Monday, May 23, 2016

In the World of Wellness: Things That Make You Go Yum

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from dis-ease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you. Being more informed = better decisions for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Things that make you go oh, oh, oh.

My New Favorite Breakfast
I haven't had a whole lot of time (or desire) to cook lately, which is a-okay because I've found this remarkable rather newish almond milk, Califia. I had pretty much given up entirely on cereals and dairy alternatives because, regardless of the vast quantity of gluten free and healthy options, I just didn't really care for any of them. Baking with some of them- totally fine. Drinking them straight or using them with some form of cereal...egh. Until I ran across this little beauty a while back.

I've tried a few of the flavors, including the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which is admittedly healthier, however, the sweetened vanilla, in my personal opinion, is the best. In fact, based on how it sells out all the freaking time causing me to have to plan my shopping trips on the day of delivery also tells me that a lot of other people prefer this version.

I'm not a big cereal person, either. Many cereal options out there are full of junk, even some of the ones that are supposed to be healthy. That being said, I stumbled upon a gem, y'all. Qi'a cereals are my new favorite, the original option (chia, hemp, buckwheat) being the one I find most delicioso.

While the hemp and buckwheat have clear benefits, what sold me was the chia seeds. Did you know that chia seeds are crazy good for you, great for energy, and weirdly delicious when soaked in juice, or in almond milk for breakfast? Well, now you do. I won't go into all the details, but if you want a good, easy article on all the healthy benefits, click here. The easiest thing to do when making this cereal in the morning is to allow about 15 minutes for the almond milk to soak into the cereal. You want the chia seeds to get fluffy, for lack of a better word. You'll know what I mean after you've done it once. I also like cutting up a banana and putting some slices in the cereal. It adds a little extra oomph, if you know what I mean. *wink wink* I don't even know what I mean, never mind. It's yummy. There.

If you get hooked on chia seeds in particular, like I have, you can also buy a bag of the seeds and add them to your water or juice. They make for a good mid-day energy pick-me-up!

Basically what I'm saying is you all need to try these two products because I'm selfish and I want them to stay in business forever. Also, kids, don't forget to eat your vegetables. I just wanted to throw that in there for good measure so no one yells at me because I didn't find a way to incorporate spinach into this mix. You're welcome.

Califia almond milk + Qi'a cereal = YUM! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Save You Now

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Save You Now
(Written to a tune)

Come with me,
Take my hand,
I want to show you another plan.

I want to show you
A different life,
A different view of a different night.

In my dreams
I change the past.
In my dreams
I make this last.

If only time could break,
If only time could change.
I’d go back for you,
I’d set you free,
I’d give you what you gave to me.
I’d save you…
I’d save me…

I’ll save you now, in my dreams.

Stay a while.
Let me hold you.
Let me breathe you, let me know you.

Let’s pretend
This isn’t over,
Let’s pretend this is forever.

In my dreams,
I change the past.
I change it all.
I hold you back.

If only time could break.
If only time could change.
I’d go back for you,
I’d set you free,
I’d give you what you gave to me.
I’d save you…
I’d save me…

I’ll save you now, in my dreams.

Hold my hand,
Hold my heart.
One more time from the start.

Let’s rewind,
Let’s try again.
Let’s turn back time on how this ends.

In my dreams
I change the past.
I change the future.
I bring you back.

If only time could break.
If only time could change.
I’d go back for you,
I’d set you free,
I’d give you what you gave to me.
I’d save you…
I’d save me…

I’ll save you now, in my dreams.

I'll save you now, in my dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Mantra: Hell is Empty...

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: ...and all the devils are here (The Tempest)
"I'm not here to tell you if this is heaven or hell."
Lucas Gondim
I find different beliefs on heaven and hell fascinating. I find religion, all the different religions mixed with all the different cultural beliefs, widely intriguing. What I was raised to believe, what I believe now instead, what makes sense not just in my head, but in my heart- these are the things I think about.

I went home and visited my mom over the weekend and she requested my presence at church. I haven't been in a very long time. During the sermon my pastor mentioned something that I haven't heard before. He quoted something from the bible about heaven and hell. How, when judgment day comes, it will be a 50/50 equation of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That half of the earth will be granted passage to the city in the sky and the other half will not. The other half will stay here.

I'm not entirely sure what that means, and I don't really remember reading this or learning about this back in my Vacation Bible School days as a kid, but what he said made me think: Is this supposed to be hell? Eventually? For some people, I think it already is.

There's a song by Black Veil Brides called In The End. The founder of the band, Andy Biersack, wrote this after his grandfather died. During his grandfathers funeral people were constantly saying how good his grandfather had been, what a wonderful person he was. Those comments are what led him to think about what heaven might be: not a place, but what everyone is left with after you've gone. That heaven might be your legacy, told time and time again by the people who continue to tell the story of your life after you're gone.

In the end, 
As you fade into the night, 
Who will tell the story of your life,
And who will remember your last goodbye...

I'm not afraid to die.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Retrospection

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


Watch out,
Watch out.
Take a step back.
Smooth your move and
Let me retract.
Take a moment,
Take a breather,
Back off,
Back off,
Let me leave here.
I can’t take the
Noise, the music-
All the people
Crowding, moving.
Too much drama,
Too much action,
Leave me in my

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Monday Mantra (on a Tuesday because...): Funerals and Friends and a PSA

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: When the rain starts to pour, like I've been there before, 'cause you're there for me too
Part 1
This weekend was a mixture of sad and happy, new and old, laughter and tears. It was a reminder that real friendships - no matter how long it's been since you've seen each other - last the test of time. It was a reminder that hugs are indeed the best medicine. 

This weekend was a reunion brought together due to a tragedy. It was all of us old ag/FFA kids, including our most favorite teacher and teachers assistant, who were significant in our growing up to be good people. It was a chorus of "I'm so happy to see you...I wish it was under better circumstances." 

I knew I missed them, but I didn't realize how much until I saw them, until I hugged them, until I realized how much time had really passed. And yet, it was almost like it hadn't. We were still the giant, noisy, unstoppable group we always were in high school. I'm honored, sincerely, to have been a part of that remarkable group of people. Most high school kids search and search for their place and I kind of stumbled into mine. And they welcomed me in with arms wide open- me and my Buffy the Vampire Slayer obsession, my baggy jeans and giant t-shirts, my awkwardness. I flourished and became more comfortable in my own skin because of them. 

I love all of you dearly. I'm sorry so much time passed. I'm sorry it took a funeral to bring us together. Let's go camping in Sara's backyard and let's meet up at my house for BBQ's and let's not let distance get between us. I'm serious. Sara has three acres...there's plenty of room and no one will call the cops on us.

Part 2
The funeral made me think of Ben, my sweet friend who left this world way too soon. I scrolled through the Facebook page his mom set up for him and looked through all the old pictures. He was so young- we were so young. I have mostly come to terms with his passing, yet every now and then I come up with quite the elaborate story of time travel where I go back to this one particular night we hung out at the park and I proceed to hug him until he basically can't breathe. I tell him I love him and I'm sorry and then force him to spend every single hour of every single day with me from then on out so I can keep him from dying. Because I'm certain I could have. I'm certain I could have changed everything.

I love "our" story. How we met, our nicknames, how he taught me one of the most important lessons in life- never to judge someone by how they look, never to judge someone because they're different than you. You see, I judged Ben. I was an idiot and I made a snap judgment because he looked different than anyone I'd ever met at that point in my life. I wasn't mean about it and I wasn't purposely trying to judge him, but I dubbed him as a scary guy because he dressed and looked a certain way that, well, scared me a little bit for no real reason. But Ben, with his infinite wisdom, kindness, and courage came and found me the next day at work. He walked up to me, said "Hello, Scary Girl" and smiled. We became friends immediately. 

My Ben, my Scary Guy, in all black and chains and smiles and kindness. We're tied together forever because of the shirt I bought him, the words on it, the words now on his grave - Remember Me. I do, Ben. I do. 

I still wish there was time travel. I will always wish there was time travel. I will always want to go back.

Part 3
I recently discovered this singer (who is apparently already famous and does not need my help telling everyone about him because it turns out I'm the only one who's never heard of him...story of everything in my life, I swear) Andy Biersack. He reminds me of Ben in so many ways. The way he looks, dresses. The way people judge him. Everything he stands for and against because of that judgment. He clearly does not need my help because he has a killer voice and quite the fandom, but all of you should still go check him out. Because he's one of the good guys. He's one of the Ben's in the world and trust me, we all need more people like that. 

Also...Andy, if you're reading this, let's be friends. 

Part 4
I had a good high school experience, but not everyone does. Not my other friend, who was judged because she looked different and acted different and was different, as she should have been- as we all should be because we all are different from each other. She was not welcomed with open arms by everyone she encountered. I didn't know this still bothered her until the other day, fifteen years after the fact. High school can be a happy place, but high school can also be hell. 

We made life better for each other. With our crazy stories and always laughing and having more fun than should be allowed. Maybe not everyone loved her, but I sure did. I sure do. Everyone should have. 

Part 5
Not that long ago a co-worker of mine told me I was an odd combination of a person. That's an exact quote. Apparently, I don't look like the type of girl who loves rap music, tattoos, and must absolutely always drive an SUV with rims. 

I find this so strange. How shocked someone can be then they find out someone else is capable of being, liking, enjoying so many different things. I always thought everyone was made up of layers like this. Where one day you might want to dress like a hippie and the next you might want to dress like Morticia Addams. Isn't that what being a diverse person is all about? Isn't that what makes life so fun and interesting? I think so.

I never thought about this back then, but now I realize this is why I had friends in all the various circles of high school life; because I never felt like I belonged in one place or fit in in just one way. I had "goth" friends, nerdy friends, weird friends, "cool" friends. I had friends that were considered to be part of the bad crowd, friends from the good crowd. Not that I am trying to say these people were these things, or were just these things, but because cliques are divided and summed up like this in school. 

Thank the heavens I had all these friends with all these different backgrounds! It made me a better, more well rounded person. Each and every individual brought something different to the table. I learned more from them than I probably did from high school itself. 

I assure you, if you are willing to accept people for who they are, not only will they flourish because of that, you will too. If you don't accept them, I can also assure you that you're missing out on what could be some of the most influential, important friendships of your life. Literally, life changing friendships. 

Kindness, you guys. Acceptance. It's really that easy. It's really that awesome.

Part 6
To anyone who reads this: If you ever happen to be in the same place as me (and you happen to spot me) and you're feeling alone or scared or judged by everyone else around you, come talk to me. I mean it. Introduce yourself. I will be your friend. 

Here I am, pretending I know how to paint. I don't.
(Just so you know what I look like. Minus the paintbrush. Probably.)
"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Friday, May 6, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Calm

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


The wind keeps blowing,
The clouds are churning,
The circle’s forming,
And the dust is stirring.

The storm’s getting forceful-
It’s stronger.
It’s closer.

But if you take a moment
To gaze into its center,
Surrounded by the madness
Is a peaceful, calm surrender.