Hope Rising

February 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

First read when some days are dark…the following is my Monday response.

When I first found out there may be problems I prayed and clearly I heard in my mind, Not mine but Thine.  And this was something I had been desiring to do, to be able in the midst of hardship to face it with undeniable faith and bravery, with my Father’s help that is just what I did.

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Hope Rises

February 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Some days are dark… on Sunday this was what I wrote:

I feel as though life is a complete mess and most days I can see the beauty in that mess because it is mine.

It’s funny how you can go from Mrs. Optimistic to not, like that.

I felt like I was braving it well, the stress from the surgery, recovery and the financial mess our health has caused, the prospect of possibly never having things the way we imagine.  But, I was okay, happy to be me, happy to be healthy, happy to be Izzi’s mom, grateful for family and my faith and all that I do have and content to be patient for the more. {And by more I don’t mean boats, trips, expensive clothes or toys—I mean stability, and the means to help others in the places we have been}

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Beauty Adjustment

January 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

…and see it in yourself.

For me I have always qualified beauty when it pertained to me.  Inside I believed I was beautiful.  I care about people, I love to help and share with others, I am creative and loving.  I strive to be like my Father in Heaven and like my Elder brother Jesus Christ.  I have done good things.  I believe in others and want great things for everyone.  I sincerely try with all my choices to make this world better by me being in it.  But when I tried to apply that word…beauty…to my outward appearance I failed miserably, I was awful and such a mean girl but only to myself.  It didn’t make sense to me because I looked at others struggling with the same issues and saw the goodness and beauty in them, why could I not see it in myself?  As of 4 months ago this perspective changed.  I undertook this new lifestyle, a new diet regime, a whole foods-plant based way of life, and it all changed.  I am my own ally.  I am stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually and I am grateful.  I will no longer stand in my own way.

I wanted to share a couple of resources I happened upon today…the first is Operation Beautiful.  Such a fantastic idea and I already illustrated a few post-its and have a printable planned for you.  The mission of this woman is to improve the overall esteem of women in general by beginning a movement of kind acts–specific kind acts–go and take a look you won’t regret it.

Two, this article in more eloquent words reflects my thoughts and I believe pin points a population-teenagers-that need uplifting in this area.  I know every insecurity I had stemmed from those crucial years.

And last, a beautiful young girl named Victoria, beginning her own blog hoping to spread this same message–

“You are beautiful just as you are!”

We can improve our health, and take care of ourselves but that does not change who we are, we are what we put out into the world–don’t let it be negative by the comments you make about yourself.  Trash the trash talk and be your own ally, buoy yourself up each day by telling yourself of your innate worth and beauty.  Be kind to yourself and it will make a bigger difference than any outward alteration you could make.

Trust me–begin tomorrow by telling yourself how beautiful you truly are and in doing so begin a legacy of love for the girls who will follow in your footsteps.

McGilly this is for you–I am beautiful without qualification, beautiful is me.

love. love.


Food and Faith

January 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

A few days ago these two pictures showed up in my inbox.  My aunt had sent them to me in response to my first post.  The before was taken in about 2002 and the after was at a Christmas party this last December.  I was speechless and still am, when I showed my grandmother she put words to what I was thinking about the old me,

even your countenance has changed, Sweetie. You are a naturally beautiful girl, and beautiful here in both pictures, but you certainly do have added light. I love you.”

The girl in the before picture would have vehemently disagreed with my grandma but the one in the after seconds this statement.  I was beautiful but there is strength in the after, strength and light.

 This past week I have been thinking about my faith in relation to my new way of eating.  As I mentioned on the homepage of our blog Fifi, Evey and I met because of our faith.  We are part of the same ward.  A ward is a local congregation of Latter Day Saints.  We live within a four block radius of each other and attend church at the same time.  One standard by which we strive to live is the Word of Wisdom.  The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who 
obey the Word of Wisdom.

When I began this whole foods, plant-based diet I was told by one who will remain unnamed that I was breaking that law by the way I was choosing to eat.  Not having read the scriptures in detail for sometime I felt that it was time to revisit…here is what I found pertaining to my new diet–for the full set of scriptures click here.

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

Sparingly in the Dictionary is defined as meager and meager is defined as deficient in quantity and this scripture is followed by another–

 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

And if you follow the reference given for used you get:
20  And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

I believe by all accounts in America we most definitely partake of animal proteins to an excess.  It also seems to me, after my study, that I am not only following the Word of Wisdom but I am doing better at it than I have in my whole life.

I love this plant strong stuff more and more everyday!

I found this article about SIster Hill, a woman who attributes her 150 lb weight loss to following the Word of Wisdom, she says,  

“Just like you need a recommend to go into the temple, food needs a recommend to go into your body. If it doesn’t fit the Lord’s criteria, it shouldn’t enter,” Sister Hill said. 

I agree. I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually–faith and food for me are becoming fast friends.

Love. Love.

PS Stat update to follow…

Vanishing Vegan to the Rescue…I am back…as Vivian

January 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is a post from a new blog project.


Okay–so not really but that is how my “diet” makes me feel.  I have never in my life felt so good…never.  I also have never…if we must look at the scale…been this weight since I was getting my drivers license.  Let me tell you a little more about me…

A little bit personal–
I have always been overweight at least in my own mind but probably by BMI and scales too.  In fact at one point due to some crushing news and illness my weigh skyrocketed to 263 pounds.  Not many people remember me at this weight because I hid.  I was ashamed of where I had let my body get to, I didn’t even want to buy clothes- so my wardrobe consisted of about 2 outfits and my favorite pair of sweatpants…then something changed.  I was ready, I can’t blame it on anything but the bodies ability to heal {mentally and physically}, and I started forward.  I took nutrition classes as part of my electives in college and began walking a little at a time.  My sister came down for the summer and she, as always, made it fun and supported me.  Well, that was 8 years ago and now I am 104 pounds lighter.  Through the whole process I kept learning about healthy foods and kept up healthy habits.  But this last shift has been different which brings us to… 

A little about my current eating habits–
Back in October I got a call from my grandma who had just returned from staying with her brother who was recovering from a heart attack.  We began talking about a turn of events that lead her to watching, Forks Over Knives {a documentary about two Dr. and their research on nutrition and health} and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead {A documentary of one mans journey to health using juicing and fruits and veggies}–she then read the books of the two men in the first film and she had made a decision.  She was going to live plant-strong…this is a lifestyle of having 5% or less {for most benefit} of your diet come from animal proteins and fatty oils.  Simply put it is a Plant based diet or too simply put, healthy vegan.  I say healthy vegan because not all vegan diets are created equal.  Strangely enough I had placed both movies in Netflix instant que the week before.  I was looking for a change in my diet I needed to feel healthy, have energy, and feel fit–not just lose weight, I was sick of focusing on the weight, I wanted to focus on health.  So the rest is history–I watched the films and read the books and began a plant strong lifestyle 11 weeks ago.

I have lost 19 pounds of the 104 in the last 10 weeks, my skin is clear which has never been this way since grade school, I have energy, I feel positive, motivated and awesome.  This diet shift is the only thing I have changed over the last 70 days and now I am ready for some new goals which leads me to…

A little about my current activity level–
I chase after an 21 month old, and rarely sit–does that count?  Through this whole journey, I have exercised only because I new I should–which means I didn’t exercise nearly enough.  I am totally converted to eating healthy- so now it is time to make exercise a permanent part of my lifestyle.  As of recent I found out I love Spin class and I know in the past when I have made it a goal to run I have found clarity and peace in running.  SO…

Where from here?
I want to build muscle- I am within 5 lbs. of a healthy BMI so it is time to tone.  I also want to find what exercise I love and can find a passion for–{just like the eating} in this way I know I will be successful for the duration of my life and not just until I can fit into “those jeans”.  I am so excited to share this journey with you and I can’t wait to tell you more about the plant strong lifestyle…

Feeling strong!

PS–I will be posting pics and stats later today.

Something fun…

November 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

One of my design projects from the last few weeks:) yum! I love ZOTZ.

Dear friends,

I don’t quite know where this last two weeks have gone.  I am excited to share some fun developments and exciting things but,  I might be missing from the blog world for a bit.  Because… we have a big change coming.  My husband is having a major surgery on Monday and with a week in the hospital, two months recovery and a lot of unknowns, we are feeling a little overwhelmed but hopeful.  I am going to try and share as much as I can of some of the fun things I have been working on but a lot of our time right now is going into preparing for this big change–so it might take me a little longer than normal.

I just reread this last paragraph and it seems like I am excited about this surgery, well… I am.  I am excited, nervous, worried scared but I chose to focus on the hope and that is where the excitement comes from.  My husband is such a wonderful, caring person, who always works overtime on everything to make sure it is all he can give.  This last 6 months have been hard on him because progressively he has become more and more tired, in pain, and frustrated with his  body.  I think frustrated mostly because it can’t keep up with him.  After a lot of prayer, we feel like it is the right time, we have a fantastic surgeon, and I know this is going to bring change into our lives that will help us grow and achieve what we want to give our family.

I am looking forward to a time when we can all be healthy together.  It is such a simple thing-for the more part taken for granted–but, when something is amiss health wise–it has the power, I think more than anything to make the world stop.  I am excited for our world to begin turning again, and for all the possibility that lays ahead.  Like I said before, we have been given a lot of unknowns , so it feels a little as if we are walking into this blind-but I have faith that God’s hand is in this and it is for a purpose and a means of helping us grow.  Even though the unknown is always scary I know that He will guide and support us through the rough times ahead.

I will be posting soon about Momma Makeover-hint:I am within 4 lbs. of losing 100-I lost 8 lbs. in the last two weeks in a very healthy way but more on that later.  I also have been working on some family history -I am so excited to share my experience , we had another crafty schmafty playgroup, and fun fun I have got the chance to do a little design work so that is on it’s way.  Thanks so much for the comments this last few weeks it may sound silly but you make my day.

I feel so strong right now and I am so excited to share all the why’s for that!  Have a great day.

with love,


Itzy Bitzy Favorites

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dear friend,

As promised here are a few fun links from around the “web”.  I am laughing so hard at that silliness in the last sentence-I would blame it on it being late but I can’t I just find that funny.

  1. Is the fun Itsy Bitsy IPAD App-since McGilly almost knows how to do more than I do on her daddy’s IPAD this was a blast for her.
  2. A fun little snack whipped up by Little Nummies.
  3. These are available on Etsy but it proved to be inspiration for a felt set to go with McGilly’s felt story board, love it!
  4. Free printables-one is a reader and one is a color page with the song right on it.  The color page is from a website that offers free printables of all kinds of songs and poems and nursery rhymes.
  5. This is also one not listed that is some popsicle stick puppets from read out loud, awesome resource.
I also wanted to share a few of my favorite books, because this is most definitely McGilly’s favorite part. Itsy Bitsy books and spider books in general.

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Here are the books:

  • The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani
  • Aaaaarrgghh Spider! by Lydia Monks
  • The Eeensy Weensy Spider by Mary Ann Hoberman & Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • Little Miss Spider by David Kirk
  • Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
I think it is the perfect month to do a little spooky spider reading don’t you?
xo Ash


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