My Simplicity: Lemon Water

Lemon and Water

 In college, when I attended Palm Beach Atlantic University while living with my two bests, my first class of the day during fall semester was Spiritual Formation. I know the name of that class sounds funny, but it was honestly one of the best/most memorable classes I took. The main book we used for the entire semester was Richard J. Foster’s The Celebration of Discipline. He split our class up into small groups that we would meet with at the beginning of each week to discuss what we learned from the chapter we were supposed to read and practice the week before. It was odd, having to do that for a grade… but I discovered a new facet of faith that I do believe was a part of the beginning of my sanctification process.

My favorite chapter ended up being the one on the discipline of simplicity. At first, I dreaded the thought of reading through that and remember fearing what it would require me to do. But, after a day of unplugging my life so to speak, I discovered a peace and tranquility that I’d not quite felt before. I didn’t use my phone or watch tv that day, and I didn’t eat out. I made food at home, didn’t fill my time with plans, and spent the evening sitting on an abandoned life guard tower at the beach by my house. I read, wrote, prayed and listened to the waves crash onto the beach.

I felt like I could breathe.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take that “homework” and really implement it into my life. It’s taken years to slowly discover what makes life more simple and find the courage to apply it. But that chapter on simplicity has stuck with me ever since.

Several of you reading know my battle with self-image and comfort eating. It was a back and forth fight for so long, and sometimes it rears its head. I’ve gone from mantra to mantra, diet to eating plan, always trying to fix the symptom and not the issue.

As my beliefs about my worth have been changing and being made whole over the last year or so, the need to have some elaborate eating or exercising lifestyle has left me.

Right before I got pregnant, I had begun to struggle again, as I felt physically yucky all of the time and wanted out of my skin. Life was a bit chaotic at that time, as we were I’m the process of buying a house during the holidays. Cooking healthy meals wasn’t a priority. Instead of hopping on pinterest to find the latest diet craze (like I’ve done so many times before), I googled “drinking water”. I knew at that time, I wasn’t drinking enough water and wanted to be encouraged to do better at that.

Just more water intake, that’s all I wanted to try.

I stumbled over some articles on drinking fresh squeezed lemon in a glass of water every morning, and the exhaustive list of benefits that it provides for the overall health of the average human being was enlightening. So, I decided to start there. I was going to drink lemon water every morning when I woke up, along with two more glasses of water before breakfast, and I was going to keep surrendering my image and worth in prayer.

The benefits of a glass of lemon water

Simple.

1 full glass of water with squeezed juice from half a lemon (or a whole one, if it’s small).

After less than a week, I noticed an overall change in the way I felt. Choosing to start my day with water and lemon made me more aware of how dehydrated I had become, and how good it felt to start my morning waking up my body by hydrating it. I became more aware of what I was putting in my body, and was more intentional about getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. Cravings for certain things disappeared, and my regular bouts of fatigue were gone. After  several weeks, it hit me that my migraines and body aches were completely gone. I dropped 5 pounds in a few weeks, but didn’t know it until I discovered I was pregnant and weighed myself. I also noticed that my eyesight improved, and haven’t needed to wear my reading glasses in a long time.

I know this sounds really weird, but it felt like my cells were being nourished.

Obviously, I’m not able to show normal results over an 8 month period, because I’ve been pregnant for most of it. But I decided to carry on this new discipline into my pregnancy, and I think it’s helped in a lot of ways. Pregnancy comes with a lot of physical discomfort, but a glass of lemon water actually aids in the aches and pains. I still drink one glass of it when I wake up, and will often drink another glass later on in the day when the afternoon fatigue hits.

This may be one of the first disciplines/habits I’ve started that I’ve actually stuck with. It’s just a part of my every day life, I don’t even think about it anymore (unless we are out of lemons, and then I take notice). It was a simple choice paired with the understanding that no action is going to change my heart, and it is working. If nothing else, my body is hydrated and my migraines and aches are either at a minimum or non-existent. I know that there’s more good stuff going on inside my body as a result of the awesome junk that’s in lemons, (read about the benefits and myths over at the Wellness Mama Blog), but I don’t really care to focus on those. I feel better. It’s made my existence more simple; freed up some physical energy to spend on living life.

If this is something you want to try, I think that’s great, but ask yourself some questions first:

1) What is my motivation for doing this?
2) Do I believe that I’m enough?
3) Am I surrendered to the fact that disciplines HELP us navigate the heart issues, but do not ultimately cure them? If not, what do I need to surrender?

Now, go drink some water :)

Middle School Megan On: Boy Bands

Middle School Megan On: Boy Bands

Oh yeah… that’s me up there, in all of my awkward, brace-face glory. Just breath it in (That one’s actually not the worst… my 6th and 7th grade school pictures were, just, whew).

Middle School was truly a strange time. I don’t know if I can think of any other time in my life where I felt so uncomfortable and confused in my own skin. I had NO CLUE what to do with myself during those pre-teen days, and school was the absolute scariest/worst place to be at while feeling that way. I was unfortunately not in the district to go to middle school with any of my friends from 4th and 5th grade, and remember thinking my life was over because I couldn’t go to Palmetto middle. I ended up being in the school zone for Southwood Middle, which was also a magnet school for the arts. But I didn’t even have the benefit of calling myself a magnet student- I was just going there because I had to.

In thinking back on those days and mainly laughing at how ridiculous I was, I’ve wanted to start a series featuring my life, thoughts and beliefs during that time. The other night, Daniel and I were watching a recent documentary on The Backstreet Boys, and that inspired this post, of course! What better place to start this series, than a convo about boy bands from the late 90’s/Early 2000’s…

Let’s set some ground rules for liking boy bands in middle school, shall we? You remember these:

1) You could like several boy bands, but you had to have one favorite.

2) Obsession over these teenage/early adult males was completely normal to you. You didn’t even consider it a problem.

3) You had at least one binder with cut outs from TMZ pasted on it, and your walls had boy band posters all over them.

4) There were the main boy bands, and then there were the off brands. They all played their part.

THE MAINS

Hanson

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Ok, so Hanson was my ultimate, all time favorite Boy Band. I started listening to them in 4th grade? I think. That definitely carried on into my middle school years, but it was kinda one of those things I kept on the D.L. (that stands for down low, in case you forgot) for 6th grade. I was afraid people would think I was super lame for listening to them- I had the same weird insecurity about it that I did in 1st grade when I was still watching Barney.

Zac Hanson was the boy I loved the most and wanted to marry so badly. When we moved into a new house before 7th grade, I finally had my own room, which meant 4 walls to put posters up on. One wall was dedicated to Zac and his brothers.

NSYNC

1377387219_n-sync-mtv-vma_2If my memory serves me correctly, I became aware of NSYNC at a sleepover birthday party towards the end of 5th grade, when someone put on the music video for their single “I Want You Back”. I remember being captivated by this very white, kind of urban looking dream boat wearing a giant silver hoop earring. There was literally nothing cooler than 5 guys dancing on a wet cobble stone street in baggy clothes. They remained one of my favorite bands throughout middle school and early high school. They reserved a decent amount of space on my walls. J.T.’s ramen noodle hair was all over my room!

Backstreet Boys

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Here’s the deal. In middle school, you were either an NSYNC girl, or a BSB girl. I was an NSYNC girl with closet BSB tendencies. I acted like I didn’t like them, but I knew EVERY single that came out on the radio. I didn’t have any of their cd’s, as to continue to throw my friends off of the sent. It wasn’t until later high school when all of this became silly (and we were debating over Hoobastank and Lifehouse) that I started to nostalgically and publicly appreciate the Backstreet Boys. The other night when we watched that documentary, “Show Em’ What Your Made Of”, I came to appreciate them even more. It was nice to hear their stories and see how they live and deal with their lives post-boy band. I also didn’t realize the complete crummy douche lord that was Lou Perlman, and how he screwed over these young guys and used them. I discovered that Lou fashioned NSYNC to be their direct competition, which now explains the middle school boy band wars.

I will say that even though BSB has a little place in my heart, none of their voices even come close to Justin Timberlake’s voice. It’s a fact we all have to accept.

The Off Brands

2Gether

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Ladies… I just. I can’t. So, 2Gether wasn’t even a real band, they were a parody band making fun of boy bands. But I DONT THINK I GOT THAT at first, because I adored them. My bff Allison and I were obsessed with these guys in 8th grade, and the fact that they came onto the scene with an MTV original movie was the best. I remember saving up to get the 2Gether cd at Spec’s Music. Remember when we used to buy c.d.s?!

LFO

LFO at the Macy's in New York, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

LFO at the Macy’s in New York, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

“Bugaloo shrimp and pogo sticks…” Ya’ll, what even was this band? I didn’t listen to them at all with the exception of their hit single, “Summer Girls”. Everyone knew it, it just happened to all of us without warning.

BBMAK

BBMakOk, I was oddly captivated and into this band for a little bit. I love that they played acoustic guitars and were British. Also, the guy in the middle reminded me of Proto Zoa from Zenon (Girl of the 21st Century)

Honestly, I could keep going with my musical choices of the late 90’s/Early 2000’s, as this post doesn’t even account for B-Spears, Mandy Moore and DMX. But maybe we’ll save those gems for another day.

Overall, I love all of the terrible music I listened to as a kind-of-child-almost-teenager. It was one of the few things in my life that made me feel ok, during a season of constant confusion, heartbreaking crushes and the overwhelming fear of my peers. These dudes helped me keep it together… for the most part.