Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello. My Name Is...

There is nothing I enjoy more than an "Aha" moment! That sudden realization when everything comes together to give something meaning. I experienced these moments frequently while living in Hawaii, because there was less noise in my life then. After moving back to Arizona I missed the opportunities as I allowed myself to be distracted by busyness. Now that I have nothing but time to think the "Aha" moments are once again consuming me.

The latest epiphany involves my lifetime struggle with food. While I will never concede to psycho-babble about my need to fill a void, I'm sure subconsciously there is a reason. However, because I feel that dwelling on the reasons is more detrimental than beneficial I have come to terms that the overall issue is my weight and I need to get some control over it. I am very disheartened that I have managed to gain back all of the weight I lost just 4 years ago. Since it came on slowly I thought I had time to stop it before it became to overwhelming but I used excuses to help pile it on. I am full of excuses and I have a million of them for why I packed it on again. But after a month long binge over the holidays I came back to South Africa sick to death of junk food and an extra 10 lbs of baggage.  I knew it was time for a change and I was ready to start diet #150 ( I'm not really counting it's just an estimate!). One thing I have come to understand is the only way a diet will work for me is if I am 100% ready to commit and I am at doing it for the right reasons. I feel I am in a good place right now and that I need my outside to match up with my inside.

I purchased a new book to add to my collection called "The Fat Belly Diet". I was interested in it because it's all about monounsaturated fats and how they can help prevent the accumulation of dreaded belly fat or visceral fats, which are dangerous for our health. Since the tummy is a definite trouble area I decided to give this plan a shot. The first 4 days includes an "Anti-bloat Jump Start". It's less calories, no caffeine, no salt, no sugar...very bland, very natural foods. The first couple of days were trying; however, because I was ready, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I did have moments when I said "forget this...I need a cookie" but I was able to fight through it (actually I had to lock myself in my bedroom during moments of temptation). Here was my epiphany...while I have always believed that I was a food addict, I finally realized I am actually addicted to substances in the food, i.e. sugar. If I was addicted to food I should be content to eat anything but that isn't the case, I have never craved and over-dosed on apples. I am addicted to junk: unhealthy, processed, un-organic crap. How, then, is my substance abuse different than any other? Is it any more excusable or less self-destructive than being addicted to alcohol?

In the past Diet Coke was my friend. In fact, I never believed anyone who told me what it was doing to my body because I had successfully lost weight in the past while drinking 44 oz of it a day. But here is another big "Aha"... during what I now think of as the 4 day "detox" part of my new diet, my cravings have reduced if not disappeared entirely. As I have been eating foods that are natural and beneficial to my body I am beginning to lose my desire to put manufactured, harmful things in it. I am learning to appreciate the purpose of each ingredient in my eating plan and what it is doing for my body. My mind is much clearer now that it is not fogged down by sugar and nutri-sweet. I know this is not a new discovery by any means...this is just the first time I have truly felt the effects of what these substances were doing to my brain and how they contributed to my cravings and weight.

Always one for honesty and putting things out there, I have decided to document my newest attempt at recovery (I am using this term now instead of diet because I finally realize it is so much more than that). So let me introduce myself...Hello! My name is Sarah Bevier and I am addicted to eating crap! I have been eating clean foods for 2 weeks and I have lost 6 lbs +! Clearly, I have not been doing this long enough to say I am cured, but as part of any addiction program goes, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I am also not going to pretend that this new turn of events is because of my own strength alone. It is through the power of prayer and strength in the Lord that I am able to overcome my weaknesses. I am taking this one day at a time...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Day Jitters

PhotobucketWe arrived back to South Africa a week after school had already started, so the kids didn't have much time to recuperate from jet lag before being thrown back into the real world. To make matters worse Anna was starting Grade 1 at a new school and while it is a part of the same school Aiden attends, it's located down the street in a separate building. I know both kids were anxious about starting so I tried to pump them up and get them as ready as possible, but it was hard to convince them that it was going to be okay! Aiden was lucky to be seeing many of the friends he met last year, but there would be no familiar faces for Miss Anna and she was truly terrified. The morning of their first day, she got dressed and ready to go and seemed to be doing okay but when we got there she clung to me like a koala bear. She started bawling immediately and would not let go of me. My heart ached for her but I knew that I had to make her stay. She begged and begged to go home and to start the next day instead. Most of the children stood there and stared at her, a little unsure what to do, but two little girls in Grade 2 said "we will be your friends"! While their sentiment was sweet it was not enough to convince Anna to let go of me. I walked her to class and she continued the hysteria. I was finally able to get her to let go and I gave her a big smile and promised her that everything would be great and that I would be back to get her soon and then I walked out. It was painful and I wasn't sure the best way to handle it but I decided it was like a pulling off a band-aid and swift and sudden is always better than slow and drawn out. When I went to pick her up she looked happy and introduced me to her new friend Angelina. I was so relieved that she had a great day and prayed that day 2 would be a bit easier.

The next morning she woke up and got dressed immediately but as it got closer to leaving she began to complain that her stomach hurt. Anna is not a faker so I believed her, but I knew it was just her nerves making her sick. While I wanted to keep her home with me and baby her I knew that was not the best answer so I made her go.  She would have been okay but when she got to school, her new friend wasn't there yet and that was enough to make her start crying and begging to go home. This darling little girl Candice walked right up to her and said, "it's going to be okay, the day will be over before you know it"! How cute is that! She was immediately surrounded by a huge group of girls that did their best to convince her everything was okay. I had to run away and not look back. Oh the agony of being a parent. It's heart breaking to see your child so upset but swooping in to save the day is not always the best thing to do. As we drove away I kept thinking how amazing my kids are. Here they are in this foreign country, starting a new grade and Anna at a new school!! You can't blame them for being nervous! I know this expeirence will have everlasting effects on them and is shaping the people they will become.

Day 3 was a bit a better. There were minimal tears and pleading and once Anna saw her friends she walked off with them. I was able to walk back to the car instead of run and that is always a good thing! Aiden loves his teacher and is doing very well. He has only 11 children in his class! I am almost tempted to stay and let him finish 3rd grade here, as what are the chances of him ever having so few kids in his class in AZ? I am still not sure how their education here compares with the states. Anna is a bit behind where she would be if we were at home, but she may catch up now that she is finally old enough to attend a primary school. It is going to be a very interesting few months...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect


Although, Aiden could have been baptized in August he decided to wait until we were back in Arizona so that his family could be there. We were fortunate to be able to do it while we were home visiting for Christmas! He was so excited and prepared! I was so proud of him as I listened to him answer my mother's never ending questions about the purpose of baptism correctly! He truly has an understanding of what this ordinance means, why it is important and that he was personally making the choice to be baptized. I now have a better understanding of why our church completes this ordinance at 8 years old. While I have always thought this seemed a bit young to make such an important decision, Aiden has shown me that it is the perfect age!

On the day of the baptism he was getting ready to take a bath when he came in and told Trent that he should get in the bath with him so they could practice! He was concerned that he wouldn't hold his hand right or be able to plug his nose in time or that he would be held under too long! Trent obviously declined the practice in the bath but did show him on dry land!

Having a grandpa that owns a men's clothing store sure has it's advantages! Aiden was fitted for a very handsome 3 piece suit! He looked so grown up and adorable and I could tell he thought he looked pretty darn good too!

PhotobucketI am so glad that we decided to do the baptism in Arizona, as it was great to have our family and friends there to be apart of it. I was chosen by Aiden to give a talk on the Holy Ghost (which was not hard to write as you can easily Google an already written talk) and while I was nervous my nerves couldn't compare to Trent's! This was a big day for him as well, considering he had never performed these ordinances before! I wasn't sure what to expect when he gave Aiden a Blessing after his Confirmaiton and WOW was I pleasantly surprised and impressed. He is very quiet in all areas of his life but especially with his testimony of the gospel. He is not one to answer questions in Sunday School or to talk in church ever for that matter. But he gave Aiden the most beautiful, poignant and spiritually relevant blessing I have ever heard. It was so sincere and very clear to all in attendance that he was listening to the Spirit in order to say the things that needed to be said. I was just as proud of him as I was of Aiden that day. It was a testimony building expeirence that I was in need of and I love moments like that!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Northwest in the Winter


Trent and I had an awesome opportunity to go up to Seattle for a quick vacation. The main reason for the visit was to take care of some banking in Canada, but since I had never been to Seattle before we decided to spend the bulk of our time there. Lucky for us, Trent's aunt and uncle live there and we were able to stay with them. They live on the Puget Sound. I once told someone from Seattle this, and they responded with "pretty much everyone in Seattle lives on Puget Sound". What I didn't know until now is that unlike everyone in Seattle, Jimmy and Debbie literally live on Puget Sound!!! What a view! I am not sure how you can have a bad day with that view! There is something so calming about staring out at the water and watching the boats passing by. . .

From the moment we arrived in PhotobucketSeattle, I was in love. There is so much personality and character in this city! The houses are not made from stucco and they come in beautiful colors like red, blue, green and purple! There are very few restaurant chains and so each building has unique signage and decor! Our first day there, Debbie gave us the perfect all inclusive tour. It was a typical winter day in Seattle, (cold, wet and gray) so it was nice to be able to see the sights from the comfort of the car. We were fortunate to see the Seattle Skyline clearly, however, the mountains were covered in thick clouds. One of my favorite sights was the Fremont Troll which is a sculpture of a massive troll located under a bridge in this hip cool neighborhood called Fremont. I also loved downtown Seattle as there is nothing I enjoy more than a big busy city with lot's of great shops and restaurants. While in the downtown area we were able to go to the first ever Starbucks and to Pike's Market, both really cool famous locations. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't any fish being thrown around but it was still really cool to be there. That night, Jimmy and Debbie took us to a seafood restaurant located directly across from the Seattle Skyline. It was right on the water and the view was spectacular.


The following day, Trent and I drove up to Vancouver, Canada. He needed to get some things from the office located in Langley and we desperately needed to reconfigure our bank account. It has been very challenging working for a foreign company and getting paid in foreign currency. It seemed a bit silly to have to go all the way to Canada to do some banking but it was a good excuse to travel anyway. The weather was absolutely horrible. It never stopped raining from Seattle all the way to Vancouver. It is shocking to see so much rain that never seems to end. Although, the weather conditions were not ideal, Vancouver is a beautiful city. The downtown reminded me of Chicago and I of course loved Robson St. which is full of great shops. My favorite part of the city was Stanley Park. It was too miserable outside to get out of the car but even driving through the park is worthwhile. I couldn't help but hope that we move to Vancouver next and I know that I would love it.Photobucket Photobucket

I have to admit that one of the highlights of the trip was our bed, it was literally the most comfortable bed I have ever slept it. Even though I had planned a jam packed itinerary I was willing to let that all go out the window just to stay in that bed. I am not sure how anyone works in Seattle, especially during the winter. If I could stay home in bed all day, I would definitely want to live there!

Jimmy and Debbie were very generous to let us stay at their home and to take time away from their busy schedules to show us around. It is always a cool thing to be able to tour a new place with locals as we saw the best of Seattle in a very short amount of time. As much as I love my little beauties it was also nice to be kid free for a few days. It is not very often that Trent and I get to spend time alone and we had such an incredible time together. It was a much needed trip, and I can't wait to go back (next time it will have to be in the summer!).

Let It Snow


For the second year in a row we had the opportunity to ring in the New Year in Pinetop. We brought along the Steven’s family to entertain us, and to keep our kids busy! Even better, Granny, Uncle Brian, Brendan and Maddie came up also, to stay with Grandpa Dan who lives in Show Low during the week for his job. Even with a car full of toys and games we were mostly looking forward to be able to play in the snow. We were slightly disappointed to arrive at the cabin and see only patches of snow, especially because Brendan and Maddie had never seen snow before! But the kids’ wish was granted the very next day when a storm blew in and covered everything with a white blanket. I am always so intrigued how all those tiny little flakes can create 2 feet of snow! There is nothing better than being able to watch a storm from inside a warm cabin through huge picture glass windows. The kids would disagree as they think it is much more fun to suit up and run around in the thick of it. I have been very impressed with how long they are able to stay out there before turning into red-cheeked popsicles.

PhotobucketJust down the street from the cabin is the best sledding hill ever. I braved the weather on two different occasions to watch the kids and while I was miserably cold it was very entertaining. There was a great little ramp someone had built and although, they typically clear it successfully, landing it is the trick. One of Aiden’s landings was so comical I bust out laughing until I realized it must have hurt and he didn’t find it very funny. He did laugh later when he watched it on a video and told me I should post it on You Tube. PhotobucketPhotobucket

PhotobucketWe were invited over to the Wood’s cabin on New Year’s Eve. We had an incredible dinner and the kids had a blast with their cousins and friends. I am not sure how Sandy can handle all the noise and busyness but she is typically the one encouraging it! She had blowers and smoke bombs for the kids and even let them pop balloons all over her living room. At one point she gave them all headlamps and turned off all the lights in the cabin and had them go on a ghost hunt. It is always difficult to get them to leave as this cabin is literally the most fun place on earth! We celebrated New Year’s in New York and we’re then able to get the kids to bed long before midnight!

We know we are very lucky to be able to have a cabin to stay in and to enjoy the beauty of Pinetop. There is nothing better than doing nothing for a whole week! I could tell Trent never wanted to leave as we finally had a place to ourselves! But the point of coming all the way back to the U.S. was to see the family so we couldn’t stay in hiding forever!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baking for Africa

One of my favorite things about our church is its emphasis on service. As young primary children we participate in various service projects that increase in time and size when we enter the Young Men/Women organization. Expectations have changed even since I was involved in “Personal Progress” some 15 years ago and I was excited to learn that the Young Women are now expected to complete several 10 hour service projects.

PhotobucketPhotobucketWhen I sent out an email to family and friends asking for donations to help us provide Christmas to the students at Aurora Primary School, I never expected the response I received. I know the Lord has a hand in everything but it never ceases to amaze me when opportunities come together perfectly. One of the responses I received was from my friend Hannah. Her daughter Bailee was working on her personal progress and wanted to do some kind of fundraiser but hadn’t found anything that interested her yet. Helping children all the way in Africa was just the thing she was looking for! Amazingly with such short notice, Bailee and her mom organized a bake sale/fashion show! She had several cousins and friends dress up in the cutest outfits while she MC’d and her mom, aunts and grandma baked and baked and baked so they had plenty of goodies to sale. The event was held in front of her house and the turnout was unbelievable. Little Miss Bailee’s fundraiser brought in $500.00!!!!!!! In Rand that equals R3500 and was the excess we were hoping to raise in order to meet the schools never ending needs.

I was lucky to be in town for Christmas and to be able to go over to Hannah’s house to talk with them about the event and see their pictures. Bailee is one of those special spirits who come into the world with a testimony big enough to share. She is a great example of faith and service and seems years older than 14. My testimony of charity and service has increased because of her and all those that have been so willing to help children living half way around the world.

Because Hannah and Bailee had such an awesome experience, they have decided this is something they want to do every year. I am thrilled at the possibility of future Christmas’s for the beautiful children at Aurora.