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Thursday, May 31, 2012
7:22 AM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Pentecost was on Sunday so my fast is done, as was my pastor's pastoral anniversary. Omi just got out of the hospital yesterday just in time for her birthday. All is well in my household.
The Pentecost fast proved to be difficult towards the end. The first 5 days I was completely fine, but as the days started winding down, so did my energy. The last two or three days it was so difficult to walk to the kitchen downstairs, let alone the bathroom -next- to my bedroom without getting light-headed. When Omi went to the hospital I was making Opi breakfast and dinner. It was so hard not because of hunger (I still never really had an appetite, even then), but because lifting my hands took so much out of me and it started getting hot in New York out of nowhere... I pretty much almost passed out cooking bacon LOL it was pretty bad.
The fast was very edifying though, and I'm glad I completed it and I can't wait to see the results that come from it. There are still some things I need to do to adapt a more prayerful lifestyle, but I'm confident that I'll get to that point soon.
Physically, I'm doing well again. Days later I'm finally noticing the weight loss LOL
I won't note the specifics because I definitely do not suggest starving yourself for weight-loss reasons, but I'm glad I lost what I did and now that summer is quickly approaching I can try to start eating healthier than before and start exercising more. I've.. had my caving where I basically ate like half a jar of pickles because I was desiring salt so badly and I needed to taste things that would give me a 'zing'. But at least pickles are like, 0 calories and everything (just mainly sodium) lololo. After International Lolita Day this weekend though, I'll be cracking down on getting rid of what I don't want.
This time, along with the workouts that I was doing last year, I'm also following ToneItUp.com which is an excellent fitness site and I really hope I stay with it. The ToneItUp girls have their own Youtube channel where they are forever making new workout routines, their own 'Beach Babe DVD', and a lifetime membership on their site and forums that gives you every routine, move, recipes, etc that they have, and every single update. While I'm not trying to drop any dough right now with Otakon being my next goal, their youtube channel and their daily e-mails and free calendar plans do more than enough. The best part about the dieting is that they tell you to eat mainly greens and carefully eat during the weekdays, but by the weekend you can eat whatever you desire (in moderation, of course). What's better than a diet/fitness plan that'll let me eat what I want? xD
On top of that a friend is going to give me her juicer so I can try the mean-green juice fast at some point, and then I finally have my colonic hydrotherapy appointment in the middle of June. Can't wait to see how that ends up working out for me.
Overall, I'm motivated. I haven't been having the best of luck with jobs at the moment, but I'm looking into internships as well as jobs so I can at least try to make the most of my time this summer! I don't want to waste my time like I did last year. We'll see where this summer leads me!
Friday, May 25, 2012
9:14 AM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Omi went to the hospital again, today.
For the past 2-3 days she's been having trouble sleeping, whenever she tells me she's always close to tears...
Her doctor keep giving her higher doses for the water in her body.. telling her to double up on the pills when they don't work, etc... this time he told her to take TRIPLE the amount.
Ever since she fell two years ago and was in and out of the hospital during that time from panic attacks, I always felt that he was a bad doctor. Like he doesn't even listen to how she feels, and gives her random meds that never seem to work...
These nurses and doctors always seem to pay half the attention to what she says, as if she's senile or something... but Omi is nowhere near that.
Now she gets up at night because she feels like she can't breathe, like she's going to die, and she can't use the bathroom at all.
The doctor at that clinic (her regular doctor wasn't there today) when she called, told her to stop taking all the pills completely, and go to the hospital over by the clinic. At this point I won't be surprised if her liver or her kidneys completely fail... but I pray that they don't.
I just want her to live to see her 80th birthday on Thursday.
God give me strength...
Thursday, May 17, 2012
7:55 PM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Right now I'm eating my last meal for the next week or so.
It's that time of the year again, and this time I'm facing what will probably be the most difficult challenge of my life so far. This past Sunday it was announced that the congregation would be living on H2O for the next 10 days.
No food, no tea, no juice, no candy. Just straight water.
If anyone knows how my eating habits are, and how much I love food xD You know how much this is killing me inside. Even though I haven't even started it yet.
My pastor and his wife had done a water-only fast before, way back when they were 15-16ish (they went to the same church). They told us their experiences and what they got out of it spiritually, how their senses were heightened and how their prayer life changed, and also that they never ever forgot that fast. I'm sure I won't either e___e
It's been pretty interesting to finally physically feel how the flesh and the mind are two different entities. I previously learned how there is the natural 'man', the 'carnal' man, and then the spirit 'man', and how each of them function and initially react differently to certain situations. This whole week I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for the fast, and while my mind has been calm since Tuesday, my body has been acting anxious, like I haven't really felt any fear for my body to feel the way it does. It's almost withdrawal-like, even though I've been doing nothing -but- eat food.
I have a feeling that my flesh won't take long to submit to God and the Holy Spirit because of how it's acting now. The only thing I'm wondering at the moment is how it'll feel when my mind finally submits and my soul gets the spiritual anointing it needs. The only way I can explain is that there's just no words. Every time I imagine something when it comes to my God, or when something happens, there's just no way to describe it.
...ok... late night rambling while I'm trying to cherish this food as long as possible. Yeah. I'm gonna stop now.
In any case, I'm going to dress nice tomorrow because I know for the rest of the 9 days I'm going to feel like I don't even know what.
Wish me luck xD
Monday, May 14, 2012
12:49 PM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
So recently I got into the PBS Series "Sherlock", which is basically a modern take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively. Personally, I have never read the books by Arthur Conan Doyle, but thanks to my bb Laura I am completely hooked onto this show. And attached to Benedict Cumberbatch >w> It'ssogoodomg
Three weeks ago there was a sudden announcement out of nowhere about a Sherlock event in New York City for the US premiere screening of the series' second season. The tickets were given away at random, and according to what I heard, I managed to get a pair of tickets. One pair out of maybe 100 pairs of tickets that were given away, out of 10,000 entries that were sent in. Talk about luck!
It was hilarious how it happened, and Laura's reaction to me winning was priceless. We had promised each other that whoever won would invite the other one as their +1, so when I told Laura I won she had a fit. She was hysterical. Best IM ever? "Wait my phone is dead but I'm gonna charge it so you can hear my real tears". Every time I read that over I start cracking up.
Anyways, May 2nd comes along and we dress all nice for it. Our friend Nikki came along and managed to squeeze herself in via the "waiting line" so we were all sorts of excited. They had a reception area for snack foods and wine and whatnot, then we were guided to the screening room, where, after the preview of the episode was shown, the projector screen went up and out comes the PBS people, Steven Moffat and Benedict Cumberbatch for a Q&A session.
I love Benedict's character. Despite his growing popularity, he's actually pretty humble and doesn't understand why people like him so much LOL. He seems to be pretty chill and silly at times and definitely not stuck-up. I'm sure he was a bit shocked at all the love and the hype he was getting from his fans.
After the Q&A was the autograph signing, and the line for Benedict was -LONG-. Ridiculously long. So long that it kind of went around the inside of the building, up the stairs, and right out the door.
Laura, me and Nikki waiting outside at the time. Laura had bought her hats to wear and made the "I -heart- Sherlock" pins from the show lol
We almost didn't make it for the autograph though... we were on the line for two hours, and my knee was acting up at the time, had my brace on and everything and at some point they decided to close -off- the autograph line -right- in front of us. I was beyond pissed because of the stress I was putting on my leg from standing on line and waiting that long. Me and Laura obviously weren't going to give up just like that. There weren't any real security, just the PBS people trying to bar the end of the line. Didn't really want to act cunty but I ended up being really pissed off and cussing and all this.. LOL
I don't know how, but somehow we made it from right in front of them to -behind- them without them letting us through. I guess at that point they gave up when it came to us? In any case... xD we got our autographs lol
Unfortunately with the time we had, I never got a chance to shake his hand or hug him to take an actual non-candid shot with him but at least I was able to talk to him for a minute or so. ♥
I had asked him "Would you mind taking a group picture with us?" and though the PBS people were like 'sorry, no more photos, etc' he said "well, let's see how things turn out after I'm done signing". Of course after that there was no time (they were ready to shut the place down) but he at least wanted to try. After he was done with the last of the autographs, him and his people dipped to the elevator close by to avoid the rest of the crowd that remained, we had followed them since it was near the exit anyways. As they were in the elevator we shouted goodnight and farewell, which he returned with a lively "goodbye!" and he waved his hand at me just as the door closed. I was able to get this last shot:
Just as the doors closed. Mad skills. (Just a bit irritated because the original photo without the watermark got stolen and put on tumblr by some random chicks.. thanks Laura for pasting the original from my facebook = w=)
The moment I got home I put up the autograph on my wall.
You can see he was making sure he didn't go over the photo... I should've told him to do it though. I was going to put the white spaces out but what's done is done! His print was so small despite having all this huge space... it says "Amber / Thank you". We had blown up the images and printed it out on actual photo paper, it looks so nice ; w;. Benedict really liked Laura's, where he said "Holy-- my mother would love this photo!" and Laura was like PFFFT she has so many photos of you plz D: This is for me lol. I guess he doesn't like a lot of his photos but the ones we chose looked really nice xD He looks kind of dorky in some of his other photos.
SO glad I had the opportunity to meet him. ♥ I love living in New York, haha
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
5:30 AM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Just wanted to do a little update on life~
So after the Women's retreat was all said and done, I got extremely sick for almost a week. It's funny how I never really get sick, all through the winter, but once that 'bug' comes out of nowhere when spring/summer comes, I get sick like a dog. Major boo.
But once I got back from upstate, a load of good things started happening, and I'm so grateful and thankful to God that these things are finally being dug up for me~
- Last Wednesday, me and bff Laura and Nikki got to see British actor BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH in person, along with Steven Moffat and others at the PBS Sherlock season 2 premiere screening (which was amazing-- I ended up getting a pair of tickets out of 10k+ people who applied). Pics and deetz in a future post!
- I heard back from Preston Bailey Designs~ I have an appointment to meet him in his office in June! No words how excited I am about that! fffffffffff
- Since last week I've been sending out job applications again, signed up for SYEP, etc. I actually got a callback from a bridal accessory shop in the city! Went for an interview on Monday, hopefully I hear something back from them tomorrow or the end of the week!
- Another Lifebooker for the $25 colonic hydrotherapy treatment popped up~ snatching it today once I pay my phone bill. Finally gonna try and get that appointment set up!
I've also been talking and having fellowship with some of the other brothers and sisters at my church. One of the adult bros is actually a culinary artist, trying to push himself out there to do catering for special events. Another sister (closer to my age) is also into events planning, decorates dessert tables and stuff and plans things here and there. She was actually looking into the LWPI courses and so we exchanges numbers so I can talk to her about the experience more. Then she also has -another- friend who designs cakes and pastries for a living. "It's a Small World" begins to play in my head, and I'm just imagining a strong special-events network within my lil' old church. The thought of being in league with church brethren gets me really excited and motivated.
I've been pretty pumped! So many opportunities have been laid in front of me just how I wanted it, and I feel confident in God that all or most of my goals for 2012 will come to pass. This month is my pastor's pastoral anniversary, plus Pentecost, and I'm expecting great things both in and outside the church! I hope to finish the certification stuff by June and my cosplay before the end of July. I'm also going to do something different for the summer hair-wise, and push to become more active with the youth/young women's ministry. My sister's finally -officially- getting married in July as well, and while I'm super worried about that (for reasons I'll probably not get into until later), I'm hoping for the best!
1:59 AM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Just wanted to show what I've been reading lately. It's actually been a good while since I've really read anything, and it's pretty much the first time I've read any sort of serious faith/lifestyle books.
I got both of these from the Women's Retreat...
So far I've completely read "The Eve Factor" by Bishop Steve Walters, who is an amazing, amazing AMAAAAAZING and anointed man of God. He was one of our speakers during the retreat and the first second in you can tell he was so full of energy and love of the Lord. Some people need warm-ups when they teach or preach but from the moment he walked up to the podium he had that pep in his step, that life in his voice and the whole workshop was just phenomenal. The main metaphor used in his book is the perfume concept, which was used as the theme of the Women's Ministry this year-- "The Fragrance of a Godly Woman". A lot of his comparisons deal with the 'scent' or aura of a balanced, confident, beautiful woman, and her 'bottle' (or being) being empty or full when it comes to what she 'pours' herself into.
This book basically concentrates on improving the relationship of any male/female relationship, whether it be significant others, family members or friends, but most importantly building the woman's self-image up. Bishop Walters uses his experience and his love for women (having grown up all around them) to expose a lot of problems women face as far as self-image-- not only with low self-esteem, but some women pouring out so much of themselves to the point where there's no more to give. He gives advice for men and women to recognize the issues that may arise due to this type of physical/mental/emotional/spiritual exhaustion and how to effectively deal with them in a gentle and supportive manner.
It's a really good book and I was definitely able to connect with it. I can get more in-depth about it when I bring up the workshops later. I hope to give it to my best friend once I fully soak everything in because I think that it'll really help her with spiritual edification.
The other book, the one I'm currently reading is "The Fabric of a Woman" by Pamela Hines. Very similar subject except of course, this is coming from a woman-- and as the title suggests, the woman is compared to fabric. The author pushes the message of investing in yourself as a woman, body, soul, and spirit, for God. She touches on image issues, seeing and making yourself open to what God wants to use you for, and pushing the importance of extensive care because we definitely need it. From dieting, R & R, body language, renewing one's mind, controlling emotions, to developing and strengthening prayer life and strengthening your spirit, this woman talks about it all. I'm only halfway through but I hope to finish it very soon to talk about it.
I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I do online surveys to earn crap. I usually use all my 'earnings' on Gamestop gift cards so I can save money on video games and stuff, but this time around I decided to use a bit on a 1-year subscription to Martha Stewart's Living. I always saw that some wedding references go back to Martha's work, so I decided to just wing it and collect some magazines.
Martha's magazines were always full of inspiration for lifestyle related things, especially home decor and social gatherings. The food displayed always look scrumptious... the floral designs exquisite with table decor to match... it really brings life to a simple dinner table and so I wanted to become more familiar with simplicity, and not only the OTT-style that people like Preston Bailey tend to do (which is fine... I just tend to have my head in the clouds when I think of parties LOL) . Certain features get in depth, especially when it comes to spices, or like in this issue it talks about different species of roses, and in my most recent issue it talks about the different species of berries.
Hopefully, in due time I'll be getting into more study books, taking in as much as I can so I can apply it all in the future.
Friday, May 4, 2012
6:03 AM | Posted by Amani | | Edit Post
Two weeks ago I spent the best 3 days with the women from my church, up in the middle-of-nowhere, New York.
As sarcastic as that may sound, there are really no words to describe everything that went on during this trip. It was mind-blowing, every moment of it, and me being the hugest dummy, I forgot my camera. So barely any pictures. I took the -one- photo above off my phone and it doesn't do any justice.
Friday morning at 5:30a I woke up... 5:30a was the time I was supposed to be at the church (but guess who was on the internet all night?). My phone was blown up with texts and voicemails. I return the call and all I get from Lady M was "uh you better get a cab and get over here before we leave you!" We actually didn't leave until like, 7 or so but I still scrambled my butt together, called a cab. The operator said the guy would be there in -3 minutes- and those three minutes, I literally pulled out my suitcase, threw a bunch of clothes and crap in there, face stuff, hair stuff, toothbrush, etc., and nearly broke my neck down the stairs when the cab came beeping. Of course halfway to the church I realized I forgot something important for the display and stuff and I had to go back home and get it.
It was a 5 hour ride from New York City to Speculator, pretty uneventful until we passed Schenectady and Amsterdam. Right after Amsterdam it was an hour's worth of a scenic route.
Suddenly streams, brooks and completely green woods were popping up along both sides of the bus.. riding along the mountain we all suddenly lost reception (the majority of us were left without phones for the weekend, too) but the scenery made up for it perfectly. Mountains ahead of us, behind us, beside us, old fashioned homes and shacks popped up occasionally, railroad tracks and what have you. There was this one river that was just so gorgeous and wide, everyone was watching the fresh water crash against the rocks... it was refreshing just to look at it! We were all awestuck.
After 45 minutes or so we made it to Speculator. I'm not sure if it's an actual TOWN and we never got to saw because our destination was the first turn after the 'Welcome' sign.
This Christian retreat camp was pretty huge, I personally only got to go through maybe half the area, but it was so nice. The lounge smelled of fresh wood and all the staff were kind. The rooms were nice and simple, no TVs or telephones. Free Wifi which was useless to me, and then it was $5/hr to use the internet on their own computers. Needless to say I was suffering.
The lack of technology led me to explore, though. Once we were settled in it was time for lunch, where we were served BBQ pulled pork + cole slaw wraps, sweet potato waffle fries, etc buffet-style. We got acquainted with the hostess of the dining hall and she was so accommodating, after Lady M requested certain things for her tea they made sure to cut some up and sit it in her usual spot for the rest of the mealtimes over the weekend...
After lunch me and Zoe (who was assigned official babysitter for the trip) went to walk around with the little kids, found the playground, found the gym center which was HUGE and had two or three floors, and we went to the lake afterwards.
The lake was so beautiful. The cell photo I have does no justice whatsoever. Saturday morning we had an early morning prayer by it, and it was just spectacular. It was emotional to look at as we prayed and saw what was only an -example- of God's masterpiece. Clear, calm waters, with woods and mountains in the distance... there was an island in the center that was also filled with trees... ducks and geese flying and swimming in the water... and at first it was sunny and you saw the warmth of the sun doing something to that scene. As we continued to pray clouds rolled in and at some point half the lake was covered in sun, and the other half was covered in clouds and it was such a sight to see. Once we were done with prayer the clouds took over, leaving the scene covered in a blanket of a misty blue.
It was seriously the most spiritually edifying event I've been at so far, and once we left on Sunday I left feeling much more wholesome. I can go on and on about this trip... but I think I'll put it into more detail because every day, and heck every workshop that went on deserves it's own post.
To be continued....