F.Y.I

 

Welcome!

I’m  just writing a “welcome” blog now for 2 reasons:

1. A lot of people recently registered to this blog, and since I have no “website building skills”, there is a lot you wouldn’t know about this website unless you’ve been following me for the last year or so.

2. Things have changed recently, and I feel I should address those changes. (Yes, I’m referring to the cult)

HELLO

Hi, My name is Justine and I started blogging because I needed a place to pour out my heart. As a mother, step-mother, wife, health coach and writer, my hands were very full, my time extremely limited, and the ‘vacations” I require in my head to write or read were diminishing. Making a commitment to this blog was a commitment to myself.

You will notice that in the beginning my blogs were centered completely around health and parenting. As I have become more comfortable, I have written more personal and therapeutic posts.

HEALTH and PARENTING

Half of you are here because you are on the road to health, or you’re a parent and *hopefully* felt refreshed by my candor on the struggles with parenting. I have no shame in saying that my pregnancy was a bitch, I hated every minute of it, and think labor is the most disgusting experience of my life. I have no desire to repeat either endeavor, therefore, my tubes are tied. I was blessed with 2 amazing step children, whom, along with my daughter and my husband complete me. They inspired me to get healthy, you see I was “skinny fat”, and over the last few years have made the life style change and commitment to eating whole, real, non-GMO and preferably organic food. This was a huge change for my husband and my step-son and step-daughter (and the in-laws) *See my blog for details: http://healthymama.net/fast-food-fight/ * but it has made a huge difference in our energy, attitudes and certain behavior issues we were having with one of our little rascals.

***I used to be associated with a health company, however it would seem they do not appreciate blogs about their products so I am removing all information pertaining to this company. I apologize, it appears I was not in “compliance” when I posted that my husband and I had no wedding debt thanks to “this company”(…. It’s true, I made $9,000 in a couple months which paid for our wedding.)

THE CULT

The other half of you… actually at this point maybe more than half of you are here because you read one or more of my blogs about the International Church of Christ (ICC)/ International Christian Churches (ICC). I want to start this subject by saying that I never imagined my little blog could cause such a stir. Upon writing the first blog about my past with the ICOC, “Because The Bible Says So” * http://healthymama.net/lets-make-parenting-less-of-a-dictatorship/  * Some feathers were ruffled, but all in all, it was not a big deal, so MONTHS later… maybe a year later, I wrote “So… I Grew Up In A Cult…” * http://healthymama.net/so-i-grew-up-in-a-cult/ * and holy WOW! Facebook blew up (I am friends with a lot of members and former members) I started getting lots of emails and tons of views on this particular post. The emails were (mostly) people saying Thank-You for being the voice of those who were burned so badly by the ICOC. I had no intention or writing another blog on the subject until I was accused of lying, and to back me up, and to gain closure, a few people asked me to share their stories, too.  Although I’m a Pisces (typically a go with the flow kind of person) my moon (emotions) is in Aries, which is code for: I’m a stubborn f*ck. So, being accused of lying only ignited my Aries emotion. The more I was challenged, the more my fire was fueled. After a few weeks of compiling stories and quotes, I posted “Queen of the Damned (Recovering from Cult Life)” *http://healthymama.net/queen-of-the-damned-recovering-from-cult-life/ * and this one has been read over 1,000 times, in less than 5 days. Which is insanity to me, but, I’ll be honest, I get it. Not only was I validating hundreds of people’s pain and suffering, I evidently struck a chord with current members. If someone else had written it, I would have been sharing it all over Facebook and Twitter saying “OMG! Someone gets it! Someone else feels the way I do! See, I’m not crazy!!!”

I want you to know something, I am proud to be the voice of former Kingdom Kids. I wish someone had stepped out a long time ago, because I needed this fellowship to heal. I have decided to take my role a little further. I have started a Facebook page called ICOC Recovery *https://www.facebook.com/icocrecovery * and I encourage you to “like” the page so we can start some healthy dialogue. If you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, feel free to private message me. I am here for you. I believe it is my calling to be support for people in need (there is that Pisces nature), if you need to tell your story, TELL ME. (I only posted stories that people specifically asked me to publish) If you need help getting out, I will help. If you disagree with me and want to tell me how the ICOC/ICC is the only way to god, go for it. I enjoy a healthy debate.

I have definitely had my character attacked by people in one of these organizations in order to discredit me, and I fully understand. They are scared. Their church is young, made up of young impressionable (sheeple) people, and I know from experience that they don’t want me to shake their young one’s faith with my facts, memories and reasons. It must be scary to see a little fish make such a huge wave, especially when you’re trying to rule the pond.

I want to make it clear here that I don’t believe in god, but I don’t consider myself a soul-less heathen. My heart is good, and I know it can be hard for Christians to see good in someone who doesn’t believe same way, it’s OK. I won’t lose sleep if you condemn me to hell. Just bear in mind, I know The Bible (as my best friend said, “You give her a book, she’ll read it!”) and YOU can’t condemn me to anywhere, Jesus said. If you are curious to know my personal spiritual views, click here * http://healthymama.net/the-god-thing/ * I also want to make it clear that I am an LGBT advocate, and I do not tolerate racism, sexism, bigotry or hate.  I believe in love, and I hope for everyone to find their other half, regardless of race, color or sex. Love is love, and it is beautiful. For more on this, read “Stop! Hating is bad” * http://healthymama.net/stop-hating-is-bad/ *

I hope this has cleared things up, and I am working on making some sort of an archive for all 60-ish blogs, and to make this website easier to navigate. If any of you happen to be tech savvy, I would love some help 😉

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.

 

Labor Of Love

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Sometimes I forget about the beauty in humanity, we are fed negativity, everywhere we look. I can get pulled into that deep dark place, where all I see is the ugliness people are capable of. It can be daunting, wondering, never knowing who to trust. Betrayal is a constant. Keeping my guard up is so exhausting, and there is nothing more comforting than finding true friends.

Last week two of my friends, Aimee and Alexis, took it upon themselves to give me a break. They knew I am emotionally run down, that I have too much on my plate and more responsibility than ever before. I was under the impression that our life would slow down, and the stress ease after the wedding was finally over. Well, it didn’t. We were thrown into the new responsibilities of school and homework (seriously, homework is a 3 hour event, that often involves tears, frustration and tantrums). So they decided to take me out to lunch (sushi, duh). Unfortunately Alexis was having “one of THOSE days”, her baby is teething, and they had no sleep, nap time just wasn’t happening and she has a home business, is a breast feeding mama, and needed to get some work done. Aimee and I were already at the restaurant when we found out that Alexis was not going to be able to make it. So we ordered her a golf pro hand roll, and took it back to the house, poured her (and us) a glass of wine, and Aimee immediately called dibs on the baby, so I was able to sit down with Alexis and help her get some work done. As we sat their chatting, I was blown away by the love and support friends so willingly give to each other. The simplicity, and and really the perfect circle this made, I needed time off from my stresses, my kiddos, and all of the baggage that I have adopted for my loved ones. (I have an inability to look at a friends difficulties and not somehow own some of it. I am empathetic to a fault, and I need to work on it). Aimee is also a fixer, and she had seen my frustrations, (and I think she also missed me, we used to see each other 3+ times a week!) and, let’s be honest, she LOVES BABIES! So Aimee was able to get her cuddly baby fix. Alexis needed a break, and to not feel so overwhelmed by everything she needed to do. It really was the perfect, almost therapeutic situation. And to top it off, I was able to be a part of Alexis’ dream job. I feel like it is something that every woman can relate to, whether you are a mother, pregnant, or simply have friends that may need a little encouragement. I was so inspired as I sat there and really grasped the beauty of her work, and felt compelled to share it.

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This is directly from her website http://www.laboroflovebeads.com/

“My name is Alexis Baxley and I am a new mom and creative jewelry maker located by the beaches in Oxnard, CA. I believe that childbirth is a rite of passage and that each birth is a unique experience for each mother…the path to motherhood is a highly personal journey. As I started to go to more and more friends’ baby showers, I realized that there was something missing. The baby gifts and games were fun but I always left wishing I could leave the mom-to-be with something to remind her of the love and support that her friends and family want to ‘shower’ her with. As much as the parties are about baby gifts, I feel that they should also be about connection and support.

When the time came for my own baby shower, I wanted to have a ‘blessingway’, something special to empower me for my labor. So I went to a few craft stores and put together my own bracelet making kit. It took some doing and quite a lot of measuring and testing to ensure that everyone would have enough beads, any skill level could participate, and each could be done in under 15 minutes or so. This is when it dawned on me that I was meant to produce a ready-made kit for others who want to create an empowering experience for their labor and the birth of their baby!

What better way to show support of a mom’s journey than by coming together to create a personalized gift through beading. When Mom wears her bracelets, she is reminded of those who created them and their loving support.

I had 16 bracelets from 16 different friends that I wore during my labor. After over 40 hours of hard work, I needed all of the strength that I could find. When I was slumped over my couch during contractions thinking “this is so hard! I don’t think I can do it”, I looked down at my wrists and saw my bracelets. That reminder of support that “I can do this” was what I needed to keep going. My baby girl, Harper Reese was born soon after and is to this day the greatest gift I have ever received! We believe in the power of giving back. Ten percent of each purchase is donated to the Bumi Sehat Foundation, a non-profit, village-based organization that runs two by-donation community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. ”

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While I sat with these two amazing women, we each made one for ourselves, and as I type I keep glancing at this beautiful bracelet made of blessings. It is MY constant reminder that not only is there good out there, but I have the honor of knowing some of the most beautiful, women, with even more beautiful hearts. Women who make an effort for each other for no other reason than, we may not understand exactly what the others are going through, but we can ease the burden.

Having had a particularly difficult few weeks, I can’t help but think of my loved ones who need such a simple, yet powerful reminder, that they are not alone.

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*All of these photos are directly from www.laboroflovebeads.com*

**Feel free to check out Alexis on facebook https://www.facebook.com/LaborOfLoveBeads

and her amazing website http://www.laboroflovebeads.com/ **

The Passion and Pain Will Keep Me Alive

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I am a mother, I am also a step mother. I am incredibly passionate, which is both a blessing and a curse. My opinions and feelings on things are very big! I react instantly and and explosively. So imagine being a work at home mom. I do not “go to work” and a lot of people seem to think this means that I have free time, I don’t. I have almost no free time. My life quite literally revolves around the kids, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep at night. So that does not leave much room for me to be passionate about things, while, my passion may hinder me on occasion, I wouldn’t give it up. When I stop giving 100%, and learning and changing, it means I don’t care, my light will be snuffed, and that is when depression sets in.

“I can understand how the edges are rough And they cut you like the tiny slithers of glass And you feel too much And you don’t know how long you’re gonna last” -Pink

 

Depression is a scary place to be. If you have never been depressed, it’s the darkest, coldest, loneliest place you can imagine, and it follows you everywhere. It’s impossible to describe to anyone, and and it’s unfair to everyone around you, everyone who wants to help but can’t. You’re numb, nothing touches you, food doesn’t taste the same, your friends and family don’t mean what they once did. You’d rather be alone, even though you hate being lonely. It’s a scary place where you’re confronted by your demons, and you don’t have the energy to fight. I have struggled with depression since I was in middle school. I was medicated and had a therapist from the time I was 11 until I was 19, and at that point I was no longer insured, so I took what I had learned in the 8 years of therapy, the 3 months of rehab and the weeks of outpatient, and I was ok sometimes, other times, I wasn’t. I got myself into horrible situations, terrible relationships, and at times I felt it would be easier to die than deal with my problems.

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My pregnancy was one of the darkest times in my life. I did not want to be pregnant, I was terrified, lonely and angry. And nobody wanted to hear me. Nobody wanted to know the truth, the truth that I was forced to live with. The hormones took me over and held me down, I was sick EVERY SINGLE DAY. I hoped I wouldn’t wake up as I fell asleep every night. Who do you talk to when everyone is so happy, and can’t possibly understand how far you’ve gone into the deep sea of depression. Especially when my daughter’s father’s family did not “believe” in depression and therapy. They did not acknowledge my misery, or anything else that wasn’t picture perfect. I could go on and on about my horrible pregnancy and depression, but that’s actually not the point. My point is, every time I started getting pulled under the surface, I had nothing to feel passionate about. I had nothing to fight for.

“I won’t let you make the great escape, I’m never gonna watch you checkin out of this place I’m not gonna lose you Cause the passion and pain Are gonna keep you alive someday.” -Pink

Passion. Passion is not only something to fight for, but, more importantly, it’s something to LIVE for. I am not ashamed of my passion, and I understand that not everyone will see it, not everyone will understand why the heck after my daughter was born, and she gave me life, I became obsessed with cloth diapering. I researched it, and it gave me something to do, something to right my little corner of the world. I breast fed my daughter until she was almost 2! That was another thing I fought for because I had not only friends who did not understand, and were negative, but family that that blatantly disagreed with my decision. Honestly, having people disagree only reinforced me, it pushed me to find studies proving why breast is best. No one ever thought I would potty train my daughter when she was only 14 months old, but, guess what, it was another thing to look forward to, to work for, another thing to be excited about! Over the past 4 years, many things have made it to my passion list, not all of them have stuck. One thing did stick, and is ever evolving. My passion for health.

Health was right up my ally, after nursing and all of the research I did, it was only a matter of time before I caught the bug. I am so glad I did! I have never been healthier, and I believe in this. I believe so much, that yes, it’s worth it to fight for. You’d think food would not be a fight (see my blog “(Fast) Food Fight”), apparently it is. It never was an issue until I became a step mom and started introducing real food to my family. I have not yet been here for a year, so this is all very new to my fiance and my step children. It’s a foreign concept to my future in-laws. It’s really hard for people to respect these choices when they can’t understand them. And harder still when they don’t want to.

To set the record straight, while health is my passion, the decision to eat real food was not mine alone. When I first moved in I shopped for my food at my store, and he shopped for their food at his store. He made the decision to try what me and Jo ate, he started reading labels, he jumped on board with me. For some reason there seems to be a misunderstanding there. James has a mind of his own, and he also has an open mind. Those are two things that I love about him. He is totally willing to try to understand why things are important to me, in doing so, he decided to stop eating fast food on his lunch breaks, and totally stand beside me when we made our house fast food free.

I mentioned that passion can hinder me… it does, in this case especially because people seem to think I’m judging, when I’m not. Yes I have convictions, yes my feelings are strong, and yes, I will fight for them. I do expect to be respected, particularly if you are someone who would like to be involved in our lives. We need support from the people who are close to us. Raising children that have been through trauma makes it that much more important for us all to be united, and for stability in their lives. I have only been here since March (2012), and I am doing the best I can. These kids are my life, I have nothing besides my family, most of my friends are busy with their lives, and have moved on, just as I have. You don’t have to understand, but I think it would be easier if you were on the same page.

I tend to push people away when my passion gets the best of me. It’s never my intention, but things get miscommunicated, and misunderstood, like I said some think I’m judging, others are jealous that I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home, and the ability to fully live what I believe is right. Others are afraid I will force my lifestyle on them. That’s not my pan. While I believe this way of eating can save your life, but it’s up to you to make this decision, just like I did not force JAmes to eat my way. He chose this. Now we do have kids, and we decided to do what we believe is right for them, and its been slow going, and I do not do it perfectly, but that is the beauty of this type of change, we can take baby steps. As parents, their nutrition is our responsibility. We are doing our best.

As I type this I can’t stop thinking about how this resembles a religious fight. I remember being  young and in church (a cult), and how hard my parents worked to do what they felt was right when it came to “The God Thing”. People thought I was so weird, and my church as so creepy. I hated that I was never allowed to go places with my friends, and I was the only one of my friends that was not allowed to date. My parents stuck to what they believed, and it did save me from a lot of dangerous  situations. I did not like it at the time, and I do have a lot of bitterness with the church, and all religion, for that matter, but I do appreciate the integrity that was instilled in me. I have always been a terrible liar, annoying at times, but considering I am the kind of person that can’t live a lie because lies fester in my soul and ruin me… It’s forced me to be honest, and stick up for myself. I don’t tell my kids that if they eat cinnamon toast crunch they will die, I just say, we don’t eat things like that because it’s not good for you. So I ope my kids won’t grow up and rebel, and hate me for never buying marshmellows, although I’m sure in a few years, they will eat what they want. My plan is to keep healthy foods at home, and for now, to keep feeding them real food, until they are older, and going out with friends, having sleep overs, and thinking fast food is a food group. Ideally, they will grow up, and still have a taste for salad, and I will know I did my part.

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****I have written many blogs that explain why nutrition is so important to me and my family. I have a facebook page where I post the things we eat, recipes, ask advice, share my blogs… my blog is open to anyone who wants to take the time to understand, before they judge. My facebook page is also open to anyone. I know some of you avid readers only do so in order to gossip, I knew that when I started this website. I want to be clear here, everything I say here I would not hesitate to say to anyone, particularly the people I write about. I do not hide my feelings, and I’m not passive aggressive. I encourage you to not take what I say out of context. for those of you with questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking, you can click on “Health and Fitness, and you will find all of my blogs that explain how we eat, and why.****

 

 

 

Live and Let Live

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Today is the first day the the word “ego” resonated with me. I have heard the word used a lot, especially having grown up in a home with recovering alcoholics. My brain always replaced the word “ego” with “prideful”, and for some reason I never identified with either word… until today. My ego is on steroids and it is so cunning that I did not even realize it had taken over.

 

I knew there was a problem a few months ago, I had been overreacting, and over thinking, and fighting. My ego has been fighting me to the death, and my response was to fight everyone around me. What I did not- could not realize was that I was allowing my inner battle between my heart and my ego get in the way of my life. I have talked about it before, in terms of my relationships, how I really had to break down my walls, and sit with myself (naked), and just be. It has always been a struggle for me to be intimate because the WORD was hard for me to say without gagging! I don’t mean sex, I mean true intimacy, holding hands, honesty, being close, crying, making love, all of that was a foreign concept to me for a long time. Looking back, I can see now, it’s my ego.

 

My ego has been in defense mode, never wavering ever since I fell in love. It was like, suddenly I had to be me, and prove myself, and not let myself get lost. Suddenly my opinions became bigger than just things I think, but things EVERYONE should think, and if you disagree with me, well, fuck you! I would listen to myself and think, “Okay, okay, calm down, it’s not worth it, it’s not gonna change anything, you can’t change their mind.” But my ego was screaming, “No, don’t give up! You can’t lose, they won’t take you seriously if you give in!” I pushed friends away, I pushed family members away. My ego said, “You are hurt, she hurt you, she deserves to hear the truth, no don’t stop just because she is crying, she deserves to feel pain, and this is nothing in comparison to what she made you live with.” The funny thing is that my relationship with James is awesome, we talk about everything, and yes we get heated, but for some reason, I can fight my ego off, tell her to shut up and reach for his hand, no matter how irritated I am. He is the only one I can fight my ego for.

 

The election really made it evident that my ego was getting out of control. While I still absolutely believe very particular things that I will refrain from typing here because… honestly because my ego wants me to. My ego wants me to tell you how you should vote, how you should believe, who should or should not have rights. My ego wants to tell you that you’re wrong for having or not having faith. My ego just whispered, if you don’t write it, nobody will take you seriously, they will think you don’t have facts and reasons. They will blow you off.

 

I spent YEARS being blown off. It’s the hardest thing for me to handle, and one I do not handle gracefully. If someone waves away my words, shakes them off and walks away when I am expressing myself (not necessarily about politics, but in general), I will raise my voice and stomp my feet and use profanity, because I am talking dammit! My ego has been bitch slapped so many times, and once I let my ego get big enough, she swore never to let anyone take advantage again. I became an expert arguer. And I’m not gonna lie, I like it. Not arguing with James, I don’t want to hurt him, and we agree more often than not, anyways. But with other people who put their opinions out there. Facebook has become my battle ground. Being as opinionated as I am, I post articles on things I think are important, just like many others. The problem is if I see your opinion. Agree, or disagree, I will say my thoughts, and someone may get offended. My ego says we say things because we want to enlighten people. My heart says it’s not our job.

 

I’m not saying I’m gonna stop posting my opinions, but I will definitely try to turn a blind eye to things that I will never be able to change. There are people who I pick on, not to be mean, but because I care, and I don’t think it comes off that way. And eventually my ego gets in the way, and it’s not fun and games anymore. I think I have offended a lot of people, and it was not my intention. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to believe, maybe growing up being told what to believe, how to behave, what to wear, having my life dictated has given me the impression that it’s my job to fix everyone around me. It’s not my job, it’s not my place, and who am I to say who anyone should be. In my heart I do believe you all are special, and those of you who have opinions, I think it’s great, I appreciate you for having a thought in your head, and even if I don’t agree with you, I’m making an effort now, to live and let live.