Josh and I have been making some serious changes to our lifestyles. We watched the Netflix documentary What the Health two weeks ago, and were absolutely livid at how the animals are treated as they’re “super-raised”. Most all meat manufacturers (and “growers”) admitted that they pack their animals in so tightly that they can barely move around, and it’s not uncommon at all for many of them to be inundated in their own waste. In fact, many of them stand in several feet of their waste, and many of their neighboring animals were sick and diseased; those who weren’t sick and dying were already dead.
Watching that document opened a dialogue in which we discussed not only animal cruelty and our desire to omit all meats from our diets, but our desires to take better care of our bodies. I saw videos of people who were fighting cancer who decided to switch to a plant-based diet. After consuming a plant-based diet consistently for a year or so, one particular woman was able to eradicate cancer altogether. Today, she is healthy, happy, strong, and cancer free. Also, we learned that when a person eats meats- especially the unhealthy kinds- there are lipids and certain compounds that actually attack the arterial walls; not unlike a dart which sticks in the side of something. Over time, that dart changes the molecular structure of the artery so that it thickens up, ultimately causing it to harden.
Josh and I decided together that we would cut out all meats from our diet. Also though, we learned that milk manufacturers, and paid dairies, add hormones and other awful things to cow’s milk so that it contains puss and hormone-packed mucus that also contributes to unhealthy fats attacking our arteries. (Not to mention, milk does a number on both of our internal systems.) So, we tossed out milk as well. But then we learned that 1 egg yolk is equal to 5 cigarettes in the bad cholesterol department. So, bye bye eggs! As long as we’re cleaning house, we wanted to cover all of our bases.
That pretty much puts us level with vegans. Except, vegans don’t eat honey- seeing how honey is considered “animal-based”. But honey is where I draw the line. I consider raw honey somewhat of a super food, seeing how our it’s fantastic for boosting and protecting the immune system. Nope. Honey and I will never part. Besides, I don’t like to be labeled, and as far as I’m concerned, Josh and I are “plant-based” in our diet choices. We can eat anything we want, at any time. We just choose not to. And for me, having that allowance open at all times, but choosing not to will only continue to fortify our resolve.
We both feel so much better and far more energetic! It makes perfect sense, really. Eating meats (with all of its unhealthy fats) attack not only the arterial walls, but the brain itself. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience a “clearing of the mind” when going Veganish, and that clearly happened to us as well. We’re alert, and focused and have even noticed that looking at lights and their auras seem so much brighter too. Everything is brighter! Josh has lost 10 lbs. in only two weeks and I’ve lost 7. We’re not even exercising yet, apart from the occasional mile walk at the park with our dogs, or the trip down to the river on the rocks. We’ve decided to join a gym, however, and are looking forward to starting that.
School is going terrific. I’m halfway through my 2nd semester. My two classes for now are: Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice, and Psychology of Addiction. Grad. studies are much different than I thought they would be! This stuff is not easy. I’m seriously giving some thought to obtaining my R.N. license in Nursing, after receiving my Master”s in Addiction Counseling, simply because I’m thinking about having a dual-license. I could work in Rehab as a nurse or an addictions counselor, but that’s so far down the road. And, as it goes with other things, that may not pan out at all. It’s all part of tossing ideas around until it gels and feels right. For now though, I’m focusing on Addiction Counseling.
I would have written here again sooner, but it was the holidays and Josh and I had to endure yet one more year of my sister inviting the entire family unit to her house for Christmas and purposely leaving us out. This has been going on every year for many years now. I’ve told her on more than one occasion that what she’s doing is extremely hurtful. It’s simply neither fair nor “right” to host the most family-focused event of the year at your house if you and another sibling are not speaking. What hurts the most, however, is that my mother knows that it cuts our hearts out, yet she continues to go over there- year after year- knowing that Josh and I are not welcome. It would have helped, tremendously, if my Mom chose to have the family gather at her house instead. That way nobody would feel left out and all would feel welcome, but that didn’t happen, so, we’ll forge ahead, Josh and I, alone.
Well I’m glad to say that we’ve all made it through “Thanksgiving”. What does that even mean? Thanksgiving. To me, it means knowing that your kids are alive and well, you’re still breathing. We all have our meanings for it.
In my situation, it’s a bit peculiar. My sister (name withheld), and I haven’t talked since last September. Not this past September, but the September a year ago. (13 months.)Now, that said, if you and a certain family member have an unpleasant kerfuffle, you shouldn’t host Thanksgiving at your house. Why is that? Well, because you would alienate said member. Completely. Everybody and their grandmas would be welcome but you. That would be…well, rude. But that’s the case and that’s what’s happened.
My sister is devoutly “right” all the time. (Note the sarcasm.) She is the president of the hate committee of her “private sanctuary”, and services start at 9:00 a.m. every Sunday, weekly- sharp. She has wrapped every family member up in her glorious existence for more than 5 years now. If you’re less than “chaotic and dramatic”, you don’t stand a chance. Sorry…I’m thinking that there are other survivors out there like me that feel this way.
So, this year, Josh and I have chosen to eat with homeless people than to be with her and the rest of the “family”. Yes, it’s true. We’ve chosen to spend our time with street people- drug addicts and alcoholics- degenerates and the mentally ill, than to be with them. We didn’t get “an invite”, but that’s alright- we were already gone.
On the bright side of things, Josh and I are getting along splendidly. We don’t focus on the “might be’s” of the future. We’re taking each day and applying it to our lives. We’ve pulled through some amazingly difficult times. We don’t know how much time we have together, but we’re grateful for every single day and we show it. I think that’s what’s most important- that our lives are vital and static.
And today, we have toilet paper.
Can you really ask for more than that?
Josh’s pic- guy walking in the park/SOOTC (straight out of the camera)
G3. Taken yesterday- Thanksgiving, on our mile walk at the park.
Yesterday, an amazing thing happened as I was driving.
I was thinking about all of the catastrophic things I’ve been through lately, and recalled a discussion that Brianna and I had had about God. I thought about God’s love and Who He Is as the creator of the world. I began to talk to Him, simply acknowledging Him! I thanked Him for His great love and for always watching out for me.
A warmth filled my heart, and I felt God surrounding me, completely. I could feel Jesus’ Love, filling my heart up. It felt as if the entire car grew warmer and I was swimming in love. I thought- at that very moment- that this was where I belonged, always. And that feeling is better than anything a person can say or do, and it’s better than anything money can buy- better than any drug. That feeling was what it’s like to truly be in God’s presence: in His presence, there’s an absence of hatred. Hateful things can’t abide in such truth and light.
I received this message at one of my photo sites I hang out at:
Hello Birgitta, I stumbled across your profile – and what a great find. I was first quite impressed with your photography, but after looking more thoroughly, I have found that you have included a lot of “Christian Imagery” I would imagine this to be the case because you are indeed a Believer/Christian yourself. My wife and I are also believers and I was just thinking yesterday – how can I use photography to glorify God, to be a witness. I believe you have done that on some level in your photography, including Bibles, Scripture Passages, Crosses etc. Thank you for sharing your faith regardless of the outcome…. I’m encouraged. PS. Keep Shooting for God, for Art, for Creativity
And my reply to him was:
Hi Caleb! So sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. First of all, thanks so much for dropping me a line. 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to do that. Secondly, thanks for letting me know that my photography has inspired you, particularly, where God and the Scriptures are concerned. No matter what I’m shooting, or when or how, I have this tugging at my heart for mankind- I have a little secret that I want to share, ya know? We know the truth- as believers, we’re so blessed with a bountiful banquet before us. Spiritually, we’re like Kings! When I look out at the dying world- it breaks my heart, truly. So many people though, have built walls so high. They won’t hear a drop of the truth about Jesus- they reject Him- just as He said they would. This is where “art” comes in. 🙂 We already share a common bond with unbelievers and many athiests in the art world- we all like to create and express ourselves. my work tends to have a dark undertone to it- it’s edgy. This isn’t intentional. I’m forever bound in my heart to the Crucified Christ- and His agony at Calvary. Ya know? It’s not like we’re “just passing through” that pain and death, and then we’re riding on a glory cloud every day. No- like Paul said, “I die daily”. We need to be nailed to the Cross every day, and crucify our own flesh. Well, this kind of seeps out in my work. But the bright side, is that it attracts people who are into dark things, and strangely enough, many athiests. They’re attracted to the gritty side of things. So when they see my work, it speaks to them. When they see the Scriptures- they more readily receive the Word because they feel a connection. I’m able to use my art to minister to people who don’t know God. I’m always mindful of this! I want to “tell stories” with my photography. I always ask myself: “Why am I doing this?” “What are my motives right now?” “What message am I sharing here?” And so on. I want to encourage you and your wife to do the same things. I’ve been able to reach many hungry hearts over the past 10 years or so. I think of this Scripture always: “Let your light so shine before men, so they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt: 5:13 &16) And also this one: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” These are the two Scriptures that drive me in my work. Sure, I upload lots of trivial photos too, but I’m careful to integrate “messages” in the mix. I want it to means something, and ultimately, touch peoples’ hearts. Thanks again so much for writing me, and I’ll pop in later and check out some of your work. I’m a full-time behavioral Sciences major also working on my Substance Abuse certification- almost no time right now, as you know how that goes. I wish you all the best! And take good care of yourself. -B
I later discovered that he and his wife are living in Korea and are English teachers.
I would absolutely love to be in Korea with a Lensbaby!
I received an anonymous email also the other day from “Mel”:
The song you wrote is so beautiful (“Hallelujah”) – the lyrics and the singing are so heartfelt…. Can you send me a link to the song so that I can download it?
It’s a good feeling knowing that I inspire people here and there, and not “me” per se, but the message I carry with me. I’m driven by it continually, and it’s my driving force in life. I think about it every day of my life, and my persistent question that I ask myself is, “What are you doing for others in your life?”
If I have a hard time answering that question, something is seriously wrong. I not only enjoy doing good things for others- I’m compelled to.
[pics of my kids] Lensbaby Composer Pro + Double Glass optics/4 & 2.8
“Well where is your pain?”
“In the back of my head, this time. At the top of my neck and the base of my head,” said I.
I suppose I could have just as easily said where my cerebellum and brain stem are.
“Well, that’s exactly where your cyst is,” said he.
“Cyst. Hmm. So…right. You know, I’m not a lightweight. Do I need surgery? Just…tell me what’s up with it.”
And so on and stuff.
So I’ve discovered the culprit of my raging three day migraines. And sometimes four. This arachnoid cyst. Hmm. Not a pretty sounding fella. Arachnoid means spider-like. Who knows what the heck I’m toting around up there. I do know one thing for certain: I refuse to go down without a fight.
Also, I’m not prepared to put my life in the hands of a man I don’t know. Degree notwithstanding. I’ve decided that I’ll take matters into my own hands and request an MRI every six months, measure it myself, and take the direction I think best. I’m going to call the shots.
I’ll continue my homeopathic regimen- ground cayenne and ginger, lots of water, tea, and exercise. Now I know this might seem strange because I’ve researched arachnoid cysts and many others who have them are quite inactive. If you’ve had monster migraines, you learn to not disturb the beast. But I want to unlearn this behavior. It can be a real challenge to simply “live” sometimes, without triggering a migraine. When it hits, it feels like my whole head is exploding, and somebody is stabbing me through my right eye socket with an ice pick.
I’ve had worse pain.
Ok, that’s a complete lie. I haven’t.
It makes childbirth seem like a walk in the park.
And let it be known that I have an insanely high tolerance for pain.
I have a brand on my right arm from a coat hanger- fresh off the fire.
Gangrene set in and I had to cut it out with a knife.
Yup. Ohhhhh it’s a really good thing that I quit drinking whiskey five years ago.
Anyway, back to my tragedy.
In spite of all of this cyst stuff, I’ve decided to work on some of my music over the summer. Along with compiling a few photoshop tutorials for friends, and working on a song for a young girl named Kira. She’s the daughter of a friend (photographer, naturally), and she’s in her third week of radiation treatment. That little girl is one tough cookie. I found out her favourite colour, her favourite food, and have decided that I’ll write, record and produce a track for her as a token of friendship, and as an inspiration for her to keep on fighting.
I realize that God has given me a lot of talents. A lot of them.
photography and various mediums of art in general
Psychotherapy- yes. Psychotherapy. And I don’t even charge people.
Let’s see…there’s cooking and wait- I’ve published a children’s book too, called: “Peanut Butter Soup”.
It’s a collection of witty, thought-provoking, inspirational, and motivating poems for children. I included some of my chicken-scratch drawings with them- nothing so complicated that a child can’t mimic them. But they’re loaded with messages that raise awareness for the obese, the aging, metally challenged (hey- and mentally too!), and so on, so that kids will learn how to not bully others. Yes. I was a bedwetter until I was fourteen. (Sigh.) I’m afraid this batch of blog-tags are going to be the freakiest collection of words that might ever be listed together yet.
Perhaps I’ll actually get around to promoting that book one day, but for now, I’ll sign personal copies and ship them to friends. Like Kira. 🙂
In time, I’ll post videos. And actually sing. And play. (And stuff.)
For now, I’m soooooooo enjoying my summer break- good grief I thought this past semester was going to kill me. Seventeen credit hours (5 classes) and twenty one credit hours last semester. Not an easy thing to accomplish with blistering migraines, I will tell you. It was nothing short of miraculous that I came through so strongly, and, made mostly A’s and B’s.
Six classes to go and I’ll have my degree in Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse.
p.s. Mr. Chris Alia, I’ve added you to my tags, so if you ever go ego-surfing, you can find me.