Friday, August 22, 2014

New Blog

Hello!

I am posting how at Heidi Hoffman  - head over there for all new content.

This site will remain up and comments will be moderated but no new content will be added here.

Thanks!


www.heidi-hoffman.com



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What is it I am supposed to do?

I have a summer position that I can approach one of two ways.  I can do what is required of me on paper: coordinate programs for a community center; buy resources; connect people; serve the community.  Or I can do something completely different - what God requires me to do.

I haven't prayed as much as I should in recent months but I have prime opportunity to think about my job on my way to my job - on the bus, which is sometimes for an hour.  I pray and I think about the people that are in the community and I say, "God, what is it I'm supposed to do?"

"What is it I'm supposed to do" is my recurring theme of this summer. (Sidenote: do you remember when you had to choose a theme of chapter books you read in high school?)  Who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do - which is a question for specific moments- what project first, what needs to be bought now and what can wait, what needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week?

And while I'm thinking these things and asking "What am I supposed to do" I have a thought like: "maybe I could give a garden book to the house I can see from the center's upstairs window (which has some potted flowers in the backyard)".  Other thoughts: Maybe I can bring one of the older kids to the center and find some arbitrary volunteer work; maybe I could buy popsicles and sit on the front step and wait until the kids inevitably ask me for them; maybe I could buy coffee for a neighbor - someone - anyone.

And call me a complete idiot (which you can because I locked the only set of keys in the car today - you can ask me how much that cost me later) but I finally figured out who is telling me these things.

Continuing to pray about the community or my job, in a way, would be more harmful than helpful.  I have a clear PO now.  I have specific tasks that need to be done.  Of course I will continue to pray but it won't be 'What is it I am supposed to do?'-  because I am clearly being told the specifics - it will be more about the where's and when's.  I know a few things, at least, that  I am supposed to do.

While walking home from the gym I heard this from a song:

"Difficulty is an excuse that history never accepts" - K'naan.

Which makes me smile.

Take care,

Heidi



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CSA Box: Buttered Leeks






I've mentioned before that I get a CSA Box at the start of every week.  I have to consciously be eating the vegetables (usually daily) or I end up with some very soft parsnips (that I have in my crisper right now) or a bunch of leeks I don't know what to do with.  Lately I have been eating only one vegetable at a time (for no particular reason) and sometimes one bowl of vegetables for a meal like a bowl of beets or parsnips or delicious buttered leeks. Leeks taste a lot like green onions but this dish doesn't taste like a bowl of onions, thankfully.



I added some thyme seasoning to it.  I put a lid on the pan to retain more liquid produced from the steam. It takes 15 or so minutes.




Heidi

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The People Factor by Van Moody

After twelve pages of notes I am finally done reading 'The People Factor' (by Van Moody). I'm behind on reading and doing a review* for it but I really wanted to absorb the material and read every chapter to get the best information I could to present to you here.

The book is a relationship book to help you choose the right people in your life to surround yourself with whether that is work life or personal life.  This book was lengthy (fifteen chapters) and a third of it unnecessary to be honest.  A problem I noticed in his literary style is that he almost says 'look for friends with integrity - they are the best' and then in the next chapter there are the negatives of what he said previously i.e. 'avoid friends that don't have integrity'.  Cut those things out and you have a really well written short book full of insight.  The book in general is worth your time to read or at least the 'Relational Reminders' he included at the end of every chapter and the process of going through your answers to the list of questions he also wrote in.

Ok - to be honest I am not one that has the best relationships.  I am a suspicious person.  I am introverted.  I over think.  The words 'that person does not deserve my time' has come out of my mouth.  I do think I give everyone a fair chance and there is not one type of person I enjoy talking to but I do hold grudges in the name of 'justice'.  I consider few people close friends.

Keep in mine that I read this book from that perspective and some things affirmed my behavior.  Such as:
A friend won't allow you to become complacent.  They hold you accountable to your dreams.  
A friend (to have in your life) will have an unwavering commitment to truth.  An absolute refusal to compromise on values.  A complete dedication to pure motives.  A passionate and consistent pursuit of excellence.  
Stay away from mediocre people who are satisfied with where they are, who they are and what they are doing. 
A friend refuses to allow you to settle for mediocrity.  

If someone mentions to me a dream that they have (go back to school, get a different job, get back into the gym, eat a vegetable once in a while) I am always quick to encourage.  I am not satisfied with the people in my life if they are continually making excuses for why they haven't done something that they want to do.  I want people in my life that absolutely refuse to give in to their bullshit excuses.  Why?  Because it allows me to be complacent and I am complacent enough already.  Honestly when a close friend makes excuses for behavior it directly affects me.  Besides, it is motivating to see someone achieve the desires of their heart, isn't it?

The list above are a few things that  things affirmed my behavior and other things caused me to think.  Throughout the last few weeks when someone mentioned to me a strained relationship they were having I would mention to them this book and a few of the things I was reading about.  Such as: you can't be friends with everyone; you receive the most from the relationships in which you invest the most in; leadership rises and falls on loyalty and relationships.  Many good things and good thoughts are in this book.

Back to my problems.

I am not perfect and this one self-help book won't change my thinking patterns.  It made me nod my head and agree stubbornly "damn right - I'm not hanging out with people who don't have dreams!".  But I am not oblivious to my loneliness sometimes.  Maybe I can let some non-dreamers in to my life and I can be the person to encourage them.

Whatever God has planned for you, it is great work in His eyes, and the place where He is taking you will require faith & boldness.  You will need people to inspire faith in you with their faithfulness.  People that will give you courage with their bravery. 

I am grateful for the people and friends in my life, yes.  But are there enough people in my life who are challenging me? Demanding my excellence?  Encouraging me to produce great work?  Questioning my motives or excuses?  I could use a few more of those people and I would value them as great and treasured friends.

Heidi



*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Restlessly Eager

People keep telling me that I am an 'impatient do-er' and that I 'get things done'.  Someone even once told me that I was a bulldozer.  As in I would bulldoze anyone over to get to the end goal.  It is something when people keep telling you the same things over and over again - it really makes you listen.  Lately it has been either the same person telling me multiple times or multiple people giving me a rendition of: "you are impatient but you do stuff."

I am impatient.  I do stuff.  I am impatient and I get stuff done.  I am impatient and I strive for excellence.  I am impatient and I want the very best from others and I want the very best for others.  I am impatient and sometimes there is just no place for standing back and watching something not happen.

People also keep telling me that being impatient is probably one of my worst qualities.  That being impatient is something I should change, work on, fix.  I wholeheartedly, stubbornly, don't agree.  I don't want to fix my impatience.  While I don't want to be rude or unkind (or anything like definition #1 above) - and I am daily practicing the art of extending grace to friends or strangers (and accepting it from others over and over again) - I don't ever want to be patient when it comes to the things that matter.

I value definition #2.  I am restlessly eager.  I am restless when it comes to seeing 'Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven'.  I am hopeful when it comes to community work.  I am dedicated to the things I pursue - training, career, God, church.  If you choose to do something - why wouldn't you not pursue it impatiently?

Do I ever have to wait? Yes.

Do I ever fail? Yes.

Below is a list of a few of the things I think of, and have always wanted to voice, when people have questioned my impatience.  (Even I sometimes question it).

Practice Impatience - Become Restlessly Eager

1. Don't assume that you aren't ready to do something.  When you wait and wait and you are 'patient with yourself' to become ready it will most likely never happen.  Jump in.  Take the gym class, buy the art supplies for the new etsy shop, take the University night class.  Plan it out strategically and then just do it.  

2. There is no room for patience when it comes to goals.  Hustle hustle hustle.  Your goal isn't going to magically happen if you don't work towards it 'restlessly eager'. 

3. Beat procrastination by doing something in haste.  Cleaning my room takes me about 10 minutes of cleaning and 30 minutes of looking at stuff that I find on my floor.  See where I could practice some impatience with myself? 

4.  Pray and believe that God is already in the works to making it happen before you whisper "Dear...".  In my experience things can happen extremely fast if we have faith and understanding that it's not necessarily us that's making it so.  

5.  Beware of what makes your comfortable.  When I am willing to sit and wait for something to appear or to happen I am very complacent.  I am allowing myself to be comfortable with mediocrity, something not being finished or something not being started.  Being impatient is extremely uncomfortable and I think that's the way it should be.  Beware of what makes you comfortable - the same job, the same people in your life, the same things that never get done over and over again.  There are only a handful of things that should comfort you and being mediocre (or - not doing your best) shouldn't be one of them.   

6.  And possibly the most important aspect of being restlessly eager is to do what you can and then leave the rest.  But 'what you can' is a list that is far greater than you can imagine and that is not a scary thing but a wonderful thing.  What we can do is far far greater than what we assume.  But when it isn't - practice moving on.


Heidi




Monday, June 2, 2014

CSA Box: Stinging Nettle Pesto


I had a bag of stinging nettles in my crisper for a week or so from my vegetable CSA box.  I was nervous to try and make something with it to be honest.  I imagined getting welts and sores in my mouth and down my throat while eating it.  But - I finally did it!  Apparently all you have to do is boil (or freeze?) the leaves and the sting (whatever it is) goes away!  The water from boiling them turned very brown (does this happen with spinach?) and it was really funky smelling.  After boiling for 5 minutes or so I added it to Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic.  I added quite a bit of olive oil.  Add less for a paste for breads and more for a sauce for noodles. 

Noodles can never really look that appetizing, can they?

Heidi




Saturday, May 31, 2014

Being Fast

My Elementary school would have a Track and Field day that had all sorts of events that included throwing and jumping and running.  To decide the order of the children that would race in the final race between the three groups (Red Flames, Blue Streaks and Silver Bullets!) there would be a mini-tryout of sorts.  All the kids would just run from one end of the soccer field to the other in your respective groups (I was a Red Flame!) and the fastest people would go last and the slowest people would go first in the final track and field event.  

I was always one of the slowest people so I would always be one of the kids that would run first - painfully obvious that I was not the best and I was not the fastest.

I even had a dream once, as a kid during this time, that I was unbelievably fast.  In my dream I felt my legs pumping and the rush of passing people while I was running across the soccer field.  The feeling of being on air.  All the kids and the teachers came up to me afterwards saying, "How did you get so fast?  We want you to run last you are so good!"  But - just a dream.

This is not some story of how now 15 years later I am now an exceptional athlete that can run extremely fast breaking records and breaking hearts.  But I am fast.  I can run hill sprints at a speed that might be luck and might be practice but there is some natural talent in there as well that I always had.  I can run track sprints and pass people and I know now that I am fast and I am good.

There is a jarring feeling in your knees and legs that occur when you are consciously trying to slow down.
When I start I  think 'run run run run', abs tight, arms loose, head up, hips out.  Try to slow down, stop, walk back.  Start again.  Before you start and before you can really think - it's over.  You've reached the top of the hill. 

I have gotten fast and it wasn't until I mentioned it to someone the other day about Elementary school track and field that I remembered how I used to be slow.  There is something that comes from being taller, understanding my body and biomechanics better, better shoes these days perhaps?  Maybe all I did was I let go of being slow and I started being fast instead. 

This may seem like such a simple story but I want to stress that I always thought I was slow.  I might have been then but I'm not now.  If had continued to assume that I was I would never  have found a training tool that I enjoy and look forward to. 



This is the top of the hill that I usually run near where I live.  I can watch kayakers and canoers and runners and walkers from the top of this hill.  It is inspirational seeing so many people bettering themselves - getting better and getting faster - even though I may never meet them.  

Cheers to being fast.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CSA Box: Popcorn

A month ago in CSA box from here was a bag of popcorn and then just two weeks ago there was another bag of it.  I don't own a popcorn machine and I don't particularly like popping it on the stove.  So I threw it in a brown paper bag and did it all in the microwave. For real.


What you will need:

- one brown paper bag
- 1/4 - 1/2 a cup kernels
- butter or oil of choice
- seasoning 



Directions:

Place the popcorn in the bag and loosely fold over the top twice.  Put it in the microwave for 2.5-3 minutes.  Just like store bought popcorn remove it from the microwave once you don't hear any more 'pops' for a few seconds.  

Seasoning:



You can always just use some salted butter or eat it straight up.  For additional flavour you can toss on some spices that are in your cupboard.  I have tried (clockwise from top right): chipotle chili powder, dill weed, no salt added lemon pepper spice mix, onion powder, pumpkin pie spice, and cracked pepper and salt.



My personal favorite is cracked pepper and salt prepared with a tsp or two of butter.

Enjoy,


Heidi.




Thursday, April 10, 2014

CSA Box: Roasted Butternut Squash


Remove peel.  Drizzle olive oil on pieces and season with garlic, pepper and salt.  30 minutes at 400F.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

CSA Box: Cabbage Salad

Vegetable and Fruit shares for this week! 
I received the first CSA box of the year from TapRoot Farms and I am elated.  Most people would be skeptical about the random vegetables you may get - but that is honestly the part I like the most.  I wouldn't usually buy a red cabbage, I haven't been eating mushrooms lately and I actually have never bought apple cider before.  So having these things - and more! - is a wonderful addition to my diet each week.

This week's box includes: carrots, parsnips, turnip, cabbage, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts.  The fruit box included apples, tomatoes and sweet apple cider.  It doesn't seem like a lot at first - but I am getting this amount every Monday for the next fifty weeks.  And, of course, it will all change for the seasons!

I am going to share with you a recipe I made today with some of the ingredients I received!


Cabbage Salad

- half a head of red cabbage from CSA box
- 1 or 2 carrots from CSA box
- .5 or 1 whole apple from CSA box
- .5 or 1 onion (no onions in my box - the entree box had them though!)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 T sugar
- pepper and salt

Cut up the cabbage, carrots, apple and onion and toss with the other ingredients.  Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.  The salad will taste the best over night!  

This recipe made about 3L of salad.

It tastes really good - honest! 

Ok I do admit - cabbage can be bitter and a little gross.  It's crunchy and has a really odd flavour.  This salad makes it really enjoyable though.  Someday I will be adventurous and cook cabbage and see what that whole smell thing people talk about is about.  ;)  Maybe! 

Stay tuned for next weeks CSA Box post!  

Heidi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Agatsu Level 1 Certification

Over the February break (last week) I had the pleasure to travel to Montreal to attend a five day intensive training seminar through Agatsu Academy.


We started with a handout of their Course Work Book.  And I have to admit - sitting here writing up this post is the first time I have flipped through the information. It's great though! It begins with emphasizing the importance of mobility and then extensive technique of all of the important basics - swing, clean, snatch, TGU, windmill. And other important ones - like the jerk! Apparently the e-version of the workbook has videos included - so if you are a beginner and not sure of a few things - you don't have to rely on just the words to guide you.  I recommend it.

Course work book.
The days were long - starting at 9:30am and ending at 6:00pm or 4:00pm.  The certification at the end was the test for Level 1 KB Instructor but throughout the week we learned more than just things about the kettlebell.  We were taught handstand progressions (amazing!), joint mobility, adaptive body work, lots of great warm up drills (like the lizard walk - I will try to find a video), stick work (see video at the end of this post below), some ring work and more! 

At the end we did our testing for KB 1 and we all got certified. :)


I don't have any plans on teaching or finding clients.  I did sign up for a personal training cert - but unfortunately it got cancelled (through a gym out here).  I mainly did it for my own education and as a learning experience.  I do recommend Agatsu if you want to learn more about kettlebells - there was one person who was there that had very little knowledge, and now she has lots!  I came in with a few years of kettlebell work, and a few good years too.  I didn't have many problems (with kettlebells at least) to iron out - so it may be a problem for a few people that have bad habits.  So the sooner you get it - the better! 

I do have plans to start training for the Level 2 certification.  The requirements are much more stringent - like ring push ups and pull ups.  I will have to work on them and program them in.  I plan on doing this certification when my Level 1 expires - in 2016.

Here is a list of the top ten things I am taking away from my week in Montreal!

My Top Ten: 

1. The very first day I wrote in my note book: 'have a yoga practice.'

2. If you don't program something in to your program - it won't happen.  Dec 2012 I made a HUGE list of goals I wanted to complete for 2013. Barely any of them happened. Why?  Because I thought they were magically going to happen.  What a joke! A handstand won't happen if I don't practice them.  I won't suddenly get strong enough or comfortable upside down if I don't actually get upside down!  I won't be able to do multiple pull ups if I don't physically practice pull ups or program them in to my training. 

3. Eating a whole baguette (even if it is free!) will make my stomach hurt tremendously.

4. $12 oatmeal at an expensive airport restaurant is really messed up.  I'm pretty sure I could have bought enough oatmeal to last six months with $12.

5. I want to put an effort in learning the French language.  Montreal is bilingual, yes.  But visiting there made me realize how much I am missing by not knowing it.

6. It doesn't make sense to only train the things I am good at.  

7. From my journal: "If I looked different, and couldn't do pull-ups, would I be satisfied?  Probably not.  I'd rather be able to do pull-ups at any [body] weight and at any body physique."

8. There is a regression for anything.

9. I am an introvert and this week was draining.  But it was important for me to stretch myself in more than one way and that included a new city and new people.

10. Movement is everything.  I want to be able to move everyday and in all forms.  Sitting is for chumps.  Being static and stagnant - that's for the barely alive.  The body I have is the only one I have - I might as well see what it is capable of.

****



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yoga and bible verses

I go to a yoga class through the gym at my university.  It is geared towards beginners and is a yoga practice that is focused on relaxation and restoration.  It isn't a class that I want to always be in (I want to eventually do cool stuff like inversions and hand balancing) but it nice after a week of school work and a time where I can just breathe and relax and look out the window through this really cool stained glass!


Here is a selfie of me that makes my nose look very... round.  Does it look like this normally?


Before going to work one day I stopped in at Bulk Barn (and I didn't buy any candy!) but I got two Go Macro bars.  They are nice - I enjoyed them.  If you don't like rice syrup based bars I wouldn't buy them.
They were very large, chewy, and tasted ok for something that comes in a package bought from a barn. 


I love finding quotes or verses that I enjoy and finding a way to make them into an instagram image or even just a picture to share.  Here are a few of them.  Share them (copy and paste or save them on your computer) and use them whatever way you'd like.



Do you have a favorite quote or bible verse?  I'd love to use it to make a word photo of it for you!











Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Well 2014 - Lead me to drink.

I went on another retreat the other weekend.  I guess I didn't learn with my first one?

This one was for young adults specifically, so I wasn't helping with any leadership.

Generally - it was an enjoyable experience.  We learned about the importance of being a good leader or being a good follower of someone who is a good leader.  I don't think the latter is a cop out - "I'm just a follower."  In a way, it is much harder to be able to discern who is a good leader in your community, who is worth following, who is worth buying in with and buying in to their ideas.  Figuring out who you will lead you, your church and the mission is very difficult.

Everyone is a leader though.  We all have our circle of influence.  What we manage, who we affect, what we can change.

A few verses that stuck out to me this weekend were:

James 1:5-8
If you don't know what you're doing pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  

and:

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong. Take courage.  Don't be intimidated.  Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you.  He's right there with you.  He won't let you down; he won't leave you.
And the following list of words were shared:


Twenty-one words of a leader

1. character - adversity reveals it
2. charisma - add value to other lives
3. commitment - what am I living to die for? (being "all out")
4. communication - complicated things made simple
5. competence - able to go the extra mile
6. courage - stand when needed
7. discernment - relies on intuition and rational thought
8. focus - chase two rabbits and they both will escape
9. generosity - put people first
10. initiative - take more risks
11. listening - connecting & learning
12. passion - desire determines destiny
13. positive attitude - it's a choice
14. problem solving - handle one thing at a time
15. relationships - handle people well
16. responsibility - get the job done no matter what
17. security - insecure leaders take more than they give
18. self discipline - the first person you lead is yourself
19. servanthood - love people more than your position
20. teachability - study more than you talk (listen 10x more than you talk)
21. vision - attractive, magnetic, uniting.  

We were asked to think about the attributes we for sure we know that we have, and the ones that we are lacking.  And even if you are not a Christian or religious in any way - it is interesting to see these words and to compare them to the people you are allowing to lead you, to whatever degree, and to think about whether you honestly have these qualities.  (And honesty and humility are not on this list - and I would add them!).  

Security - insecure leaders take more than they give stands out to me personally in my life at the moment.  

Do you have all of these attributes or working towards one in particular?  Do they people surround you have complementary attributes?  Does your spouse or partner have the attributes you are missing?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cost of Food: Artichoke & Lemon Chicken w/ Capers

I have always been interested in the cost of my food.  How much does cooking my own food really save me?  How much am I wasting by buying $9 burrito bowls at Habaneros?  Are some recipes just extremely extravagant that I shouldn't even bother with them?

Since I bought a pile of groceries today after moving in to my new space I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see the cost of my dinner tonight.  I pulled out a new recipe book - 21 Day Sugar Detox.  Essentially this book has a lot of low-carb recipes and I wouldn't consider it a traditional 'I-juice-everything-detox' but more of a 'let's-eat-more-vegetables-and protein' detox.

I bought all the ingredients for 'Artichoke & Lemon Chicken with Capers'.  A google search of this exact recipe will give you countless very similar recipes if you didn't necessarily want to purchase 21DSD.  The version I have is great, since it is a one pot (or pan) creation.

The dinner was delicious and it included a rather tasty roasted dandelion tea - I recommend the drink at least!

Capers are a bit too salty for my liking but I am a huge artichoke fan.  While buying the ingredients for this dish I actually bought one of the jars of marinated artichoke hearts - which I will most likely consume straight from the container.  I added a classic Heidi Salad to the side: greens, balsamic vinegar, and cherry tomatoes cut in half with kitchen scissors.  Trying to cut them while holding them in my hand really is the fun part.


The breakdown:

Chicken thighs - $6.10
Lemon (3) - $2.69
Artichoke - $3.49
1/2 Red Onion - $.99
Capers - $2.79
Olive oil - not calculated
Greens - not calculated
Tomatoes - not calculated

Total cost represents one plate, this recipe made enough for two.

Total Cost: $8.03


I'm not sure what I think of the price.  Is it typical of most meals I consume?  Can I eat cheaper without sacrificing taste, preparation, or health?


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Testimony

A testimony in a lot of ways is a big coming out of sorts.  It's kind of like saying "this is all the shit that is wrong with me, and I am still a Christian".  It is a way for you, friend, to know some details about me as well.  Maybe things that are scandalous, or things that you didn't know before.

Why post it on the internet?

I feel like God is calling me to.  (Cop out?)

Other reasons...

This is a great way to set up multiple other blog posts on topics that I would like to cover, and this would be great stepping stone.

This is a way to connect to more people, and to influence more people.

This is a way to share a story of God's patience and love.

This is a way that is relevant.

This is it:


I have always considered myself a Christian


When I have been asked to tell my testimony before, I have always given a very glossed over story of my life.  I would say something along the lines of, “I’ve always felt I was a Christian, and I remember my sister telling me about being a Christian when I was about 7.”  I would say that “I’ve always been to church for most of my life, there was a period when I was a teenager that I didn’t go…” and the thought kind of trails off.  “I’ve always considered myself a Christian.” “I grew up in a Christian home.”  I’ve always tried to create the most boring testimony ever, and pray that no one asks questions.

I’ve always considered myself a Christian, and in saying that, I’ve always been a Christian – if I considered it or not.  I have three older siblings (and a mother and father who were and still together) and the younger of my two older sisters told me about Jesus and how you become a Christian.  I remember exactly the time of day (night), where (in our shared room, on my bed) and how I felt when I became a Christian.
                
We would all go to church regularly, but on some special Sundays we wouldn't.  That would mean being able to sleep in – so I have to confess, I did look forward to those special ones.  We wouldn't attend Christmas services, I only remember going to one or two, as we regarded Christmas more of a time to spend together, and not in the uncomfortable crowd of extra people at the church and in uncomfortable clothes.  Despite this, we still considered ourselves Christians.
                  
I distinctly remember our family not fitting in with our small conservative church of middle class.  We had enough money, but not enough money.  We had education, but my parents, especially my mother, was a little bit too liberal i.e. too educated.  We weren’t as cool as the pastor’s kids, none of us kids played instruments on stage or sang and we were never considered wholesome Christian kids.  I still considered us Christians.
                
I remember the first time the police were at my house.  I was very young.  Over the years of my childhood my parents would fight to the point that one of them would phone the police in an effort that somehow these strangers could fix their problems with their authority and presence.  It would only be a band-aid solution for the moment and it never fixed their problems.  Eventually, my oldest sibling, my brother, would be the reason for these calls.  I remember the first time I called them, not knowing what to say, panic in my voice, hand trembling at the phone – my brother and dad were fighting, and to someone as young as I was, it seemed like my whole world was crushing down on me – falling apart as I watched.
                
I still considered myself a Christian through this time.  My mother, in an attempt to regain some sort of moral or ethical reign on the house as my brother left to live with the Pastor of our church, and eventually in his own apartment, she would get the whole family to sit down and we would have a family devotion before we would go to school.  My sisters and I saw through her attempts, as most children can in situations like that.
                
When I was in my early teens, those phone calls to the police were for me.  I would physically fight with my father and he would with me.  My mother, somewhere in the background yelling, phoning the police and me – a teenage girl fighting with her dad, someone who is supposed to love me, protect me, and support me.  I don’t remember many details, except for the extremely memorable ones, that are usually the most horrific ones.  I felt abandoned, unloved, unwanted – not just by one parent, but by both.  My mother who made excuses for my dad and blamed me, in my mind, was just as wrong – if not more wrong – than what my Dad did out of anger my Mom would justify with a cold heart. 
                
I still considered us Christians, and myself a Christian through this.
               
I went to University a few years later, with no real direction or aspirations.  I met my first boyfriend there and within a year I was married. 
               

I am a statistic.

I am a statistic: a 20-something-married-too-young-divorced-Christian.
                
My marriage imitated my childhood.  While it didn’t contain the amount of violence that my childhood had, it did contain some to make it just horrible enough.  While I still don’t have the maturity or the wisdom to accurately give a description of what went wrong in my marriage I can say that I was heartbroken.  I was heartbroken over the relationship but on the other side I was heartbroken about every other relationship that ended because of our decision to get divorced.
                
I was a member of a church in Halifax – which I am no longer a member of.  I had friends that I no longer consider friends and a pastor that wasn’t very pastoral to my time in need. 
                
During the months that followed the separation I chose bad decision after bad decision.   I failed a few of my classes that last semester of my undergraduate degree (I ended up graduating - and I am 2nd degree'ing it now).  I turned to marijuana and alcohol – getting high and/or drunk for weeks and weeks.  Most painfully I began a relationship – and I use that word as lightly as I can – with a man that had no place being in my life or in my bed.
                

I was completely lost.

Where were my people?  Where were the people that would take care of me?  Love me no matter what?  Love me unconditionally?
                
I still considered myself a Christian through this.  Why?  I’m honestly not entirely sure.  In my darkest moments I knew that there was something more.  I knew that the people that were in my life – my parents, my friends, and the people in my church – were only people.  And they were all people that were incredibly disappointing.  Realizing this was almost comforting and I have become more accepting of the disappointment as the years go on.  My childhood should not have been one full of horrible memories – and that is disappointing.  My marriage should not have been so incredibly painful – and that is disappointing.  And that summer, that was full of alcohol, drugs, and regret - was also full of disappointments – and I was probably the biggest disappointment of it all. 

                

Through this all – God was with me. 


Mathew 28:20 says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” and I believe that God was with me through my childhood - through every relationship I've had, through every mistake and right now.  While I made that conscious decision with my sister, on that night, in our shared room to become a Christian – I believe that God has chosen me every day since. 


Afterword:

While this may be painful for some people to read, it is important for me to share it.
I have had this written for a few weeks, so this is not a whim for me to be publishing it.  I have thought long and hard about putting it on the internet, and I believe this is where it should be.

If you are dealing with any of the issues I have mentioned, please email me.  heidi.hoffman@msvu.ca  I would be more than happy to help you find support or be a listening ear.  

As always, much love from me to you.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Retreat Jan 2014

Fireworks in the snow.
I have just returned from a youth retreat with two other leaders and five kids.  To say that I was a 'leader' would probably be stretching the truth, I mostly just acted as a warm bodied adult and the other leaders took care of the rest.  :)

The theme of the weekend was ideas around 'following' and what it means to seek out solace, the Sabbath, or 'retreating'.  Which is completely hilarious if you know me.

Retreating into a cottage, in the woods, two hours from the city, with a bunch of people (yes, people!) where I have to actually interact with them on daily basis (hourly, minute) is not something I would necessarily call a 'retreat'.  After being home for a few hours now, I have retreated inside, I retreated to my bed.  I have found solace among my familiar things.  I have found comfort in being home.  (Maybe I finally know what it means to go on a 'retreat' - it's physically what you do after to get away from the participants!).

Obligatory hair braiding by a Jr. High'er :)
Don't get me wrong - friendships have started and others have strengthened, there was interesting conversation and fun games played.  I did enjoy myself.  (I swear!)

But I did spend some time thinking about the word 'retreat' and the ideas that surround it.  What are we actually 'retreating' from?  Can we name it?  Is it something we do, does it have a face?  Does it have something to do with being uncomfortable, or are retreating from the comfortable to the uncomfortable?  What purpose would being uncomfortable serve in an intentional Christian community?

We can gain deeper friendships and stronger relationships.  Which takes effort, and patience, and time.  And being uncomfortable, especially for this secret introverted girl.

For now - I will catch up on sleep and eat some vegetables (I only had a few carrots!) and think more about what it takes to gain friendships and to be uncomfortable.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Classes & Candy

The beginning of a new semester!  New classes, new professors, more friends, more homework, more exams!!  I am excited for this semester because I am finally taking nutrition classes which I am in school for! At the end of last semester I was a little worried about whether this was actually what I wanted to go back to school for.  A second degree is tough.  I feel older (because I am) than most of the other students (although there is quite a bit of us with other degrees) and I feel more mature than other students.  But after finally taking nutrition courses I feel more confident in my decision to still be in school and to be a pursuing a better future for myself.

Winter 2014 Classes 

I am continuing the second half of Anatomy and Physiology (one class, they are combined at my school).  I'm also taking an Intro Foods class that is all about animals.  In the first class we watched a video of a man squeezing out fish eggs of a female fish, then squeezing out the sperm of the male fish and mixing it all together in a bowl! (With his bare hand)!  

I am also in a business class, micronutrients and sports nutrition.  Expect lots of future posts about sports nutrition!  

Stuff I've been enjoying


I wasn't planning on going to the gym yesterday (even though I ended up going - and I hurt my hamstring!) so I went for an hour walk before my last class of the day (which is pretty late, 6-7pm).  I walk for 30 minutes in one direction, and I turn around and head back.  I ended up in this really neat natural foods store!  I had no idea it existed!  I got some candy (pictured) that I'll definitely be back for. :)  

Honey Twins still has sugar in it, but it is made with gelatin and has no artificial flavors, colouring, or preservatives.  It also has some legit vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, E, B5, B6, B1, niacin and biotin.  I highly doubt conventional gummy bears are similar. ;)


I picked up a devotional for the beginning of the year, The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer.  Super cheesy title, but some really great stuff inside.  It is not Bible heavy, but mostly just inspirational thoughts, stories, or ideas to think about to help gain more confidence, or trust, in yourself.  I recommend it!

The following is a quote that I pulled from the devotional for today, January 9:



I am looking forward to writing more about my studies, training, and my life with the readers of this small and humble blog.  I have big plans for this (and for my life) and I want to use this place as a way to document it and to share the journey.  I hope you will bookmark the home page and add me to the list of blogs you regularly read!  




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Obligatory New Year Post

Do you know specifically what your resolution was for last year?  Did you write it down somewhere?  Or was it something vague - like lose weight, be more productive, eat healthy?

Well - I actually do have a Goals for 2013 list.  I actually have two of them which add up to 10 points I wanted to accomplish plus a mini list of revisions.

Ugh  - let's just say I overshot the whole resolutions thing last year.  I had goals for my GPA, for the number of push-ups I wanted to do, chin-ups, pull-ups and dips.  I wanted to accomplish specific yoga poses and to hit certain numbers on my front squat, deadlift, floor press, and overhead press. 

I hit my goal of a 125lb front squat and a 75lb overhead press (I actually think I can OHP more than that, I'm not sure of the specific number at them moment). 

Two goals accomplished out of 10?  Hmmm.... not bad?!

Perhaps I should have focused on three or four things and worked really hard to accomplish those. Or, maybe I should have made a better plan on how I was going to go about accomplishing all ten goals in 365 days. 

A better plan.  Losers set goals.  Winners set plans?  

My Plan for 2014

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure. 

I want to focus on my career and education, and really decide and think about where I want both to take me.

I want to 'eat better' which basically means stop eating shit that makes me feel like shit.  I want to follow a meal plan, create a better food budget, and learn new recipes.

I want to do and be so much more than what I am today, and that will be my resolution.  Maybe I'll even drop the 'more' and just, be.