Monday, January 31, 2011

Making Kids Rooms Feel Bigger!

As our kids are getting bigger and the lego collections grow we struggle each day battling with the smallness of our house.  We don't want fall into the complaining spirit and act ungrateful, so we are trying to keep perspective and make it work which at times has been a daily challenge.  After downsizing quite a bit last year and my daughter, now having a bedroom the size of some people's laundry room, really needed to use maximum floor space in her room.  I remember back in college how we all had the option to "loft" our beds.  That was survival for 2 strangers living in a walk in closet size space.  Survival was what we needed in our situation as my frustration grew daily with the mess and also the empathy for two growing boys, different personalities and LOTS of legos!  Here are the two separate projects we came up with for the kids rooms.

Our daughter's room is about 9x9.  We bought a large piece of heavy plywood for the base, the kind with the white sealant or finish on it.  2x4's located underneath for support along the 2 walls inserted in the studs.  We had to used 3 posts for support.  My husband surprised us all with his woodworking skills and made the ladder!
We already had the armoire which pulled out form the wall gives here access room for a chair and then a extra space behind the armoire for things she doesn't want out in the open like laundry.  The desk was a great $20 find at a garage sale last summer.  It looks pretty close to the ceiling, but if you have higher than 1960's ceilings you gain a little more room there just be sure to factor that in.  We had check IKEA for their loft bed choices and ALL of them were either too high, metal or to small where she couldn't walk underneath. This project cost about $100

The Boys room used to have bunk beds on one side with all their lego table on one side leaving NO room for anything else.  It would have frustrated me to live in there and I know it really bother my organized analytical child to live in that space.  The solution:  Loft both their beds using their existing bunk frames.  Unlike the girls room we chose not to use posts underneath but instead got cable that supports 250 lbs and bolted them into the ceiling joists.  The beds also rest on the 2x4 frame attached to the studs in the wall.   The lack of posts made it better for walking around underneath and also made more of a boyish industrial look.  We still have some major organizing to do, but my son's comment the other day pretty much sums the project up.  "Mom, I feel like our house just expanded". Amen!  Gosh this worked out so well maybe my husband and I should loft our King bed!! after all we are little cramped too... imagine.."hey kids we're up here!"
Boys project cost about $60 total.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spinach Egg Sausage Muffins

These are so great for the quick morning breakfast! Make the night before, pull them out in the the morning and heat them in the oven while kids are getting ready for school. You can alter ingredients based on your family preference.

Spinach Egg Sausage Muffins

8 eggs
Breakfast sausage cooked and chopped
cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
About a cup of spinach leaves chopped
Top with Shredded Parmesan

Spray muffin pan with non stick spray
Mix all ingredients together and take about a ladle of mix and pour it each muffin cup about 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Bake 375 for 30-40 minutes until Egg is done.

You can also make mini muffins which are yummy too, their just uh smaller bite sized muffins.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cornbread Casserole- Whoa

So if you have ever been to a mexican restaurant where they serve a little side of a corn mixture you will love this easy side dish. I have been known to go to a Mexican restaurant knowing they serve this on the side and also stalking others plates in case they are not big fans of the little dollop of sweet tasting corn casserole. I found this recipe in my slow cooker recipe book, thought it would be good as a side dish to dinner. It turned out great!

Cornbread Casserole

1 qt (1 14oz can) whole-kernel corn
1qt. (1 14 oz can) creamed corn
1 pkg. corn muffin mix (Jiffy)
1 egg
Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBsp. sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Combine ingredients in greased slow cooker
2. Cover. Cook on low 3 1/2 - 4 hours stirring once 1/2 way through.

Notes: Someone suggested adding green chilies and salsa to the mix to make it more colorful. I am a more plain Jane cooker, but might go for the chilies next time.

Stew On This!

First of all, I grew up with the fear of my mother making stew. I was a fairly picky eater and stew meat just grossed me out, along with the onions and stewed tomatoes. But they say we all eventually become our mothers, so I made stew last night. My husband about passed out at the smell of glorious stew pot recalling days of living on his own making a big pot of stew for the week. At the store I noticed the $3 off coupon for the "Stew Meat" so I grabbed it and called it a stew night. It turned out better than I remember and thankfully the whole family thought it was a hit! I did leave out the tomatoes!!
That Potato Looks Larger than it was :)

Stew Meat
1 Package Stew Seasoning or 2 Large Cans of Beef Broth (however the seasoning was great and low cost! )
About 4-5 potatoes
4-6 cups of water
1 Bay leaf
Carrots Sliced
Celery Sliced
Pepper and Salt to taste

In a skillet brown meat on both sides
Boil water and Seasoning package
Add the meat
Add the Vegetables
Let simmer on low for about 2 hours

If you want it thicker, which I did, just add 1 TBSP of flour at a time and whisk it in the nearly completed soup let boil again and then repeat until you have the thickness right.
Serve with Yummy bread. We like the Artisan Bread from Trader Joes!!

Monday, January 24, 2011


My First Lunch Box

The dreaded "chore" before school each morning.  When I really have my act together, which is pretty rare it seems, I make the lunches the night before.  The morning routine goes so much smoother and I can focus on breakfast and getting the kids out the door.  On those days I am making lunches in the morning I'm asking myself "why on earth did I not take the time to make these last night." Oh yeah, I remember.. I was blogging.  I heard one mom say that after dinner is the best time because the kitchen is already a mess, just make them and then clean up everything once.  That makes so much sense, and it's really true on paper, but sometimes that logic just doesn't hit me until 7:30 am the next morning when I'm slapping on the PB & J and trying to make breakfast in record time.  
For me, the biggest challenges of lunch prep is not having what I want in the house at the time, having a picky eater, knowing which child doesn't like mayo, the other mustard and the other plain.  One child hates peanut butter and jelly the other two like it but one doesn't like as much jelly or in today's case doesn't  like the kind of jelly I bought.  One child (the non jelly eater) also despises fruit, accept apples which I suspect she may throw away at school regardless.   It sounds much nicer and easier to just have them buy lunch at school with the different options so they are all happy, but I quickly add that up in my head at $9 a day times about 20 days of school in a month WOW I can't imagine.   Occasionally, I will let them buy, but it is very very rare.   I remember my school lunches were around .75 cents (oh dear I'm sound like an old grown up) and milk was .10 cents! Now milk alone is .50 cents.  Inevitably, I pick the one day for them to buy lunch at school when it is "breakfast for lunch day" where the kids get french toast sticks and syrup! Seriously there can not be a more silly, unplanned choice by the school district.  You may ask "why don't you check the menu?" -reader you clearly have not grasped my personality yet.

My mom used to make the best lunches and had a variety of choices in her making, because I like several different kind of sandwiches.  I loved egg salad, but that came with a cost of having the stinky lunch at around noon.  She would also put cute little notes in their that said "love you, mom"  "Have a good day!"  and other things.  I tried that with my first born in first grade, she came home and said "um mom, why did you put a note in my lunch? "  as if it was the silliest thing I could've done.  I guess I should try again, maybe the other two will be a little more receptive.

This year my daughter, the picky eater, and I hit the jack pot because her school has microwaves!! Yes!!! I think the WORST thing ever about making lunches is when I come back in the house after taking them all to school and I see a lunch sitting on the table.   Are you kidding me?  It used to be if a kid forgets their lunch, well too bad!! you go hungry or beg your friends and the pain of hunger will surly make it so you never forget again.  Fast forward to 2010 the school will just add a lunch to your "account"!  I few years ago I walked into the office and said "um excuse me, if one my children forget their lunch, they are not allowed to buy a lunch!" The secretary, looking at me cross eyed as if I was Cruella Deville,  says "well they need to eat!" which I said "true, but they also need to learn to not forget their lunch, so if my kids forget their .50 cent homemade lunch, they are to call for permission to buy an expensive school lunch, unless you would like to pay for it!" Ok I didn't say the last part of that sentence, but felt like it! 
I'm always looking for new ideas and found this article to be helpful.  Feel free to share your ideas with me on the comment thread. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vintage Therapy

I just love old vintage things. History was never my favorite subject in school, but if they would have taught about vintage dresses, beautiful victorian themed rooms, homes, music, books, and decorating, I would have certainly gotten an "A". Instead I struggled learning about wars, battles and pilgrim dishes while several times playing the multiple guess game on the test sheet.  With my own home style I have tried different things over the years that don't really fit into the vintage look, spent a little time in the americana primitive era, and then practical met kids stage (where you buy what is a good deal and holds up, which can make a person feel like decorating isn't very fun and a little displaced).  All I know from experience is that my heart is happiest when I'm decorating in the zone of vintage old but chic.

This is my favorite spot to
look at in my house
I love books that are set in the 1800's and early 1900's. One of my favorite authors is Lynn Austin! Her books are beautifully written, pull from historical facts that I understand, and weaves in the foundation of faith and love through her stories.  The simplicity and beauty is attracting however I'm sure back then they might not have felt they were living a simple life. Those must have been hard times as well, in the way of loss and death from diseases and wars.

I'm not sure what pulls me to the things of the past. I often stand somewhere close my eyes and try to imagine what might have been in that same place a 100 years ago. I love old time music, the big band era along with the sound of an old record player needle on vinyl with a sweet woman's solo voice. If I was a size 4, I would surly be buying clothes more often in vintage shops.

My favorite thing to do on a free day is to browse thorough thrift shops, vintage and antique shops. Even if I don't buy anything, it is cheap therapy for the day. I am drawn to beautiful dishes, cups and saucers, jewelry, old purses, LOVE old coats and just looking at the display of beautiful old things, did I tell you I love old coats!!? If I were to dream, I would have my own shop in a little old house, where I could sit among all these cute old things with a story behind every item, listen to old music and bask in the delight of it's treasures. I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots to go to, maybe you can add a comment of your favorite places too. I love the Funky Junk Sisters Website . I could sit all afternoon and catch up on good stuff there!
Below is a few other places I like to frequent for browsing "Therapy".

3 monkeys :811 Northwest 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97210
(503) 222-5160
Stars Antiques Sellwood
Village Merchants

3360 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR 97202

520 Southwest 9th Avenue

Portland, OR 97205-3280
(503) 220-0920

American At Heart

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet Up Groups! Cool Concept

Found this great concept today called Meet Up Groups.  Might be WAY old news for some of you, but if not I wanted to share it. Actually my husband showed me as he was hyperventilating over the mountain climbing group....greaaaaat.  What a cool idea if you are looking for people who have similar interests as you.   I often hear new people to town or singles say they just don't know where to meet people! This seems like a great place to start especially if you are looking for friendship or dating opportunities or if you are as crazy as my husband who likes to camp in the snow!  Imagine.. you like the game of Life.. you find a meet up group with the similar fondness for the game of "Life", you go and play the game, and sitting across from you is some dazzling person who is winning, has picked the best career of the game, has the spouse and the family in the back of the car, extra cash, and on his way to the mansion to win the game! What an opportunity!  Ok maybe that is a little far fetched but you get the point.  Here's the link

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Is That Lawyer Wearing a BUMP IT?!! Go Girl!

I got my number called for Jury duty. I had just served in a different county about a year 1/2 ago, but moved to a new county and was welcomed right in to my civic duty of being a juror. I figured it would be a similar one day event, and with the room full of people I figured my chances of actually getting on a trial would be slim. I debated dressing like a crazy woman, teasing my curly hair to a giant frizz ball, and making strange jerking noises all in hopes to be excused on reason of insanity, but I chose the middle aged woman look. Actually, after day one with all the rain and no real time to check "the look" I came home and surprised my family with the horrendous hair and weathered look I was sporting. I still got picked as one of the twelve jurors and I'm sure the judge and lawyers were wondering the second day who the new juror in seat 9 was! I found out the trial would last 3 days. UGH!!!

I'm listening to the testimony and the intimate details of these people who look "normal" on the outside, but share the details of wild nights and a lifestyle I only thought existed in a poorly made for MTV movie. I mean who really kicks their fiance in the family jewels that much? No wonder this guy who calls mommy for every little thing is sitting here in the hot seat after a boiling pot of anger finaly burst. No excuses though, you still messed up. I was looking forward to day three when mommy took the stand, I expected to see one heck of a woman, wearing a roller derby t-shirt, tatoos and peircings, after all she is the one who gets all these phone calls when her poor boy is getting beat up. My anticipation was for nothing when mommy walks in the court room (holding her baked scones and wearing her knitted sweater) I see she is about 60 and probably has never done a push up in her life. The Lawyers asking the same questions in 30 different ways and me taking good notes so I don't screw my verdict up, this case is at least pretty darn interesting. I mean what a system that lets 12 people plucked off the street come in and decide the fate of this guy based on he said she said. I'm sorry but I deal with this every day at home and don't feel like I'm that great at the process. A system where the Lawyer has to go to school for about 7 years to learn how to argue really well and twist things in a crafty way to make it seem right to a bunch of people that just really want to have the the guy in the Judge seat wearing the OFFICIAL robe just make the decision. I mean he has seen this a thousand times before and most likely knows the laws and what is appropriate, do we really need to play this 3 day game of Law and Order? After sitting there hearing the same information and an hour long closing argument from a very dull and boring lawyer that has no chance for his case, is shaking and sweating from his brow, I start noticing things around the room. How the Judge looks like Clint Eastwood. Hey that lawyer is wearing a BUMP IT!! NO WAY!! but she's cute, huh wonder why she isn't married? could be because she is here all the time or has her face in a book, she does have a cute style, but MAN I wouldn't want her prosecuting me.. she's good. The defendant, I can so picture him wearing a one piece orange jail suit. Hmm... court reporting would be kind of interesting, but then I'd be here all the time...wonder if that cute hutch I saw on my lunch break at the antique store will be there next week? You can see things, beside my plume of hair, got a little fuzzy at trials end and I had pretty much made up my mind long before this. The hardest part is not being able to talk about the case at all until the jury comes together in the end. Thankfully, we all came to a quick verdict and were on the same page. I came away with a few things from my experience.

1. Not a good idea to drink shots of vodka, drink beer, and then come home and drink 2 more shots, that leads to bad choices.

2. People who "party" really drink a lot of alcohol!

3. It's wise to be able to draw your house in a flash! for those days when a lawyer might ask you to draw it and label it. I was pretty impressed with the witness' artistic ability.

4. If you are hanging out with people who are drinking and living a lifestyle that drinking and partying is normal on a week night, you may want to take careful mental notes in case you are called as a witness a year later!

5. Those same people should also be wearing a head cam at all times.
and finally number 6!

6. You people might not think your actions affect anyone else and it is not our problem???? Well let me tell ya, I spent 3 days away from my family to put your butt in jail, my husband had to juggle the kids pick up and drop off while running his business, as well as my mom giving up her time to do what I normally do, I was up early & home late, we had to spend money on food for dinner because I wasn't home to make it, as well as 11 other people with similar stories of time from their livelihoods that most likely are making much better civil choices than you. I spent gas money for 3 days and time away from my normal responsibilities(which will not be reimbursed to its value), ALL the witnesses, the police officer that had to take time to testify and so on. So yeah, your careless actions do affect others.

On a side note, I'm glad we live in a country where the system seems to work for most of the time and now that I put in my time I am free to go about my days for the next 2 years not worried about getting a jury notice. Though I might opt for the crazy lady look, twitching in the corner, frothing from the mouth next time, so I am dismissed completely.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Like" I just invented a new Like, Keyboard!!

If I were to invent a new like computer keyboard for like the age range of like Jr. Highers.. or even for like some college students, it would like replace the space bar with a giant "like" button. Like really, every other like word in like their questions are like totally inserting the word "like". Sadly, when living with like a Jr. higher the adults like start talking like this without realizing it until your like in a room full of like adults and like you are getting like these stares of like "why are you like talking like that?" from like the other woman across the room, holding her like giant wine glass that covers her entire face when she takes a sip. It really is a hard like habit to like break. Like is like hard to completely get rid of in the vocabulary of a like sentence because like you have to really like use it for reals in a like sentence that really like needs it! For example. When a 17 year old guy is thinking: "I feel like a giant goof in my pants that are hanging down so low my boxers are showing and it makes me walk like I have hemorrhoids, but I think it is still so cool". In that like instance it is totally like ok to use like. So yeah, just wanted to like give a little like English lesson today.

While I am in my inventing mode of new keyboards, I also think I should invent
a special keyboard for the people who enjoy forwarding EVERY funny, cute, and meaningful email and will always include the other 100 email recipients email address right there in plain view for all the email scammers to see. You know who you are, stop gasping! This is the same group that needed a tech in India to ask how to send their first forwarded email, so that button is there conveniently placed in handy reach too. (And yes mom I'll still come over so you don't have to call India)

(These ideas currently have a patten on file with the national copyright.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Restaurant Review "El Piatto"

I love the Portland restaurant scene. We have had our fair share nights out, but not as much as we like. A lot of times we've driven by a place prior so we try it, or we go online and look at websites. Nothing worse than the restaurant that hired a great web designer but fails in the real world. I didn't want to make this mistake for my Birthday night so I asked my Facebook friends for ideas to celebrate my birthday. I got about 41 responses which made for a lot of research the night before. Here is what my status line said for criteria:

ok time for favs: please no chains or seafood.. Here's what I like: cozy, vintage, old, romantic, wood floors, chandeliers etc. just to give you a direction but not to eliminate- Food: Italian, Amer. Cuisine, Mexican and Asian, however I do not want to look at Origami or Sombreros all night.

We ended up at this great little place in Laurelhurst are call El Piatto .

El Piatto certainly fit the bill, and it was on our Passport Card which gives one meal free so that was an extra perk. I wouldn't say it was fancy, but it was elegant and charming in it's own way, with eclectic decorations vintage style, low light (which made it tough for quality i-phone pictures) chandeliers, cozy draped nooks with tables, candles and long beautiful drapes on the windows. We were greeted by a cute waitress who looked like she was plucked out of the local vintage shop. Loved her! The dinner salad was delicious with warm bacon squares on top of this delightful pile of spinach. The pears tasted like they were from Heaven. My entree, a Penne Pasta with tasty white wine sauce, was delicious. I wanted to eat it all, but I was so full which made for a great take home lunch for the next day. The chicken Ward ordered was not his favorite choice but not because it wasn't a good dish, he just didn't choose wisely for him (he had another bad ordering night the following night when he made yet another terrible choice in ordering the delicious sounding "special"). It is a perfect place for colder folks as about every 10 minutes the World War II Military surplus heater dangling from the ceiling in the far corner fires up and about 10 seconds later the guests are blanketed with a mighty gust of hot air. We were dressed rather cozy and warm so this gust was quite surprising and next time I'll certainly bring my vintage hanky to dab the sweat beads from our brows.

The only thing I would suggest when making a reservation is to specify what kind of table you would like. There are some tables that are right out there in the open that are great for larger parties, but not as quaint as the draped alcoves. Hopefully, they would think to save one of the nicer spots for a reservation (if you mention that on the online form which we did not) but that must have not crossed their minds at all until the host and I did a stare down. We ended up being seated and waited until one of the other nicer tables came available. One by the window, which also gave me a show of all the cyclist commuters zooming by. Ward's was facing the opposite direction in view of that heater.
There were so many great suggestions from my facebook friends, we have a great list for the next time out and I'll be sure to write a review.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Time to Pay It Forward!! My Life Struggle With Wanting to Be Skinny

There is nothing worse than feeling horrible about yourself and then read someone's blog about losing weight, I know I have been there many many times.  I thought that since everyone's mind is on the yearly resolution I would open up a little bit about my journey with always feeling like I needed to lose weight and always feeling fat since about age 15.  This post might be shocking to some who have never known this about me, but in the spirit of paying if forward I felt I needed to share my journey and hopefully help someone in theirs.  I think I can remember only one time in my life I have felt good about my weight and that was in my 2nd year of college, living in CA, I had a great tan, was playing college Volleyball and finally got in decent shape (for me) Before and after that I struggled.

I was always the tallest kid in my class until about Freshman year when finally most of the boys started catching up.  The girls however remained shoulder level and below. The last time I was referred to as a bean pole was 7th grade, the same year I decided to change back to my given name "Courtney".  Before my name change decision I was walking around with the name Cori, had braces, short hair and wore a brown Izod shirt that all made for a pivotal "lump in the throat" moment when a cute boy said "HEY CORI ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL"?  Apparently he did not see my Normandy Rose Jeans I was wearing with the cute rose on the pocket or my ice cream cone earrings!  Regardless, it was at that moment I decided my birth name Courtney would resurrect and everyone would follow suit in calling me that, which appeared to be a harder transition for some than others.  In fact, at our recent family Christmas my cousin who I have seen at least 2x a year for the last 30 some years just found out I go by Courtney not Cori, I gave him permission, along with my Uncle Ron who when I was 3 took Cori and changed it to Correta and still calls me one or the other, to use his exception card.

Wonder Which one is Me!
RHCC 8th Grade Youth Group Girls
Being tall is much more acceptable in the 21st century.  Back then the youngest of three girls and the one that passed both of them up in 8th grade and kept growing and widening, tall was just well, wow!  My two older sisters were thin, beautiful, popular, on school homecoming courts, cheerleaders and were always going on dates.  I don't want to paint a picture that I was some hideous oger as I had my fair share of friends, felt stylish and such, but compared to them I felt well, very athletic.  Thankfully, I used my height to play sports and enjoyed the successes that came along with this gift of tallness and a decent shot, and was a big help to my mom who was 5'2, when it came to grabbing the fancy dishes from the cabinet over the refer.  My mom would always tell me to "stand up straight" which I'm sure I was thinking "uh maybe I'm not standing up straight because I want to look people in the eye like you tell me to"easy for you to say in your small princess frame.  My Dad, an amazing athlete in his day, I know was a little down-struck when out popped the 3rd girl, but later appreciated that I still got the athlete gene he was hoping for.  I was going to be Tyler.  It was not uncommon for us to hear "hey fellas" from Dad, must have been that same 7th grade year and my hair cut and the brown shirt that through him off for a second.  Mom corrected him a few times when he would comment on my height saying "Well she's a big girl"  "TALL MICK" you don't call a girl "BIG".  Not sure that concept ever sunk in with my dad, a coach and later referee of women's college basketball where all he saw in the key was a bunch of "Big Girls".  I think it's just a guy thing, and I don't fault him at all for that.  He loved his house full of girls very much and still makes us feel special and would give the shirt of his back for all of us.

I think where I went wrong with my metabolism was Freshman year when I discovered the vending machine that sold toffee covered peanuts and there was just enough time to down a package before volleyball practice started every day.  It didn't help that my dearest friend in high school was TINY, medium height and could eat a whole pizza if she wanted with nothing to show for it, not that she did, but you know those people.  Loved her, but hated that she looked cuter in her black stirrup pants than I did.  As sports became everything to me and my focus turned towards college potential and striving to be quicker, faster, jump higher and compete at a higher level, I soon began to notice my weight more.  I was 5'10 (with bxball shoes on) and about 145 which next to the 5'4 guard who was rail thin and fast, made me feel like a girl headed for roller derby. The thing is, I was never really fat fat, just heavier and bulkier and not skinny (ok the thyroid disease didn't help) or fast enough for my expectations and never would be.  While at the mall my size 0 sister, in college at the time, tried to convince me how great it must be to have such strong legs and that it was all muscle!! well maybe so, miss "I can eat whatever I want in the the food court" but I'd  much rather be skinny and weak at this moment in time and be able to find ONE pair of jeans that fit these muscular thighs!! She I'm sure meant well.

LO Basketball 1988 Jr. Year
After my Junior season in Basketball I began to go down a path that would take me on a life changing journey.  I started skipping breakfast, eating a roll at lunch and after dinner would drink a ton of water and then head to the bathroom to throw it all up.  I remember Thanksgiving that first year feeling so guilty for throwing up a meal that my mom worked so hard on all day but realizing that it was worth the guilt to look better and to be faster.  It got easier and easier to do, and I also figured out that I could eat what I wanted and not worry about the calories and look like a normal girl enjoying pizza or dessert with my friends.  The frustrating thing for me was it wasn't working as fast as I had hoped, so I began days of no eating at all, and then bingeing  and then heading to the bathroom.  I would get so frustrated if I was in a situation where I couldn't make it to the bathroom right after a meal and then had to absorb all those calories.  That would send me back to eating nothing the next day to make up for it and of course working out harder.  Year 3 living like this, while jogging, I felt like my heart was working extra hard. It felt like it was just at the surface of my skin.   It was at that moment I began to panic wondering if the damage had already been done, if it was too late, what if I was actually killing myself.  I was thick into it though, taking laxatives, admiring thin and admiring anorexic people that could actually make it work!  Thinking if she could do it, I can.  Thoughts like "well I know she is unhealthy and super skinny but at least she is skinny"! And SADLY even thinking on the "bright side", well if I do die, at least they will pick up the casket of a light person. There were other signs of my body reacting to lack of nutrition and starvation- my complexion turning when it was normally pretty smooth and my eyes not being has bright and just not having a lot of energy.   I took my eating disorder and my secret to my first year of college where I played basketball.  It wasn't what I dreamed of back when I thought of playing in college and I was completely burnt out of basketball and trying to be someone I wasn't or maybe couldn't.  I finally wrote in a journal entry that we kept for our coaches, kind of a goal setting book, that food was my enemy amongst other symbolic things, my way of crying out for someone to notice before I killed myself from starving, I was scared.  My coach did notice thankfully, and sent a letter to my parents.  I was confronted by my parents who were sad, scared, worried and not sure how deep I had gotten into this, not sure what was next, on their knees praying.  They were all very supportive and concerned, my sister (the size 0 ) said the right thing this time around that saved me.  She wrote me a letter and I remember what clicked with me the most was when she wrote... "every time you look at the toilet and are ready to throw up, you know that is the Devil looking right back at you".  She was right, this was a battle that only God and my faith would get me through.   I was found out, I didn't have to hide anymore, I didn't want to die and I knew that I was sinning and de-valuing who God made me be every time the thought came to throw up.  Thankfully, that was enough to stop the cycle.   It took a while before I didn't think about that as an option but over the years still struggled with weight obsession.   The lasting results of my disorder was a trip to the Dentist where he found 10 cavities from all the acid that decayed my teeth, thankfully that was the only side effect.

In my younger 30's I was pregnant 6 times in a matter of 3 years (yes that is another story) which added on the pounds.   I don't think I have ever had healthy eating patterns in that I would gain some weight and then think ok I need to cut way back and then starve myself by skipping meals.  I've realized that I've NEVER really been completely comfortable with where I have been on the scale since 8th grade!  This last year in November I decide once and for all before I hit the big 40, I only have one life, I'm only my kids mom once, my husbands wife once, I want to be happy about things and not worry about food so much and have it be the enemy.  I had heard of so many people's success stories with Medifast  and mainly from my friend Jules who is a Take Shape For Life Coach,  and I thought the eating every 2 hours sounded like a wise approach for me rather than being so focused on each meal and getting busy skipping meals etc.   I was so excited that this program actually was working and attacking that pesky muffin top hanging over the jeans.  I chose to go on it at the worst but maybe the best time of the year Vacation and the Holidays!  But I found I was so disciplined and wanted this once and for all that I just made better choices than I have ever made during this time.  Looking back I really don't think I missed out on much..(ok, I could've died to have more mashed potatoes and spinach dip).   I figured if I can make it through past those hurdles I can do the rest of the year making wise choices and not making unhealthy choices.  I started November 11th,  and up to today I have lost 22.5 lbs eating throughout the day!

I feel awkward a little sharing my story but I know that there are many others out there who struggle with all kinds of addictions and spent tons of money trying to get over them, failed, got back on track, failed and feel miserable and guilty at times.  I hope that the picture of the Devil tempting you comes to your mind when you are in that situation of temptation.  I pray that you will understand that God has a greater purpose for us than to be stuck in the trap of addiction.

I know that losing weight isn't the end all be all or a certain size isn't what places value on someone, but if it is something that is unhealthy or holding you back in some way whether physically or socially and it would make you feel better as a person, then it is so worth getting to a place you feel confident.  I don't know if I will ever completely NOT think about weight because I have thought about it for so long, but I do know that food itself isn't the enemy and the porcelain god will never win again.

“Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end.” (Genesis 50:20)

“For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11