Rest: Taking time to refuel

I think one of the hardest activities for us as humans is just to rest. Yoga instructors say the hardest pose for students is usually Savasana, you just lay on your back not moving, with minimal thinking. How hard can it be? It’s really hard! I challenge you just to lie on your back without moving/getting distracted for 10 minutes; if you succeed, let me know. Back to the point of this blog, why is it so hard for us to just rest?

I remember when I was still working full-time, some co-workers would talk about how they hadn’t gone on vacation in years. One co-worker would brag about how she hadn’t gone on vacation in five years… FIVE YEARS!!!!! Like why? You looked stressed all the time, this is why you get vacation, I hope she’s taken a vacation! And then there are those who go on vacation and are still checking/replying to emails… just enjoy your time of rest. Delete the email app off your phone and sleep, read, go hiking, dance, shower, I don’t know… anything but work. And to those who get sick leave, if you are sick, use it and get better. I don’t want to be on a conference call with your sick self… REST! I beg you, stop working and rest. There is a time to work, and there is a time to rest; even The Lord rested on the seventh day… shouldn’t you?

Personally I am in a season of rest, and I’m not going to lie… it’s hard. And I believe the reason it’s hard is because as adults, we feel guilty for resting. Granted, we are called to work, no matter what that looks like; from being a homemaker, a student, or even the CEO of a Fortune 500 business. I know I mention this in a few blogs, but I resigned from my job in November, and it is February (#Funemployed). Part of me wants to hit the pavement running, but I know during this time I just need to rest, because when the next season hits, I will look back and regret the day I didn’t take advantage of this time. So I’m working on resting in Him, without feeling guilty, as I prepare for the next super busy season!

Now rest looks different for everyone; some just need to sleep, while others shop, rearrange their homes, or need to be out in nature taking a walk, sitting on a beach, kayaking… you name it. So whatever your rest looks like, don’t forget to do it! Personally, I’m enjoying this time having moments with God, reading, running, blogging, and hanging with family and friends. My guilty pleasure during this season is being able to enjoy Gossip Girl (I’m on season 5, almost done)!

Please let me know if you’ve gone through a season of rest (be it a few days or maybe a few years), and let me know you did during that time. If you are in a busy season, let me know what you do to refuel (how do you find rest in the chaos).

With love,

Tifa

Starting over: The return to a healthier life

I had set some health goals up for this year which you can read about here. Thus far, it’s been pretty hard to keep up with them because I’ve learned old habits die hard when it’s winter. I am excited to say that I am FINALLY getting back on the wagon by running and eating healthy. If you want to know how, just keep reading J

Marathon training

As stated in my last Health and Wellness post, due to my wonky ankles and the lack of training during the winter months, I will not be running the Rock n’ Roll Marathon next week (sad face). I feel bad because a friend of mine signed up for the half for moral support. I may see how fit I can get and what I can actually run (this is for you Molly!).

Last week I finally found the inspiration to start running again, and have bought the right kind of brace for my ankle (yay no more pain). I did a 5 mile hike on Thursday, and did my first 4 mile run in over a month on Friday. It’s not easy, but I ran twice this week, and am slowly but surely getting back to it. The awesome thing is that DC weather has been cooperating and it’s been absolutely GORGEOUS. Since I’m not running the full marathon, I’m putting all my efforts on getting ready for the trail Ragnar in Richmond in April (I even bought new trail and road shoes)!

Healthy eating

I still don’t like to cook, and it’s been and up and down adventure. My mom and I have decided to try and do a No Processed Sugar March (this includes bread… ugh). Today is March 1st and all I want is a sandwich filled with a cupcake and three cookies and topped with salted caramel gelato (never had this combination before, but I just want sugar). I know I can do this… I know I can do this! We have prepared overnight oats for breakfast, eating a lot of fruits and putting greens in my smoothies, and I’m going to attempt to cook something (I need to meal prep… I really do). I’ll let you know how I feel, but for now it’s pretty optimistic!

Essential oils

Now this has been going GREAT. I’ve incorporated essential oils in most of my beauty routine. I use Vetiver in my black castor oil to help bring back my edges, and it’s working. I also use Frankincense and Lavender in a lot of my homemade face products, and my acne scars are fading. This is huge! My acne scars are my biggest insecurity and I’m finally seeing them fade.

One of my favorite aspects of the oils is diffusing them in my room. I have a bedtime mix of Vetiver, Marjoram, and Lavender that knocks me all the way out. It usually takes me a bit of time to get comfortable and fall asleep, but this mixture knocks me out within a half hour. Another mix I love to use when I need a bit of a kick in the pants to get stuff done is Vetiver, Peppermint, and Lemon. When this mix is diffusing in my room, I feel like I can get anything done!

A mini testimony about essential oils comes from my mom. She has restless leg syndrome and has the hardest time falling asleep due to it. For the past couple nights she has been drinking one drop of Marjoram in a bottle of water and rubbing it on her legs before going to sleep. She told me she has not had any issues with restless leg, and she falls asleep immediately (this is AMAZING). So in case you’re wondering, the oils are making me a believer! I’m currently not a distributor, but if you have any questions or suggestions about essential oils, please let me know.

I see brighter days coming down the horizon (now that winter is coming to an end). Let me know how your health and wellness goals are going this year; it’s never too late to jump back on the wagon!

With love,

Tifa

Unconditional Love

I hope you all loved the post from last week from a good friend of mine. I personally want to thank my friend for being so open about her life and her struggles with walking through losing her dad and having an eating disorder. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I have a dog and her name is Bella. She is a tiny and tenacious 5lbs mutt who loves me to the moon and back. I moved to California for grad school and I was feeling pretty lonely because I was away from my family, friends and community (I’m East Coast all day err’ day). I adopted Bella from a kill shelter in San Bernadino, CA and it was love at first site, and I love this crazy ball of fluff unconditionally (and in my mind, you should too). Being a dog owner, I’ve noticed that dogs truly love their owners unconditionally, despite everything we do to them (I love annoying her and waking her up when she sleeps… SHE’S SOOO CUTE). And this had me thinking, if I can love my four legged friend unconditionally, why is it so hard to love people?

This is a question I ask myself pretty often and am still working through. I think as humans we are more apt to holding a grudge and making people pay for the hurt they cause, than just forgiving and moving on. Let me say, forgiveness doesn’t mean I’ll let you back in the inner quarters of my heart, it just means I’m letting go of the offense you have caused (this is a daily practice). I also think the majority of times that people who hurt do not do it out of a place of malice, it’s usually a miscommunication of some sorts.

I also think another reason it is hard to love people is because we confuse disagreement with unloving or hate. I’m a person who loves loving people. I usually (key word is usually) see the best in people and try and make a connection there. I don’t agree with everyone’s lifestyles or viewpoints, but that doesn’t mean I love you any less; it means I have to love you even harder. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s a work in progress.

Story time! I was a party girl in college; I went out, I lived it up, I pumped my fists, and went to Mexico for one spring break (how I still have a liver, and that I haven’t been arrested, no one knows but Jesus… Thank you Jesus!!!!). Sometimes I sit and wonder how I’m still alive, but that’s a story for another time. I have friends who still party like they’re still in college. Personally, this isn’t my scene anymore, I like to be in my bed by 10pm and I want to live on a farm raising goats and make my own cheese. In other words, I am super simple (not to be confused with basic… I’m not basic). I personally don’t agree with the party lifestyle at this age (I’m in my 30’s), but I don’t love this group of friends any less. I just pick and choose what activities I do and do not partake in (that’s all). If you want to go out and party, knock yourself out, I probably won’t join; but if you want to go out, eat and have a glass of wine, I’m all about it. So this is a simple example of “I don’t agree with your lifestyle choices, but I still love you”.

The question here is: are there people in your life that you need to give a little more grace to? I know there are people in my life who don’t necessarily agree with my lifestyle choices, but they still love me (yes mother, I’m thinking about getting another tattoo… LOVE YOU)!

Let me know how you work through this, I can always take other tips and tricks. And if you want to talk more or want advise, please do not hesitate to contact me (admin@teawithtifa.com).

With love,

Tifa

He Makes All Things New – Gracie Faith

My eating disorder is a secret no one knows but my family. I have been too embarrassed and ashamed to share it with anyone. Now I know sharing with others is a part of the healing process and we cannot be afraid of other people’s reactions. God knows our hearts and that is the only thing that matters.  Losing my dad in the first week of high school and not coming to terms with it made gain 30 pounds in the course of 6 months. Instead of dealing with the pain of losing my dad-, I did what I know to do best. I pretending like it never happened.  I never spoke of him and I did mention him- I would make a joke. I internalized my pain with food- it was my comfort and my obsession. When I first started to notice that my clothes no longer fit- I wanted to change that. I read every diet book and magazine out there. I bought all the exercise DVDs out there. Tae bo was the exercise fad at the time and I thought it was the answer to obtaining a fit body.  I tried and failed at every crash diet and I carried the extra weight well into the sophomore year of undergrad.  I was miserable and extremely obsessed with food and weight- it is all I thought about. It was the beginning of a torturous relationship with food.

In the summer of 2005, I was determined to change that.  I wanted to go into my Junior year of college super thin and I would do anything and everything to obtain that.  I started with cutting out all soda and juices. Then breakfast and snacking between meals.  I would walk for exercise because I was never athletic.  The weight was coming off fast and people’s comments about my weight loss fueled my fire.  I started counting calories- I limited them to about 900 calories a day. I don’t know how I kept up that up for the last two years of college, but I did.  My social life became non-existent. I was afraid to go everywhere because I wasn’t sure of how many calories would be in the food that would be served at the social gatherings or restaurants and if those events fell out of my eating schedule- I panicked. By God’s grace, I still managed to graduate college with honors- I still don’t know how I made it. My mind was tortured itself 24/7.   I was down to about 110 pounds, lost my period and I was growing hair all over my body. I come to know now, that it was my body’s way of protecting itself when it’s malnourished.  I would walk for 2 hours a day and drink black coffee to curb my appetite.  My family and friends were very concerned, heck, I was concerned, but I didn’t know how to crawl out of it.  My relationship with God suffered the most- I was saved at the time, but the voice of my eating disorder was louder than God.  I still served in church, read the bible and prayed, but God was so far away from me.

In 2008, I started bingeing because my body could not take the starvation anymore. I put on a lot of weight fast.  Of course, people started commenting on my weight gain. It left me crushed and I was determined to learn how to have a relationship with food and be at a healthy weight.  Again, I did not know how and I was too proud to get help. I thought there was nobody who would be able to help me with what I was going through and I felt isolated and strange.  I remained at this new weight for the next years until 2014, but I was living in torture. I was always confused with what to eat, how much to eat, and I avoided a laundry list of foods pretending that I didn’t like them just so I didn’t have to eat them. That backfired even more because the more you restrict, the more you binge.  2011 was my worst year in my eating disorder. I avoided all foods and then I would crash and binge on them. I was scared and alone. Slowly in 2012 I started reintroducing foods into my diet, I was tired of being scared, but I still had some ways to go. I was still obsessing and confused, but I was willing to take more chances. I prayed more earnestly, I sought God every morning and night, praying for healing. I still felt like he wasn’t there.  The following year I got reconnected with friends and made new ones: I also became a vegetarian because I never really liked the taste of meat. Thank God going vegetarian was never a decision based on weight loss- it was something I was passionate about, but little did I know, you could still unhealthy as a vegetarian.

In 2014 I reached my breaking point. I broke down.  Thoughts of food kept me up at night. I was always confused with what to eat and it tortured me- I was switching foods around and trying new things, but it consumed my mind and left me in a state of panic.  At that time, I also doubted my salvation. I went for a week without sleeping and it sent me to the hospital. I knew I needed help there- I was crying to God on the floor of the hospital to rescue me from the pit I was in. My sleep needed mending, my relationship with food-needed mending. Most of all, my relationship with Christ needed the most mending.  I took some time off work and I spent my days sobbing for no reason. My friends came to see me, but I never fully let them into my world. I was too ashamed.  My mom pushed me to get professional help and I thank her so much for it. God put someone in my life who knew what I was going through and I finally felt understood. Now, I had sleep to add to my list of problems, but this time I was willing to open up and let people and God in.

I felt the weight of my eating disorder finally lifted in a small group at my church. I was sharing what was going on in my week and then I just started sharing my experience. I sobbed like a baby, but I felt free. I went home with a lot of clarity and soon I felt God more nearer to me than ever.  Out of nowhere, I was no longer confused as I was before about food. I exercised in a healthy way that I loved and a beautiful friend prophesied to me that I am did God’s daughter. Which surprised me because she knew nothing about my struggle.

Today, I am new. I feel God’s presence more than ever. I can hear Him clearly speak to me more than I ever could before. Sometimes it is not instant, but I know the answer will come.  His deepest desire is for us to be one with Him. I still have my moments with food and weight, but I am not the person I was twelve years ago. I eat to nourish my body and no food is off limits. I just balance healthy food with indulgences. It is so freeing to live that way.  My sleep is still a work in progress, but I know healing for that will come with time.  If not, I will be healed in Heaven.  God works everything for our good and He makes all things new.

Gracie-Faith

STOP!

I hope you all enjoyed the blog post last week by my friend Mikkee. She is beautiful,  selfless, talented woman who loves people in whatever season they are in. If you didn’t have the opportunity to read it, you can find it here.

If you grew up in the 90’s then you may remember Susan Powter. If not, she was a fitness guru with platinum buzz cut hair who would yell “Stop the insanity”. I think her message was about stop treating your body bad (who knows, I was too young to know/care about what she was yelling about). As an adult, I think she has a point that it’s insane that we continue to do harm to oneself. I do believe this message goes beyond the food we ingest and I’ll explain how.

As some of you know one of my goals this year is to listen to my body more. This includes knowing what foods and products work for me. I will say, it is not easy to listen to your body after years of ignoring it, and it’s a work in progress. I do believe there is one thing more difficult than listening to ones body about food; it is listening to what our soul and spirit need for nourishment.  There are specific relationships, media, places, and situations that are toxic to our being, but insanely enough, we continue to allow it in.

A personal example would have to be the music I listen to while I drive. Now, I will begin with saying that living and commuting in the DC area will make anyone angry. Drivers here just have the special ability (especially on the 495 Beltway) to get on my laaaast nerve. As in the nerve that is holding the rest of me together, and these drivers are coming after it with a sharp pair of scissors, poking and cutting at it. THIS MY FRIENDS is what it is like driving in the DC region (even thinking about driving is irritating me). Anywho, back to my point! I used to listen to anything that was playing on the radio when I drove. I love music, and have to listen to it when I’m in the car. I began to notice that certain types of music were affecting my attitude and emotions while I drove (as a word of caution, listening to Ludacris’ Move song while driving is never a good idea). At first I ignored it because part of me has a love for super ratchet music (I don’t care who you are, there is a ratchet song that you love), but eventually I made the switch to listening to either WGTS 91.9 or the Christian music on my iPod (cause you can’t curse someone out while singing about Jesus… like, you can’t). I will not lie, this has changed my attitude towards DC and Maryland drivers (people from Virginia can’t drive, it’s a fact).

This only represents one example of how I’m trying to listen to my body and what it needs and doesn’t need. One positive lesson I’ve learned is when you take one thing out, you get to fill that space with something new and nourishing (goodbye cheddar, hello goat cheese).

Let me know if you’re on this journey too, and how you are listening to your body’s needs.

With love,

Tifa

When Your Leap of Faith Leaves You Shattered – Mikkee Hall

The old Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons always left me with mixed emotions. I never wanted Road Runner to be eaten, but I held a sneaking sympathy for all the splats Wile E. endured on his quest to fulfill his dream of a good dinner. All those fruitless leaps of faith. How did he keep going when his dream never came true?

Surely that would never happen to me. If I worked hard and had worthy dreams, God would honor all my leaps . . . right?

I recently celebrated 40. I’ve splatted a few times along the way. I expect a few more will happen before I bid this world goodbye. At 13, I knew I’d have it all figured out by now. My life was carefully planned out. I knew what I was doing, who I’d marry, where I’d live, and how many kids would come with it all. I also thought I’d knew who I would be through it all and that my faith in God would never falter.

My mom’s garage holds a few boxes of my dreams. The journals and diaries I filled with all my hopes and dreams and plans for the future. I knew it all then. I had no doubts. I needed to know and believe I had control and that my dreams would come true.

But we all come to moments of failure, where it seemed our leap of faith ended in our shame.

Several years ago, it was time for a job change. After praying and talking to wise friends, I decided to look for a job in New York or Washington DC. I wanted a new experience. All the doors opened up, all my prayers were answered, and I felt peace with my new move to DC.

I was living in DC pursuing my dream. But my long-cherished dream left me feeling empty.

Suddenly, it all turned upside down. I had resigned from my job after only eight weeks. I was in a brand new city with no job in the middle of one of our country’s worst recession. My friends and family were hundreds and thousands of miles away. I was on my own.

The shame overwhelmed me as I sobbed out my failure in the shower. My dream and my faith seemed shattered. I felt utterly alone. How did I miss the warning signs of an unhealthy situation?

My leap of faith left me splattered at the bottom of the cliff, but I didn’t have the bounce that Wile E. Coyote always did. Worse than leaving my job or what people would think of me, how could I have missed the Lord’s voice as I made such a life-changing move? I berated myself despite how carefully I sought God before I even began to job search, let alone interview, and make plans for a big move.

One of the hardest (and best) things about each year of life is the recognition I really don’t know much of anything. Not even myself. I am this constantly changing mystery. And the God I know is far more mysterious and unknown and close and knowable than I could fathom at 13.

I didn’t miss God’s voice. He didn’t let me go when I made this leap of faith. The acts God calls me to don’t guarantee my success. I really want a guarantee and a strong return policy.

There have been times where my leaps of faith have been wildly successful. More often they come with mixed results.

 “We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.” Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

My biggest perceived failures draw me closest to Christ. They have been the best teachers. When thrust into unemployment in DC, after a soul-shaking experience, I was forced to draw deep into myself and cling more tightly to God.

And I learned some new things for the next splat I face.

  1. I can do this hard thing with grace.
  2. Hard things have an expiration date.
  3. I don’t control most things in life, but I do control how I respond to them.
  4. God shows up in my failure. I remember more how much I need him.
  5. There was redemption in the difficulty and pain.
  6. My season in DC laid the foundation for my next leap of faith and step on my journey.

It always feels easier to choose what is safe. But the rewards for our souls are minimal. Whatever the leap of faith you contemplate – relational, seeing a counselor for past wounds, new job, going back to school, new move – whatever your new beginning, consider the cost, but don’t be afraid of the splatting along the way.

Bio:

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Mikkee Hall is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys the nearby mountains from her Denver, CO, home. Like every good editor and writer, she usually has her nose in a book. Mikkee also loves snowshoeing, running and hiking to balance out her baking addiction. Follow along at MikkeeHall.com.

#NewYearNewMe

I’ve seen the hashtag above trending quite a bit this year, and it had me thinking. I actually really like who I am, so I don’t want a new me, but maybe just an upgrade, like Tifa 2.0! As you may have read here, I am on a health and wellness journey. I am a few days into the New Year and so far and it is definitely a journey full of delays, cancellations, and layovers.

I will be honest, I finally ran on Monday for the first time in 2017 in Nashville. The main reason is it’s just too stinken cold and I hate the winter (and of course I’m lazy). Run on a treadmill you suggest? Well, that bores the living daylights out of me (but I think I’m going to have to do it eventually, I have a race around the corner). I did talk to one of my bestfriend’s step-dad a few days ago, and he gave me the motivation I need to get back at it after the snow melts (I’m in Nashville for a few days, and it snowed… so nope on the running). One thing I do need to take up is weight training which I will start when I get back to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia).

For eating healthy, it’s a process. I’m currently on vacation, and Nashville has really tasty food; IT’S HARD! PLUS, you can’t say no to Chick-fil-a on a road trip… you just can’t! I think my approach will be working on gradually eliminating foods I know that are bad for me (ex. corn, wheat, refined sugar and cow dairy). So for the rest of January, I will try not to do dairy (I’m lactose intolerant, I shouldn’t be eating cheese… it doesn’t love me like I love it). I find that eliminating foods one at a time is easier than going cold turkey. With this being said, I need to cook more; I don’t like cooking, and if I do it’s for survival reasons only.

I am enjoying using the essential oils. I am currently incorporating them into my beauty routine and loving the results (I’m starting to see my acne scars fade). My other favorite is diffusing them in my room at night (mainly a blend of Frankincense, lavender, and Breathe by DoTerra). I’m still learning about them, so the jury is still out, and I’ll keep you posted!

I will say this, being healthy and listening to your body is not easy! If you are on a health journey, let me know how it is going (as I’m typing this, all I want is sugar)!

With love,

Tifa