Thursday, February 20, 2014

Doubt Your Doubts

Doubt Your Doubts

I listened to a message at church this last Sunday that was so powerful and I wanted to share it with you. Regardless of whether you share the same beliefs as me or not, this can apply to you. It's so simple—so beautiful—and so incredibly profound.
"Doubt your doubts. Believe your beliefs."
How many times have I found myself worrying about the little things (or the big things) and placing too much emphasis on things that I've created in my head—things that aren't even real? Too much time. I can tell you that for sure—whether it's about my marriage, my career, my future, my social interactions, my past mistakes... I have spent way too much time wasted in doubt and worry.

Already this week I found myself creating lies, made-up situations, and worry within myself over things that aren't even true... so what did I do? I told myself, "Doubt your doubts." Sometimes I have to repeat it over and over. Doubt your doubts... doubt your doubts... doubt your doubts.

Because that's all that they are—doubts. They are not real. They are not worth it. Believe your beliefs. Believe what you know. Believe what is true and right in front of you. It's so simple, yet so powerful. It's my mantra right now, and it's a game-changer, I promise. When you have that little bit of confidence in yourself to rid the doubts from your mind, you can conquer anything.

Doubt your doubts.

Monday, February 17, 2014

For Closure... The Post about Alcohol

Why I don't drink alcohol, Trichotillmania and Alcohol

I've been putting this post off for a while—not because I don't think it's important—but because I was hesitant to put my personal beliefs on this topic out in the open for fear of rejection, fear of judgement against me, and most of all—fear of failing. I'll explain more in a bit, but I wanted to begin this post with a disclaimer that the following content is my own personal opinion & perspective, and in no way do I judge or disagree with you if you don't make the same choices I do.
________________________________________________________________________________________

I think I've always had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I won't get into the details, but let's just say that I've seen it tear apart relationships & destroy the health and lives of several people who have been very close to me. Growing up, I told myself I would never drink, because I didn't want to see my life head in the same direction that I had seen so many go in before me.

You can probably guess where this is going. I had my first drink at age 18 and began going out with friends when I was 21. While I never enjoyed the "downtown" scene—when I went out, I tended to order at least one drink with dinner. And the way I did it, one drink turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into... well, you get it. I wasn't able to just stop at one. Now, I wasn't having drinks all the time, as you may presume. I'm talking once or twice, maybe three times a month. Nothing too extravagant.

But as the years turned and I found myself in troublesome times, alcohol was where I sought my refuge. Never a fan of strong-tasting drinks, beer or red wine, I would sip off the stresses with a margarita, a Malibu & Diet, a glass of Moscato, or a pretty & ├╝ber-sweet cocktail. And like I said before—it was never simply just one.

The additional drinking led to weight gain (roughly 30 pounds more than I am now) and insecurity, and of course—more drinking—lots and lots more drinking. I suppose I should also include the fact that while I drank I was such a different person, and that was the kind of person that truly no one wanted to be around. I was a destructive person when I drank. I destroyed relationships, I destroyed people's feelings, I destroyed my own self-confidence. In addition—though I never realized it at the time—the more I drank, the more I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows. It was a downward spiral and though I knew how to get out of it, I didn't want to. I thought it was too enjoyable... too fun... not worth it to give it up.

Fast forward a few years to 2013, where drinking wasn't so much of a priority but I still had one here and there—one margarita while out on the lake, one glass of wine at a fancy dinner, one hot toddy while up at our favorite mountain resort. Ever since I became a Christian in 2012, I had begun developing a conviction that I shouldn't drink at all—but I could never justify giving it up completely. I didn't think I needed to.

Then, last fall after my trichotillomania & pulling had gotten so much better, I realized one distinct correlation. I wasn't drinking like I had been... at all. It had been months since my last drink and I had hardly pulled out any eyelashes or eyebrow hairs, whereas before, I pulled and pulled each time I drank. I knew that my decline in drinking had helped lead to my decline in pulling. So I gave it up. Right then and there, I decided I was done with alcohol. For good.

However (here's where we get into what I mentioned above about being hesitant to post this)—I gave it up quietly. I made this decision after praying about it and talking it over with Daniel, and essentially only told my parents. And I did it so quietly out of purely selfish and misguided reasons. I was leaving the door open to the possibility that if I did have a drink in the future, that I wouldn't be held accountable for my actions because I hadn't told anyone that I'd stopped drinking. Wait, what? Yes. I'll say it again, I was leaving the door open to being able to still drink in the future. I'm telling you, I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I wasn't able to just let it go. It was as though I thought I needed it or might need it in the future. I was afraid of failing—so I didn't tell anyone about it.

So this post, right here, is my public declaration. Despite whatever opinions, thoughts or judgments about me & my beliefs may be cast because of it. I haven't had a drink since last fall, and I won't drink ever again. I'm doing this for myself, for my husband, for my family (and future family!), for my trichotillomania, and mostly—because of my faith in God, the convictions He has given me, and the path he has placed me on.

This is one of those long-winded, wordy posts that will surely drive people to click that "X" at the top of their screen. But this is one of those posts that is so important for me to share. I've always said—I love to share my story and put myself out there—and this is just one more page of my story that I don't want to forget, and don't want to go on without sharing. Please remember, I don't judge anyone based on if they do/don't drink or what their stance is on the topic. I hope I didn't come off as judgmental by publishing this post. This is a very, very personal post and it took me a long time to gather the courage to write it. But I knew I needed to... for myself—and for closure. Here's to holding myself accountable, once and for all.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Power in His Delay

God's Perfect Timing

I've been journaling and reflecting on life lately each night before going to bed. It's become a bit of a routine—and it is so calming & relaxing. I write down a few sentences about something good that happened in my day or something that I'm grateful for (I don't ever write the bad stuff—who wants to remember that?). It's simple, it's quick, and it's so amazing to look back over all the good that's been happening in my life lately.

The other day, I had been particularly frustrated while waiting and waiting for Tech School dates for the Air Guard. I felt as though I'd been waiting forever—though it's only actually been a couple months—and began writing to help release that frustration. What I wrote wasn't a complaint, or even negative for that matter. I essentially wrote a prayer. A prayer for peace & trust in God's perfect timing. Sure, I may have wanted to know those dates right that moment, but my wants were selfish and mistimed. I journaled about how thankful I was for all I've been given and how I knew that God will reveal those dates to me in His time.

And what do you know? Two days later I received those dates. It was as though I had finally put it out of my hands and given my trust to God when he took that burden right from me and answered that prayer. Now granted—they were not the exact dates I had hoped for—but see? God's working within me to trust that those are the right dates! I didn't even realize that my prayer had been answered—and so quickly, too!—until I was reading over my journal last night. What a beautiful thing it is.

While we may have that now now NOW mentality, sometimes all it takes is letting it and the worry and the concern and the control go for it to happen. I heard this incredible phrase a few months ago and wrote it down in all caps in the back of my Bible so I could always remember it. It said:
"There is power in My delay."
To me, that is so powerful. Realizing we are not in charge of what happens around us—we are only in charge of ourselves, our thoughts & our actions—is so freeing. Is it not? There is power in His delay. That's so beautiful & makes me ever so hopeful for all that lies ahead.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Striped sweatshirt and Christmas lights

Do you know what I love about this time of year—the "holidays?" The cheer—I just soak it in like no other. The warm smiles, the friendly embraces, the holiday well-wishes and Merry Christmases and handshakes and hugs. I just love it all.

This is the time of year when so many people come under such stress to find that perfect gift or get in over their heads with worrying too much about the Hallmark holidays we've come to know. I, however, find this season so beautiful. The gift-giving is such a non-existent stress to me... it's not about the presents, it's about the love shared with family, the time spent together, and the promise of life, a savior, and blessings to come.

Merry Christmas, my friends. Sending you all some Christmas cheer, and wishing you a week of grace, thankfulness, splendor, and joy. It's a wonderful life, isn't it?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Insecurities.

Insecurities about infidelity in marriage, Sapphire Wedding Ring

I am a liar and creator of evil thoughts. It's true. And the only person I hurt is myself.

For completely unfounded reasons, I create thoughts and ideas in my head about infidelity, distrust, suspicion, doubt. Nothing has ever been done to me that would substantiate a reason for these thoughts—though my own actions and hurt I've caused others is what I believe to be the primary reason for it.

It's sad. These thoughts—and often terrifying nightmares that wake me up in tears and cold sweats—are debilitating. They come on at a moment's notice, ruining my kind and carefree spirit. They send me into panic mode, creating the desire to snoop and see if there's anything underneath the surface that could be going on without my knowledge. It's so sad. I have distrust and it's so incredibly unfounded.

I get emotional as I write this. It's something that as I write, I want to hit "delete" and push under the rug—it's there but I don't want anyone else to see it. It's embarrassing. As a woman of faith, I shouldn't struggle with these things, I shouldn't let myself be so vulnerable. My mind—a filthy place—is so cluttered with these horrible thoughts, and there's no reason for it. I know these thoughts don't come from a good place. They're insecurities that I struggle with often—even today as I type this.

As often as I've debated putting this insecurity out there and broadcasting it to the entire internet, I suppose I have a hopeful intention with it. So often, I've blogged about my troubles in the past. My trichotillomania... that only got better after I wrote it all down and put myself out there—so I'm crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that bringing this insecurity out from it's hiding spot will help me in the long run. I'm not weak. I'm not helpless. And I'm tired of letting these destructive thoughts control me and make me feel weak and helpless.

I've made so many decisions lately, like joining the Air National Guard, where I know I'll put myself in an emotionally vulnerable spot and won't be able to see Daniel for several months while I'm away at training—and the hope is that it will make a stronger person. He is an amazing man, and I'm not giving him the credit, respect or honor he deserves.

So there it is. The lies I tell myself. The fear of it happening to me. The biggest insecurities that get me down and crush my spirit day after day.

Not anymore.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our First Anniversary

Winter wedding
Winter wedding
Daniel and Annelise Rowe

A year ago today, Daniel and I were married in the most beautiful winter wonderland setting at our church. We were surrounded by family and friends, and we felt the love from our entire congregation—since we had our wedding at our church, we made it an open invite ceremony—and it was beautiful, fun, so special, and a big, giant party.

One of the best things about our marriage is that it was built on the strongest foundation possible. We have God as our center—our rock. Through him, we know we can do anything and that nothing can divide us or tear us apart. When we know we love the Lord first and foremost, he teaches us how to love each other and how to be better for the other person. Like every couple, we've had trials over the last year, but with God, we were able to get through them and the love we have now is stronger than ever. We couldn't do it without Him.

I can't believe the last year went by so quickly. We have changed immeasurably, helping each other become the new people we are today. We make each other better people. We are best friends. We love spending time together, making big decisions together, and building our lives together. This may be the end of "year one," but it's just the beginning in the story we're writing as we go.

I love you, Daniel. My best friend. My leader in the Lord. My husband. My other half. My sweets... I love you.

Daniel and Annelise Rowe

Friday, November 8, 2013

Beauty in Every Day

Finding beauty in every day, fall leaves in Boise

There's beauty in every day. But you have to open your eyes to see it.

I have stories I could write and words that I could try to hammer out... but today I'm just reflecting on that simple thought. When you pray and pray for an answer, such as if a door is meant to be opened for you, let it be opened, or if a door is meant to be shut, then let it be clearly closed—how can you be upset when you find out that your door has, in fact, been closed? That's an answer to a prayer. It may not be the answer you "wanted." But it's an answer. That's so beautiful.

Here's to open eyes, open doors, an open heart, and finding beauty in every day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Faith & Positive Thinking

Difference between faith and positive thinking, faith quotes, inspirational quotes

One of our pastors quoted this yesterday while she was teaching our pre-service class. She had heard it long ago from another pastor, and I wrote it down. It was the only bit of notes I took during yesterday's class, and yet it was so powerful.
"The difference between faith & positive thinking is positive thinking only works when you're thinking. Faith works all the time."
That used to be me before I found my faith. Miss positive, bubbly, optimistic outlook. Miss never-had-a-bad-day. But what happened when I did have a bad day? I fell hard, and I never understood why.

How many people can you think of who consider "something" to be what keeps them happy? I know people who, for them, running is what takes away their stress. Or singing. Or dancing. Or writing. Or reading. Or lifting in the gym... or other things, too—other things that aren't so positive... like drinking (for me, it used to be a margarita—or several—that took my cares away), drugs, addiction & self-harm. BUT WHAT HAPPENS when those things go away? What do you have left?

I'm so grateful for my faith and the fact that I don't have to do each day alone. I am guided, I am protected, I am filled to the brim with happiness and a radiance that doesn't come from me. It's faith. And it's beautiful.

I know that this blog has readers of all different backgrounds, beliefs, and walks of life. And if this post isn't for you right now, that's OK. But if you think it might be, leave a comment or send me an email. No matter where you are today or what's keeping you happy, just know I'm thinking of you & I'm overjoyed that you're here reading this. Have an awesome, awesome day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I AM AWESOME.

Last Friday, after my post about my current struggles with trichotillomania, one of my very good friends texted me and said, "Saw your blog post this morning ... I just knew I had to share [this video] with you." After watching the video, getting chills all over, and just remembering that no matter what trials I go through, no matter what mistakes I make, no matter what anyone else thinks of me—I AM AWESOME. I thought I'd turn around and share this with you, because YOU too are beautiful, smart, funny, kind, unique... you are awesome.



Andi, thanks a bunch for sharing this video with me. I so appreciate your friendship. To all the rest of you, sending nothing but love and well-wishes for your weekend. I am empowered today... who are you?

Friday, September 27, 2013

This Isn't a Deal Breaker.

Trichotillomania, eyelash and eyebrow pulling
Jacket: c/o Joules

A couple years ago, I learned that my trichotillomania triggers were stress & change. Anytime I moved, changed jobs, classes started or ended, and began or ended a relationship—I had to watch out and be ultra-conscious of my pulling and try so hard not to pull. I never did very well with my attempts and always found myself without any eyelashes or eyebrows.

This past year, for the first time since my late teens, I've had much better control over my pulling. A couple months ago, I was even able to go just over 11 weeks without pulling a single eyelash or eyebrow. Lately though, I've been having a harder time. I haven't pulled any eyelashes, but my eyebrows aren't doing as well as I'd like. I don't have any blank patches, but parts of them are sparse. I think this whole move into the new house has thrown me for a bit of a loop and I've started pulling occasionally again.

But through everything—each trial—the one thing I've learned is that every day is a new day and just because I've been stuck in a rut of doing something before, doesn't mean I have to still do it. Just because I've pulled a couple (or a lot) of eyebrow hairs here and there for the past several weeks doesn't mean that I have to pull them all out again. This isn't a deal breaker. I may be down at the moment... but I'm not out.

I suppose this is my attempt to blog about it—to get it out in the open that I've started pulling again—and once again, a public affirmation that this disorder does NOT control me, WON'T hold me down, and I WON'T let it get the best of me. The pulling stops now... I can do this.

Matthew 15:28 "Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trich is Your Gift

Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania

A couple months ago, I met a woman and her daughter for lunch and spoke to her daughter about my trichotillomania. The daughter, a beautiful 16-year-old girl who also has trich, was looking for someone to talk to, since she had recently come out to her parents about her disorder. Despite emailing back and forth with people all over the world about trich, I had never met face-to-face with anyone else who has trichotillomania. It was a wonderful meeting, and we ended up talking for over 2 hours. We departed with a giant hug and an exchange of phone numbers, and this girl and I still text back and forth to check on each other.

About a month ago, I got an email from her mother (who writes a blog about her daughter's pulling here). In the email, the mom said something that resonated deep within me. She said:
"Thanks for all your help thus far. I hope you know how much God has used you. Which means……TRICH IS YOUR GIFT. ;-)"
I had never thought about it like that before. My gift? I think she's absolutely right. We are all made a certain way for a reason, right? When I began blogging about my trich in 2010, I was putting my story out there since (at the time) there wasn't another blog about trich that I could find. I never knew the impact that my one small blog could have on so many people all over the world. But now? It's a way to offer support, guidance and inspiration to many who struggle with this on a daily basis. It's a form of ministry to me, and I'm using it to share my faith and how powerful I believe prayer truly is.

I have mentioned before that my trich has been less of a problem recently, but it's not gone. In fact, since May 1st, I had been pull-free. Notice I said HAD. Last night, I pulled an eyebrow hair. Just one, from my left eyebrow while watching TV, but still... I did it. I broke my 14-week pull-free streak. However, I didn't let myself get overly down or upset about it, I just told myself that it was OK, and tomorrow was a new day. And guess what? It is. Today IS a new day, and I'm going to continue to use this gift that God has given me to help and inspire others. I may have pulled one eyebrow hair, my first in over 14-weeks, but you know what? My eyelashes and eyebrows are THERE. They are full, they are long... and just because I pulled one doesn't mean I'm going to pull any more.

If you're struggling with trich (or anything, really) think of today as your starting point. Today is a new day. It's your time to shine.

Trichotillomania

And now a question for you, no matter where you're from or what you do/don't struggle with or whether we have the same beliefs or not... this applies to everyone... What is your gift?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

His Plan.

Boise Blog

You know, sometimes life just happens, and I have to force myself to remember that God has a plan.

This past Sunday, there was a big accident on Highway 55 by Smiths Ferry (the route we take to go to McCall), and it ended in a tragic fatality—a young woman's van hit a cattle transport semi as she was coming around a corner and she was killed instantly. I was surprised to hear about the accident... I mean, we travel that road all the time... it could happen to anyone. But I was even more surprised to hear who the woman was who was killed... I knew her. She attended our church, and she and I went through last September's Encounter together. I always said hello when I would see her... she was such a sweetheart. She was also a wife and mother to some adorable daughters, including two one-year-old twins. This woman attended our church Sunday. And then Sunday evening, it was her time to go meet God.

The news reports had published her full name, so I hadn't put two and two together until someone mentioned her nickname, and then it hit me. This woman—this sweet, friendly, Godly woman—she is gone.

So many people look at things like this and ask why. "Why, God?"... I'm asking how. "How are You going to use this for us? How can we give back and help lift up that family? How can we show others Your purpose?"

And then I remember, God has a plan. He gathered this amazing woman up in His arms and He delivered her to eternal safety this weekend. It was her time.

If anything, this is a huge reminder to me—don't take life for granted. Don't leave without giving your husband and/or kids a hug and telling them you love them. Don't go to bed angry. Don't miss one chance to tell others you love them... because you just never know. We may think that we are in control, but when you remember that we don't run on "our time," but instead His time, there is a comfort knowing that there is a plan just for us.

You know, yesterday I thought a couple things in my life were a big deal. Big things going on that I thought were big things to get stressed over. Then I heard about all of this and it just opened my eyes to be thankful for everything that I have. Because you just never know what's around that next corner. Please keep that family in your prayers.

Friday, May 3, 2013

You're Going To Save Someone's Life

trichotillomania

It's funny how you can meet someone for the first time and begin talking about one thing, and 20-minutes later you find yourselves almost in tears and hugging like forever-friends.

This happened to me recently when I was helping Apricot Lane celebrate their one-year anniversary. I ended up chatting with a customer's mother, and when I mentioned that I was there because I was the special guest and a blogger, her first question was, "How do you even make money from that?" That question always makes me laugh a little because people always assume that if you're a "blogger," then you don't do anything else. I was quick to tell her that blogging is my hobby, but I work full time for a hospital. We hit it off well and began talking all about medical-talk (she has a Master's in Pharmacy), diabetes education (I used to work for a diabetes center), and eventually wrapped back around to blogging. She asked me why I started blogging.

This is always the question that makes me cringe a little because it's the point where I say, "I love to write!" or when I tell them the real answer, which is:
I began blogging to have a place to write about my trichotillomania (which I still suffer from). In 2010 I didn't have any eyelashes or eyebrows and I needed help. I couldn't find any other blogs or information online about people's first-person stories of trich. I started my blog LastLash to keep myself accountable with progress photos, to write down my struggles, and to have a place to go when I needed to vent (you can read my very first post here).
This is usually the point where people get really nervous because they don't know how to deal with the fact that I just told them I have a disorder, or they become intrigued and want to know more about trich. This kind woman was the latter. We started talking all about my trich and what a struggle it's been. She, the pharmacy expert, asked me if I was on medication for it. I told her no, and she was rather surprised, because most disorders like this require medication to get through the day-to-day. I then told her (again, another topic that sometimes turns people away) about how I pray to help me reduce my pulling. I told her that while I'm not cured, praying has seriously been a blessing to me and has truly answered so many of my cries for help when I'm having a hard time and wanting to pull. Even for people who aren't spiritual, if you can take that "need to pull" and replace it with a focus on something else, you can resist pulling.

While she was at the checkout counter, we started speaking about other people who have trich. She mentioned that she'd seen it on TV shows, but had never met anyone who had it. I told her that I meet new people through email daily who have it. I get emails so often, from 9-year-olds to 60-year-olds, from North America to Australia to Africa to Asia, from men to women, from people who just started pulling and people who have been pulling for almost all of their lives.

I don't know what breaks my heart more, reading an email from someone who has been a puller for 27-years and hasn't told anyone ever about their disorder, or reading an email from a 12-year-old who is embarrassed and afraid to go to school because the kids make fun of her. None of it is right. I have such a burden to help these people who struggle day in and day out like I do with something that is so small, yet affects us all so much. The one thing that I want every person with trich to know is, you are beautiful. You are wonderful. And you can do it.

After I told this woman a few of the stories of the emails, I found her in tears. I was almost in tears. She looked at me, gave me a huge hug and as she left the store she said, "You're going to save someone's life. You know that, right? You're going to save someone's life."

Up until that moment, I had never thought about it like that. Me? Save someone's life? But what if it's true? What if putting this disorder out to the world could really help someone that much? But I know it can. When I started LastLash, I was depressed, I was insecure, I was on a downward, scary spiral. To be honest, LastLash (and the journey it's taken me on) has saved my life. If I can help, inspire, or even be the shoulder to one person who has this disorder—I couldn't ask for anything more. I know that trichotillomania can be embarrassing, frustrating, and scary. And no one should have to do it alone. So that... THAT is why I started blogging. That's why I'll continue blogging. And that is a burden that will never be heavy on my back. It's a burden of love and support for others—and the fuel behind all this blogging fire.

Thank you so much to the wonderful lady who talked and cried with me this past weekend. You have told me something that I will never, ever forget, and continued to inspire me—along with the emails I get from the people around the world with trich—to never, ever give up. Thank you.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Take My Hand

idaho christian blog
idaho christian blog

Have you ever found a song that speaks to you so deeply that you want to listen to it on repeat, that it makes you cry and smile at the same time, and it brings you a sense of hope and faith that you know was just meant for you?

Enter a song by Shawn McDonald from 2004, titled "Take My Hand." I can't tell you how much hope this song has brought me lately... and the one thing I keep praying over and over is "change me." This song, with the book The Power of the Praying Wife that I'm reading right now are moving me. Big time.

My prayer today? Change me. Heal the brokenness. Free the burdens. Release me of the nightmares. Help me to be a positive light. Let me walk with You and be the best wife I can be. Thank You for this beautiful day.  


Take my hand to the promise land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You
I need You

Without You I'm so alone
I am weak but You are strong
You pick me up when I'm falling down
And I am crying
Out to You inside of my heart
I need You Lord, oh so, for the part
I want You to have my life, Jesus

Take my hand to the promise land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You
I need You

I fall to my knees
And I'm begging You, please oh Lord
Won't You change me
Make me new from the inside out
I want to shout out Your name

Take my hand to the promise land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You
I need You

I need You.

- Shawn McDonald "Take My Hand"

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jade

boise style blog
Bracelet: c/o Outfit Additions (use code SAUCE for 15% off) // Top: Francesca's // Earrings: Premier Design // Pants: Mossimo // Shoes: Steve Madden
boise style blog
boise style blog
boise style blog

Happy day after St. Patty's! I didn't have any green beer—or my favorite, a green margarita—but I did enjoy a fresh green protein smoothie, filled with spinach! Delicious!

I also took the opportunity to deck myself out in green—three different times nonetheless! An emerald top for church, a neon green top at the gym, and a light lime sweatshirt for hanging out during the evening (oh, and don't forget the tie-dye green socks!).

Moving past all the fun of yesterday, today has special significance for me—a year ago today I became a Christian! March 18th—my special "birthday" of sorts. What a year it's been. I'm so thankful for everything that has happened. Here's to another year of LIFE!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Real Look at Trichotillomania

trichotillomania blog
Scarf: c/o Kintage
trichotillomania blog
trichotillomania blog

You guys know why I started blogging in the first place, right? It was to have an open and public place to talk about the disorder—trichotillomania—that has affected me for the past several years. I began my blog LastLash in 2010 so I could tell the world my story, and document it for all to see.

Since then, I've received countless emails from people across the world who also deal with this life-changing disorder. Through every email, it never ceases to amaze me how open people are—how people pour their hearts into their words and tell their story to a complete stranger. I am so thankful for it...

I think it's time for a trichotillomania update. I got an email last week from a woman who's been struggling with trich for 26 years. Twenty-six years. She had finally reached a point of desperation and emailed me—the first person she's ever contacted about her struggles—to see if I could help her or point her in the right direction. It is times like those when I wish I was a professional... but I'm not, I'm just me—a fellow stranger across the internet who also happens to struggle with trich. What a beautiful email I got to share with a woman who I will never probably meet, but feel like I already know because of our disorder we share.

With my trichotillomania, I don't think there was ever a point where I enjoyed destroying my eyelashes and eyebrows. Oh, and talk about a self-esteem killer—I became very depressed at my worst stages of pulling, and I knew I needed to make a change. It was only when I decided to—and made a conscious effort to—that I began to actually see improvement in my pulling. Having trichotillomania is like an addiction and in fact, has been compared with having an addiction to heroin. Heroin. In other words, this isn't something you can just stop. But if you try and pray and seek treatment, it IS something you can gain better control over.

When I talk about my pulling on this blog, I know you can get an idea of what it looks like to have absolutely none or sparse eyelashes and eyebrows. But today, I want to show you. I want to give you a real look at the trichotillomania I've struggled with for over 10 years, and I also want to show you how far I've come. I've said it before—I AM NOT CURED, I STILL HAVE AND STRUGGLE WITH TRICHOTILLOMANIA—but it's not anything like what it used to be.

trichotillomania

What a blessing life is. I'm so thankful for how far I've come, and I have so much hope in my heart that I will be able to stop pulling completely someday. If you have trich or something you struggle with and you're ready to make a change—do it. Call your mom, your best friend, a doctor, a counselor—anyone who can help—and take your life back. Now is the time.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

BAPTIZED.


A little over a year ago, I was saved and became a Christian. Tonight—February 28, 2013—amidst a small group of our family and friends, Daniel and I were baptized together by our pastor.

Being baptized was the one fundamental step I had yet to take. Daniel was baptized when he was a child, and it has been something we've wanted to do together. On Sunday, our pastor and his wife found out I hadn't yet done it, and this week when they offered to do it—we jumped at the chance. We gathered at a friend's pool (indoor, of course), and together we were baptized.

What an amazing experience to affirm our faith in front of our brothers and sisters, to repent our past, and to begin anew. I am so thankful, so honored—so blessed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Break Down

christian blog

Sometimes you don't realize how thin your rope has worn until it breaks.
Yesterday, my rope broke—and I fell hard.

We were at church.
I had been having a hard time lately (depression—I have a history of it, bad and destructive thoughts, nightmares) and one of my friends suggested the previous week that I tried opening up more, really getting into worship and just letting go.
So yesterday—I let go.
I raised my hands to worship.
As I did, one of the wise women in church went on stage to say a little of what was on her heart.
She spoke about feeling hopeless, being in a situation you can't control, feeling like your prayers aren't being answered, and that if this is you—remember, you're not in charge. God is. And he's there with you no matter what, even when times are hard. She reminded us not to doubt him, that this was part of the plan—a beautiful plan—that God has laid out for our life.

Those simple words—words that I desperately needed—hit me like a ton of bricks... and I lost it. Just like that.
Sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating, totally breaking down—I let it all out.
And it didn't stop.
I cried through the rest of worship, through service, and even for about an hour after service.
I had broken.

It's amazing how we don't realize how deep we've fallen until we hit the ground and realize what we're doing to ourselves.
I was being bitter, fearful, suspicious, and holding offenses that were like chains binding my soul,
bringing negativity with me everywhere I went.
All for nothing. I had nothing to be bitter about, fearful of... I'd been having the craziest, unwarranted nightmares.
It was all a bad, bad spirit that had infiltrated me and wasn't going away.

Yesterday, I let it go.
I gave God those chains that had bound me,
and let him be in charge once more.

Though I broke down in front of everyone,
I wasn't embarrassed. It was cleansing.
I broke the hard shell of myself that had developed on the outside—like a mask—that I was cowering behind.
That mask had been my safety net. My hiding place. The place where I was destroying myself.
I needed to break down. I needed to let it out. To free myself of those burdens.

And let me tell you, today I am refreshed.
I am happy.
I am new.

I feel like I'm seeing the world through open eyes again.
And it's clearer and more beautiful than ever before.

PS / / Thank you to all the friends who have prayed for me lately, and a big thank you to those of you who gave me a little back rub, prayer, or comforting touch yesterday while I was breaking down. You really helped soothe the pain and your prayers truly helped. Thank you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A New Day

Ring: c/o The Vintage Pearl // Glasses: c/o Firmoo

love faith hope laughter family sauce

The most beautiful part of life is that every day you are given the chance to start over. To try again. To be the person who you were meant to be. Today, I hold strong to these values & important things in my life. Today, I hold nothing back. Today, I'm free.

Love
That feeling when your husband holds you so tight after a rare disagreement and you know that nothing will ever, ever tear you apart. Through all the tears and the struggles, you remember how incredibly special what you two have together really is. 

Faith
Knowing that you are not in charge. Believing in something bigger than yourself is so powerful. It gets me through many of the hard times to know that He is there with me, He protects me, He saved me.

Hope
Through the prayers, actions, and progress every day, I know I'm making a difference in the changes I'm trying to make. Hope is what keeps me going.

Laughter
The best medicine, in addition to hugs and cuddles.

Family
Coming together as one and starting fresh and anew. Nothing is more important to me than family.

Sauce
Today's "sauce" is that my amazing brother-in-law, Andy (who did our wedding photos), has started a blog called Good Man Friday. It's about all of his favorite things: inspiration, photography, life's little pleasures, and he's even starting a blogging consultation business (he's a genius). He was so sweet to write about me today... and he's even doing a giveaway for a $25 Visa gift card! Go say hello to him & give him a follow ♥

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Different.

Photos: Taylor Love Studios // Scarf: Rue 21

I'm the kind of person who has expectations.
Ideas of how this or that will turn out.
How certain things will be.
What will happen.

But what do I do when the outcome is not what I expected?
When things are different?

When you're expecting hot, or at least warm—and you get cold.
When you want to hear just a couple simple words—and you get none.
When time is all you need—and you're facing a closed door.
When you ask for answers—and don't receive a reply.

I know I'm not the only one this happens to.

Is it because I set the bar too high?
Is it because I'm looking for a sense of perfection?
Why do I set myself up like this?

Because I'm me.
I've always been the one
who "looks for greener grass."
Who gets told I'm too critical.
 Who tries so hard to make things right.
Who gets sad so easily.
Who worries.
Who overthinks.
Who has an open heart...
and who is finding out that when your heart is open, it can be vulnerable.

No matter what situation I'm dealt,
I can't change anything once it's done.
If it doesn't meet my expectations and turns out differently,
there's really nothing I can do...

Yet, there is one thing.
This is when I pray for myself.
I pray for my outlook to change.
I pray for protection and guidance.
For a peace and serenity for myself to 
accept things as they are.

I can't change others.
But I can change myself.

"Today, I pray for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

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