Monday, October 17, 2011

Portrait Giveaway

So, the time has come for me to put my plan in action. I mentioned in my previous post "Food for Thought" that I had an idea on how I could continue to give even though I find myself unable to financially. I wasn't sure if I should do it but after giving it some thought I decided to give it a try. I am going to start by having a giveaway. After this initial time, if God leads me to help a family I will offer to do this for them - or if a family wants me to do a giveaway for them, I will see what I can do.

So what am I giving away you may ask? No, I don't all of a sudden have money to buy things. Not at all. I can't go and buy things...but I can draw.

So here is what I am hoping to do. I am giving away (to start) two portraits. I will draw pretty much whatever you guys want - just send me a picture. Kids, pets..anything within reason and appropriateness.

To start I don't have links to any specific families up here, so when you donate to a family leave a comment here and tell me how much you donated, and to which family.

$5.00 = 1 Entries
$.10.00 = 2 Entries
$15.00 = 4 Entries
$20.00 = 5 Entries
$25.00 = 7 Enteries
$30.00 = 10 Entries
Anything above 30 will receive 15 entries.

I have never done a give away before so I am excited about this.

In order to attempt to convince you that this is worth it..I suppose I should show you some of my work.

I know two pictures aren't a lot of examples of my work - but hopefully they will give you enough of an idea of what I can do.

Now I just need to get people to come here.... :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This morning when I went to get in the shower a strong feeling of disgust washed over me. As I looked at myself in the mirror I could see that my poor stomach was protruding more than usual (it always has somewhat of a pot belly but this was Not only that was it hard and rigid. It felt full and heavy and just not good despite not eating since the night before. This was probably due to the large amount of dairy I had eaten the night before, despite being lactose intolerant. (There are pills that I can take but they only help so much.)

I was so angry with myself. Yesterday had not been a great day. I had ran out of medication (for ADHD...which I don't always like to take but that's a different post.) and as a result my day had been filled with little accomplishments and struggles with impulsiveness.

I don't like making excuses for myself - but sometimes it is so easy because the meds really do help with so many of my problems. One of my biggest struggles with ADHD besides concentration and making random noises (this is probably the most socially unacceptable problem I have...) I really struggle with impulsive eating. Like a lot.

I don't want to sound like I am making excuses but man oh man do I struggle with self control when I'm not medicated. It's like when I see food it's in my stomach before I even realize what's happened. Even if I'm allergic to it there is a good chance I might eat it...NOT GOOD. I quite literally eat myself to the point where I literally cannot stuff anymore food in myself. Yeah, I know its gross and I've tried to overcome it but it is so difficult for me. There was a point a while back where my room mate wanted to find locks to put on the cupboard doors so I couldn't get in - I thought it was a brilliant idea. I'm sure I would have hated myself and her if we had actually made it happen but I have been that desperate to stop doing this.. It has been one of my biggest struggles over the last couple of years - my ability to cope with impulsive eating.

So this morning, while I feeling like I had just undone all weight loss from the last month and a half, my frustrations turned into depression, disappointment in myself and anger and irritation. I couldn't believe myself. Not only had I done something that I had vowed not to do again - but no one had even tried to stop with. When I was living with my room mate she would notice my continuous trips to the kitchen, or the stash of chocolate bar wrappers in the garbage can and call me out on it. She made rules for me - told me I wasn't allowed to go into the kitchen and would even go as far as to getting things for me so that I didn't have to face temptation. I cannot express how much I appreciated her doing this. So much. THANK YOU. Still my struggles with eating where there and I started to fear eating for I was gaining so much weight so fast. As a result nearly developed an eating disorder. The opposite of eating to much - this time my fear of food caused the opposite effect and I barely ate anything. Thankfully that didn't last too long, and I managed to loose some of the weight I had gained when I discovered my allergies to gluten and dairy.

Sorry for the digression. Anyways my own family doesn't call me out on my eating like my room mate did. They ignore it...pretend it doesn't happen. In some ways I wonder if they realize how much I actually struggle with it. The other day I found a box of gluten free cookies in my section of the pantry. I groaned. I hadn't asked for them - but people keep buying me things. I have told my family that I don't need those things but they don't seem to get it. One of my strategies is eliminating unhealthy foods and replacing them with healthy things, but this is not easy if I keep coming home to cookies that I know were bought just for me...or keep being asked "how many tubs of ice cream (lactose free, of course) do you want?" Even though I say don't need somehow always manages to get into the house.

Woosh, didn't mean to go into a whole background of my struggles with impulsiveness. The point is that this can't happen every time I go off my medication. Not only is it unhealthy but its gluttony.

So this morning as I was feeling as low as can be I had a thought. Fasting. I have never fasted before because I find that if I don't eat often enough my entire body is unable to function...but that doesn't mean I can't fast. I will create specific times of day when I am allowed to eat - I haven't quite figured out how often I will plan for this. Maybe once or twice a day. The rest of the time eating will not be allowed. Every time I think of food, the desire to indulge or I enter the kitchen area I am going to turn my thought's over to God. Ask Him for strength and self control - talk to Him.

I am going to start doing this every day I don't take my medication. I purposely take breaks from my meds to give my body and mind a break and allow it to relax from the side effects of it. However not taking it obviously has its own side effects. Next weekend I plan on starting this. It's going to be difficult - but I believe I can overcome it. I think not only will it be a good lesson/exercise in self control but it will help me grow closer to God.

Since I can't count on my family to help me out with this I am asking for your help. If anyone is out there reading this in silence..please hold me accountable. Offer prayers up - its going to be a struggle.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food for Thought.

A lot of changes have occurred in my life in the last couple months and as a result I haven't been able to keep giving/doing the things that God has put on my heart. I knew when I started school that I wasn't going to be able to give in the same way that I have been in the last year - but I didn't think that I'd be struggling as much as I am. When I changed programs (at school) this September my tuition jumped by a significant amount and I have been struggling to pay for things that used to be routine, such as paying my visa bill and gym membership.

I have considered doing a lot of things to try and save some money. I am trying to work as many hours as I can manage (I am fortunate that my boss has allowed me to work on a "come as I have time" thankful for that.). I considered dropping classes such as choir - but that I such a wonderful time of fellowship and is good for me as it helps me to get to know students that I wouldn't normally be brave enough to talk to. I considered dropping kickboxing - but that is so good for me. Not only does it keep me in shape but its clears my mind, allows me to meet people, relieves stress and helps me escape from my troubles. I think its important that I stick to do.

Despite this....I still want to be to do what I have done in the last year. Participate in mission trips and give to those adopting internationally. Those are things that God has put on my heart and just because I can't give the way I did before doesn't mean I can't give.

This got me thinking...What gifts has God given me that I can use to help others?

Then it hit me - and although I haven't done this in a couple of years it seems that the skill is still there!

I am still formulating a plan on how to make this work - but God willing it will happen. Look for posts about this in the near future!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tears of Prayer (Part One)

This morning I woke up with a feeling so unfamiliar to me that I was shocked that I was able to recognize what it was.


Yes, this morning I woke up with a heavy feeling of guilt laying on my chest - and if I am being honest I can't remember the last time I felt guilty. 1 year? 2 years? Perhaps its even been 3? More? Now the absence of this emotion is not due to the fact that I have been living a sinless life - because I haven't been. If am being honest, I have been sinning left and right every single day. Yet I did not feel guilt. The reason for this is not because I trusted God so much that I knew God would forgive me endlessly right until the time I takes me home. Not at all.

The truth is, I have been through emotional trauma. Now, I almost feel guilty (except that I don't) typing this because my eyes have opened to the horrors of the world - and I know about the horrors that orphans go through - the struggles they face in their lives. None the less the trauma I have experienced is there - and its real as ever.

Just over three years I was diagnosed with a condition called Chiari I Malformation - and I just couldn't comprehend why God would allow me to have it. I was SO ANGRY. No, I was furious. I spent a lot of time in tears. In my mind I had been so open to God, been so willing to give my entire body and soul to Him that I was convinced he would protect me from everything. I couldn't understand why He would let this happen to me - as I was so dedicated and in love with Him.

Over the next few months I spent a lot of time arguing with God - yelling, screaming, pleading - trying to find some semblance of understanding. I remember chapel one week at school, we were having communion. We did communion differently that day - the person leading communion asked us to go up with a friend, and serve communion to each other. I sat on the floor, my knees gathered to my body which my face buried in my arms as I tried not to let the tears fall. One of the other students, Sienna, came over to me and asked me to go do communion with her. I shook me head - trying to get her to go away. Finally I struggled to say through the tears that I didn't want to. She nodded and let me be. As we left chapel that day I ran after her and just completely broke down. I was crying so hard that couldn't talk when she asked me what was wrong. I tried to tell her - but I'm not sure she understood. We stood in the middle of the street, as she held onto my while I cried. We never talked about it again - I'm sure she would have if I had approached her but I didn't.

That winter was probably the most difficult I have ever experienced. Despite being at school for a couple months I was still struggling to make friends - which has always been a struggle in my life. My best friend had completely abandoned me (also ignored) - and every time I went out of my room I got the pleasure of seeing him with my room mate. He kind of rubbed it into my face. I sunk deep into depression and couldn't find a way out of it. One of the biggest things I needed was a friend - but I felt I had none. Suicidal thoughts began to fly, so I began walking up and down the one and only street in town, in fear that if I didn't I would hurt myself. I was also hopeful that someone would walk by and invite my to do something with them. Many people walked by - but no one invited. In one of my classes we did a soul project - I still wonder what my classmates thought of my project. It was full of anger, depression and raw pain - with a mild hint of hope. I surprised myself when I broke down in tears as I explained that all I wanted was for Jesus to be my best friend again.

Things got a little worse before they got better the second semester - two of my three room mates moved out (except the one who was now in the beginnings of a relationship with my "best friend" - so the only human interaction I got was seeing them giggle with each other) so I was alone all the time. Into February things got a bit better though - my friend Cassia moved in. To this day she has no idea how much her presence helped me that year. I tried to tell her by doing little things for her like dishes, or leaving notes of appreciation. I had received a guitar for Christmas and Cassia helped to teach me to play it - despite not being very good I began writing song after song after song.  It certainly helped me get through a lot.

I also remember another chapel second chapel distinctly. I had decided before had that I was going to ask people to pray for me - because I was finding myself unable to pray at this time. This particular day we were split into small groups - and the moment it was announced that we were going to be split into groups I knew that I would be put with one Morris Ertman. Morris, is the big head honcho at the theatre that runs the school I was attending. He's the artistic director, and also the director of many of the plays. I contemplated backing out of what I had decided I was going to say - but I didn't. And Im glad. I asked the people in my group to pray for me because I was experiencing a lot of anger towards God, and I couldn't stop arguing with Him. Morris turned to me and said in his very Morris like wisdom "That's a good thing - you are still communicating with God. It's much better to yell and scream at Him than stop talking to Him completely." Then he told me I should go and watch the movie the apostle. I haven't done that yet. But his words were such an encouragement - I had never thought of it like that. Yes, it was good that I was still talking to God. Very good.

Despite this - nothing really got better regarding our relationship. That spring my heart was burdened for children forced into the sex trade, which in turn led me to discover the horrors that children with disabilities go through in countries like Ukraine, Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe. I came across one little boy (who has just recently been adopted, which I should have been estratic about but I've become so numb at this point that I didn't care all that much - I have posted about him before) who had Chiari I Malformation. JUST. LIKE. ME. Once again I was angry. I didn't like the fact that any children would be send to a mental institution, but it didn't pang my heart like this boy did. I COULD NOT believe that a child would be sent away for having Chiari I Malformation. It enraged me. Chiari I Malformation is in no way a fun condition - but it should not render a child drugged and wasted away in a mental institution.

That Summer I headed into rehearsals for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play (an annual outdoor theatre production which portrays the story of Christ.) and I was hopeful that there I would mend my relationship with God. I had done the play for the four years prior, and each any every year I experienced God in amazing ways. In some ways I did and I didn't that year. I didn't begin to trust Him again, nor did I begin to commit myself to Him again.  Yes, I saw God that summer there is no doubt about that. I remember lying in the field with my friend Carrissa (Just a quick note - I want to let you all know that the cast of the play all have a private little campsite together, buried in mountains of green trees. It's beautiful.The field is part of this campsite) as we talked about God - I don't remember exactly what we talked about but I know one thing that came up was how we talked to God. I told her I talked out loud, and sometimes looked for his messages in the stars and the skies - God has spoken to me many times through images in the clouds and stars. He has told me things I needed to know. Written out the word "love" in puffy white clouds, shown an arrow in the direction I need to go. Moved the clouds when I asked Him to so that I could see the stars. Yes I did ask Him to do that - and he gladly obliged. That night as Carissa and I were laying in the field we noticed a face in the clouds. It was not a happy face - I could feel evil coming from it - someone was obviously trying to scare us. I looked away to the other side of the sky, only to be caught breathless.

"Look," I said pointing up (I'm pretty sure she was still looking at the face.) "There's a hand up there. See, God's got his hand on us."

Another experience I had of God that year was a very interesting one. People in this group at the Passion Play are amazing - they love God in amazing spectacular ways. It is a place where we are open about all things God. Prophecy, seeing spirits, speaking in tongues, healing. Anyways, so one Sunday morning after our church service our resident healers offered to pray over those who felt they needed healing - or just prayer. Hesitantly I stepped up and told them. I wanted God to take it away so badly - but only if it was His will (perhaps I added that part in so that if he didn't I would just have an excuse as to why it was still there.). As people gathered around me, I felt their prayers and the power of God overcome me. I don't know how long we stood there but I wish I had never left - I felt so safe and secure there. To this day I swear that as they prayed for me, the Lord God reached down and stroked the top of my head gently, oh so lovingly. My soul gasped at the feel of him so close by. To this day I can tell you exactly where he touched. We all left that day feeling that God had granted this healing....

To Be Continued....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I got in!

I guess I should say that despite not knowing what I was going to sing for my audition until mere moments before I got into choir! I am looking forward to it greatly! :)

I sang "Don't Know Why" by Nora Jones. Very excited!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I have an audition tomorrow...

and I don't know what to sing.

All my previous teachers have had be do belting pieces - other than that one classical teacher, but I don't know any of the classical songs well enough since we worked mostly on technique. Sighs. Belting pieces don't work because this is a choir audition...not a "hey look how loud, powerful and awesome I am!"

Belting pieces also change my range to alto. I am naturally a soprano. What's a girl to do? Help?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

So, a couple of weeks ago we were celebrating birthdays as a family. The "children's table" consisted of me an a couple of my cousins. While we were eating conversation of how delicious a peanut butter cup would be - so we decided to take it upon ourselves to make it! It turned out very well - and we plan on doing it again to perfect it. Still, I'm going to share how to make it.

The ingredients are pretty simple:

We used one medium sized jar of all natural peanut butter, shortening, icing sugar, condensed sweetened milk, and 3 large milk chocolate bars (next time, I think we will only use two, we had a lot left over). The first step is to break up the chocolate into a medium sized pot.

Melt on a low heat to prevent burning. After the chocolate is melted add the shortening. The shortening allows the chocolate to harden, while remaining soft.

We weren't really sure how much shortening to use - About half the stick was used this time and it worked quite well. Perhaps a little less. I will update this as I know more.

While you are waiting for the first few steps to be completed you can start on the peanut butter center. Make sure you are going back and stirring the chocolate ever so often, so it doesn't burn.

Begin by emptying the jar of peanut butter into a large blow (it was a fairly small jar)

Combine with the condensed milk and icing sugar. You'll want to fiddle around with the amounts for this, until you get a creamy consistency. I think we used a bit too much icing sugar, and not quite enough condensed milk. It should however be fairly think - and quite malleable. Next, you'll want to take half of the peanut butter mix, and put it into a medium foil pie pan.

Push it into the pan, and flatten it out. After you have done that, carefully pop it out the pan and onto a plate, where you will trim some of the edges off (this allows to make room for chocolate to go around the edges, once it goes back into the pan.)

Do this again for the other half of the peanut butter.

After you have done this, go back to your chocolate. Pour a layer into the foil pan you used to shape the peanut butter.

Make it fairly thick (about half a centimeter) then even it out with a spoon. Do this for two pans. Then put them both in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. You want them to be stiff before continuing to the next step.

After they are stiff, remove from the fridge and carefully place the previously made peanut butter center on top of the bottom layer.

Pour chocolate around the edges of the pan, allowing the space between the pan and the peanut butter to fill. Then cover the top. Even it out with a spoon, and place in the freezer for until stiff. I think it took about 20 minutes.

Cut it up, and serve with vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!!!

One thing I love about this is that its completely gluten free!!! Which is fantastic for me. I did however have to take lactaid pills for the ice cream - but that's okay.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sharing some news...

So, this blog has been neglected as of late (or always to be honest.) I have a few posts that are a work in progress, but I thought it was time I link over to my other blog, just in case I have any readers here. On May 4th, I will be heading to Cameroon (Africa) for a month long missions trip. You can follow my journey too (and hopefully while i am there as well) Cameroon HERE!

I hope to get my other posts up soon!