Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Suprising Dissapointments

August 31, 2010

It's been a while since I have actually written anything that doesn't pertain to giveaways. Yes, I know! It's time I put away the giveaway syndrome for a while and stick to doing what I do best-write. So here I am today letting you know what's been happening in my life as of late. Let me just say this, it's been, well, a learning curve with an uncontrollable roller coaster ride of emotions built in.

Three weeks ago, my mom and dad took me to see Dr. Asa Andrews. He's supposed to be some type of nutritional doc, but it turns out he's a chiropractor. Anyway, that was beside the point. Every since I hit puberty I have been dealing with a nasty sum of issues that have to do with food allergies and digestive issues. My mom and dad thought it was due to the fact that I had grown so fast in a short amount of time that everything was having a hard time catching up.

Well, it continued for about five years before we really started to investigate what the underlying cause was for this unexplainable problem that was plaguing me. So about two years ago, after a Christmas Party my Grandma Jarvis was having at her school for all her fellow Cafeteria ladies, my mom and I realized that this was a much bigger issue that we had originally thought. There was something more to the picture that we couldn't explain for find any reliable answer for. That was then. After the Christmas party, my mom began searching for answers. And I did, too, because I wanted to know what was wrong. I wanted to feel better and to be able to eat without my stomach feeling like it had thousands of knifes cutting at it.

Upon doing an extensive search for remedies or someone who could help, my mom ran across Dr. Rick Clifford a chiropractor that does wonders with food allergies, pressure points, re-adjusting and much more! When my mom first booked the appointment, we were skeptical.The program he put me on was (I mean is) called N.A.E.T. It's a little wacky-the whole process-but it works! Dr. Clifford was the first step in becoming healthy again. With 35lbs gone down the drain due to my lack of eating (because my stomach was sensitive), I had to do something more. While Dr. Clifford was working, my mom and dad still wanted a more definite answer. Yes, I was allergic to everything I ate, but he fixed it was time to find out why I was still having issues.

Turns out, after visiting Dr. Asa Andrews (for further investigation) here in Nashville, I am unable to digest food. Period. That is, without vitamins and supplements to aid my digestion. Also, I have come to find out that I am allergic to cows milk and gluten. Well, that was a blow, but a semi-easy fix. Now and forever I will not be allowed to drink or eat anything dairy unless it's sheep/goat's milk, cheese, etc.

I am praying that this year will be more effective and productive than last year. However, I don't know if I would call last year unproductive. I did learn a lot by the trials I was going through. My boss (I used to work at a Karate Dojo teaching kids Karate) was making my school year stressful. And on top of that, I was trying to understand my Tennessee History teacher, who could care less if I even excised (that's college for you).

So over the summer I was offered two jobs. All I can say is that this is a God send. After I quit my job at Karate, I was wondering how I would make some extra spending money because my mom and dad don't believe in giving us an allowance (that's understandable...they do a lot for me as it is!). It turns out that Vol State Comm. College in Gallatin had reviewed my American History 101 grade and had received a recommendation from my teacher. What's that mean? Because of my grade and the letter of recommendation from the teacher, I was offered a job as an SI leader. (You can learn more about what an SI leader is HERE). Unfortunitely, I had to quit due to some very surprising and unexpected circumstances (nothing to do with me personally, but I cannot work in the same conditions very similar to Karate). However, in addition to the job at college, I was offered another job that involved my favorite thing-history! I will be working at Mansker's Station in Goodletsville, TN as a re-enactor. I am so blessed. When God closes one door, He opens another.

And that was pretty much my whole week, really. It was despicable to a certain degree and a time in my life I wish to never revisit. But, I have learned quiet a bit and am yet to learn more. So, I leave you know with a silent prayer and a verse of encouragement:
"But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people. Who have set themselves against me all around."~Psalm 3:3-6
Until next time, Adios Amigos. God Bless you all. :)


August 24, 2010

Summer is almost over and it will soon be time to pack up our backpacks with school supplies, and head off to school. The vacations to the beach, the new and exciting experiences, the chance to rest our minds and bodies; and the chance to enjoy life in slow motion is what summer is all about. But now that summer is coming to an end, I wish it could last forever.

One of my favorite things about summer is the brilliant colors that are on display: the bright oranges, soft pinks, purples, blues and the bold reds and majestic yellows that elegantly sweep the morning and night time sky. When I look at the summer sky, I can’t help but think about the wonders of the earth. How could all this come from nothing? The artistry of the summer sky was definitely not created from a massive, unplanned explosion—but by the careful, precise craftsman ship of God.

For some strange reason food always tastes better in the summer. I don’t know if it’s because the heat drains us of our energy and makes us hungry, or the food is just that good! My favorite thing to eat in the summer are Hamburgers and fries—also known as soul food! I can already imagine being outside with family and friends BBQing. There’s potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and the choice of fries or chips, plus sodas, water and really sugary tea. People are gathered around catching up on the latest news, and reminiscing of the good-old-days when everything seemed so simple. I wish life was simpler and that each day was lived to the fullest and not taken for granted— like it often is.

When I think of summer, I think of places around the world that are begging to be visited—or that we’re begging to visit! Summer seems like the perfect time to take a vacation and explore new and interesting sights. Some of the neat sights to visit in the summer, is the Grand Cannon, the Niagara Falls, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Great Salt Lakes. The cool thing about all of these sights is that they weren’t man-made, but were created by God! When you take a trip to one of these marvelous sights, you truly get to see the work behind it all. God has an eye for beauty doesn’t he? Not only did he create us to be beautiful and in his image, but he created the earth and all that inhabits it just as pleasurable to the eye. Not only did He have the eye for beauty, but He had a great sense of humor! When we look at nature we see thing that are catching to the eye, but also things that we find to be funny, like certain animals, flowers, insects, and [we can’t forget] brothers!

When I see summer in full bloom, I see God and think “None of this would be possible, if God had not thought and planned every tiny aspect of our planet out to the tiniest rock on the ground— to the biggest fish in sea.” God is a spectacular artist and planner. When I think of summer and God, I can’t help but think of all the times I have taken both for granted. We have often neglected to see the full beauty of God’s creation because there never seems to be enough time in the day, or we are too preoccupied. But we need to stop and take it all in—it would be a waist of God given beauty to toss it to the way-side and look at it only once or twice a year. God is every where we look—not just in the Bible or at Church, but also in the freedom of the outdoors.

Lighthouse 'Everything' Skit

August 20, 2010

Hey guys! I ran across a wonderful video on Youtube. This is an amazing skit of how much God truly loves us and how easy it is for us, as humans, to fall away from his enduring love. But, it's amazing to see just how much God wants to love us. He loves us so much, in fact, that he was willing to die for us. And in this video, I realized just how much He LOVED me! He's willing to take the beating for me...for you. The heavenly romancer loves us and is willing to take the brunt of our worries, fears, and pain. What an awesome Father! I hope you enjoy!

What I Think

August 12, 2010

I love watching the History Channel. The biographies, bibliographies and other in-depth studies that they produce and air on their channel are educational and informative. 

However, there comes a point in time where I wonder whether the information they are giving is actually true. How does it compare to what the bible says? What is the hidden agenda? Is any of what they are saying actually truth, or is it all man-made fiction?

I really wonder. That's why I am very leery about the programs I watch on the History Channel, especially the ones on Christianity. I watch them to know what other believe, but some of it is so far fetched, that it's not worth wasting my time watching all that hullabaloo.

A few nights ago, I was watching me newest favorite: Chasing Mummies (click on the link. It will send you to a YouTube video that will give you a better understanding of what I'm talking about down below. Watch the whole's not long). To let you in on a little secret...I love mummies!

 I have always dreamed of being an archeologist or paleontologist just so I could study the ancient history of Egyptian mummies. It's fascinating the way the Egyptians mummified the dead--they were amazingly smart people for their time.

Well, along with liking mummies (I'm a little creepy, I know!), I love to listening to the Legendary Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass. He has some great information; every time there is a special on mummies, and he's in it, I'm watching it with my eyes glued to the TV set. 

But, recently I have began to question his knowledge (or, I should say his information; his facts). I have began to wonder if everything this man says is even true. And what sparked this question is the fact that Dr. Hawass believes wholeheartedly that the men and women who build the great pyramids of Egypt were not Jewish slaves. Jews weren't Slaves? What?!

I have to disagree with this statement, only because it states clearly in the Bible (in Exodus) that there were Jewish Slaves. In Exodus 1 titled The Israelites Oppressed, technically stating that they were slaves, talks about the Israelite captivity before Moses was born. In order to keep the Jews from multiplying any further, the Egyptian Pharaoh has very first born killed.

I was outraged that such a scholarly Doctor would not acknowledge the fact that there were Jews as slaves in Egypt. He would only say that the people who built the pyramids were Egyptian workers (who were probably convicts and slaves themselves). But that, in itself, doesn't explain the obvious fact, presented to us in the Bible, that there were Jewish slaves.

 My only guess was that like the Holocaust, many Egyptians will not own up to the fact that they used and abused the Jewish people. Many Germans and Americans say that the Holocaust never happened. This must be the same with Dr. Hawass and his concept that all of the men working were Egyptians. If they were, then why did God send Moses to save his oppressed children?

Anyhow, I cannot believe that this assumption of Dr. Hawass is true. In fact, I know it is not. It states clearly in Exodus 2:23-25 that "...the Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.  God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them."

I love to watch Dr. Hawass and find him to be a very wise and smart man whose love for the ancient Egyptian ways is every visible in his actions and the way he presents himself. But I do not agree with what he's saying about Jewish people not being slaves to the Egyptian Pharaohs. I mean, he has no real proof. And it's hard for me to believe something that is not hard evidence like the Bible. 

The Bible is believable because it is God's word. But Dr. Hawass's word is based of of what he chooses to believe and not what is said in the Bible. Sorry, but I am venting over this. It's hard for me to understand how someone could totally deny that there were Jewish slaves, but it's not unbelievable.

Anyhow, in addition to my ventilation of bottled up frustration and sense of right/wrong, I cannot urge you enough to be on guard when watching the History Channel--or any channel for that matter. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) of the deceit and lies that are often spoken to those who do not know what they believe, and to those who are not firm in their faith. 

You cannot base all of your beliefs on what people on TV have to say. Especially since some of them have been deemed untrue by the factual evidence that the Bible presents. Watch those shows to get a perspective of the brainwashing that is occurring in this evil world, but be of a discerning and objective mind.

In this Storm, O Lord, I Will Praise you!

August 11, 2010

In the spirit of Casting Crowns, I feel like singing one of their songs. What is the reason for this strange urge to sing, even a word of their music, so early in the morning? It's beyond me; I have no clue! But for some reason, as I was pondering over the past few months of my life, a particular song from Casting Crowns came to mind.
Now, whether it was a coinkidink, or something that God actually laid on my hearts, I can't tell; I'm still trying to figure that out. However, for some reason, this song 'I Will Praise You in This Storm' seems to coincide perfectly with my feelings and mixed emotions that have recently surfaced over the past months.
And the song goes like this:
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
  As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I figured, since this song kept popping up in my mind that there was a reason. Was God trying to speak to me through the lyrics of a song? Or was I just going cuckoo? I have had such a rough childhood (told you I was going to get more personal!) with being bullied and having no friends. I was literally alone.

My sister thinks that I was 'popular'; she obviously didn't realize at the time I was no one's friend (just a way to vent their frustration and anger), and I wasn't popular. She wasn't around to see how these 'friends' of mine treated me. And for such a young kid to already be experiencing such trials and tribulations, it is emotionally exhausting and confusing.

My mom always told me to turn the other cheek. I never understood what good that did--they still picked on me and hit me. "She wants me to turn the other cheek and take everything these girls say with a 'grain of salt'? Is she crazy?" I did. But I still wasn't convinced that it would work. "I'll go ahead and turn the other cheek (I only have two; my right one is permanently numbm and my left one is not looking too good, either. But, I'll do what mom tells me to do. She knows best, I guess."

What I really wanted to do was turn those girl's cheeks black and blue with a few good punches to the jaw. It would have gotten my point across ("I am over this! Stop picking on me!"), but I couldn't bring myself to ever stooping to their level.

With my childhood years all but distant painful memories that have scarred me deeply, I have yet to emerge from these youthful trials and tribulations without being scathed by the harm that has been caused by myself and others. The past few years has been the worst part of my young life yet. I know I seemed all optimistic here on my blog, but deep down inside I was in pain. I tried to stay positive hoping that in return I would feel the same energy that I had put into my posts. I did for a while; it soon wore off.

Where did all this pain come from? Along with my intense childhood, I have recently experienced another round of emotional and spiritual attacks (much worse than before).

I worked at Vanatta's Karate Inc. for four years. I was an instructor and taught young children how to defend themselves. I loved that job. Up to about two years ago, I was enjoying every second of my job. It was running smoothly. I was on top of the world.

That was, until I got kicked off that mountain. My boss (the Sensei) was, at first, a man I trusted and idolized. I had known him since I was five and had never thought ill of him until recently. He was like a second father figure to me.

However, about two years ago, my respect and admiration for him began to fade away as he began to blame me for thing I didn't do. It was my fault that his business was declining. I wasn't making the students happy--that was why they were leaving. (Not true). He ordered me to stop rolling my eyes completely, saying that the adults had complained about me making them feel stupid, or that I was being defiant.

(Note: I roll my eyes when I am thinking. I am a facial expressionist and do all of my talking with my face. I never use my hands). I am sorry if I am venting too much, but I need to get this off my chest. I cannot keep it bottled up inside any longer!

So... that really frustrated me. He did it several more times. He also accused me of intentionally getting into a fight with another instructor and that I was 'ungrateful'. He went on and on and on. This was all in a two year time period. And on top of his false accusations (never wanted to hear my side of the story), I was doing three classes in college: Tennessee History, English 1020 and American History 1020. It wasn't a good time for me.

So, overall my life has been filled with the ups and downs of life. I have to say that I have not been able to enjoy my younger years, as well as one aught to be allowed; but I have learned a lot.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." [1 Peter 5:10]

I have learned and experienced so much at such a young age, that I have to thank God for those experiences. In some cases there is a calm before the storm. But, in my case, I believe that it has been the storm before the calm. And I will wholeheartedly embrace that calmness with open arms and a thankful heart!

Alternative Baking Company

August 4, 2010

My Rating: Five stars
 Alternative Baking Company Overview: "Our cookies look and taste like the very best traditionally made cookies - no kidding! -- but contain no dairy, no eggs, no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils, no cholesterol, no animal ingredients, no artificial ingredients, and no refined sugar.”— Alternative Baking Company
My Review: A week ago I contacted the Alternative Baking Company asking if they would allow me to review their products. The Alternative Baking Company offers a large selection of guaranteed fresh bakes cookies for your enjoyment. From Luscious Lemon Poppyseed to Double Chocolate Decadence, you will find a variety of flavors that will tame any sweet tooth. 
A few weeks back I purchased two of the Alternative Baking Company cookies at the local health food store and was instantly hooked. So when the company agreed to send me sampled to test and review, I was elated! Alternative Baking Company's goal is to make "the best cookie in the Galaxy". This statement made by the company is true. These cookies, which are one-hundred percent Vegan cookies, are not just for Vegans. In fact, these cookies are so good, that even those who eat meat, dairy, and eggs will not be able to resist the delectable temptation these cookies posses.
These cookies are truly the best of both worlds; combining healthy ingredients and that soul satisfying sweetness we all crave the Alternative Baking Company has created a cookie that can be enjoyed by even the smallest cookie consumer. The amount of cookie you get in each individual package is mind blowing. Not only do you get a healthy cookie that is savory, but it is one big cookie! The Alternative Baking Company definitely does not skimp out when it comes to offering their customers the “best cookie in the galaxy”.
If you’re looking for the perfect snack to end your day or just something sweet to dunk in your tall glass of cold milk, then you might want to try the Alternative Baking Company. With their big and moist cookies, packed with many of the irresistible savory flavors we are all used to, you can’t go wrong! Reward yourself and not feel guilty about doing it. Your tummy will thank you later!

It will be Okay...

August 2, 2010

it will be okay
"Write. I have always kept and journal and I write down my thoughts, whatever they may be. Getting them down on paper helps me move past them a little. "
Whatever you are going through, whether it is cancer, school, friends, family, or you are fighting a spiritual battle, write it down in a journal and take it all to God. He can help you far greater than any human being possibly could. And He will Love you no matter what the situation or the circumstance is. Put your trust in faith and Him. You will be Okay.

Review: Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang

August 1, 2010

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:In Brussels at the height of WWI, a small, underground newspaper is the only thing offering the occupied city hope-and real news of the war. The paper may be a small whisper among the shouts of the German army, but Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print. Meanwhile, Isa Lassone, a Belgian-American socialite whose parents whisked her to safety at the start of the war, sneaks back into the country to rescue those dearest to her: Edward and his mother. But Edward refuses to go, and soon Isa is drawn into his secret life printing the newspaper . . . And into his heart.

My Review: I must be quick in my review, but I assure you that this book is one that you should read! I loved the characters; their description, demeanor, and the chemistry between them was captivating. It was one of the best modern-time historical fictions I have read in a long time. When I thought historical novels had been overdone, Maureen Lang surprises me with a gripping, tear jerking, epic read. You won't be disappointed with this book. Put it on your to-read-list! It's a must read.