Friday, February 25, 2011

The weekend's cut out

This morning my husband came in to kiss me goodbye (and awake) later than usual. I asked if he was running late. He was. But not because he slept in like I had thought. He had to plow us out. NO! Plow us out? I looked outside to behold a winter wonderland.

My back yard truly is amazing and beautiful. But I am done with snow. Snow is such a wonderful thing. . . in December. Cormac was having fun until he fell on his bum (perhaps because he was wearing about 4 layers of clothing and couldn't walk well in that deep snow?) Then he wasn't so sure about all of it.

So this weekend is going to be wet. Check. But this weekend is also going to be busy. Yesterday I spent the entire day texturing our kitchen. Today I begin painting. Soon, very soon, the kitchen will be done (well, other than the floor, but if it were really all the way done I don't know what we'd do).

My boys have been hard at work. Now it's my turn I suppose. We take safety very serious around here, but that's no reason to not look super awesome. Thus the safety glasses that are also super cool shades.

So we have the kitchen. And because of the kitchen project the house is trashed. Not just a little messy, but trashed. I need to wipe down the walls and vacuum off the furniture because of all the dust we've created in here. That kind of nasty. So I also have that to do. (Wow, two paragraphs in a row without a side note in parenthesis, sort of.)

Then, because we really aren't very busy, we are doing a huge project in my husband's shop. We are transforming the entire building. But this one is a surprise for you (and others), so I won't  tell you anymore just yet.

With all the things I'm working on this weekend my brain is overwhelmed. So rather than write you a really provocative or inspiring post I'm going to leave you to get to work. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Stay safe on the roads if it's snowing where you are too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Showing myself some love

I've been focusing a lot on eating disorders this week. Having experienced one first hand I feel like it is important for me to try to help others. So when I heard about NEDAwareness week I had to jump in.

But, there is something else exciting going on right now. The month of February is self-love month and in case you are a little behind (like me) the month ends next week. There are hundreds of resources out there with ideas on how to show yourself some love. With such a wealth of ideas I have decided to spend the next few days focusing on what is working for me personally. This blog is all about getting personal anyway.

As my regular readers already know, I struggle with my self-esteem and body image. It has been an ongoing battle for me for 27 years. So when I decided to put an end to it I did what I always do when I'm trying to learn how to do something new; I started reading. A lot. Everything I could get my hands on. I'm still reading. Yesterday I checked out 3 more books from the library. 

The idea that has been present in nearly every source I've used has been to be kind to yourself. So I have been trying to implement this in my life. I started with stopping the bad talk about myself in my head. This has been very difficult. It takes conscious effort. I have had to distance myself from images, radio, and sometimes people that make me feel bad about myself. Anytime I feel despair about my size or appearance I try to replace the thought with how great I am. When that doesn't work I will start doing something (like reading) that I truly enjoy to take my mind to a happier place until I'm ready to stop the negativity. 

Next I moved on to judgements about how I eat. I almost always have feelings of guilt when I eat. When I eat a super healthy meal I usually feel proud. I decided that both of these feelings are unhealthy. The proud feelings were reinforcing the guilt and so on. This battle is on going, but essentially I repeatedly tell myself that it's okay to eat whatever I want. No guilt. Then I observe how I feel. I observe without judgement. I have noticed that after I eat bread or sugar I get light headed. I'd never put the two together before. With these observations I generally make the choice to eat healthier, but if I feel like a slice of pie or a piece of candy I can have one without feeling like a failure. It's working, but it's not automatic yet.

I have been doing more yoga and focusing on how amazing my body truly is. I am strong. I love how strong my body is. I don't give my body enough credit for how amazing it is. I've been trying to consciously focus on those things that are great about me.

Lastly I have stopped being so hard on myself. If all I get done in a day is to keep my son and myself fed and safe that is enough for that day. If I get more done that's great too. I have stopped feeling like I have to do everything all the time. So what if my husband comes home from work somedays and I still don't have a bra on? Some days are just like that. No judgement. I'm trying to live my life by this quote:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
~Lao Tzu

Amen to that. Everything important will get done. There is no reason to stress about it. My family and I are much better served when I am calm and working on things in a more orderly fashion.

So the big question: Is it working? Well, a couple of days ago my husband told me I was, "looking really good." He has noticed that something has changed. But I know for a fact that my weight and measurements have not moved. So what is different? I'm starting to like myself and to have more confidence than ever before. Things are beginning to change and it's noticeable. To me and to others. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just One Thing

The theme for this year's Eating Disorder's Awareness week is, "It's time to talk about it." If you've been reading for a while you probably remember me telling about my own experience with an eating disorder. If not, you can read up on it here. So I guess I feel as though I've already started this conversation. The NEDA wants everyone to "just do one thing" this year. The idea is that if we can all do just one thing to bring awareness about eating disorders amazing strides could be gained.

So I've been wondering what my one thing would be. I wanted to write this post to the people out there who maybe don't fit into a particular category. Meaning they are not specifically anorexic, bulimic, or a compulsive over eater.

During my years of food abuse I had no idea that I had a problem. You can see from the comments some of my high school friends left after that post confessing my disorder that not even those close to me knew about it. My parents had no idea until I was trying to fix it. I suppose I knew somewhat that what I was doing was not good because I hid it from the people around me. I would sneak diet pills and sometimes laxatives. But I "knew" I was okay because what I was doing did not fit into a specific category. I was neither anorexic or bulimic. Therefore I was okay.

When my husband found out about the diet pills and what I had been doing he encouraged me to seek help. I was in college at the time and there were several support groups at the university. But I refused to go.

Why? Because I didn't fit a specific category. More importantly, in my mind, I wasn't thin enough to go. I was at a fairly healthy weight at the time. A weight that I thought was way too big. I knew if I showed my face in a group like that people would look at the size of me and dismiss me. I didn't think they would take me seriously. If I were only thinner. . .

I recounted this fact to a friend once who told me, "That should have been a sign to you that you really did have a problem and needed help." True. But it didn't. So my road to recovery has been incredibly slow. I think I would be light years ahead of where I am today if I had found help. I wish I would have. Recovery is still on going for me.

So where am I going with this? Good question. I guess what I really want to say is that if you have an unhealthy relationship with food; a relationship where you obsess about your weight and meals; you have a problem. You should seek help. Maybe you don't fit into a specific category. That's okay. What you are doing is still unhealthy and can cause incredible damage now and in the future. Please talk to someone.

You don't have to live a life in slavery to what does or does not go in your mouth.

You have the power to change all of that.

And you are so incredibly worth it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

The weekend went by way, way too fast. We are under construction here. We started re-doing our kitchen nearly a year ago. The last few weekends we have been finishing things up. By we I mean mostly my dear husband. He's been hanging sheetrock and doing the taping and mudding. Soon it will be my turn to take over with the texturing and painting. But with all the work the weekend seems to fly. Anyway, to ease us into another week I thought I'd link you to a few inspirational reads.

Did you know that this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week? I'll be talking a little more about this as the week goes on, but please check out NEDA's website for ideas on how to get involved to spread the message of recovery.

~ Check out what Ashley has to say about The Great Calorie Debate. I love this.
~ Some reassurance that Self Love is not Selfish.
~ And while you are deciding to show yourself and others love you can read these 15 Ways to do just that.
~ If you need some inspiration for dinner you should look at Sprouted Kitchen. Yum!
~ This article was very thought provoking on What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted.
~ Lastly, yesterday I wrote a rant about Pepsi's new slim can. Now I know that some people feel I was over reacting, and maybe there's some truth to that. However, I would like you to all read this post by Health For the Whole Self. I really want to say something nerdy like, "my sentiments exactly" because she eloquently puts into words my feelings as well.

Alright, I hope you enjoy these good reads as much as I did. What's that you say? It's Tuesday, not Monday? Wow, I guess I really am further behind than I thought.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pepsi: Destroying Body Image One Can at a Time

I was in the car with my son the other day driving home from the library. As is typical there was only over played songs I had no interest in on the radio, so I flipped to the news (my husband has been trying to get me to listen to talk radio for years, and he is succeeding much to his great pleasure). The news anchor was going along with her report when she announced that Pepsi was changing the look of their diet can. The new can is tall and skinny to celebrate beautiful, confident women.

Whoa! Wait a second. So the can has to be tall and skinny? This has been haunting me ever since I heard about it. Want to see what it looks like? Here you go:

Here are a couple quotes directly from the press release:

"In celebration of beautiful, confident women, Diet Pepsi presents the taller, sassier new Skinny Can"

"Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks, and we're excited to throw its coming-out party during the biggest celebration of innovative design in the world."

Personally, I am offended by this. Thank you Pepsi for perpetuating a serious problem in our culture. Thank you for reinforcing that the only way to be beautiful, successful, and confident is to be skinny. That's just what we need.

If you are wondering if I'm upset the answer is Absolutely. I do have a bit of a temper, and stuff like this gets me fired up. I feel despair right now. Will we ever be able to embrace beauty for the many forms it takes?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Declarations and being Politically Correct

As I have embarked on this journey to learn to love myself I have come across a whole slue of people who are searching for the same thing. Many of them are much more settled in their feelings of self-worth than I currently am. I find so much inspiration from these great people.

Right now, today, where I sit I am happy and content with myself. Oh sure, I could come up with a list of things I'd like to change, but whenever that list comes to mind I am careful to push it aside and acknowledge all that I am. No, I am not a size 4 again. But I am strong. I exercise regularly and am healthy. And that is really what I wanted in the first place.

I generally take comfort in sharing my story. While it is difficult at times to bare your soul to the great unknown, it can also be very healing.

I recently read Jenarcissist Bares All: A History of Insecurity. In this post Jen tells her life story. It's beautiful, and heartbreaking, and incredibly easy to relate to in many ways. I believe that insecurity is a huge part of growing up. But as we all know, that insecurity can often lead to greater calamities. At the end of her tale Jen says this:

So these are some things I think about myself now in general. I will not apologize for them; they do not make me full of myself. I am redefining for myself what it means to like me and be okay with that.
1) I am a beautiful girl inside and out. I've decided to just believe it when people say it, though it's not their opinion that gives me the validation.
2) I am not fat. Oh, the "other" F-word. And such a loaded word it is. We each have our own definition of what the word means for our individual body, and I try to see myself more realistically now. It's not about how I look; it's about being healthy.

The list continues on, but I wanted to focus on these two. When I read this the first time I felt my cheeks flushing. I was so embarrassed for her. How can you just come out and say these sorts of things? It's not socially acceptable at all. I mean, if we aren't using fat talk than we should just keep our mouths shut about our appearance, right?

But I spent some time thinking about this. To this day I think the only time I have ever used the word "Beautiful" to describe myself was when it was dripping with sarcasm in order to put myself down. And right now I think that is a shame. Why do I feel like I can't think and definitely never say that I am, in fact, beautiful? What am I afraid of? Am I afraid that the "beauty police" are going to swoop down and inform me otherwise? Maybe lock me away for the MAD idea that I could possibly be "beautiful" with out being a certain size, a certain tan-ness, or having a certain hair length?

So I have a new goal. I want to learn from Jenarcissist's example. I want to be able to declare that I am beautiful inside and out. I want to be able to declare that I am not fat. And I want to be able to tell the world these things and actually believe them.

Um. . . but maybe I'll let it marinate just a little longer. Maybe I'll declare myself Monday. Just like Indigo says in the Princess Bride, "wait until you are ready." I think I'll do just that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On shaved legs and bed sheets

I love the Self-Discovery Word by Word series that Ashley from Nourishing the Soul is doing. So I thought I'd jump on board. Why not? But then I heard what this month's word was, and I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. The word is Pleasure.

My knee-jerk reaction when I hear the word pleasure is that it is something bad. Something to be avoided. Pleasure. It just sounds so . . . dirty. It makes me think of over-indulgence and prostitution. Things I'm anti. It's a funny thing, but the word Pleasure has really gotten a bad wrap. When I asked my husband his thoughts he confessed that his first thoughts were along the same lines as mine.

But I've been thinking about this for a good week now and have done some reading. The day that I found out about this series and the word for February my Yoga Journal arrived (thanks to the fundraising efforts of my dear nephew, Braeden). Guess what was on the cover? A headline that read "Pleasure as a path to your Self." I immediately flipped to page 53. While there were many wonderful things Sally Kempton said in the article this part stood out more than anything:

"From a mystical point of view, your capacity for enjoyment is the signature of the inherent blissfulness of creation. From the point of view of brain science, you are wired for pleasure. The pleasure centers are located in the midbrain . . . and are designed to fire in response to stimuli that ensure your physical survival. . . In healthy cycles, the higher brain chooses pleasures that are good for the survival of the individual and the greater community. In unhealthy cycles, however, the system can get hijacked by imbalances, whether genetic, stress induced, or chemical. This is what happens in our stress-loaded society, where so many of us are conditioned to take pleasure in junk food, drugs, and forms of entertainment that are ultimately bad for our well-being and the well-being of our community, not to mention the planet. But the body's natural tendency is to treat pleasure as a signal that you're on the right track (emphasis added, from the March 2011 ed.)."

Shall we break it down? Okay, first of all we are designed to have pleasure. How beautiful is that sentence: "your capacity for enjoyment is the signature of the inherent blissfulness of creation." Makes me shudder. (I take great pleasure in language as beautiful as this.) Our pleasure center was designed to reward us for taking care of ourselves. But in today's world that pleasure center has been destroyed and now we see pleasure as a bad thing. We don't trust our bodies anymore and thus take pleasure in things that are destructive.

The good news is that we can take back our pleasure center. We don't have to be "hijacked." And this subject of taking back pleasure has been where my mind has been dwelling the last few days. First off, I feel it is important that we eat intuitively. We must honor our body. Trust our body. No more dieting and eating only foods we have labeled as "good." Then we should allow ourselves to get in tune with what we actually take pleasure in.

Why is this so important? Let's take exercise for example. If you do not find pleasure in an activity you will never stick with it. (So that's why my efforts to be a marathoner have failed.) But when you find a form of exercise be it running, walking, yoga, gardening, or chasing children, and you take pleasure in that activity suddenly you find yourself motivated to continue. But wait, I can't burn as many calories taking a walk as I can running? True. However, if you only run for a few days then give up altogether doesn't that defeat the purpose? Whereas you may stick with a daily walk for years.

Our bodies are wired to find pleasure. That poor word has taken a beating. It's time to take it back. It's time to find pleasure in life, and especially in the little things. For me? Well, I think the closest thing to Heaven is a pair of freshly shaved legs sliding in between newly laundered sheets that are pulled nice and tight. Life doesn't get much more pleasurable than that, and there is nothing awful in a pair of clean sheets.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen!

I am suffering from writer's block, extremely slow internet, and a horrible headache today. So rather than try to bare my soul to you, I thought I would share this. I love it and think it's beautiful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Have the Power: Fat Talk

I am beginning to believe that the single most powerful thing we can do to change the conversation about body image is to stop the fat talk. Let me explain a little. What do you hear when you get a room full of women? Often the conversation winds it's way to food, calories, fat, etc. So many times women put themselves down only to have a friend say, "oh you look great, look at me I'm . . ." It's never positive. We have built a culture around putting ourselves down. We tell the world we are fatter/uglier/shorter/etc than everyone else. Then we start to believe it.

When eating with a group you can usually bet that someone will comment on how fattening a particular dish is. They may eat it anyway but tell the group that they will be doing penance for it tomorrow to make up for the added calories and fat. Or maybe you skip eating in front of others only to get hungrier and hungrier until you go home and binge.

Personally I have been or done all of these things. And others. This is so damaging. We have built this attitude around food and eating that is unhealthy. Eating should be about nourishing our bodies. It should make us feel good. When you start labeling food as bad or good you create feelings of guilt around eating. That guilt causes negative body images. It's a vicious cycle that is terribly engrained in our society as a whole.

But here's what concerns me even more than the damage we are doing to our own self image. Think of all those little ears that are listening and watching. Maybe what you are saying doesn't hold much bearing on how you actually feel. Maybe you're just talking like that to fit in with the group. Fat talk is a powerful force. It drags you in. But what about the children and teenagers? They don't know what you are thinking. The way we talk and act is shaping the way they see food. The way we treat food and ourselves is a pattern for how our children will act.

Now think for a minute if there were no more fat talk. What is we didn't label food? What if we just ate until we were full and then stopped? What if we enjoyed our meals for what they truly are? What if we honored our bodies? What if we loved our appearance? What if our focus was on treating ourselves with respect? Now think, if all of these things were practiced what would happen to the coming generation? I can only imagine how wonderful life would be. Pressure to be a size 1 would ease. Eating disorders would be rare. People would be confident, happy, and successful.

And what would happen to us? Well, I think we would start seeing our true beauty and worth as well. You know the adage "Fake it till you make it"? I think that applies here. If we stop the negative talk and replace it with positive words soon we will believe it.

This, my friends, is why I feel that stopping the fat talk could be the single most powerful thing we can do to help change the image of what people should look like. Try it for two days. Don't engage in it at all. Change all negative talk to positive. Walk away if you don't have the power to change the conversation to another topic. You don't have to participate in it.

From today on I'm making it my personal mission to never fat talk again (and not to beat myself up if I slip up). It may not make me popular, but I believe it will add immensely to my happiness and the happiness of my family.

For ideas on how to stop fat talk check out this awesome article.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy V-day or Single Awareness Day

Picture from my apartment in Russia. The group I was with decorated with black and had a little celebration for ourselves on Valentine's day.

Valentine's day seems to be a day that puts people on very opposite sides of the spectrum. If you are in a relationship it can be wonderful. And if you aren't it seems like a rather rude reminder that you have no one to love. Am I right?

But I think we should broaden our horizon a little. I think Valentine's should be a day to spread love all over. I think a good start is letting your family and friends know you love them.

Okay, now that you've done that, spread the love to a stranger. That's the entire purpose behind Operation Beautiful. And for Valentine's they have provided these cute signs that you can print and distribute.

I think one of the best ways to feel better about ourselves is to help others. So spread the message that everyone is beautiful. It might be just the thing you need to make you feel that way yourself.

Lastly, I think everyone should spend a minute on themselves today. Let yourself know you are worth it. Have you been saving something for a special occasion? Or maybe for when you are thinner and deserve it? I know I have. Make today that day. Make it a day to celebrate being you. I have a collection of wonderful smelling soaps and lotions that I have been saving for when I'm thin. I know, this is stupid. So today I'm going to bust out my favorites and pamper myself a little bit during nap time. That might not be your thing, and that's okay. But find something that you like. Something that will make you feel special and beautiful. Then indulge. You are worth it. And today, on the day of love, you should make sure to show a little love to yourself.

These suggestions aren't just for the single, by-the-way. When you aren't busy staring into the eyes of your beloved, and savoring the most decadent chocolate take a minute to share the love.

Now, to all my dear readers: I love you and think you are all wonderful and beautiful. Have a wonderful Valentine's day and know that you are indeed loved.

Friday, February 11, 2011

you are beautiful

For this Friday I wanted to share this sweet movie by Karen Walrond from The Beauty of Different. I think it's a great reminder that we are all beautiful and special. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Different Person Today

I can't go back to yesterday - 
because I was a different person then.
~Lewis Carroll

I love this quote. So often I fall into longing for the body I had when I got married. I long for things that are long gone. But I was a different person then. I don't really want to go back to earlier years. I would hate to lose the wisdom I have gained over the years. Granted I still have plenty to learn, but I feel like today I am much further along than ever before.

As we evolve over time and change we become a sum total of our experiences. We can choose how we let our experiences shape us. If we do it right we become beautiful, well adjusted, lovable people. That's what I'm striving for. So while I sometimes wish I was just skinny again, the truth is I'm happy as I am. I'm happy with the person that I am. No I'm not perfect, but then no one is. I'm alright. And though it isn't really in vogue to say things like that right now, that's the truth.

P. S. In honor of teen week you should check out Operation Beautiful. She is writing a book for teens and could use you messages of beauty. Share the beauty and the love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Teen Week

I love what is going on over at Medicinal Marzipan. They are calling it Teen Week. To sum it up (and maybe butcher it a bit) this week is about adults who have "been there" letting teens know that they too can do it. Granted being a teenager now is different than when I was one (although it really wasn't that long ago, oh how quickly things change), but most of the fundamental challenges haven't changed. So in an effort to take part and to tell all the wonderful teens in my life and all other teens out there that they are amazing and can get through this I am going to share with you some of my teen life.

I was a rather insecure teen. I needed (and sometimes still need) a lot of validation from people. Especially guys. If I didn't have a boyfriend I interpreted that as a personal failing. I must not have been good enough in some way. Usually the way I figured I wasn't good enough was in my looks.

I think my insecurity all started in fourth grade. My family moved that year. For three years I didn't have any friends. I was the "looser" in school. I sat alone at lunch and recess. It wasn't until I went to a new school (Junior High) with a new bunch of kids that I actually made a few friends.

On one side of my family we have rather thick legs. I was blessed to get them too. I was never one of those girls with pencil thin legs, but most of my friends were. Today I'm very proud of my strong legs, but that wasn't always the case. I played soccer. I loved soccer. I lived it. I played up the idea that my thick legs were a good thing because of my soccer playing, but secretly I loathed my legs. Then it wasn't just my legs that weren't good enough, it was also my stomach, my arms, my chest, my face. I compared myself to everyone.

I must confess that  a lot of this was done on a subconscious level. I stopped eating very much. At first I thought it was because I was just too lazy to get up early enough to make myself a lunch, but then it became a matter of pride. I didn't need to eat as much as everyone else. By the time I got to my freshman year of college I had a serious problem. I could go days on half a bowl of cereal. I had a good friend and a roommate who loved to run and work out. We would go together to the gym every day. What was a good, healthy workout for her was often too much for me, but I'd push myself harder and harder.

By the time my dad came to pick me up from my first semester of school I hadn't slept more than 10 hours the previous week. I also had gone that same amount of time without eating more than a couple handfuls of cereal. When I got home I slept for a good 10 days. I was so weak. But I had lost 20 pounds and was encouraged that if I tried a little harder I could reach my goal of 100 pounds, only 8 more to go. I just wanted to be a size 1.

I think this is when the real battle began. I didn't have the energy to starve myself any more. I loved food too much, so I became a compulsive over eater. Then I'd starve myself for a while to make up for it. I loathed myself. When I would eat I'd feel guilty. Had you told me I had a problem I would have thought you were crazy. I was just trying to look like I was supposed to look.  I started to experiment with diet pills and throwing up my meals.

You get the picture. I'm sure you've heard it before. My husband was eventually the one to help me realize I had a problem. I started the long journey to change. It wasn't until I realized I was going to be a mother that this journey really took hold. I won't lie to you and say that I have "arrived" at self-acceptance. But I'm getting there. Some days I am there. The days that I'm not are getting better. I do know that when we let go of insecurity life becomes something new and beautiful.

The moral of this story and the reason I share it? Well, I think it is important to learn from others so you don't repeat their mistakes. Having an "ideal" body was my dream, but even when I was fit and tiny I still hated my body. It's a disease. I wish I would have used my time and energy on learning who I truly was. True friends love us as we are. Find those people to be friends with and find out what you love. Don't waste your life destroying your body. My biggest regret of my teen years is not appreciating and loving myself.

Your teen years fly by. Enjoy them. Be yourself. Learn to love others as well as yourself. Oh yeah, and you're amazing. Just as you are.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Whoas

I have come to the sad realization that my insecure feelings and dislike of my body are getting in the way of my marriage. I think a lot of people can sympathize with not wanting to be intimate because you just don't feel good about yourself. Some days I don't even want to snuggle with my honey because I'm afraid he'll notice my added padding. News Flash: He already knows about my added padding and still says I'm beautiful. It's been almost 2 years of added padding (thanks to pregnancy) and he's still with me.

But even with this knowledge it can still be hard for me. Then you have a big LOVE holiday coming up and there you have it, insecure all over the board. Since my hubby is still hanging around I think it is safe to assume that there is more to our relationship than appearance. Actually, that is one of the things I loved most about Ammon before we were married. I knew he was into me despite my looks. And I love that. I love him for a lot more than his appearance (although I do confess I am more attracted to him than anyone else I've ever laid eyes on).

Our Engagement Pictures. See, he's gorgeous. 

So if our relationship is about more than the physical our dates and even Valentine's Day should be as well. And they are. But sometimes our dates lack creativity. I believe that we should actively be trying to get closer to our husbands. As we grow together we can remember all the reasons we fell in love in the first place and even discover new things we love. With so many things to love we realize that the physical is not everything.

Thus, I have been searching the web for ways to make Valentine's Day a fun day that has nothing to do with . . . well, maybe some to do with . . .

Anyway. For all you marrieds out there that would like to do something fun, creative, inexpensive, and shall we say insecure feelings free, may I show you a few fun blogs with date ideas and such?

The Dating Divas
Love, Actually
Simply Sweet Marriage

These are just some favorites of mine. Feel free to leave a comment with any of your favorites. I'd love to look them up.

P.S. This isn't just for Valentine's day. This is for any time you need a date with your lover. Dating and having fun together is how you fell in love after all. It should help you stay in love. And I believe fun things like this can bring us closer together with our spouse and help us let go of those insecure feelings.

Happy Valentine's Day (soon).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seeing Fault

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
~ John Lubbock

This quote has been stuck in my mind lately. It seems that everywhere I look these days I find fault. Mostly with myself, but also with others. Just when I thought I was getting better at avoiding this sort of thing. Since I've been down lately I think that I have been allowing those down feelings to control what I see. I've been looking for the bad and the ugly. And when I find it (because you will find it if that's what you're looking for) it becomes all I can see. Particularly when I look in the mirror.

But the beauty in all of this is that we can always turn it around. When we look for bad we find it, but when we look for good, we can find that as well. I see good and beauty in others everyday, and if I focus on that then soon I will see more and more of that and less of the bad.

I know that this works when I think of others. I've tried it. But I've never tried it in concerns to how I see myself. At least not long enough for it to really catch on and spread like it does when I look for it in the world around me. But I have a theory that if I would just make an effort I might actually be able to only see the good. Well, let's be honest, there will always be days and moments when I'll look in the mirror and go, "Whoa. Hello zit face," or whatever, but wouldn't it be neat if those were in the minority?

So when I look at this rather blurry photo and others, I want to see the good. I want to see the positive. That's something I'm going to actively work on. And when the negative thoughts creep in, because they will, I am going to acknowledge them and then replace them with something kind towards myself. Because I have the power to change my attitude. It just takes practice.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nessun Dorma

I'm in love with this song. I have been for years. I go in classical music kicks. Today I was craving this song, but I couldn't remember the name of it. So I went through all my music for a good hour before I found it. The finale on this brings tears to my eyes and sends chills all throughout my body every time I hear it. I couldn't resist the urge to share. Listen to it all weekend. I think it's probably guaranteed to bring happiness whenever it is played.

Zucchini Bread

This has been a week of Fridays. Honestly, every day since last Friday has felt like Friday. So I'm glad today actually is Friday. I decided to venture into the realm of zucchini bread with my latest culinary adventure. I think it turned out pretty good, so I'll share what I did with you. You can find the original recipe here. The recipe that follows is my adaptation.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar (ground up to make it soft)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed mixed with 1 cup very hot water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond milk mixed with 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh zucchini, unpeeled, shredded
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
    1. Using olive oil grease a bread pan or a 9" round baking tin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Stir together the flaxseed and hot water. Set aside and allow to form a sort of gel.

    3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, basking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl.
    4. Make a well in the center of this mixture.
    5. In another bowl mix the flaxseed mixture, applesauce, milk with lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir using a wooden spoon.
    6. Add the zucchini to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
    7. Pour the wet mixture into the "well" you made in the dry mixture. Stir until ingredients are all moistened and gently combined - press out any large lumps with your spoon, but don't over-mix.
    8. Gently fold in the nuts, if using - don't over-mix or you will have tough bread.
    9. Pour combined mixture into the prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.
    10. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completley.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Chapter - part two

Life's good.

Yes, it is true, I enjoy splitting up some of my posts. I think it helps the readability. Maybe not, but at least it keeps me from getting too long winded at one time.

Yesterday I told you all about how I'm starting my detox program for body and mind. I also started a new workout program to go along with it. The first two days of this program I only get green drinks. It is a liquid fast. Needless to say, I'm getting ready to actually add solids back into my life. I don't know how people do this for longer than two days.

Now I would like to tell you about some other new things. I have been going over the past entries in this blog and have found them to be somewhat down and depressing. The overall tone of this blog is rather down. Which I think is wrong. I don't know what it is about serious introspection that causes me to take a negative tone, but it doesn't have to be that way. I would imagine that some of my followers who have never met me might actually think I'm a rather depressed and gloomy person. I admit I do have days where I could be qualified as that, but on the whole I'm rather happy. I love my life. I find joy in every single day. Even the bad ones have joy in them.

As I've been thinking about this I have also realized that I have lost sight of why I even began this blog. I began this blog in an effort to help myself find health. I want to be healthy in body and mind. And I want to finally stop being so darn critical of myself. I have a right to think I'm a worthwhile person. I want to finally feel that way. In fact, I didn't even tell anyone about this blog in the beginning. I had been working on it for several weeks before I got up my courage to tell others that I had this blog.

Yet my focus of late has been about getting more followers. I want people to read and comment on my blog. I want to have a popular blog. Which is all fine, and honestly isn't a bad goal, but when I write like that my writing suffers and the blog loses it's purpose. I think it becomes fake.

So with this new chapter I'm taking back this blog. I'm going to write about the things that are impacting me personally. Even if it doesn't make me popular.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The New Chapter

To start, I had the test yesterday. It went well. And everything looked good. We are still waiting for the results from the biopsy, but we are pretty confident that everything will be just as it should be. On one hand this is a relief. I'm glad my body is healthy. On the other hand this is still rather frustrating to not know what causes my constant pain and fatigue. There is a bright side though, and that lies in the fact that I know how to make myself feel better this time around.

With feeling better in mind I have once again embarked on my elimination diet. I want to do this over again for two reasons: 1. I need to figure out what the exact food trigger is. 2. I need a detox in my diet to get me back on track. I love the idea of spending a month just eating things that are good for you. I love not putting anything in my body that is harmful. An entire month devoted to just that. It not only nourishes your body, but it nourishes your mind. It forces you to create a relationship with yourself that is powerful and positive.

So, as I was thinking about this diet I thought I'd mention a similar diet that is much less intense, but could offer very similar benefits if you are interested. Over at Whole Living they have a 28 day detox program that I love. I would have done theirs if I weren't also needing the elimination part to figure things out. Their program takes into consideration not only what you eat, but also guides you through a workout program as well as some mind exercises. I'm going to  add these last two parts to my own program this time around. Today is day 1 for me, but if you want to join me, please let me know you are going to do a program too and we'll support each other; even if we aren't on the same exact days.

Here I go again. I am excited about today and the future. I'm going to start making more of an effort to nourish myself both in body and mind, starting today.