Loving this guy’s voice as of late. Thank you spotify radio for introducing us. You’re a sweetheart.
Loving this guy’s voice as of late. Thank you spotify radio for introducing us. You’re a sweetheart.
We think our church is pretty rad. And it’s even more rad that you can make motion stop movies on your way out from the service.
In other news, we’re having some couples over tonight for game night. Prayers that Clint and I are still best friends at the end of it all are greatly accepted.
Hope everyone’s Wednesday is going wonderful.
Throughout my college experience, my roommates, one by one, did a 30 day cleanse called Advocare. They would finish this cleanse with glowing skin, a pant size smaller, and a new outlook on what health meant. I was always encouraged to join into this health nut party, but opted out for fear of starving. I completely survived those years off of food encased by a box, wrapper, or tin, and this cleanse required a clean break from processed foods. No gluten, no dairy, no bread, no starches, no alcohol, no caffiene, no sweets, no red meat, no (insert anything enjoyable in life here). I would applaud them in their efforts as I continued to eat my macaroni and cheese with hot dog weiners.
Fast forward three years: Clint and I are traveling with work or play most weeks of the year. I am tired and groggy and seem to be continually getting sick. I contend ignorance that the gas station food, alcohol, and sheer magnatute of caffiene have anything to do with this.
I make small life changes. I go to the gym and practice yoga. I learn how to cook. I try to cut back my sweets- but if I’m honest, I am doing this out of fear of The Almighty Bikini.
Then one day I decide it’s enough. I’m an all or nothing type of gal- and so once I had my mind made up that it was time for a life change- I dived in head first. I was ready to take accountability for what I was doing to my body.
Day 1: I almost vomit on the fiber drink. This is no exaggeration. I quickly learned that it takes about 60 seconds for this liquid to become a solidified mass in your throat if you don’t chug fast enough. I know my fellow Advocareians feel my pain.
I am feeling extra earthy and domestic cooking for every meal, and my husband decides this is the greatest thing ever. Until I won’t let him eat chips in front of me.
Day 2: Diet Coke withdrawals hit, but other than that, I am feeling fantastic. I may never eat another processed food again!
Day 3: Am I dying? I think I’m dying.
Day 4: I am quickly running out of things to make- and eat an entire bag of baby carrots for lunch. Time to do some internet research of “things to make devoid of anything delicious”.
I am working out everyday, which actually helps calm the hunger for a few hours. I am feeling strong. And guess what?! I like almond milk. This is a revolutionary thing for me since I am a lactose intolerant woman who loves dairy. (You can ask a few very close people to me what happens when I choose to partake in ice cream.) If there is one thing that I can take from this cleanse, it is that I can now live relatively milk free. Hallelujah.
Day 5: I can NOT stay full. I eat and I eat and I eat and there is this pang inside of my stomach that I am sure will only be satisfied next time I eat waffle fries.
I text my council of friends because I need to be talked back from the ledge before I jump head first into a sugar sack. They tell me I don’t need sugar, I need Jesus.
I pray and sob into some broccoli.
Day 6: I watch a documentary about food and how much what we put into our mouths and our health are connected. (DUH.) But then I dive into more research. First, about what benefits come from clean eating which range from mental clarity to fighting off cancer. I decide it’s time to be thankful for this one body I have, and treat it like it’s supposed to run. You don’t buy a luxury car and shove saw dust in the gas tank.
Day 7: I can see a noticable difference in my complexion. My acne has almost completely cleared up already, and I am going out in public without make up on.
I am texting every spinach leaf and spoonful of almond butter I put in my mouth to Tessa, who is also on the cleanse. Lindsey is sending us bible verses and encouragement through our group text every morning. Buffy sends an “after” shot from her clean eating and she looks hot. I love that this challenging time has brought our group closer together.
I do some research about becoming vegan. I have no plan of living animal free, but I want to become aware of the food industry and what really goes on before I bring home my pretty little package of boneless, skinless, 95% fat free meat.
I watch Vegucated on Netflix- a documentary on a group of cheese loving people who agree to adopt a vegan lifestyle for 6 weeks. I am definitely in shock. And anyone who knows me is aware that I like animals more than most people, so I am sick to my stomach. I still believe that animals are made for us to eat, but that it’s important for me to support local farms that have safe and natural practices for their livestock.
I am feeling more connected to my home and my husband by cooking every meal. We’re also saving money by not eating out at all. And we’re exercising together. I am really getting into the groove of this whole thing.
Day 8: It’s best that I don’t speak to anyone. Withdrawal has hit me in full swing. I am tired and cranky and the last ounce of hydrogenated oil has officially left my system.
Clint tells me that we’re walking too fast on our trip to the park and I cry.
Michelle tells me that I can have a cheat since I’ve been doing so well. Bless her. And then Whitney texts me and says the words “cellulite dimple” and I refrain.
Day 9: We go to the grocery store, and I am excited! I am waltzing through the produce section buying up every color of fruit and veggie I see. HEB is my new best friend. Just aisles and aisles of gluten free, dairy free, organic goodness to devour. This is when I realize I am becoming lame. When going to the natural food section of the grocery store is the highlight of my weekend.
I get to the eggs. After inspecting each brand of “organic”, “free range”, and “cage free” (is there a difference?), I settle on a carton that is from a local farm. It even includes a picture of their farm inside and a small newsletter about the chickens living their wonderful feathered life out on a pasture, free of cages and hormones. I run up to Clint, just giddy about how eccentric and natural I am becoming. He is less than enthused. “Kendall, this is like Portlandia crap.” But he’s a good husband and only laughs at it one more time before we leave the grocery store.
Day 10: Jen Hatmaker has a book called “Seven”. This book humbles me every time I read it. In part of the book, she also does a cleanse. She writes-
“I realized that my slightly reduced life is still extraordinary in every way. There is no end to my advantages. For whatever reason I was born into privilege; I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been blessed, blessed, blessed- relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. My life is so happy it’s almost embarrassing. So I thawed into a gratitude puddle, exchanging my physical aching for spiritual communion. It was a good trade. I exhaled and breathed, ‘Thank You.’”
Life is confusing and stressful and downright cruel sometimes. (Not the introduction you were expecting for such a fla la la title, was it? I’m getting there…)
I am not a stranger to the hard things in life- and I don’t believe that anyone in their 20′s really is, despite the fact that we are all desperately trying to seem “normal” and mentally sane. (Easier on some days than others.) For a long time, I believed that “strong” and “private” were synonyms. And by private, I mean mostly about the less than perfect things. That you couldn’t be happy while admitting that sometimes that your life can really suck, that the way you yelled at your dog was Jerry Springer material, and that you’re not quite sure how you’re going to afford your dentist bill. In a time saturated by social media, where every meal you eat can have a Walden filter thrown on it, you can easily feel disconnected from the genuine emotion of humans. I can also easily get sucked into this world of charm and, sometimes, narcissistic billboarding of one’s “lovely” life. I am here to say that my life is not this perfect picture. Behind every meal is a huge mess of flour in my hair and splatter on the walls. Behind every date night picture is a month of conquering our differences and fighting not to be another statistic in a world that glorifies selfishness. Every fun weekend with friends is years of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and wondering if you’re worth it to them too.
That all to say, I can tell you that I am happy. Happy and flawed. And I am happiest when I can admit the flawed, ugly, and weird aspects of my life, because that’s what connects you to people and let’s them know you’re just another person. And while Instagram and Twitter can be charming and beautiful, it is the other side of the lens that is crucial. Because we’re all messed up. And we need something deeper than our heavy filtered snapshots to feel connected to one another.
Now, I am a wanna-be professional photographer. I am not saying give up social media or hashtag your acne breakouts, but I challenge you to be cognizant of the world and people around you. Send letters with your real hand writing and real emotions. Reach out to people and encourage them. Be intentional with your conversations. Don’t get on your phone during dinners. Be honest in your short comings, not just your successes. Apologize when you’re wrong. Even if it’s from years ago. Start listening and asking questions. Real questions. And don’t let this shallow world swallow you whole.
For the love of pete, don’t let it swallow you whole.
// in respect for the photographers of the wedding, some images have been taken down until after their posting.
Ben and Candace are one of those couples that, when you raise your glass for a toast, you know they deserve it. They have fought hard over these last few years to get to the vows that will forever bond them. Here are a few pictures from their amazing barn wedding.
A litte history: My friendship started with Ben when I was in Jr. High. He was this shy 6’9″ boy at church who had a great taste in music and refused to give hugs. We slowly became best friends. We hung out almost every day after school and his family even bought extra peanut butter, honey and bananas so I could make my favorite sandwiches at his house at lunch. I spent most weekends of my highschool experience at the Knox’s house with the rest of our friends. Ben became friends with Clint- a missionary kid who had moved from California. Clint was the only boy who wouldn’t shoot me with are-soft bullets or put pepper in my Diet Coke, so I decided he was datable. He also rocked the Justin Bieber hair before Justin Bieber hair was a thing. Me, Ben and Clint hung out a lot. And I was grounded alot because of them. One day, Ben got pneumonia. And bad. He was in the hospital for a quite awhile and Clint and I would come and keep him company and make fun of his paper robes and weight loss like any good friend would. During Ben’s lengthy sickness, Clint and I were hanging out alone for the first time. Our first alone hang out was us chugging two Route 44 Ocean Waters each because we heard it would make your pee turn blue. Spoiler: it doesn’t. We never stopped having dates after that. So thank you, Ben, for being my best friend growing up and for introducing me to my husband.
Then comes Candace. The first thing I ever heard about her was Ben’s confession that “there’s this SUPER hot girl at my school named Candace”. Candace and I laugh about the first few times of us meeting. We were scared to talk to each other because I thought she was “shy and didn’t want to be friends” and she thought I was “hyper and didn’t want to be friends”. Ben and Candace started dating when Ben had just gotten to UNT. We went to Ben’s basketball games together, college get togethers that Ben and Clint’s friends (who all lived together in a house) put on (which really ended in us secluding ourselves in a corner and making bets about how many germs were infested in their couch) , and weekend hang outs at the Knox’s when we were all in town. The four of us have pretty much been inseperable. We even spent our Christmas break traveling all the way to New Mexico and the Grand Canyon together. She even traveled out to Houston on THANKSGIVING DAY to cook beside me. I seriously love Candace, because she unapologetically herself. And she is going to make one helluvah wife. So thank YOU, Candace, for being such a constant, real, and loving best friend to me. You’re stuck with me forever.
So cheers to such a beautiful couple! Please pray strength, protection, and joy over these two in their first year of marriage. And try not to be insanely jealous that they’re adventuring in Colorado for two weeks right now and you’re not.
//you will be able to find the official wedding pictures from the photographers, Luiz and Lo Baptista, at lhimage.com.