I have been ugly.

I want to accept God's grace without trying to earn it. I want to be forgiven for my ugly, selfish, dark heart - without forcing myself to feel guilty and ashamed for the necessity of cleansing me, the embarrassment of there being anything wrong in the first place. I want to get rid of condemnation, and accept that I can't be good/kind/loving on my own.
And after I've done that, I want to do those things that I did mention (praying, reading my Bible, etc.) but not because I'm trying to force my contentment or buy my freedom. I want to do it because being in God's presence is where I am comfortable. Because learning his thoughts, and hearing what He has to say is utterly desirable. And I will.

I will be fascinated with Jesus, no strings attached.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 16 of my Juice Fast

Well, it's Day 16, and I am over half way through with my Juice fast!

I am continuing to feel great, have loads of energy, lose weight (I'm down 18 pounds), and today I put on a dress that I wore for my graduation ceremony for undergrad school. I looked better in the dress today than I did 2 years ago. 

It blows my mind. In 16 days, I have undone the past 2 years. 

I can hear you asking, "But isn't it awful? Don't you miss chewing!?" And the answer is, "Eh, not really." Do I miss chewing? Not at all. I did eat a cracker while I took communion at church yesterday, and I'm not going to lie - it felt really weird to chew it. And the grape juice tasted like sugar on crack cocaine. But I'm still not hungry, and I still feel great. 

This weekend, I was exhausted and had zero motivation to do anything but see how many movies I could cram into 48 hours. I wanted sleep and rest. At first, I thought to myself, "Well, that's disappointing. I thought this detox would fix this." And then I realized... even though I was exhausted and unmotivated, I felt GREAT being exhausted and unmotivated. Prior to the fast, I would be exhausted, unmotivated, miserable and unhappy. But this weekend I was exhausted, unmotivated, content and felt good. Had I not had a blister the size of a steak you'd see on Diner's Drive-In's and Dive's (If you don't get the reference, my blister was huge, and a steak sounds great), then I would have been fine to go on a 4 mile walk. Prior to the detox, I would have known there was no way I could step a foot off my front porch and you couldn't have paid me in enough steak to take a 5 minute walk, let alone a 4 mile walk. 

Am I still craving food? Yes, but not in the sense you think. 
I'm craving variety. I want food, but I would be happy with healthy and non-processed food. I'm totally diggin' a cauliflower crusted, veggie pizza. Or a salmon patty and a nice kale salad with feta and almond slivers. 
Do I still want that "sunshine burger" from Buckhead Cafe, a deliciously tasty and juicy burger with a sunny-side up egg and a hefty dollop of guacamole, with greasy fries and ranch good enough to bathe in? 
Well, duh. Wouldn't you?
 Am I going to eat it? Every once in a while, yes. This is a juice detox, not the way I am living the rest of my life. I'm detoxing/fasting in order to lose addiction, not my taste buds. I expect to eat "clean" during the work week (because of my very long days at work and my level of business, it is easier for me to not focus on food treats) and then I plan on cooking more on the weekends, using meats, dairy and grains in moderation.

And yes, I still plan on eating out every once in a while. I still plan on eating chicken nacho's from Moe's, or a Reuben sandwich from Home and Market Cafe. Just not all the time, and it will be followed with clean eating and exercise. 

So there's my update. I still work at a psychiatric hospital and am surrounded by psychotic, homicidal, and suicidal patients 12 hours a day. I'm still exhausted on the weekends because of it. I still want food. But I'm still losing weight, still feeling great, and still planning on finishing this out for the full 30 days (you are going to eat your words, Jeremy Wagoner). 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 6!

I am proud to say that I have reached Day 6 of my 30 day juice fast!

Sunday, the first day, was probably the most difficult. I felt very weak, nauseous, and light headed. Day 2, I was at work and got a headache around 12:00... which turned into a migraine that night and I was in bed at 7:00 that night. Day 3 was a lot better. I felt really good, even though I had a small headache. And since Day 4 I have been doing GREAT!

I have noticed several exciting things:

1) I'm pretty excited about this one..... I've been waking up wonderfully. Normally, the most difficult time of the day for me is in the mornings. I am my most angry (yes, angry) the first 60 seconds after I wake up. It's been like that for years. I wake up angry, and it fades away after a couple minutes. I'm sluggish, miserable and exhausted. But even just after the first day, I have been waking up easily! I am not alert, and ready for the day after I wake up!

2) I am sleeping wonderfully. I sleep deep, and it feels good.

3) I have so much energy! I am not at all tired during the day. Usually I would tell you my "good" part of the day was between 11:00 - 2:00. However, I now last until around 8:00 before getting tired! Talking about improvement!

4) I'm not hungry. Am I craving? I'm craving bread and cheese, nachos, pizza, biscuits and gravy, and all that non-goodness (whatever, we know it's goodness) like a crazy mad woman. But no, I'm not actually hungry. I drink 64 ounces a day, sometimes more depending on if I get hungry or need to slap a craving in the face with a shot of pineapple juice. I'm also trying to drink 80+ ounces of water along with it. To answer the question that everyone at work has asked me daily, and I know you are wondering yourself, is no. I am not pooping my brains out. So there. That's all I have to say on that note.

5) I walked a mile this evening. And I did it quick, and I was never out of breath, and most importantly my feet and legs never started cramping. I really do believe that my health and physical wellness will change from this point on, so why not be honest. Walking anywhere previously killed me. But not now. Praise the Lord.

6) I'm losing weight. I think I might save this for later, and say how much when the fast is over. Or I might not share at all. I'm not sure yet. The point is, all these other things are more exciting to me. I'm doing this to feel good.

Did I mention how proud I am? I fully expected to quit after day 2. But I haven't. It's been so much easier than I though, I am reaping the rewards so much sooner than I could have ever dreamed of.
When I go into work with my beet, turnip green, apple, lime, and orange juice... I'm proud.
When I still get on Pinterest at night and can look at pictures of bacon without stars bursting in front of my eyes (trust me, that happened the first 3 days)... I'm proud.
When I realize that I'm almost done with my first week... I'm proud. And excited.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Be Filled With Joy... and Juice

Today I bought a new Bible, new journal, and $100 worth of fruits and veggies to begin what I hope will be a 30 day juice fast. Tomorrow I embark on a journey to rejuvinate my spiritual life, refresh my emotional health, and bring me to a new place spiritually. I need more Jesus, less stress, and more health.

Around a month ago, my aunt sent me a DVD called "Hungry for Change." I sighed a little when I recieved it in the mail, knowing it would add to my knowledge of how unhealthy I am living and eating, and that then the guilt would come. Usually, guilt turns into "Well, I might as well eat half this pizza and a whole thing of oreos. I'm fat anyways." But when I watched this DVD, which focuses on "eating clean" and having a plant-based diet, something in my mind changed. Instead of being guilt-ridden and looking for the nearest block of butter, I found myself intrigued by the idea of a diet creating more energy, shedding some pounds, and making me feel good. I know this is basic, and any healthy diet/lifestyle should do this... but the movie focuses on how unhealthy all processed foods are. I pretty much knew this due to the fact that a McDonald's cheeseburger and fries lasted four weeks outside in my backyard (neighbor tossed it in the yard) without changing shape or color. After watching Hungry for Change, I found a Joe Cross's documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. I was immediately hooked. I wanted to do a juice fast.

I started adding a juice a day to my diet, without changing my diet. (Hungry for Change talks about adding things in, and as you get used to them then taking certain things out of your regular diet.) I loved it. And I craved a juice fast even more. So after much planning, I have arrived.

Tomorrow I am starting my juice fast. Again, I hope to last 30 days. I plan to post occasionally, with an update on how I'm doing. The following are my reasons for doing the fast.

- I need to end my cravings for bad food. I need to break habits of emotional eating and cycles of craving sweets, grease, and salt.
- I need to lose weight. Simply said, it's holding me back.
- I'm scared I have sleep apnea. I wake up at night with a gasp, and I am never (I repeat, NEVER) rested. The most difficult time of my day, when I am most tired and sluggish, is the first 2 hours after waking up.
- I want more energy. I'm tired all the time.
- I want to be healthy. I want to know that what I am putting in my body is healthy, not harmful. I want to not be filled with chemicals, and processed foods.

I am following the 15 day plan found on and using the recipes and grocery list provided. I went and purchased 100 dollars of groceries, and spent almost 3 hours prepping for the first 5 days. I washed the fruits and veggies, and portioned them out into gallon ziplock bags, labeling each bag for what day and meal they will be. The plan suggests waking up and immediately drinking a cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon in it (it is an energizer and kick starts your metabolism). You then are to drink five different juices, each 16 ounce servings. Along with 16 ounces of coconut water, and LOTS of water.

So here I go. Prayers would be appreciated. This ain't goin' to be easy, folks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time for Some Goals!

Graduation is just around the corner and with it comes summer! Graduation is 23 days away, but in reality I will be done with my Graduate Assistantship and (hopefully) all of my final papers and projects by April 28th. That day will be my last day of classes, and the date of submission for my last projects and papers. Following that wonderful Saturday, I have no plans, no job as of yet, and will still be waiting to take my licensure exam in order to become a CSW (required in order for me to have a job at any agency/organization).
I predict that I will have one month off, possibly more depending on how long it will take to find a job.
That leaves some time for good summer goals, and whether or not I start my career immediately (oh my goodness... I just said the words "my career") summer goals will continue on!
A good friend of mine, Sarah Shaffer, writes a fantastic blog: Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman. You should definitely check it out! It's filled with new recipes, a fantastic series on keeping your life organized, home decor ideas, and even some awesome give-aways!
Anyways, the point is that she recently wrote a post about her summer goals... and we all know how much I love a good list. So I thought I would create my own! Another reason that I'm doing this is that being in graduate school has made me feel as if I have had to put a hold on my goal setting. I don't have time for goals. Isn't that sad? For the past year, the only thing I can do is think about the assignment that is due in the next two days and how I have to continue working 50 hours a week while taking 15 hours of graduate classes.
So it's time to set some goals, now that I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Savannah's Summer Goals (In No Particular Order)
  • Take and pass my licensure exam with a score above a 75% (so that I can switch states if needed)
  • Find a job, start my career (there are those words again!)
  • Practice my guitar, be able to play one of my favorite songs
  • Get involved at NewLife Church again, and become an active Chi Alphian!
  • Fulfill my promise of sending handmade goodies to the 5 people who commented on a give-away type status I posted on FB
  • Visit my dear friend, Leah Blackketter in Cinci
  • Do some painting and crafting (make use of all those Pinterest craft ideas I saved)
  • Hang pictures and painting up on my bare and empty living room wall
  • Pick one topic related to my field and study up (I think I will start with Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy... I'm pretty interested in reactions to grief and trauma, especially in adolescents)
  • Try new recipes and start organizing my "Sooter Family Cookbook" which has become slightly overwhelming
  • Spend more time with Kate and all the wonderful friends I have here in Bowling Green
  • Read 15 books, starting with the book "Flashbang" which I have started several times and never finished
  • Start journaling again
  • Take more pictures, documenting my life and the wonderful friendships I have
  • Spend more time in prayer
  • Begin reading the Bible in chronological order (which I have never done)
  • Study (Kay Arthur style!) 2 books of the Bible
  • Go through the entire summer with all laundry being placed on hangers and hung in the closet relatively soon after being washed and dried
  • Go on brisk walks very frequently
  • Finally, as the purpose of this blog is to keep family living out of state updated on how my life is going and what I have been doing lately (sorry I haven't been doing too well, Grandma), I am going to attempt to post more pictures of things that I love and things that I have been doing.

    And there you have it.
    I've set my summer goals.

Friday, January 27, 2012

One of those days....

Approximately 342 days of the year, I have "one of those days".
This type of day means I am sitting at work with a long list (crafts I would like to be doing, books I would like to be reading, and recipes I would like to be cooking) running through my head.
Today is one of those days.
To honor it, here is my list of "If I had my druthers I would be.... "
  • At home taking down my Christmas tree, but stringing up more beautiful lights in my apartment.
  • Cleaning out my craft closet (organizing is the better word to use, since I know I wouldn't actually throw any craft items away)
  • Participating in the National Soup Month by putting potato soup in the crockpot
  • Cashing in my free coffee coupon at Starbucks
  • Playing James Morrison quietly in the background
  • Hanging up the heart garland my friend Kate made for me
  • Making a "Take What You Need Sign" for all the people I love (I will post on this later, as it really is a sweet idea)
  • Making Gavin's prayer chain, and Kyle's bracelets that they have so very patiently been waiting for (sorry guys)
  • Reading Flashbang!
  • Writing scriptures on pieces of cardboard to hang on my walls
  • Planning spring time decorations
  • Browsing through my latest Martha Stewart magazine with a pack of post-its close at hand
  • Placing my PRE study guide underneath a magazine so that I can ignore it's calls to study
  • Attempting to find a Peter Pan shadow decal for sale on the internet
  • Cuddling with Rilla, my sweet kitty
  • Planning next weeks recipes/menu
  • Watching the Civil Wars cover of "Billie Jean", maybe... eh, twenty-seven times
  • Planning a cruise with my friend Lynde
  • Sewing handkerchiefs onto my living room couch pillows
  • Copying poems, quotes and scriptures into my "Collections" journal
  • Journaling
If you check back again with me next week, I'm sure I'll have the same list stuck in my head.
The whole idea of "I want to be at home - taking care of my nest, cooking, and crafting" is not a new idea for me.
Note: While I talk about all the things I want to be doing at home... I am so blessed to have the job(s) that I do. I am getting paid to sit here, blogging and doing homework. I have an internship with people that I absolutely love, get along with really well, and I get to work with teenage boys that are funny, clever and brave.
I have a blessed life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"two birthdays, a grill, and some non-exclusiveness"

Oh the days of being in Murray, when a birthday meant lots of food, lots of people and the chance to write a goofy email.
For some reason, as I was searching my gmail account for a friend's address, this email came up.
I wrote it to invite people to a birthday party, and re-reading it made me giggle. 

Reason number 7,945 that I miss Murray.... I don't get a chance to write emails like this.

"Dear friends.
For some odd reason I was put in charge of sending out the invite email for the big shindig Danni and Susan are having tomorrow night for Danni and Kaylee's birthday. I guess you could call it a birthday bash. I believe, however, that a "bash" is violent and a "shindig" sounds like it originated from the 70's. So let's go with shindig.
Anyways, let me tell you several things.
1) Grill is provided, and so is the meat.
2) We need sides. Lots of them. And not the kind found under your arm, the kind that comes in a bowl or casserole dish that is edible.
3) Drinks, chips, and some desserts are also acceptable.
4) I am not an elephant, therefore I don't remember everyone's email address. So.. if someone's email is not in here, PLEASE invite them. Mk. Thanks.
5) I need to know if you are coming, and if you are bringing something (please do) and what it is.

Danni's NEW apartment is 1411 Hillwood. You drive past WalMart (it's on your left), take the second road to your right after you pass the hotel on your right -- NorthWood. Turn left on Hillwood. It's the only 2 story duplex on the road, it's on your left and it's 1411.

It starts at 6:30, tomorrow night.
Email me back (although I prefer carrier pigeon. they're cuter.)

All my appreciation,
Lady of the Lake of Shining Waters.

P.S. This is not formal ladies and gents, we prefer that you do not show in formal attire. A.K.A. Tuxedos and evening gowns.