Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Claiming your emotions

If you want to make an emotion, thought or even a reoccurring dream go away you have to name it then you have to claim it.

I've talked about this before on Waked Up in Bad. In the beginning of time, literally or metaphorically, man was given the task to name God's creation. It has been in the naming of creation that we have defined it in relation to ourselves. There is a lot that can go wrong in being name creators but there is a lot that has changed the world for the better.

Taking my youth on their mission trips this summer was an excellent reminder of the importance of a name. When they served people in our community, it was rarely until they learned each other's names that true transformation was able to occur. Learning a name, calling that name, sharing your name, creates a relationship and it is hard to walk away from a relationship without being impacted in some way. Relationships create change. Change creates growth. Growth is an expression of God's abiding, life-giving love.

If you think about it, most people don't feel as compelled to help perfect strangers but they wouldn't stop to think if they were helping out Bill or Annie or Jordan, would they? When you learn someone's name they are no longer a stranger to you. And if they are not a stranger anymore then that means they cannot be anonymous.

The anonymity of the unnamed has become that creeping feeling that lingers in the dark places in my life. It is that ignored kid in the corner, that sense that something is off but you refused to look closer, that moment when you know you could choose to go deeper but you just don't want to. The unnamed people and places in my life have often been left as open wounds, severed relationships, unsaid truths, moments where healing and fullness could have sprung forth but they didn't because of me. 

When God named Adam He was claiming him as His own. When Adam named creation, he was claiming it as God's own. When we name, we are claiming something as God's and if it is God's then there is value, worth, and purpose to that creation.

One of the most important names we can create are the ones that claim our own emotions. Sometimes I can go weeks without naming what I feeling. The trouble is that I am reacting and choosing to live a certain way because of those feelings. My feelings create a string of conscious and unconscious reactions that affect everything I do and everyone I encounter. Leaving them unnamed, especially when they are painful, often results in hurting other people and myself.

I have been told that with dream therapy, the moment that you realize what a reoccurring dream means (you name the symbols and define them) you stop having that dream. The idea behind this practice is that your conscious mind has claimed what you needed to accept about your current self. Once that has been claimed then you are already working on it; meaning, you are already growing from it.

For a month now I have had this heavy, depressive sense that life is just so short. I have always thought this, but lately, it has been oppressive in its negative influence on me. Joel encouraged me to try and name that emotion which I chose to call "Sadness". Once I named it, he encouraged me to just claim it and let myself feel sad even though I could not consciously think of any reason I deserved to be sad. I was not giving myself permission to just feel what I feel.

Finally, I noodled on the idea of sadness. It was not until I visited my grandparents that I realized that I was sad because of my grandmother's sudden decline in health. These precious people whom I adore with all my being are getting old and they are going to die. I am going to miss them like crazy. This is natural and I can logically wrap my head around it all, but I was not allowing myself permission grieve it. 

Instead of days of feeling depressed and then feeling guilty about feeling depressed, I came home from that revelation and did something I don't ever do enough- I claimed my emotions. 

Joel asked how I was doing after my visit and all I said was "I think I need to cry." He offered me his chest and wrapped me in his arms and said what I knew all along "It is hard isn't it, baby?"

The sooner you name your emotions the quicker you claim them and begin steps towards healthy transformation. Now, when I feel that sense of gloom rising up, I just go ahead and cry. I just feel the sadness and then I move on. Today, I feel so much better because I am not stuffing the cork back into this carbonated bottle of emotions. Now, I can be present when it is time to become present instead of wallowing in my own circle of unclaimed sad thoughts. 

If there is a space in your life that is remaining unnamed and unclaimed, it might be time to wrap your whole heart around it and give yourself permission to feel exactly what you feel. This is where a relationship with healing begins and wholeness blossoms. 

Feel away...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

You are blessed...

You all already know how I feel about Eugene Peterson (a prophet for our time) so I don't need to explain what The Message is all about. Today, I just want to share with you the beautiful poetry of God's word through Peterson's language lens. 

This is the sermon Jesus preached which we call the Beatitudes and I let it ride into Salt and Light. This series is all from a period of teaching called "The Sermon on the Mount".  

Matthew 5:1-16

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Go out and be the God colors of this world. Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Layers and layers of truth
The uncanny collection of circumstances that create the same message, reverberating through your being, is what I would like to call the Holy Spirit communication with you. It doesn't matter what you want to call it because it is all God's as far as I am concerned. This accumulation of coincidences is worth celebrating, in my book, and I would go further to say that they occur in no way by chance.

Even when I am the most unpresent I can remember being, I am still bombarded by realizations that the same messages have been finding their way into my life. They pile up through conversations with interns, aside discussions in meetings, friendly reflections with Joel, eight ball opening of scripture, flippant flipping of pages in my trusted books that seem to be conspiring all together to encourage and refine the state of my soul. 

God, the creator of all things, will use all things to speak to you. Will you listen? Will you see the signs? Will you allow Him to use it all or just the things you expect? Will you follow the path laid out? Or do you fear and stumble back into your ipad, complacent and exhausted?

I speak to me today, just as I hope to speak to you, it's time to be present. The time is now, the kingdom is here.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Summer 2004:

Kimberly and me ready for adventure! EuroTrip 2005!

Palace in Brussels, Belgium
Dad- "Why don't you ask me if you are allowed to backpack around Europe and I will tell you whether you can go?"
Claire (18)- "I am not going to ask you because you are going to say no and I am going to do it anyways."
Dad-"You haven't even asked me so you don't know what I am going to say."
Claire- "Can I travel around Europe next summer?"
Dad- "No!"
This is how the first conversations about a bubbling dream began. Dad was in a huff and I wasn't going to be told no. I spent the next two months looking for someone who would join me on this adventure because I knew I wasn't ready to do it alone but I was ready to do it. 

After many "maybes" and several "no's" I had dinner with my friend Kimberly. She and I had remained friends since the first day of 6th grade even though our friend groups were very different.
Amalfi coast line in Italy
Complaining about how none of my friends were going to go with me, Kim finally said, "Are you going to ask me to come or what?" I was taken aback. She was my best friend for ages and I had not thought to ask her. She and I had not ever talked about travel in all of our conversations and she had a boyfriend I figured she wouldn't want to leave for 5 weeks in a row. 

"Do you want to go with me to Europe?"

The Louvre in Paris, France
From that point on we planned everything out. From August to May 2004-2005 we spent our Freshman years getting together every Tuesday to plan our trip. We would meet at our favorite Mexican Restaurant (Maria's) and would devour "special nachos" while we compared research we had done for the past week.In the meantime, we would babysit, work any jobs, and save every penny in order that we could afford this wonderful opportunity. (Dad has assured me that I could use none of the money I had saved for college and I could not put it on my credit card to pay off later. This would all have to be worked for and paid in full. Deal.)

Pompeii, Italy

Pointe Vecchio in Florence, Italy at sunset
I will never forget the feeling of purchasing those plane tickets. We both were all nerves, checking and rechecking that we typed our names  correctly and that all was in order. Then we bought our Eurail passes, then our backpacks and finally we were ready to go.
Our huge Italian glasses on Florence (before big glasses were cool)

This trip was more than just a chance to travel around Europe (which was the whole world to me at the time). This was a grand attempt at stretching our small town wings. We were kicking the dust off our boots and flying to a world we knew nothing about. It was something we were doing on our own, without our parents help. This was my first taste of true freedom and I was ravenous for it. 

The journey we decided on after ample research went like this:

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Fly into Brussels, Belgium. Train to Paris. Train to Munich and then to Fussen, Germany (to see castles!). Train to Berlin.


Train overnight to Switzerland. Train to Venice. Train to Florence. Train to Naples. Bus to Pompeii and Amalfi. Train overnight to Sicily to stay in Marsala. Train to Rome. Train to Pisa. Train back to Switzerland for a week in Lugano of hiking. Train to Belgium and fly home from Brussels. 
Lugano, Switzerland lower Alpine hike

Pompeii, Italy
We saw 5 countries in 5 weeks. We knew we had to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. At that time (before recession, etc). Kim and I spent around $500 on our round-trip plane tickets. Then we spent around $400 on our 21 travel day youth flexi-passes from Eurrail which let us ride all trains in countries that we picked. We decided that we would only spend $15 to $20 a day on food and sight seeing opportunities and would try to only spend between $15-30 a night on hostels. We had very little money and it had to stretch for the whole trip. We had to utilized our friendships. We had 3 friends who went to our high school as exchange students. We had a dear friend from high school studying abroad in Berlin. My college roommate's aunt and uncle lived and taught abroad. My boyfriend at the time was back home in Switzerland after a year in the USA. With all of those relationships we managed to have quite a few home stays.
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
We didn't know anything about this at the time, but home stays are really important for a seasoned traveler. When you stay with locals you get a view of the city you wouldn't have experienced otherwise. You get what Rick Steeves likes to call "back door" adventures which is a chance to see something that tourists wouldn't see written in their travel guides. You get to hear and try to use the language of the city you are visiting. Home cooked meals, safety advice, good bars, clubs, views and stories are all shared when you sleep on the couch of a friend from another place. We learned so much about culture by staying with friends on this journey.
Kim with Mona Lisa, Louvre in Paris
Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy

Kim and I tried to prepared as much as we humanly could using books and Internet to guide us into this journey. We were going to be safe. We would not be the two American girls who disappeared and were never heard from again. We were going to show ourselves (and our parents) that we were capable of something awesome. 

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Potsdam, Germany miles of Palaces
Our first attempts at figuring out public transit were comical. After arriving in Belgium, Anais (our exchange student friend from Belgium) sent us on our train to Paris. We panicked when we stopped in Antwerp because we didn't recognize it. I was sure we just ended up in Germany and had somehow gotten on the wrong train. I can only imagine what that poor conductor thought of me chasing him down and begging to know (in English) if we were still in Belgium. 

Then arriving in Paris, we did not know how to get from our hostel from the train station so we hopped a cab. It seemed like every single car in Paris ended up at our first intersection. Then all the lights turned and every car plowed to the middle of the 4-way (our cab included). We were screaming and holding on for dear life as our driver just laughed. Then we paid a fortune ($49 Euros!) for that ride which killed two days of our budgeted money. Next came the map! I've already sited this farce in Eiffel Tower. Finally, our friend Stephen taught us to use the subway and soon this traveling business started to make sense.

Visiting my Italian sister in Marsala, Sicily
We learned to exchange our money. We had to try and speak the languages of the cities we visited. We had to trust strangers, make friends, and allow for spontaneous stray from the plan. We negotiated with banks on the phone in America when our Credit cards would get blocked, then we would negotiate in Italy to try and take out cash. We had to speak up for ourselves at passport control, and ask for directions on trains. It was the most empowering experience of my young adulthood.

Gelato...anywhere in Italy.
My mom told me she was praying for me everyday. I was praying for us everyday. Kim and I rarely prayed together but on this trip there were plenty of moments where we would praise God or beg for help. Being away from the safety of our childhood bubbles made God so apparent to us. We joked that mom's prayer angels were protecting us the entirety of our trip. The laughing old ladies that appeared chasing a lamb at 1 a.m. in Fussen Germany, the youth hostel worker who spoke English, Lado who showed us around and drove us himself, the nameless man who walked us through an unexpected train-change, the old French couple who walked us to our hostel in a bad part of Naples at 11p.m, Dominique the captain of the ferry that protected us from his crew. All of these people have become angels for us. God was so close on this journey, breathing right next to us in our train cars, right into us through helping hands, living in our backpacks of supplies and food, guiding us down streets we would have probably missed on our own.

San Marco Square in Venice, Italy
My Dad was fearful of my journey abroad and he was right to be concerned about my safety. However, even he could see, upon my return, the wealth of knowledge that this trip had given me. 

Traveling on a Ferry to Amalfi, with Capri behind us.
I overheard him months later telling a friend how proud he was of me for planning that trip. 

He recalled that he didn't want me to do it because he thought that I would blow through my college money, get lost, only see my boyfriend, etc. He was so pleased to know how much Kim and I experienced and saw. He was proud that I raised all the money and paid for it myself. He was marveled by my responsibility and independence. I like to think that he believed I conquered something important. In my book, I had.

Pompeii, Italy
Dancing in Marsala, Sicily "Dance around the world of Kim!"
For my birthday that year, Dad bought me a world map. He gave me little red stickers that I could use to mark the places I had visited on my adventures. I have this map in my home still today. Slowly, or rather quickly for some people's standards, the red dots are creeping across the planet. Traveling has helped define me, empower me, it has helped shape my identity, it has given me a world view and taught me to be openly tapped into God's movements.

My parents allowed me a great gift that year. They let me grow up and grow out of my bubble. For that, I will always be grateful.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eiffel Tower

Claire and Kim 2005 EuroTrip

The train creaked to a halt in Paris, our second city on the tour we had planned every Tuesday for an entire year. We spent most of the morning negotiating our first European city alone while realizing we actually are not city girls and did not know what we were doing. 

2008-2009 New Years

Finally, after a very expensive, life threatening taxi ride to our hostel, we were given a map. Our goal was to walk to Notre Dame and meet up with our friend Stephen who we had not seen for a year during his study abroad. In our naive, 19 yr old minds, we were sure that our meeting place in front of Notre Dame was sufficient.

2011 Winter

It was 2005 so try to remember... We did not have cell phones (that worked abroad), we had to pay for Internet at net cafes if you could find them and if you had money (rarely we had both), and we were teenagers. Kimberly (18) and I (19) had just finished our freshman year of college, ready for adventure.

Meeting up with Matt and James 2011

Looking back on this trip, usually over a glass of wine, we end up shaking our heads and joking for hours. We were so well intended and thrilled for this very adult 5 week backpacking trip. We planned everything we could plan and the rest was given to us by grace sending us home as women of the world.

2008-2009 NewYears, Eiffel top

Back to my story...
After 3 hours of my reading the map, Kim pointed out with annoyance that I had it up-side-down (that doesn't even seem real, does it?!). Then she took over. We were 5 hours late in meeting with Stephen. There was no other way to contact him so we just headed to Notre Dame and stuck to the plan hoping he would do the same thing. 

My sister and Stephen 2008
When we arrived there were thousands of people everywhere and our hearts sank. What were we thinking? This is a major tourist site!  Then the miraculous happened, out of the crowd came Stephen bounding and yelling our names. We all slammed into one another with relief and excitement, twirled each other around and twittered heartily. From that moment it was on!
Kimberly and me 2005

Paris. Ah, Paris. It will always have my heart. 

Kimberly, Stephen, his friend Maria and I wandered the city like we owned the place. We visited the Louvre, we climbed all over statues in fancy gardens, we drank cheap wine out of our backpacks and let ourselves be known as obnoxious Americans everywhere we went. 

My Ganny-boo 2009 Family Trip

To our delight, the French are not at all what they have been portrayed in the States, they were welcoming and lovely. In all my travels to France I have felt warmth and hospitality from all the folks I have met.

Me, Stephen, Kim, Maria 2005

The sun began sinking behind the trees as we tromped along the Champs Elysees, merry and elated by the day we'd had. Suddenly, in the distance we saw a large pointed mass light up and sparkle. We all stopped in our tracks. Kim and I began shrieking, "IT IS SPARKLING! WHAT IS THAT???" 

Stephen smiled and said "It's the Eiffel Tower." 

Winter 2011

 From that moment on we were running to the Tour de Eiffel. When we arrived breathless and exhilarated, we were told it sparkled every hour on the hour. 


That night, we watched it sparkle 5 times. 
Winter 2009

Since that adventure, my Eiffel Tower experiences have been some of the favorites of my life. As I travel, I try not to repeat cities that I have seen. In spite of this unwritten guideline, life has given me the opportunity to visit Paris 4 times. Each time offered the same amount of magic as the first. At this point I must confess that I will always say "yes' to Paris.

2011 "Blinkle"

But what I am really saying "yes" to the Eiffel Tower. I am saying "yes" to "on the hour, every hour." I am saying "yes" to a tower that "blinkles".  I am saying "yes" to a glittering spell that washes you over with the romantic luster of this famous city. This feeling of being swept away by unadulterated joy is what I recall when I think of Paris.

2005 "blinkle"

I have looked up the skirt of that shinning tower with my best friends from high school in the summer. I've cheers with my family and best friends from college on New Years. 

Matt, Me, James "How much of it is in the fog?"

I've made it the meeting place with friends from childhood and friends from adulthood as we ran into each others arms, hugging and singing with sheer, tangible pleasure. Each time, a bottle of champagne has been promptly pulled from a bag or from up a sleeve and with a "PROOOST" the night began!

Ellie, New Years 2008-2009

Paris will always be a magical place to me. The walks down Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur, Arch de Triumph, Paris Opera House, and Tour de Eiffel are all part of a seasoned recipe that creates this heart-soaring potion. 

Me and Joel on top 2011

However, the main ingredient has been and will always be the people who meet you there. 

James, Matt, Me 2011

I realize now that my Eiffel Tower experiences have been epic because of the friends who clinked bottles with me. It is the people that make that giant, towering hunk of blinkling metal come to life.

Thank you my wanderlusting, soul mates for embracing life with such celebration and receiving me with such unhindered joy. 

Shagging with Matt at sunrise

What's your Eiffel Tower?

Saturday, July 20, 2013


There is a lot of information online and out in the world of mass media about acne and acne treatments. I'd like to take a moment to say that most of them make NO sense if you really stop and think about them.

I had acne, cystic acne, for most of my life. It started when I was 10 and pretty much took over my face for the next 13 years. I am not talking about a little pimple here or there like my friends would whine about (I used to think I'd kill to just have a white head on my nose every couple of weeks). I am talking about large, swollen, painful lumps all over my face. The kind that make your jaw go from heart shaped to volleyball as soon as they appear.

This was a really good day in Claire's acne history and I have on a lot of makeup...
 In 6th grade, my acne got so bad that my parents started to dutifully take me to the dermatologist. My Dad was usually be the parent who took me because he felt so guilty that his genes were passed on (he was an acne sufferer too). From those doctors offices (I have seen 4 dermatologists over the years) I heard the same misinformation's (dare I say-lies?): "Acne has NOTHING to do with what you eat and drink, it is all topical." And guess what?! They all had some solution to sell me which was usually quite expensive. We spent thousands of dollars on potions for my skin. I was put on Differin in 6th grade. I took the dreaded (now recalled) Acutane shots which results in my having to get my liver tested every month to be sure it was not destroying it (great idea science!). Acutane turned my skin into a peely oily mess before it just stopped doing anything at all. Then I was put on Proactive which I used for years. Looking back, that made no sense because it did not ever make any difference for my skin but it did cost $50 a box. I've had two laser treatments and one resulted in my face breaking out into a horrible mess of white heads in every pore (can you imagine?). Are you grossed out yet? I am. I was put on birth control at 16 to control "my hormones" with the hope that it would solve my acne problems. Then I took antibiotics for 2 straight years (how is that OK?). Between all of those terrible misadventures I spent a fortune on soaps, creams and don't forget...makeup. I piled on the makeup like it was my job. I learned how to paint by putting on my foundation every day. Pace face. 

Thank you, Daddio.
Remembering this part of my life is no big deal now. It used to make me cry and remind me of all the times I wished, prayed, begged that my face would be clear like all my friends and my sister. Having acne did do me some good, I suppose. I learned to smile a lot. I learned to be myself and let my personality shine brighter than my skin. I learned to not judge myself by my appearance and over and over I learned that other people weren't judging me by it either. Well, the ones I cared about weren't.

 My acne was bad but fortunately, I had the realization that I was much more aware of it than anyone else. That helped me to see that it did not make or break me. It just was. That's all. I could still be Claire, as mom would always remind me, the clear, bright light (even if my face didn't reflect that clarity).

It wasn't until my adulthood that I realized 4 men in my life were speaking truth to me about this issue for years. 
Lookin good but where is the water?
In middle school my Dad would casually point to my sister's basketball team as they played and say "All of those girls are athletes so they drink a lot of water and they have clear skin. Why don't you play basketball?" All I heard was Dad trying to get me to play a sport and the answer to that was "no". 

Years later in college, I was visiting my best guy friend at his university and stood in his bathroom putting on my nightly regime of tonics, slims, and goos. Over my shoulder he shook his head and muttered, "Girls, put a lot of shit on their faces." I whipped around, all offended, and reminded him that my skin was in bad shape and this is the only thing I could do to keep it a little bit clear. He walked away still muttering, "my skin is clear and I don't do anything to it."

Thank you, Joel.
At 22 working in my first real job, I was visiting my grandparents and my Pawpaw looked at me and asked me how many times a day I wash my face. I answered "two." He patted his cheeks and said, "I've never washed my face a day in my life and I've never had a pimple. If you leave it alone it will take care of itself." I just rolled my eyes. What did he know? He's only lived 86 years.

Finally, during the first two years that I dated Joel my skin was a wreck and I just covered it up with makeup like I always had. One day I commented on his beautiful complexion and he challenged me, "Why don't you stop washing your face and stop wearing makeup and see what happens. I bet your skin will clear up. Mine only breaks out after I wash it." 

For this guy, I'd do anything. 

When we completed the Daniel Fast, I also decided for that month I would not touch my face with any products at all. I accepted his challenge. We ate nothing but pure foods (no processed foods and only drank water and green tea). It only took a week before my skin started clearing up. By the end of the month my face was totally clear. It had never, ever looked like this! I was thrilled. After that I was a believer. What you put in your body directly correlates with your acne problems and leaving your face alone DOES make it better. 

I know some of you out there have gotten great results from topical solutions and that is possibly because you do not have cystic acne, but I still think this is worth reading.
Thank you, Jeremy.

After doing some research, I stumbled across this video on Youtube and it changed my life forever.

All those years, my Dad was onto something. My friend was onto something. My grandpa was onto something and so was my husband. Those dermatologists and advertisements were telling me the same mistruths which results in my now clear skin baring scars where picked and tormented cysts once lived. 

God has given us everything we need. The video says it all. Your liver is the number one organ for cleaning out your body and blood. It removes toxins from your body. When you eat processed foods, high fat foods, too much sugar, alcohol, anything hard for the liver to clean (you can google foods that are tough on the liver and you can guess what they are: meats, processed everything, white breads, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, anything from the ABC, etc) then your face will probably break out. The more you eat like that the harder it is on your liver and the worse your skin will look. If your liver cannot get ride of all those toxins then your second most important organ for releasing toxins takes over- your skin. Your skin is the largest organ on your body. Your blood flows all through your veins and releases the toxins that weren't captured by the liver into your skin and they are sweated and pushed out of your pores through your natural oils. These toxins build up and if they are already coming out in large quantities then they will clog and back up your pores. Therefore, you get ACNE! woohoo!

Thank you, Pawpaw.
Once you claim this as truth, acne is really simple to solve and it can happen almost right away. I looked up all the foods that are hard on your liver. Then I looked up foods that promote good liver function. It was almost silly to look this up because it simply means you need to eat a well balanced diet. Eat vegetables, lots of greens. Parsley cleans out your blood. Mint helps speed up liver function. Cilantro has powerful natural cleaners in it too. Antioxidant baring foods are essential like fish oil, almonds, blue berries, green tea, dandelion root tea, beets, etc. I stopped wearing foundation. I stopped putting on lotion. I stopped washing my face. I started eating pure foods as often as possible. I stopped having an alcoholic drink every time I had the opportunity and when I did have one, I'd immediately follow it with a glass or two of water. I carried a 32oz nalgene with me everywhere and drank at least half my weight in ounces of water everyday. I drank a pot of green tea a day. My skin became clear and it has stayed clear.

Over the years I have gotten less regimented with this diet and drinking to cleanse routine. I have found an organic lotion from Lush that works for my skin just right (My sister works there and gives me a discount). I use it two or three times a week. I don't wash my face often and I don't pick at it because there is very little to pick. All of that helps.

Pounding those blueberries!
If my skin breaks out, I can always predict when it will happen. It consistantly breaks out when I have had fast food more than once in a weekend, if I have been drinking and did not follow those drinks with water,if I have eaten excessive sugar, and if I exfoliate or wash it more than three times a week. Anytime I binge on any processes, sugary or alcoholic substances, I will have a break out in about two days. This is time tested and proven in my book.

It was so empowering to know that I hold the key to my own beauty and health. It is so humbling to realize that God has been telling me this for years and years and still I gave that control over to fools. The truth is, if we really invest in being intentional with our bodies and our health then we will look better. You ARE what you eat. You will feel the difference just as much as you will see it. 

Happy clarity of mind, spirit and skin!