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Author Archives: alifewithintention

Open for Business!

So, as I mentioned in the last post, I have been very busy working on my Etsy shop.  And….it’s now ready and open!  I still have some more pieces to make and list, but I finally have what I think is enough to open.

The name of the shop is Agape Handmade.  For those who are wondering what the crap “Agape” (ah-GAH-peh) means, it is Greek for unconditional love.  I actually have it tattooed on my foot, as a constant reminder of the love Jesus had for us to die on the cross for us.  Anyway, I decided to use that as the name for my shop because I hope to use this shop as a way to share something I love with others and hopefully I can use the earnings in a helpful way, in addition to helping with newlywed expenses.  I also just thought the name sounded cool. ; )

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The pieces in the shop are a mixture of different colors and beads, along with some origami pieces.  I have just recently had a slight infatuation with origami things.  I also find that sitting and focusing on folding the paper into different shapes is strangely calming.

Well I hope you get the chance to check out my shop and find something you love.  It can be found here.

Have a great day!  : )

Reunited in Memphis

So I’m just now getting around to blogging about my trip to Memphis.  Since I have been back, I’ve been crazy busy!  The one thing I’ve been working on that I’m most excited about is my Etsy shop!  I can’t wait to start selling some of the jewelry that I love making.  So stay tuned for the opening day!

I made a short, but much needed trip to Memphis a little over a week ago.  After enduring a week without air conditioning, I was ready to go and have a little adventure.  And the most exciting part of the trip was being reunited with one of my best friends, Ashley!  We became great friends in college and she has since gotten married and moved to Houston.  She also has a pretty awesome blog you should checkout.  Anyway, since we live so far apart, we decided to meet halfway in Memphis.


Memphis is not what I expected.  I thought the entire city would look like Beale Street.  Every other part of the city is pretty chill.  The people there were SO nice.  They were eager to help you find where you wanted to go and give you their best recommendations on where to get the best food.  I would definitely say my favorite meals came from Cockadoos, Local Gastropub, and the Blue Plate Cafe.  While all of my meals may not have been considered “Dietitian Friendly,” Ashley and I did share around 75% of the meals so I didn’t go too crazy.  ; )

 

 

Life Without Common Luxuries

So it has been a long time since I’ve blogged and I apologize for that.  I was unable to blog because I was without power for 8 DAYS.  In West Virginia, and surrounding states, there was a terrible wind storm about 2 weeks ago that struck out of nowhere.  We were all caught unprepared.  The state is only now close to moving out of a state of emergency.  At our house, not only were we without power, but we also did not have water because we have a cistern and the pump requires electricity.  And to top it all off, we were in a heat wave!  Needless to say, this was quite a trying week for everyone.

I would love to sit here and tell you about how I embraced this time as a chance to slow down and take a break from all our modern luxuries.  In a way I did because I had no choice, but I have to say this was very difficult for me to handle.  I wanted to read by blogs, search on Pinterest, and watch some TV.  After all, this was my first free week after I completed my internship.  Instead, I found myself moving trees in 95+ degree weather, lugging our porch gazebo off our roof, cleaning spoiled food out of the refrigerator, and sitting in my house dripping with sweat.  I did not wear makeup or do my hair for a week, not that I do that much to myself anyway.

However, amidst all the inconveniences and grumblings, I also was amazed by how a terrible situation could be used as a chance to show our loved ones we care.  My aunt and uncle opened up their half-lit home for us to shower.  Several friends and family offered up their homes or let us bum a few jugs of water.  In the evenings, I also found myself sitting on the front porch with all of my family members, either reading books, chatting, or playing Mancala.  While we were all suffering, we were also presented with several opportunities to spend time together which would normally consist of TV watching or surfing the Web.  While the storm certainly brought out some of the worst in us, we also shared some moments that I will remember for a long time.

He Will Lead the Blind

My fiance recently shared this verse with me: “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.  These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

If any verse could speak to our lives currently, this would be it.  Nate will shortly be coming home and we both face many unknowns.  First, we have to basically learn how to be around each other again.  It’s been almost a year (minus the 2 weeks I was in China) since we’ve even been in the same time zone, let alone near one another.  Also, he has to get used to being home again.  I can tell you from my short time in Beijing, this will probably be difficult.  China and West Virginia are VERY different!

We will both also be looking for jobs.  We have somewhat of an idea of what we’re looking for, but we just need to be able to find it.  We have no idea what kind of hours we will be working, what our income will be, or if we will have benefits.  And on top of that, we’re going to be journeying into marriage!  We definitely don’t have any experience in that area.  Of course we have talked to many of our married friends and we will be going to marriage counseling, but it’s still unknown territory.

With all that being said, this verse serves as a reminder that God is always with us.  When we have no idea what the heck we’re doing, He is there to guide us.  He may not show us the light when we want Him to, but He will not leave us to find our way alone.  I know things will fall into place.  It may not be the way we envision, but God will lead us right where He intends us to be.  Lucky for me, I will have an amazing partner to walk this weary path with.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for us and I will cling to this verse through all the bumps along our way.

So for the past few weeks I’ve had this overwhelming desire to do something creative and “artsy.”  I have helped my friend Meghan with some of her jewelry shows (she’s really awesome, check her out here) and have been so inspired by all the art and creativity.   I have learned how to make some jewelry from her (and actually sold one of my necklaces at her show!) and am really feeling the urge to make some more.  I also have a great friend, Ashley, who continually inspires me with all of her awesome creativeness (check out her blog here). The problem is….I’m still in my internship.  I only have 2 weeks left, but like the end of any semester, I have a LOT of work to do.  And of course, all I want to do is anything but my school work.  Does this ever happen to you?  So in an effort to try to take the focus off of all the fun things I want to do and focus on school for a couple more weeks, I’m going to make a list of the things I want to accomplish after it’s over.  (This is of course in addition to studying, taking, and PASSING my RD exam in August, trying to find a job, and welcoming my fiance home!)

1.  Make some jewelry (I have a small obsession with origami things, so maybe I can incorporate it into some jewelry? hmmm…)

2.  Start making decorations for the wedding!  (I haven’t started a thing and it’s in November!)

3.  Try to blog more often

4.  Pick 2 crafts I’ve “pinned” and actually DO THEM!

I hope I’m actually able to accomplish all of these.  I’m tired of having all these creative urges and never producing anything from them.  I need to at least complete #2 or I’m going to have a pretty ugly and boring wedding!  Do any of you have any tips on keeping on task and following through with projects?

It’s a Process

I have to constantly remind myself that life is a process.  I find myself all too often focusing on the end result.  Most recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s going to happen within the next year.  I’m about to finish my internship and get a big girl dietitian job.  I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what I want to do and what I think I will be good at.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about Nate’s and my upcoming marriage.  Where are we going to live, what will we be doing, how long will we stay here before we move out of state, etc.  I want all the answers now.  I forget all the little things that happen along the way to that final destination that I am so desperately trying to figure out.

I remember when I was thinking about the kind of guy I wanted to marry.  I had everything planned out.  What we would be doing, where we would live, and so forth.  I can tell you now that if any of the things I had come up with had really happened, I would not be as happy as I am now.  Yes, I ended up meeting a guy that just so happened to be getting ready to leave for China in a few months.  That wasn’t in my plan.  But neither was going to China to visit him which was one of the best things I’ve done in my life this far.  We have also been able to grow so incredibly close just from talking on Skype which doesn’t even work that great all the time! We haven’t even made it to the place of being a married couple yet, and so many things have already happened to help mold and shape us to be the couple God wants us to be.  I don’t want to get so caught up in what I want us to be, that I miss all the little things that can make our relationship so much deeper.

My point is that when we get so focused on the end results we want, we miss the beauty of the process of getting there.  SO many things happen during that time.  Some thing are wonderful, others not so much, but we can learn during the process.  We can appreciate things so much more,

I am really going to have to make a conscious effort to focus on the process and not the product because that is not my natural tendency.  When it comes to dealing with my disordered eating, my career, my marriage, my family, and whatever else may come my way I hope I can learn to trust and appreciate the process.  God uses these steps to teach us great things.

“Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.” -Alexandra Stoddard

Learning to Live in the Gray

I’m a perfectionist and often get caught up in black and white thinking.  My mind is typically flooded with “shoulds,” “don’ts,” “musts,” “can’ts,” etc.  For some reason, I set up all these crazy rules for myself that I feel I must follow in order to be successful or to be a good person.  What’s worse is that these rules usually stem from healthy thoughts that are actually good for me that my mind finds a great way to twist and contort into a way that is no longer beneficial.  For example, I am a big believer in compromise and feel that it is a great way to deal with most conflicts, however, I often take that to the extreme and look for the compromise in any situation and ignore what my true feelings are.  Most of the time this seems like a good thing, but when it comes to certain situations, such as relationships, it’s not a good thing to suppress your feelings and just go along with the other person in order to avoid conflict.  Those feelings will usually lie dormant and fester until you can’t hold them in any longer and the situation becomes worse than it could have been.

This “all-or-nothing” thinking is destructive and adds unnecessary anxiety to situations, making them even more difficult to deal with.  When you think this way, you start to live life as if you are running to a finish line.  The only problem is the closer you get, the farther the finish line seems to move away.  There is a constant striving for an end of perfection that will never be achieved.  Living life like this is exhausting and frustrating!

I have been trying to “live life in the gray.  I’m trying to view life as a process and see each stumble as a lesson learned instead of another failure.  I’m trying to embrace the fact that I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be.  The most awesome thing about living this way is that God prefers you this way!  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 He says “…My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Isn’t it freeing to know that when you feel your weakest, God is there to give you all His strength!?

In her song “Control,”  JJ Heller hits the nail on the head when she sings about the problem of perfection.

“Perfection has a price
But I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win”

I hope that if you are reading this and feel the same way, you will learn to see the beauty of living life in the gray.  I’m learning too.