Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hair is Overrated.

There has been a huge influx of questions from friends and family with what the heck is going on with my hair. I thought I'd write about what's going on for those curious here.

This summer I was diagnosed with psoriasis. Not a huge deal, except that it totally sucks. Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells making it very itchy and flaky and horribly uncomfortable.

There was a patch of it behind my ear and I was using a topical cream to treat it. Seemed to work but psoriasis comes and goes whenever it feels like it, so it's frequently present. Then this past Friday I had a hair appointment and my hair dresser was brushing out my hair checking the roots when he asked me

"Have you noticed this?"

I looked up to see this fairly large bald spot behind my ear.

Awesome, right? Well, he continues looking and finds another spot symmetrically behind my other ear. A tiny freak out happened inside me. He said that it looked like alopecia, which just means baldness, and that I should go see my dermatologist. My first thought was that it was some weird reaction to my topical cream or that it had to do with my psoriasis.  Monday morning I called my doctor and we set up a time to come in and check it out that afternoon. He did a ton of blood tests to make sure it wasn't anything with any of my organs or metabolic measures ... and to make sure I wasn't prego. I'm not. Thank God. And nothing else was wrong for that matter.

"You're completely healthy!"

Clearly. The next step was the dermatologist. I went this past Thursday and she walks in, takes a look and says, "Oh, yeah. That's definitely alopecia areata. Without a question."

Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and can progress to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or complete body hair loss (alopecia universalis).

The basic consensus is that you don't know how much hair will fall out, you don't know when it will grow back, if it grows back you don't know if or when it will fall out again and if it will be a different spot or the same and you don't know why it happens other than it's autoimmune and there isn't a cure. You're just left in the dark and wondering what the crap.

My dermatologist thinks that stress is what made it surface. So I think weekly massages are totally called for. :)

How am I feeling about this? What a funny question for me to answer, since feelings aren't really my thing. I'm feeling like there could have been an autoimmune disease that makes me really sick, or prevents me from eating certain foods or something that could have been really painful. This just hurts my worldly perception of beauty and it's not painful, I can still live a "normal" life, can color the hair I do have, my diet probably isn't a participating factor although I may try a paleo diet just to cleanse my body and make sure everything else is in tiptop shape and I'm not sick. What makes me chuckle is that about a week prior, I was talking with my Mother-in-law about how there's really nothing that wrecks my world anymore because God is so much bigger than my circumstances. My joy doesn't get depleted because something crappy happened and that the period of not being okay was very short. Then this happens right after a really rough couple days of some things that surfaced in mine and Ben's marriage that was really, really, REALLY difficult to bare and walk through. 

The funniest part was how much being diagnosed with alopecia areata paralleled the issues of our marriage. The end result for Ben and I was that I needed to be okay with not having an answer about some things. That some things that I had realized I wanted to do and dreamed of may or may not happen and I needed to shift my thinking on the fact that I was married now and it's not just about me and what I want to do but about us. That I needed to be okay not knowing and ultimately trust and rely on God and believe that whatever happens, he is for me and for Ben and I more. 

Just like this alopecia areata is a physical unknown. I literally cannot do anything about it, I have to be okay and content in the fact that it may or may not grow back, I don't know when or why. I just have to keep moving on and trusting God.

Funny how He works, isn't it?

I'm truly confident now that circumstances really don't deplete my joy and that I do believe God is bigger than my circumstances. I've been able to recognize that mourning over things is appropriate and that doesn't mean I don't trust God, and that just because I don't FEEL happy, doesn't mean I shouldn't considered the fact that God is growing me in areas of weakness a JOY. What a blessing this has turned out to be at 23 years old. 

The next steps:
  • I have decided I do not want steroid shots into my scalp to attempt to force hair to grow, which is usually a common treatment when first diagnosed.
  • I have agreed to a daily steroid shampoo - which I'm not sure what's worse - having to wash my hair everyday or that I have to use a 4oz. bottle of shampoo that cost $260.00.
  • I've changed my psoriasis medicine to something that is used for scalp psoriasis in hopes that will help - since really both are an autoimmune disease. The only down side is that this new medication has some not so fun side effects like headaches, fatigue, more susceptible to catching infections which should be really fun since I work with kids and apparently if I get pregnant on this stuff our baby will have two heads.
  • I have a new vitamin intake that includes a TON of biotin and other vitamins to help with the higher risk of catching something.
  • I cut my hair off. Like really off. Mainly for two reasons: 1) if I have to wash my hair everyday, I want an easier solution to doing it. This new do will help me dry faster and hopefully my natural wavy hair will work. 2) if and when my hair does grow back, it won't take long for it all to be the same length. And yes, I mourned over the fact that my long hard work to grow it out for dreads is no longer happening. I'm also very sad about my bun.

Goodbye, bun.

Thank you to those who have been so loving and helpful. I really appreciate your kind words and prayers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bling It On

I had the privilege to create a logo for a company called Bling It On - they sell the best of the bling to help support up and coming musical artist, April Wasdin, and her music ministry. We created the logo in black and white and I am SO happy how it turned out.
We also took an image from her album art and made it t-shirt friendly. Both pieces of art will become blinga-fied and bedazzled!
We're working on one more logo for an idea April is playing around with called "Happy Hearts". It's so close to being done, so check back in a couple weeks for the finished product.

© Nicole Robie. All rights reserved.

Check out my graphics tab for more graphic work and feel free to contact me for any graphic needs or quotes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Training Commenced

Ben and I decided a while back that we needed to do something together to spend more time with one another. We wanted to do something that neither of us necessarily liked or had really done before. For some reason, we chose running. While it's been off and on, I've really enjoyed it! It's been nice doing something with Ben, even if we can't really talk to each other during the run because we're too busy sucking air.

I've decided that it's been getting better and now I need a goal. So, here comes the training schedule. Winter's on it's way and I'm ready to use my 24-hour fitness pass finally for their pool and indoor classes to cross train. So, here's to *hopefully* a successful next 12 weeks. If you have my phone number, I give you permission to help me stay on track. :)

If you're looking for a training program, I included what cross training exercises I'm doing that don't necessarily require a gym pass. Feel free to use and pass along.

2 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
2.5 mi
Body Pump
Abs 3 mi
2 miles
Abs & 30 min EZ run
3 mi
Body Pump
Abs & 4 mi
2.5 mi
Pool & abs
3 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
Body Pump
Abs & 5 mi
3 mi
4 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
Body Pump
Abs & 6 mi
3 mi
Pool & Abs
3 mi
Body Pump
Abs & 7 mi
4 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
4 mi
Body Pump
Abs & 8 mi
4 mi
4 mi
Pool & Abs
Body Pump
Abs & 9 mi
4 mi
Pool & abs
3 mi
Body Pump
Abs & 10 mi
5 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
4 mi
Pool & abs
Body Pump
Abs & 11 mi
30 min EZ run or cross-train
4 mi
3 mi
Body Pump
Abs  & 12 mi
Abs & 30 min EZ run
3 mi
Body Pump
Abs & 5 mi
2 mi
20 minutes
20 minutes
Race Day!
Rest Day!

Cross Training Exercises:

If you haven't swum in a while, you may be surprised how tired you feel after swimming just a few laps. To help reduce fatigue and tap different muscle groups, alternate between freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke.

Start out with about 10 laps (back and forth across the pool equals one lap), which is slightly more than a quartermile at a typical pool. Increase your time in the water and minimize fatigue (and boredom) by sandwiching pool-running in between sets of laps.

Running against the water's resistance, in the deep end where you can't touch, provides many of the benefits of running on land. A flotation belt will help keep you upright and give you stability. Keeping your body erect, with a slight lean, and your gaze forward, run as you normally would on land with your hands pushing back the water. Don't expect to move forward much, says Craig Stuart, a pool-training instructor in Eugene, Oregon. Your leg action can vary: Do high knees and march in place, bend your knee slightly and move your legs as if you were cross-country skiing, or do a more long-striding leg extension.

To gauge your pace, compare how you feel while running in the water with how you feel running on the road (your perceived exertion). Or use your land times as a guide. If you typically do an interval workout of 8 x 400, take your time, say, one minute and 40 seconds, and run 8 x 1:40 at a hard effort in the pool.

The pool is a perfect place to stretch out tight muscles because the water's buoyancy helps improve range of motion, says John Rembao, director of track-and-field operations at the University of California at Berkeley who has trained distance runners using pool work. In the deep end and without a belt, hang on to the edge with one hand, face the wall, and sweep your right leg from left to right and back again for 10 reps to stretch your glutes, adductors, and abductors. Repeat with your left leg. Next, stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings. Turn sideways to the edge, and hold it with one hand. Maintain a slight bend in your right knee, flex your foot so your toes are close to your shin, and sweep your right leg forward until it's roughly at a 90-degree angle to your body. (As your flexibility improves, your foot will break the surface of the water.) Sweep the leg backward while maintaining the bend in the knee. Do 10 reps then repeat with your left leg.

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides, palms down. Inhale and lift your head, neck, shoulders, and arms off the ground. Lift your knees and extend your feet so your legs are straight and at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Take five short breaths in and five short breaths out. While doing so, pump your arms, moving them in a controlled up and down manner. Do a cycle of 10 full breaths—each breath includes five inhales and five exhales. After you do 10 complete breaths, you will have completed 100 arm pumps.

The Payoff: Teaches controlled breathing, so that your inhales and exhales are balanced. Bonus: Builds strong abdominals.

Lie face down with your palms flat under your shoulders (as if you were going to do a pushup). Look down so your neck is in line with your spine. Inhale and slowly lift your head, neck, shoulders, and chest as you press your hands into the ground. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. As you exhale, slowly lower yourself back down, chest first, then shoulders, neck, chin, and head. To avoid discomfort in your back, concentrate on pulling your shoulders back to open up your chest. Repeat 10 times.

The Payoff: Opens up the chest and deepens your lung capacity to correct shallow breathing.

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your arms at your sides. Inhale and sweep your arms out and up so that your biceps are near your ears and your palms are facing each other. Exhale and lower your arms back down to your sides. Repeat four times, concentrating on breathing deep and opening your chest.

The Payoff: Stretches the intercostal muscles (which lie between the ribs), relaxes the shoulders, engages the diaphragm and pelvic floor, and helps balance breathing between the left and right lungs.

Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head and resting on the floor. Lift your arms and the head and roll upward, bending forward over your legs. Do this movement slowly and carefully with control. Each vertebra of the spine should lift off the ground one at a time. Take at least one full breath to roll up. Then on another breath, reverse and roll down with control, returning one vertebra at a time. Repeat five times.

The Payoff: Loosens up and elongates the lower back, hamstrings, and calves. Also improves core strength.

Sit up with your back straight back and your legs open wide (about the width of your shoulders). Extend your arms out to the sides of your body at shoulder height. As you inhale, twist your torso to the right. As you exhale, reach your left hand to the outside of your right foot. Then as you inhale again, return to the center. Exhale, and repeat on the other side. Try to keep your legs straight. If you can't, bring the legs closer together and work to widen them over time. Do this exercise four times on each side.

The Payoff: Stretches the hamstrings and the quadratus lumborum muscle, which is responsible for lifting the hip as you swing forward into your stride.

Lie face down on the floor with your legs and feet together. Lift your upper trunk, neck, and head while resting on your forearms for support. Your chest and head will be lifted and you should be looking forward. Tighten your abdominal muscles so that your belly is off the ground. Lift your feet off the ground. As you inhale, bend your right knee and bring your foot back toward your glutes. As you exhale, straighten your leg. Switch back and forth, repeating the exercise on each leg six times.

The Payoff: Stretches the quadriceps, opens the chest, and improves posture.,7120,s6-238-263-266-12996-0,00.html for videos

Squat and Variations
Stand with your feet approximately 6 inches apart and pointed straight ahead. Squat down one-quarter way. Keep your abs tight, butt back, back flat. Hands on outside of your knees. Push in with your hands, out with your knees. Weight is on mid-arch to heel of your feet.
 From that position, do three of each of the following movements: side to side; circle right; circle left; figure 8; front to back.
 Lower from quarter-squat to half-squat. From that position, do three of each of the above movements.
 Lower from half-squat to full squat, with quadriceps almost parallel to ground. From that position, do three of each of the above movements.
 Return to the initial squat position. Squat up and down three times with your toes straight; three times with your toes out slightly; and three times with your toes in slightly.

Crouch and Variations
With your feet wide apart, and your arms and legs bent, place your hands on the ground. Straighten your arms, then straighten your legs. Do this three times with your toes straight, three times with your toes pointing out, and three times with your toes pointing in.
 Do the above sequence, but with your feet together throughout.
 With your feet wide apart, place your hands on the ground in front of you. Keep your abs tight, butt back and back flat. Rotate your hips side to side 10 times.

With your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your toes straight, place your elbows in between your knees, hands together. Squeeze in with your knees.
 From that position, do three of each of the following movements: side to side; circle right; circle left; figure 8; front to back.

Trunk Rotations
With your hands on your hips, your legs straight and your feet pointing straight ahead, rotate your trunk clockwise 10 times. Then rotate your trunk counterclockwise 10 times. Keep your head facing forward throughout.

Shoulder Shrug and Variations
Stand with your feet hips' distance apart. Bring your shoulders straight up and down, as much as you can move them, three times.
 Return to the start position. Move your shoulders forward as if to pinch your pectorals together. Repeat three times.
 Return to the start position. Move your shoulders down and in as if to pinch your shoulder blades together.
 Return to the start position. With your arms parallel to the ground, move them as if swimming forward. Repeat for three sets of "strokes." Then move your arms as if swimming backward for three sets of "strokes."
 Return to the start position. Bring your hands to your hips so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and pointing behind you. Pinch your shoulder blades together three times in each of these positions for your palms: palms up, palms down and palms sideways.
 Return to the previous start position, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle and pointing behind you. Swing your forearms across your body in front, alternating right over left, left over right. Do three in each of these positions: palms up, palms down and palms sideway.

Bridge and Variations
Lie on your back, with your feet underneath your knees, pointed straight ahead and approximately 1 foot from your butt. Bring your hips up so that your lower back and upper legs are parallel. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
 Return to the start position. Bring your hips up as in the previous motion. From that position, extend one leg out straight, and hold for 10 seconds. With your leg still extended, do 10 butt- ups (i.e., touch the floor with your butt).
 Repeat the above sequence with the other leg.
 Return to the start position. While keeping your knees in line, straighten one leg. Do 10 "butt ups" as above.
 Return to the above start position. Bring your raised leg to 45 degrees. Do 10 "butt ups."
 Return to the above start position. Bring your raised leg to 90 degrees. Do 10 "butt ups."
 Repeat the above three exercises with your other leg straight.

Leg Swing
Stand with your feet hips' distance apart. While keeping one leg straight, swing the other leg so that it's parallel to the floor, and touch your heel. Repeat five times. Repeat on the other leg.

Plank and Variations
Lie on your side, with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Make a straight line from your feet to knees, hips and shoulders. Lift your hips up in a side plank. Hold for 30 seconds.
 Return to the start position, and then move your hips up and down 10 times.
 Return to the start position, except turn your top shoulder toward the ground. Move your hips up and down 10 times.
 Rise to the side plank position. While keeping your hips level, rotate your top shoulder forward and back 10 times.
 Lie on your other side, and repeat the entire above sequence.
 With your arms parallel and your elbows beneath your shoulders, raise your hips so that your back and legs are flat. Hold for 30 seconds.
 Return to the set position, raise your hips, and move your entire body forward and back on your toes 10 times.
Return to the set position, raise your hips, and move your body through a clockwise arc 10 times.
 Return to the set position, raise your hips, and move your body through a counterclockwise arc 10 times.

On your stomach, with your arms outstretched and legs straight, lift your arms and legs off the ground and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

BODYPUMP BY LES MILLS - provided at 24 Hour Fitness
This workout includes high-repetition movements using squats, bench presses, bicep curls, and other classic weight room exercises with low weight loads, all set to energizing music (everything from Bon Jovi to Cascada). You load up your barbell with as much, or as little, weight as you'd like and perform 70 to 100 repetitions each for legs, chest, back, shoulders, and abs. Most exercisers burn up to 600 calories per 60-minute class. This is the one class that Cover didn't have to tell me about: I've been doing BodyPump once a week for several months and am not only stronger but faster—I credit it for helping me drop my half-marathon PR by 15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Anniversary 1.0

Yesterday Ben and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary! I took the day off originally to spend with him, but then we realized Ben started his LAST semester at the U yesterday and I ended up not being able to see him until about 6:30pm. We originally said no gifts, but that's my love language and I LOVE giving gifts - so I wanted to do something special where it was kind of like a gift to both of us. I had decided on two things:

#1: 50 States by our 50th Anniversary
The 1st year anniversary's symbol is paper and because I love tradition, I decided to get my creative juices flowing and came up with the first gift idea. I have an itch to travel, and you may remember a post a few weeks ago about my discontent with staying in Utah until we're old and wrinkly and not ever traveling outside of this place - which would be fine, I just had to have that reality smack me in the face. So after much prayer and wrestling, I realized if I just went off and explored without Ben, it would suck. So I got a map and printed pictures and dates of all the places we've been to together, or if we had visited that place many times, the very first time, and pinned them to the map. My goal for this project is to document our travels and record them with pictures and travel to all 50 states before our 50th anniversary. He loved it!

 #2: Love Notes and Prophetic Words Notebook
This second gift came from Beautiful Day and I loved the idea! She did two seperate notebooks for these things and I decided to do just 1. She explains it like so, "The love notes one is great because when we don’t see each other as much as we’d like, we can still connect in a tangible way. We wanted to do a notebook for prophetic words because they are powerful. I don’t want to trust in my awful memory to recall words of wisdom spoken over our marriage five years down the road- I want it in front of me where I can see it." I wrote a long love note on the first page explaining both paper gifts and of course telling Ben how madly in love I am with him still.

I decorated our room with a paper banner I made, and got a bottle of wine (that, by the way, was called "Unity" and bottles in 2011!! Cheese, I know but so awesome!!) as well as a 1-year anniversary world's greatest fudge cake that I added Reese's too. Seriously. Best cake I've ever tasted!

Ben finally came home with beautiful pink roses and had made surprise reservations at a fancy-smancy restaurant, Prime Steak House & Piano Bar, in Park City. He told me that he knew how much I love piano bars so he thought this place would be great and it really was AMAZING. We had the best food we've ever eaten in our lives and I wore my new leopard print dress and some high heels - I went all out, people.

It was such a great time of celebration and we're so thankful to all our friends and family who have been on our team this last year. Thank you, again, to all our friends who stood next to us last year and who have truly taken the role of being in our line, to walk with us while we journey through our marriage and help to guide us through, seriously. We love you and count on you to remind us that this isn't really about us, but about our Great God who has blessed us so much through each other.

Monday, August 20, 2012

365 Days Later

Ben and I are celebrating one year of marriage today!
In honor of this special day I thought it would be fun to give you 12 things marriage and being married to Ben has taught me over the last 12 months.

1. Guilt doesn't produce closeness, grace does.
2. It's always never a good idea to use never and always.
3. Just because you live together doesn't mean you'll see each other - Plan together time regularly.
4. A face-to-face reminder, a text message, an email, a post-it note (or several) and a carrier pigeon may seem like overkill, but they're not when it comes to making sure Ben knows what we've said yes too.
5. We will always spend money on take-out. Keep it in the budget.
6. Laughing when "sexy-time" isn't in the slightest bit sexy makes it even more fun.
7. Nothing is worth staying mad about - we're either going to be happily married or unhappily married.
8. Try the things the other one loves that you are either horrible at or really don't want to do. It makes for good stories to tell the kids one day.
9. Meet with a trusted friend who can see clearly the things you can't in your marriage regularly. And thank them regularly.
10. Slow to speak, slow to react, fast to support - those musicians can get pretty high up in the sky. Join them as much as you can.
11. I've gotten over the idea of anything about our lives ever being private or a secret.
12. Love is a verb. It speaks the loudest I do the dishes and laundry.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

DIY Project: State Photo Montage

My very dear friend, Meredith, over at Everything Espey, hates me.
Okay, she doesn't hate me, but she DID move back to Texas leaving me here in Utah without her.
For her birthday my friend McKenzie and I thought she needed a little Utah love so we sent her a Utah care package equipped with Jack Mormon Coffee - The Celestial Blend of course, some yummy fudge, Utah Utes coffee cups, an ADORABLE Utah shaped necklace (not pictures, it had to be sent later - boo) I ordered from Zailove and a photo collage I made out of the shape of Utah. I stalked her Facebook album "Everything Utah" and gathered all the photos of her Utah life. It was super easy and a great way to make an inexpensive gift a little more personalized with a sweet touch.

What you'll need:

  • 12in. x 12in. shadow box frame - preferrably one from JoAnn's that you can use mad coupons for. (Mine cost $9)
  • Foam board ($3.99)
  • Box cutter
  • Ruler
  • Photos printed on regular copier paper (FREE - if you have a printer)
  • Antique matte Modgepodge ($5.99)
  • Small to medium paint brush ($1)
  • Black acrylic paint ($1.99)
  • Fabric of your choice - larger than your photo frame so it covers the whole background ($1.89)
  • Adhesive strips ($3.99)

Step 1: Cut out your State using a ruler and box cutter. Thank God it was Utah! Make sure you make it about 2 inches less than your frame size - so for this project about 10in. x10in.
Step 2: Pick out, print and cut the pictures you want to use. I did all black and white images. A good rule for sizing is making the dominate pictures fit about 4 to a sheet, less dominate about 6-8 per sheet.

Step 3: Begin placing your pictures BEFORE you modge podge, outline your pictures and cute to make the fit. 
Step 4: Begin modge podging. Podge podge a generous amount onto your foam board first, then to the back of your picture and stick together. Do this with the entire collage. I also used some of my fabric to add a heart near SLC.

Step 5: Wait about 10-20 minutes for your modge podge to dry then apply a layer of modge podge over the pictures, coating the entire project. It will look like you've just ruined your project, but it will dry clear and with the antique matte modge podge, have a sepia tone to it once it dries.

Step 6: Wait 20-25 minutes for project to dry COMPLETELY. If you rush it and try to pick up the project while it's still drying you'll get finger prints in your modge podge that will pull (like latex) off and it will look bad. Be patient. Once it's dried, you can pick it up and with your sponge dab it into the black paint and dab most off before applying it to your edges. Go around the entire sides and onto the edge. This will hide any uneven edges and black out the foam in the middle. Do this to your liking, as much or as little as you want. Let dry about 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Size and cut your fabric so that about an inch or two is hanging off the sides of the frame. Most frames come with a cardboard piece that you can use, but you can also cut a 12x12 piece of your foam board and wrap and glue the fabric around it. (I used my modge podge to glue the fabric to the backside.)
Step 8: Place your collage centered in the frame and use 4 adhesive strips to secure it in place.

Step 9: Make it look pretty by giving it a bow and some fun wrapping decor and WA-LA! It's ready to be given!

Happy Birthday, Mere! We miss and love you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

God Cares More About WHO You Are Rather Than WHERE You Are

Summer has been ... crazy, for lack of a better word. 
It's been both energizing and exhausting, both filling and empty.
I've been having this itch for some change recently and feeling like I am stuck in the life I'm living now and that it is always going to be what it is now - but don't get me wrong. I LOVE where God has me and am perfectly content in my physical location and there isn't a thing on this planet that I would want to be doing more than working in ministry and for SMCC. 
But I had this idea that I'd travel around the world, meet people from all over the place and experience hundreds of cultures before I ever touched down at home base.
I thought moving to Utah and marrying the man of my dreams was the beginning of this adventure and it just seems to me that every time I strike up this conversation, Ben has a different view from where he stands and it looks like this:

AGAIN - I LOVE Utah, I love our mission, I love our community and I LOVE the people here, but I just had ... expectations, I guess, that we'd leave for a time and come back and blow bubbles later.
My discontentment was put to the side this last weekend because I was too excited about my trip to California.

I was able to visit my long time friend, Beth, over at The OC Fit Girl, and it was so good to get away and relax. We met a friend at the airport heading out!

My friend Callie came with me and we originally had separate flights, which really sucked and when we got to the airport, I figured we could at least ask if we could be on the same flight (I was flying into Orange County and she was flying into Long Beach and they were both Delta Flights) so we asked and they said YES! Win!

The first day was so recharging. I got up early to take Beth to work so we could use her car and I was able to take my time, enjoy my favorite blogs and sip on my coffee and enjoy some home made almond butter from Rawmazing on Beth's balcony. Poor Callie was sick that whole day and slept in until 1pm! It was good for both of us to just take the day and have the liberty to do nothing.

Once Beth got off work, our weekend got kicked into 5th gear. I was so excited to be visiting Beth because I had just started incorporating raw/organic foods into my lifestyle and knew that she would be one of the best people to be around to encourage me to stay on track. 
What I didn't know was that she had just finished her Look Better Naked Diet and was ready to purge a little so...

On Saturday, Beth's sister-in-law got engaged and they had a family lunch, so Callie and I ventured out to Huntington Beach. This was my stomping ground for a short period of time when I went to Concordia University, but it felt like just yesterday I was there.

Saturday night proved to be great fun and just enough spontaneity to keep me pleased. 
I pierced my nose and Beth and I did a home job on our nails.

Throughout the weekend Beth and I talked a lot about life, marriage, adulthood and how much has changed since we started our husband journals our freshman year of high school. We'd write letters to our future husbands and dream about our lives - our totally impractical, never-gonna-happen lives, and we laughed at our naivety. 

Beth has wanted to move to Utah and join the Utah team for a couple years now, but God has just not made his move yet for them. We talked a lot about being in the here and now and I found myself giving her advice that I really needed to give myself.

"It's so hard being present and effective in a place and community when you want to be somewhere else. Satan wins when we are ineffective and disconnected. I'll be praying for you that God grabs hold of your heart for Orange County while He keeps you here."

My mother-in-law is about the smartest human being next to my father-in-law. She's told her story of God loudly speaking into her heart many times and the point of the story is that God told her,

"I don't care where you are, I care about WHO you are."

It's funny to me how the grass is greener theory can engulf your life. I need to be intentional about holding Utah with an open hand and moving when God says move, but I also need to be intentional about staying when God says stay and not always trying to hear and figure out if maybe I missed the green light.

I learned a while back that there is a lot of gray with God's will. He doesn't have a specific college he wanted me to go to, or a specific major I needed to study and if I messed up or didn't pick the right one my life would be wasted. God will use me anyWHERE I am as long as WHO I am is devoted and connected to Him.