I do not drink coffee much. I figure, I do not have a full time job nor do I have any children of my own, it only seemed fair that I did not need to have a caffeine addiction. I have time in my life to get proper rest. Instead, the caffeine is on reserve for when I really need it.
As I am working on better balancing my thoughts and life in general I realized that there is something magical about having a warm drink in your hand...especially coffee. I have really struggled with taking time out of my morning to spend time journaling, praying, and just starting my morning by slowing down and centering my brain. It was then that I realized that if I gave in to a morning caffeine addiction, I might just better accomplish it.
If I can start myself daily focusing instead of letting my mind run a mile a minute, I think my entire life would greatly benefit. And really, it is not so much about the coffee but the ability to slow down. I do not let myself slow down all day until Brent gets home and then my focus turns to him or our television. And if I do slow down during the day I usually end up zoning out in front of the computer or with a bowl of ice cream in my lap.
I struggle with just being. I struggle with rest. I struggle with spending time with God. I struggle with allowing myself some of the simplest pleasures in life that lead to a slower and happier lifestyle. So if a cup of coffee can be the stepping stone to learning this important discipline, then please, I'll take a cup of decaf!
Before I carry on with any somewhat regular blogging I felt like I needed to pop in and share my sincere thankfulness. The last time I posted I shared some honest struggles I have been going through the past month and I was overwhelmed by your response. There were so many kind words and encouragement as well as understanding that had me teary eyed all day. I was reminded we are all broken women with our own story and that we need to take the time to be honest with each other. Sharing our story and real life changes things--it changes people. And I want to continue pursuing how to better share my life story as a whole--not just within the walls of my home but through the walls of my heart. So thank you.
I love a good story. A well told before and after tale. Who doesn't love a big reveal? Well, thanks to our sweet neighbors, we get to see a little bit of the story our home tells.
My husband bought our home in 2008--a year before we got married. The home had already been remodeled and was the only home in his price range, with a little land, that wasn't a fixer upper. We went into the whole process with big eyes thinking we wanted to fix something up. Looking back at these pictures I am so glad we let someone else do the dirty work. Sure we would do things differently and may even remodel ourselves one day but to look back at what it is was to the little changes we have made today tells quite a story.
See that above picture? Yes, the one with the blue car and massive bushes. That is our house. I couldn't even believe it.
I love the porch, but too bad for those beautiful big trees...
And what a transformation some stucco and paint can do...looking a little closer to how it looks today...
This is a peak into our laundry room which I believe I have shown one picture of in my years of blogging. It serves as a garage since we don't have one and is a bit of a mess.
Now if only they left that stainless steel refrigerator!!!
We did luck out on the stove and dishwasher though...
And the final work is done! This is how the house looked when Brent bought the place except the flower garden had a few years to grow since then. I am pretty amazed.
And here she is today, with a little more of our personality...
Last summer we put in the white picket fence and it has made such a difference to our curb appeal. It also has helped keep the neighborhood school kids off of our lawn and allowed our grass to finally grow in!
We have added a few trees and some of the plants are growing in well with another year under their belt. I have learned that just like inside the house it's all about the layers!
Our home has been such a dream come true. We feel so blessed at how lovely it was before Brent bought it and that it continues to grow in beauty and personality as we live in it year after year. Knowing the story behind it makes the whole experience even that much richer!
A few weeks ago I went through what I call one of my "depression spells." I hit a dark low place and by the grace and honesty of my husband's accountability in my life, we were able to work through it and pull me out of it in a few days.
It feels like I can't continue blogging until I share this with you because I wouldn't be the person I am today without it. It almost feels fake to continue blogging without you knowing the whole story. And it is really hard for me to explain it all but I fear I may never blog again if I don't share it. So because *I think* at this point I would like to continue to blog, I need to clear the air a bit.
I have always struggled with my self esteem. It seems to be that one thorn in my side that I have always dealt with and will continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life. I definitely have grown and learned to deal with it but sometimes when I am not paying attention it creeps back into my life.
When I say self esteem, more specifically I am talking about my body image. My weight. How I look in the mirror. It's really vain and ugly that I have this issue and I am quite embarrassed to admit it. I have considered talking about it before but I just don't seem to have the right words or encouragement. So I stay on the surface about it and post healthy or low calorie recipes instead.
I grew up as a "chubby" kid. I would never say I was fat but I definitely was never skinny. As I went into adulthood I grew into it a little. I would say I have been fairly healthy since high school. I have always been active and enjoyed playing sports or working out. My problem was more lack of self control when it came to food.
My last semester of college I was finishing school, student teaching, running the 5th and 6th grade ministry at my church, and dating Brent. It was the busiest and most stressful season of my life and so I stopped working out. I got more lenient in what I ate and often my time with Brent was late at night after the day's activities, usually surrounded by food.
I gained about twenty pounds and for the first time became truly overweight. It was a really short period of time, only about six months, but it had a big impact on my life. Once I graduated I was able to start working out again and take better care of myself leading me to a 45 pound weight loss. Not only did I lose the weight I gained but I also lost about 25 pounds more. I learned a lot that year about my addiction with food and started the beginning of this healing process. I finished my weight loss in May of 2009 and by July we were engaged and in October of that same year we were married. Over the last few years I have gained about 15 pounds since then.
For the most part my clothes still fit and I have been able to lose 5 pounds here and there and then put them back on. I have stayed pretty steady in my size but I can tell the difference that I have crept over a 10 pound weight gain.
I tell you all these gritty details not because they are important. I really don't have a lot to complain about. I am still in better shape than I have been for the majority of my life and I feel lucky that I was able to do something about my weight when I was at my worst. But the thing about weight loss is though I make look different on the outside I am still the insecure chubby girl on the inside. My self esteem issues never went away.
Those small details and 5 or 10 pounds I mention have become an obsession. At times it has taken over my life in a way that I am not proud of and it has been something that I struggle with that I let take away my joy. And it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I decided I didn't want it to rule my life anymore.
I am not sure of the point of this post. I have sat down to write it multiple times. And I cry each time. But I think it is going to be part of my healing. That it is time to step out and say, I don't have it all together. I blog about taking care of the home, loving my husband, and making time for relationships but there are some days where I could care less about any of these things. Because I allowed that number on the scale determine my worth and how I was going to go about spending my day. And that is a problem.
So I am making some changes in my life. The first change is that I am taking some time off from being online. For the most part, I am taking a break from updating Facebook and Twitter. I unsubscribed to blogs and women I followed on Instagram who shared about fitness and losing weight because it was feeding into my obsession. I realized that though I felt purpose in being connected online I also was constantly looking at other women and comparing myself to them. There is nothing wrong with what those women are doing but they no longer were an encouragement to me, but instead, competition.
I am still trying to lose weight but I no longer weigh myself everyday. Instead I have limited it to once a week. I am still watching what I eat but not in an obsessive way. I am making healthy meals but not being so rigid in counting calories. And it is amazing how in these few changes how much happier I am. I am no longer letting my body determine my happiness. I know I still have a long road ahead but being able to identify what was triggering my unhealthy thoughts has allowed me to break free of the bondage it had on my life.
The best part in all of this is that when I am not thinking about my weight all day (and spending very minimal time online) I am able to live out my life the way I want to. I am able to be the heart of my home again--something I feel like I have lost a little. And it brings me so much joy and purpose to embrace and be a homemaker. I lost sight of myself when I started focusing more on being a blogger that wrote about homemaking than actually being a homemaker. The problem was it didn't leave much time left in my day to actually take care of my home.
So with that being said, I do not know how this will all translate here on the blog. I want to continue blogging and have plenty of ideas and photos that have already been taken to share. But if it is a little quite around here for awhile, please know that I am still working through this healing process. I am so thankful for this community and it makes me really sad to not be as connected to it. This community has allowed me to better embrace the woman I want to be. But I feel like right now I need to step away and...just be that woman.
This is a little bit of a random post. A few things compiled into one. Remember that frozen yogurt made from bananas? Well I told you I would share if I came up with any good combinations. Banana and peaches is pretty spectacular. Find out how to make it using this strategy I shared.
I have also been preparing all my vegetables in advance. I cut them up after coming home from the store and they are ready to snack on or use for meals all week. I have also been adding a quarter of a cucumber, two cut up pieces of celery, and spinach into my shakes (like my protein shakes or my Crystal Light, yogurt and fruit shakes) now that we have a Vitamix. It is really helping me get more veggies into my diet and the Vitamix does such a great job at pulverizing everything into a wonderful smooth treat!
I am doing the same with chopped veggies that are used to cook with. My favorite combination right now is butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, and onion. I chop it up and roast half of it and freeze the rest for later. For roasting I toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. I then top with some cooked chicken for lunch or add chicken and quinoa for dinner. I like a little dash of cumin on it too. Sooo good.
So that is what I have been eating lately. Any good clean eating tips or tricks you want to share?