Cocoa

Jayson and I are both avid coffee drinkers.  Starbucks is our main go-to place.  While Jayson is slowly easing off of it and substituting it for green tea, (Much props to him! :)) I on the other hand thrive on black coffee/espresso.  My appreciation for it sky-rocketed when I saw this vid.  It is the first time a cocao harvest labourer consumes chocolate in his entire life.  The joy in their eyes and expression ignites the realization of how blessed and fortunate we are.  I invite you to see for yourself.  🙂

Xxcape

I was quite honoured to be introduced to Jayson’s former high school mates this week.  We went to Xxcape, which is this real life 5D strategy game set in a controlled setting.  All personal belongings are taken away from you and locked away before entering a private locked room where all our actions were recorded on video tape.  The darkened surroundings had a ‘haunted’ feel and looked surreal with office furniture cluttered with books and documents.  The next room imitated a murder scene.  The hostess introduced the rules of the game, the setting and background, and our main goal.  Our group had to solve a murder mystery by finding and following a set of clues, identify the murdurer and get ourselves out in the span of 45minutes.  She excited promptly, eerie music started playing, and boom, the countdown began.

Though at first I felt a bit intimidated by the feeling of unfamiliarity and being locked in a dimly-lit room with 5 other [unfamiliar] people I did my best to participate and contribute although I’m sure I wasn’t much help =P.  It was an excellent team building exercise and Jayson’s friends were very open, friendly, and very intelligent.  I was amazed at Jayson’s puzzle solving ability as he was able to identify the word used to unlock one of the boxes.  We used up two ‘hints’ and did not end up solving the puzzle in time; however, we were very, very close, just to the point of breaking out the final door.  Good job team!

We went to eat Korean food after, and I got to know some of Jayson’s friends.  It’s rare that I see him interact with his buddies and more frequent that I invite him into my groups of friends, so I was very glad that he invited me.  It turned out that I knew one of his friends from BSF so that was a nice coincidence.  I wouldn’t say that the food we ate was particularly un-healthy….it was alright, lots of protein, but it certainly did not meet the requirements of Wholeness40.  Like Jayson says, friends go before food, so this was an exception, along with the beautifully colourful cheesecake that we shared for dessert.

‘Rainbow after the Dark’- This was the glacier cheesecake we chose, and quite a scrumptious choice I would say.  It was one of the clubs signature dish, representing how there is hope and promise after a period of darkness or personal struggle.  I also love the meaning behind the entire restaurant, its decor, and its choice of foundation (polished concrete floor).

All in all, I believe we had an awesome and fun time which reflects the saying- the more the merrier.

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.” – Helen Keller

Numbers

“Screw Paleo”, my friend (the master chef) said as he put another freshly made potato chip from Smokehouse Sandwich Co. right before heading to our friend’s wedding. We were discussing diets, the vast varieties of them and the restricting natures of them. I’m not saying I’m against diets, but I do believe in listening to your body before listening to an idea, a practice or a process. If you do diets or make a lifestyle changes, not just in eating habits, but in anything in life, to do it wisely and not follow everything suggested religiously. Someone else’s success story is not YOUR success story, YOU are in charge, YOU make decisions, YOU are in control.

I’m (Jayson) saying this because I have dealt with dieting, fasting, cutting out certain food groups, weight gain, weight loss and everything that comes with it. I also want to share a tidbit about what I have learned in through my journey. Andriah knows I like numbers, though I totally did not do well at math, but I’ll tell my story in numbers.

200- pounds, my heaviest weight. You know how some people get the “freshman 15”? I think I got the freshman 30. Going to university, I was a little bigger than most, but not overweight, I exercised a bit in High School, but I was slightly unhealthy with an unhealthy love for Coca-cola. When I was in university, I moved away from home and given a debit card and barely any knowledge about healthy eating and nutrition, so let the feeding frenzy begin! All-you-can-eat anything and fast foods became my “diet” and it started to quickly detriment my health. I also hurt my knee, so I could not exercise either, a double whammy of unhealthy. I would wake up in the middle of the night coughing and wheezing due to the extra weight on my organs and whatnot, feeling sluggish and tired a lot. I’m also 5′ 9″, so being 200 is not healthy for my frame. I knew something had to change.

6- Pack, many guys’ fitness goal and when I was 19-20, it was definitely mine. Another friend made a youtube video saying that he would get a 6 pack in 6 weeks, of course he did not achieve the goal, but it did inspire me to start back on being healthy, or at least back my weight before I left for university (170 lbs.) and I started heading back to the gym and started exercising again. I also started to cook for myself too instead of going out to eat. The Food network is great to watch during cardiovascular exercise and it looked fun to make food, so I tried out some recipes and cooking became fun and not a chore. The combination of exercise and cooking for myself equaled me losing weight and would’t you know, a slight trace of a 6-pack! It took a lot longer than 6 weeks, but never having a 6-pack before, I was quite impressed with myself and others took notice to my weight loss.

150- pounds, my lightest and scariest weight. Here’s the thing that happened to me about weight loss and body image: it becomes an addiction. Not like healthy addiction, I’m talking health problem addiction.  When I realized that I could change and was in control of my body, it was I had found a new power and I decided to abuse that power. I started to slowly eat less, cutting out certain food groups and exercise more and more intensely. what made me healthy, was starting to make me unhealthy. I started to do day fasts as well, for those of you not knowing what a “fast”, it means not eating for a certain amount of time. This meant I would not eat, but still exercise and it got even worse as I’d not eat for a couple days. Looking back, I admit that this was anorexia. There have been times where I have passed out before but still kept going on with my unhealthy addiction. Being “the guy with the 6-pack” became my identity and I became obsessed with it.

2- years, the amount of time it took me to realized that I was living an unhealthy lifestyle. Guess you could say I’m a slow learner. I have had to struggle with body image for 2 years and I am still sometimes working through it. There was a point where I realized that my obsession began to affect my social life and that I could not always be living the way I was, starving myself and exercising for hours on end and not being able to go out with friends because they were not eating the healthiest of foods. Being healthy is one thing, but my life’s goal is not to be a model and even then, this was not the way to do it. Realizing this, I started to eat again, more consistently while making the right food choices.

170- pounds, my weight now. I guess things came full circle, but in a good way. Leaving university, I was 170-180 lbs. but in an unhealthy way, now I’m back at 170 lbs, but it’s a healthy 170. Weight is just a number, your relativity to gravity, but it is not who YOU are. A pound of fat and a pound of muscle are still a pound, but they are different. I have found that to balance health and life, that you cannot restrict yourself and become too obsessed. I gave up a couple of years, abstaining from certain foods that I love eating, thinking that ONE piece of sushi on white rice would make me gain back all the weight and that I would instantly lose my 6-pack (I may or may not still have one, only a certain person knows for sure), which it totally did not. Now I enjoy all foods in moderation, if I want dessert, I’ll have a slice of cheesecake, but not the whole cake, if I have sushi, I’ll choose the healthier kinds. This sounds like common sense, but it does not sound like it when you’re obsessed with your body image and have a fear of foods.

The last and very important number: 1- a very supportive lady by the name of Andriah, who has had to put up with all my nonsense. Andriah has seen my when I was at my heaviest and my lightest and was always my friend. She also showed that she cared about me when we would go out and she would make me amazing foods and we love cooking together too. She also had to kick my butt a couple of times to make me realize that what I was doing was unhealthy. I am very blessed to find Andriah.

There you have it, my health journey. A very long post, but I believe this is quite important to those on diets and trying to lose weight. My wish is for you to be healthy, to listen to YOUR body and to live your life the best way possible, which does mean being healthy so you can be the best YOU. It also means having dessert if you feel like it, but not overdoing it. As my mother likes to say “Everything in moderation.”

PS. I’m still kind of following Wholeness 40, but I went out with my high school friends with Andriah and I ate “no-no” foods, but like I said to Andriah: “What’s more important? Friends or a diet?”

Thanks for (hopefully) reading all of this and I’ll keep you guys posted!

– BPaL

Weddings

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I (Jayson) have a rule: Only go to one wedding a year. Depending how close I am to the couple, I will choose which wedding to go to. This rule was implemented because of weddings needing to be a whole day affairs and I usually help at them and before them and then schedules need to be re-arranged. This rule is a very flexible rule, but right now I’ve gone to 2 weddings in 2 years. The second wedding being on July 19th, 2014.

The couple are quite close to Andriah and I, but then again, I believe everyone at the wedding is, they’re a very friendly hospitable couple. The bride also has a part in Andriah and I being together, but that’s a different story for another time, and she pulls a pretty good rear-naked choke too. The groom is TOTALLY awesome and we have very similar tastes, from UFC to Batman, quite a guy’s guy. The two of them make a beautiful couple.

I was in charge of transporting the slushy machine for the reception with my friend, a master chef, we reached our destination and when I got there, Andriah, who looked gorgeous in a blue dress (she actually looks gorgeous in anything) and a couple of the other girls were finishing the snow-cone backdrop, which they were working for an hour before I even got there. Fortunately, I got there just in time to start hanging the backdrop, when it was hung and all the cones were dropped, it looked BEAUTIFUL. I was so proud Andriah, who made put in countless hours into make at least half if not more of the backdrop. My friend and I set up the slushy and we were off on our way to the church for the wedding!

The wedding went very well and the groom and bride looked stunning, the bride and the bridesmaids dress were done by the bride’s mom, and they looked AMAZING. We met up with some friends after the ceremony and we had some refreshments, and then BACK to the reception at the Quilchena golf course!

The reception was very fun, with a buffet, Andriah and I ate quite a bit of desserts and met up and talked to other friends. A very cool thing that the wedding was a flipbook booth! The flipbook crew gives you 6 seconds to create a quick video and they turn it in a flipbook, You can also wear props, so obviously I donned the Batman mask and Andriah and I created a flipbook of me getting beat up… WITH A TWIST! Very cool idea.

Last thing, everyone keeps saying that Andriah and I are a cute couple, I know that’s a very good compliment, but I still do not understand what that means, aren’t all couples cute? Just ramblings in my head.

– BPaL

weddingwedding2

Snow Cones

SnowconesJayson and I pulled an all-nighter creating a back-drop for our friend’s wedding.  It was completely on our own volition, on our own time.  To put it into perspective, the entire thing is made out of string and wax paper.  Each string consists of 22 sewn wax cones and by the end of the night we had 50 = 1,100 cones, though I started a day earlier.  This was added to the ~50 collection of strands pre-made by the bride/helpers, and I’ve volunteered to make 50 more in the next few days.  Trust me, it really IS therapeutic, but in the end, it’s all about wanting to love on my friend and my desire to contribute to her happiness on her big day.  The concept is from this link:  http://www.stylemepretty.com/2013/09/27/diy-wax-paper-backdrop/ .   Stunning isn’t it?

I believe it was our first all-nighter together and I truly appreciated the company and effort that was involved in this process.  We were tired, but each cone was joyfully made and hand-crafted.  It was a learning experience for me as we encountered tangled strings, lost needles, and a test for patience and communication.  More importantly, it allowed us time to get to know and appreciate each other more.

The next day I needed a bit of support to get through the Jack & Jill party, and Jayson was 110% there for me.  Lately, I’ve begun to recognize more of my flaws and limits as a human being and really humble myself in accepting my imperfections.  Through my mentor, I’ve had incredible revelation for myself and J’s relationship.  This week, the word is TRANSFORMATION, and I think that can extend to the entire year.  A habit of mine is that I am very legalistic- applying standards/expectations for others/myself.  Ie: “I MUST do this”.  What C’s helped me realize is that that’s very ‘old-testiment’- like when God created the 10 commandments and His people followed them to keep from falling out of a relationship with Him.  In the new testament, God gives the ultimate sacrifice- His Son, out of love for us.  I loved the metaphor of how it’s like us walking into a fancy-dancy up-scale jewelry store, dirt poor and covered with shit trying to buy this incredibly fine and precious Diamond beautifully displayed in a glass case.  It’d be a joke to offer a penny to get it, we’d never be able to afford it, but God just gives it to us.

“Where’s the diamond?  I want it.” I stated to C, matter-of-factly.

“At the cross”.  She stated back.

“Whaa..? Seriously, nothing’s for free, what do I have to give in return?”

“Your whole life”.

Oh.  Right.  The gospel foundation.  But this time, it wasn’t just blablabla words, it was a striking reminder of who I really was and my identity.  Rather then get fixated on the importance of getting things done, or meeting personal standards, I choose to act in love.  So I declare that my relationship over-rides the necessity for perfection.  I profess that my relationship is more important than getting things done.  There is grace, and I forgive because Christ first forgave me.  I love Jayson because Christ first loved me.

Green (Apples) Eggs and Yam

As I’m writing this post, I (Jayson) am sipping lemon water. Andriah and I have started our Wholeness 40 journey starting today and one of the first steps is to drink lemon water. Another step is to have an apple before each meal, so I have stocked up on 6 organic Granny Smith apples for now. The Wholeness 40 is a 40 day journey to create healthier lifestyle changes in peoples lives by making simple changes in everyday choices, such as cutting out sugary drinks or not having as much sugary foods or less healthy foods. It’s inspired by Emily Lim, one of our pastors at our church, but I’m quite sure she turns that title on it’s head. Emily could easily demolish me in the gym, thank goodness she’s out to do good and help others. Here’s the link to the Wholeness 40 site: www.whole365.com.

We embarked on our 40 day journey with an evaluation of our health through a series of exercises and measuring our waist to hip ratio with a tape measure. Andriah helped measure my waist, which I found out is above the belly button at 33 inches and my hip, which I also found out is the part of my butt that sticks out the most at 42 inches (bootylicious!). Then I measured Andriah, but I’ll let her tell you her measurements if she wants, to quote Mary Poppins, she measured “practically perfect in every way”. We also did jumping jacks in a minute to measure our heart rate before doing the jumping jacks and after. I could not find my pulse, so I guesstimated at 6o beats per minute resting and 130 after doing jumping jacks, but I honestly don’t really know. After jumping jacks, we did pushups to our maximum repetitions. Emily said that the ladies could do “girl” pushups with knees on the ground, but Andriah totally went beast-mode and did ACTUAL pushups, like full-on, knees off the ground, “screw you physics” pushups! That really surprised me and I was very impressed. The last exercise were bodyweight squats to a chair under a minute, which was pretty fun. Overall, I liked the evaluation and it was a fun experience.

The Wholeness 40 is about transformation, though Andriah and I are already quite healthy. I’m personally wanting to transform my view of being whole, not just focusing on having a healthy body, but to expand my views on being a WHOLE person. This meaning healthy in all aspects of my life, mentally, spiritually and physically. Even writing in this blog is helping me mentally as I express my thoughts and goals of the 40 day process. I’m very excited to see what will happen in the next 40 days and I’ll keep you all posted!

-BPaL

PS. My dinner is eggs with Sriracha sauce on steamed yam, Dr. Seuss was paleo, didn’t you know?