My 29th Birthday Adventure!

A Birthday Sunset

Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives, or at least so said William Wallace.  Three different times, in the days leading up to my birthday, or on my birthday itself, I’ve almost died.  On the day I was born the doctors weren’t sure if I would make it.  I was premature and my lungs weren’t completely developed and so I spent the next 13 days in an incubator.

26 years later, on my 26th birthday I was walking home from the gym and got hit by a car.  I walked away without a scratch.

And then this year.  Three days before my birthday, on Valentine’s Day I hit a patch of ice and totaled my car.  Again, I walked away without a scratch.

Have I really lived?  My 29th birthday felt like a blessing and the best thing to do with a blessing is to give it away.  I invited all the people that have made my life special over for a Hobbit inspired party.  Hobbits celebrate their birthdays differently, instead of receiving gifts they give gifts on their birthdays.

Tacos Al Pastor

I decided to give the gift of fellowship and thanks on my birthday.  For my party I grilled up a delicious pork taco and a Cuban rice dish.  Tacos Al Pastor (the pork tacos) has become one of my favorite dishes, but the Cuban rice dish was a new addition.  Both were hits.  I really enjoyed spending the day in the kitchen so that I could prepare a meal for my friends and family.

The Dish

If really living means telling my friends that you’re thankful for the part they play in my life, then I want to do that more often.

Telling friends how much they mean to you is a true adventure.  It is so much easier to stay quiet.  What if you open your hear to them, and then they hurt you?  Risks always a part of an adventure.

It doesn’t matter if my friends liked the food I cooked (I think they did, because hardly any was left at the end of the night), what matters is that I got to share a part of me with them.

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I’m thankful that I have friends to spend my life with.  The dinner was a blast, but my celebration didn’t stop there.  I spent the rest of my birthday with friends in the mountains.  I spent some time with an amazing couple and then played board games with some friends from high school.

Larry and Linda!

Then my parents took me up to Vail to go snowshoeing.  I hadn’t hiked East Lake Creek in five years and I think the three of us really had an amazing time traipsing through the fresh powder.

East Lake Creek

East Lake Snow Shoe

Turning 29 was an adventure, but it’s not over yet.  I’m excited to see what God has in store for me as I close out my 20’s this year.  I hope I truly live this year.

Thank you to everyone who  made this Birthday a great one!!

Snow On The Mountain

A Month Without Sugar

A little more than 30 days ago, right after I had my first In-N-Out Burger, I decided to try to go the month of July without sugar.  It had nothing to do with the burger, or maybe it did.

I’d tasted fast food perfection and had an idea.

It was a simple idea, just a challenge, nothing more.  I’d just slurped down a Dr Pepper with my burger, and thought, “Why not see how long I could go without the drink I love?”

Have you ever tried to give something up?

I’ve given up facebook, it was difficult and I reconnected after 47 days (I don’t regret it).  I’ve given up bread, it has panned out fairly well.  But I’ve never been able to give up sugar.  I have a sweet tooth the size of an elephant tusk.  But I knew if I wanted to truly live a healthy life, sugar had to go.

Sugar isn’t a bad thing, but last year my dad, Eugene Scott, was diagnosed with type two diabetes and well, it’s genetic.  When he was first diagnosed I thought about giving up sugar with him, but I couldn’t do it.  The month’s rolled by and I justified my sugar intake by how much I work out.  But come this last June, I decided to make July a sugar free month.

July isn’t an easy month to go sugar free.

C’mon it starts out with 4th of July, the day it’s okay to say yes to all things sweet.  I had to say no to dessert on America’s Birthday.  I also knew I’d be saying know to kid’s birthdays and a wedding.

Once I made it past Independence Day the challenge was all a piece of cake.

Directly after the 4th, the kids I work with started bringing in tempting birthday cakes, doughnuts just for the heck of it, cupcakes, and brownies (I love brownies).  But, because I’d said no to dessert on Independence Day I knew I could make it.  That didn’t make saying no to wedding cake any easier, especially since the wedding was at the end of the month.  I’d nearly reached me goal, how bad would it be to cheat just a couple days before the end of the month.

Last week as I adventured down to Crooked Willow Farms, I faced more dilemmas than being lost.  Should I let myself eat cake!

Not only cake, but Skittle’s too.  It was as if all of my friends had come together to taunt me with sugar.  My friend Hannah, the bride, had set out small jars of Skittles in front of every seat.  I had to sit there all night while my other friends devoured their sweet treat.  I decided to take precautionary measures.  I stuck myself on the dance floor all night and stayed away from all the sweets.  I had a blast dancing and at the end of the night realized I just hadn’t had time for the cake.  And I had a blast anyway.

Quickly one week became two, and then three, and before I knew it I’d made it.  July was over.  I’d said no to oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate cake, and every sugar filled chocolate chunk browny that haunted my dreams.  Yes, my dreams were even filled with sugar. (Okay I might’ve had a dream or two where I gave into temptation and fed my sweet tooth, only to wake up with a sigh of relief.)

But now here it is August and I still haven’t had any sweets.  As the month passed, I started feeling better.  And so why stop a good thing? I don’t know when I’ll have my first Dr Pepper or piece of cake, but it might not be any time soon.  ‘Cause what we consume affects how we live.

I never thought I could go a month without sugar, but I just took it day by day and now I’m having a hard time thinking about going back to the dulce vida (sweet life).

Plus, I gave up sugar for a physical gain, but the whole challenged seemed to have spiritual implications too.  As I said no to sugar I started thinking about how I am living life spiritually.  Life without sugar has made me feel healthier, but maybe when living spiritually, I don’t need to subtract from my life, but add too it.

I’ve spent this year journaling about what I am thankful for, how I’ve felt blessed, and how I’ve felt God.  Like the sugar challenge, this has been a daily challenge.  Each day I have to set aside time to read my bible, which can be as difficult as saying no to a bear claw doughnut, but it’s worth it.  It’s become like spending time with my best friend each day.

Just as I have felt physically healthier without sugar I feel spiritually healthier and closer to God too, because I am actively looking for him in each aspect of my life.  I’ve had to rely on him to make things sweet when I can’t just down a handful of frosting, and therefor I feel spiritually healthier.

Maybe that’s why I can keep on living without sugar, I’d rather have God meet my needs than a bag of Skittles.

Can you live without sugar and feel the true blessing of adding God into your daily life?

That’s the true dulce vida.

Spanish Slip Ups!

Just the other day Isa, one of the 8th graders, exploded with laughter. It was my fault. I seem to be very good at making my students laugh. Not because I’m a great stand up comedian. No, that would probably mean my classes were entertaining.

Most of the time my students laugh at me for things I don’t understand. Like one time I was at a birthday party. A group of 8th grade boys, they’re in 9th now and much more mature now, were asking me questions in Spanish. They couldn’t control their laughter. Apparently I was saying yes to a bunch of ridiculously inappropriate questions. They still haven’t told me what they were talking about and now I know not to say yes to things I don’t understand. 

My Spanish has improved greatly from that night when I may or may not have said yes to liking certain really gross things like cats or butterflies (I am just guessing here). Yet, I still have slip ups.

I was in my Spanish class a couple of weeks ago and Letty, my teacher, asked me, “Do you have a girlfriend here in Guatemala?”

I chuckled and answered with a sad, “No.”

“Are you looking for one?” She responded quickly.

“I have friends who were helping me,” I said stifling a laugh.

“Who?”

“The secretary at my school said she would look for me.” Or at least that is what I meant to say, remember all of this is in Spanish, the only part I was sure of was when I’d responded with a sad no. What I actually said was, “Yasi is good looking for me.” Letty started to chortle and at first I didn’t really know why. Then I realized what I had said and a hard long laugh erupted from deep in my gut. After I regained my breath I explained to Letty that my secretary was just my friend and that I wasn’t interested in her because she’s married and has a child. Now every time I go to my Spanish classes, Letty gives me a hard time. At least Letty didn’t hear my next slip up.

So, why did Isa laugh? Well, it was lunch time and I was on duty down in the middle school building. I was making my rounds through the building. Checking on the students, just the usual. Isa was sitting by the microwaves with her friend Danitza. These girls love it when I make a mistake with my Spanish and so sometimes they try to bait me. But I was being careful. It didn’t matter. I set the trap for myself.

Isa had a Pizza Hut box and so I asked, “Are you having Pizza?” Earlier this question worked to get me a slice of Pizza from one of the 6th graders, but this time I received a “I’m too cool for this,” response, which I guess is the difference between a 6th grade boy and an 8th grade girl. But then I looked at the box and realized my error. She wasn’t eating Pizza, she was eating a Calzone!

I love those. So I said, “Nice Calzone. How is it?” Isa and Danitza looked at me and then their laughter started to build like a giant title wave.

“What did you say, mister?” Isa replied.

“Calzone,” I stated cautiously, what had I done wrong? They started to laugh harder and wouldn’t tell me what I had just done. All I could do was stand there confused, but then Isa tossed me the second half of her calzone. She must have been feeling sorry for me, but not sorry enough to let me in on what I’d just said.

Fortunately Yasi, my secretary who I am not interested in, was able to help me out. After stifling a laugh she explained to me the error of my ways. In Spanish Calzone pronounced Kal-zown means women’s underwear. I’d just asked my 8th grader if she was eating girl’s panties.