Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Wall, Blue Bell Ice Cream, and Sin.

I've had every intention of posting recently but my mind and heart have been torn between another, "this is my life" post or an update on my weight loss journey. Even now, I'm not sure which I would benefit from more. This last week without Ryan has been incredibly hard but things are slowly getting better. My healthy lifestyle has been in the toilet, for lack of a better word, in the last month and I'm slowly getting that back on track. So which is it going to be?


I guess most of you found your way to my blog because of my healthy living journey so I guess I'll start there.

Last year I really hit a stride around November. The weight was just falling off and I had my act together. I was eating healthy, working out at the gym, going for daily walks. My running had fallen off by then but I was still doing the things I needed to be doing. Along came December and knocked me on my butt. I survived the holidays without wreaking havoc on my body and lifestyle but the scale wasn't budging. I got up though and set some new goals for a new year. I started off January headed in the right direction when out of nowhere, I ran smack into a brick wall. Over the next few months, I struggled with that wall, sometimes almost making it over before falling back down again. Climbing over it wasn't getting me anywhere so I thought I'd take a shot at going around it but by this time my heart wasn't in it. I was so frustrated and upset with myself. I was making poor choices on a daily basis. I continued to walk everyday but I had stopped going to the gym all together. I started and re-started my healthy lifestyle over and over again trying to get back to that committed girl who started losing all that weight last year. Eventually, I was no longer making any progress but continuously ramming my head against the wall. And most recently, I decided that the wall wasn't worth the effort anymore and just walked away from it.

That's really where this post picks up.

Right now, I could list for you at least 5 valid excuses that I used to walk away. I say valid because as you all know, life is messy and life is hard, and things just come up sometime that get in the way of the goals and plans that we have. The problem with these excuses is that they were excuses that I thought I had already dealt with and put to rest. But even the alcoholic knows, that no matter how long they've been sober, there is always that chance that they can slip up, that life can get in the way and that a drink seems like the only answer to the problems. But in the same token, an alcoholic doesn't have to go to the liquor store and buy it. He has a choice to drive a different direction, to choose not to drink. A food addict doesn't have that luxury. Food is  essential to sustain life. I have to eat to live or I'll die. So the temptation to over-indulge, to choose the wrong foods, to allow food to comfort and alleviate stress, is there. Not just once, but multiple times a day. So, I thought that I had conquered that stronghold in my life. I thought I was finally over letting my emotions and stress dictate what I ate and how much. But sin is sneaky like that. And I say sin because I truly believe that it is. This food addiction is a stronghold in my life. I often allow food to try and do the things in my life that I should be giving over to God and letting Him deal with. It's a sin of thinking that I know better than God does. It's a sin of trying to control my own life.

I kind of feel like I'm back at square one again. But maybe that's where God needs me. Maybe I need to be here again so that I can really deal with this sin in my life. Filling my body with junk does not glorify God. Treating my body like a trash can instead of a temple does not honor God. It is a poor witness. All of this is a realization that I've had to come to myself. I know people mean well. I know there are a lot of people out there who care about me. But honestly, the more people tell me when I'm doing things wrong or that I shouldn't be eating certain foods the more my sin nature wants to rebel. As a side note, if you find yourself being one of these people, good intentions or not, please realize that saying things like that can often hurt the person more than help them. Be there with listening ears. Set the example for them in the way you eat and the way you treat your body. If things are really out of control for the other person then a loving, gentle reproach is much better than an off hand comment or snide remark. And remember just because you do things a certain way doesn't make it the gospel on how things should be done. Every person is different, they have different limitations, and their bodies respond differently.

I am so thankful for those people in my life who do encourage me. I recently ran into my friend Clara at the mall. We are living in the same town now but haven't had a chance to get together. While still in the throws of my poor decision making, I was indulging in a fried chicken sandwich and french fries at Chic-Fil-A when I saw her. And instantly I felt guilty as I saw her eating her salad with barely any dressing. When I mentioned it, she encouraged me verbally and that alone was a big push in the right direction for me. Her actions alone was all the "reproach" I needed. If she had of verbally made an off hand comment about my poor choices, I probably would have reacted differently and instead of being nudged in the right direction, I would have probably walked further away from that wall.

Clara also encouraged me to get "real" on my blog. I shared with her my low point over the past month and I'm going to share it with you here today. I've always said that I don't have it figured out but I secretly thought I did. The following scenario should keep me humble for a while...

Because of the stress of moving and my husband getting ready to leave for Basic Combat Training with the Army, I let that be an excuse to eat poorly and not exercise. My choices got worse and worse as the weeks went on. Finally, on the day that we dropped him off at the recruiters office, I hit my low point. When we made it back to Graceville, I went to the local grocery store and bought a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and a bag of Doritos. I had already purchased a Dark Chocolate Snickers bar at a gas station on our way home. I also bought a Coke Zero even though I had most recently been cutting any products with Aspartame out of my diet all together. After my daughter went to bed, I polished off the ice cream, the Snickers, the cola, and half the bag of Doritos, all in the name of a tired, sad, stressed out heart. I wasn't completely finished. When I bought the ice cream, I bought 2 pints. The next day, I polished off two more Coke Zero's, the second pint of ice cream, more Doritos, and a bunch of other food. My week continued in pretty similar fashion although no day was as bad as that Monday night. On Saturday, I ran into Clara. I wish I could say that I was finished eating junk after that but I ate some crap Sunday night before bed.

Before you eat like that, you always think it will make you feel better even though you know differently. Years of living like this has taught me that but for some reason, I have a hard time reminding myself of that when I'm at that point. So I felt bad all week. I was emotional with my husband gone. I was frustrated with my lack of discipline and I was tired. The more I thought about what I had been doing to my body the more I began to see it as sin. You know the saying, "Sin will take you farther than you planned on going, keep you longer than you planned on staying, and cost you more than you planned on paying," or something like that. Well, instead of being right up against that wall, I'm pretty far away. I didn't plan on going that far or staying that long but the longer I've stayed away the harder it is to come back and to get back on track. And of course I payed more than I wanted, I've gained a few pounds back, I feel tired and sluggish, and I'm ashamed of my behavior. I'm not cured. I may never be. This may be a lifelong struggle and I'm going to have to be okay with that. On Monday, I made myself get up and go for a walk. I had a salad for lunch. I still made mistakes. But I recognized them and tried to learn from them and tried harder the next time. Today was 3 days in a row of getting up early and going for a walk. I still struggle with my food choices but most of that comes from being lazy. I have to get back into the routine of making a meal plan and doing the prep work that needs to be done. I also have to remember why I started this journey in the first daughter and setting a good example for her. And most importantly, I have to deal with this sin. I have to confess it, pray about it, turn to God when the temptations arise, and dig into God's word for wisdom and guidance.

So there it is, in all of it's ugliness. This time, there will be no trying to climb over or go around the wall. It's time to tear it down once and for all. I'm not saying that there won't be another wall but at least I'll be better prepared to deal with it.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome to the Army Life

It's been a crazy, emotional, couple of days.

Monday was by far the hardest.

You see, on Monday, we dropped Ryan off at the recruiters office in Slidell and said goodbye for at least 9 weeks.

Back in January, he enlisted in the Army. You can read all about his decision and my thoughts about it here. We've had quite a few months to get used to the idea but the truth is, no matter how long you have to prepare for a separation like that, you're never really prepared.

We woke up early Monday morning and my parents picked the three of us up around 6:30 AM. We made the four hour drive to Slidell. Once we arrived we went by our friends house and picked up Ryan's car that we had left there when we moved. We then met more friends for lunch at Raising Cane's. After that, we went down the street to the recruiters office. They were waiting on another guy who was just beginning his process but was going to MEPS as well. We hung around the office with Ryan until the other guy showed up. I didn't want to be there to actually see him leave in the car with the recruiter so we stepped outside and said our goodbyes. That last "family hug" with Abigail is what did me in. I started crying and so did Abigail. Once in the car, I broke down a little, but I planned on driving us back since my dad was driving back Ryan's car and I knew I needed to pull it together. A few times in the first leg of our trip, I had to hold back tears and once we got back home and settled in our house, the tears came again. We had a dinner of "junk food" and went to bed. We both slept really good which was surprising. I think we were both worn out from the drive and the emotions of the day.

The first thing Abigail wanted when she woke up was her "kiss from daddy." On Sunday, Ryan worked on a project for Abigail that I had found on Pinterest. It's a jar filled with Hershey Kisses that says, "Kisses from Daddy!" Now, everyday she can still get a kiss from daddy even though he isn't here with us.

Luckily, we sent Ryan with his cell phone and charger even though the list said not to. I had read on a forum that you should send them anyway because some DS's let them use them when they get phone calls home and you'll get more time to talk with your spouse if they don't have to wait for a pay phone to open up. I was so glad we did because I received a couple of phone calls and texts on Monday as well as Tuesday.

When we woke up on Tuesday we got read and went over to my brother and sister-in-laws house to help paint Marlee's bedroom. Justin fixed us breakfast and we got started. We were able to completely paint the room and trim and get all of her furniture moved in and arranged. Marlee wanted Abigail to sleep in her new room with her so we stayed the night. We had a fun day and being so busy kept my mind off of Ryan being gone and not coming home anytime soon. A few times I started to get choked up when people would leave messages on my Facebook wall. You all don't realize how much all those messages and encouragements mean to me! I received the "scripted" phone call around midnight saying that he had arrived safely at Ft. Leonard Wood and would call when he could. I was glad to know he made it safely but I just wish I could have actually talked to him.

So, this morning. We got up and came back home. The house is a mess from the craziness of the few days before he left. I'm behind on laundry and I MUST get back on a good workout routine and back to eating clean. I still have at least 30 pounds left to lose and I want to look GOOD when I see Ryan for his BCT graduation sometime in August.

Thanks again for all the advice, encouragement, and prayers. Here is the last picture we took together before he left...

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Date Night

Last night, Ryan and I went on our last date night for a good long while.

It was great! Abigail spent the night with Nana and Papa so we didn't have to worry about rushing home and we were able to just enjoy our time together. In some ways, it felt like old times, when we were just newlyweds. We lived in Graceville back then and when we went out, it was to Dothan, Alabama and those nights usually consisted of dinner out and shopping. Which was exactly what we did last night.

My wonderful husband took me to Mikata to eat. I know it isn't what he really wanted but I love that he put my desires above his own. Mikata is a Japanese steak house and it's my favorite! We shared the dinner for two which consisted of Filet Mignon and shrimp and we also shared some spicy tuna sushi! Yum! We were stuffed when we left but it was sooo good!

After dinner we spent some time browsing some stores and shopping! Ryan needed a new watch and we've been having trouble finding one that he liked. After looking at several stores last night, he finally found one. He also picked out a gift to give Abigail tomorrow night before bed since we are leaving early Monday morning to take him back to Slidell. He's giving her the Merida doll for the upcoming movie Brave. And as part of her gift from him, I will be taking her to see the movie once it comes out. We are also working on a Pinterest project that is sort of like a countdown to when she gets to see Daddy again but it won't be ready until tomorrow. I'll post pictures once we are finished.

We wanted to go see Snow White and the Huntsman but it was getting late and I'm notorious for falling asleep during late movies so we decided to pick out a movie at Target to watch when we got home. We couldn't agree on a movie so we ended up getting season one of Big Bang Theory. We love watching the re-runs on TBS but we've never seen it from the beginning. Sheldon cracks me up! It was nice watching something funny and laughing together. It also kept my mind off the fact that we only have a short time left together.

Because of being so stressed lately, I haven't really had a chance to be sad or sentimental but as I was eating my fried rice last night, I had to blink back tears. I was enjoying my rice and watching the chef cook and thinking about how this was it for a while. Our 9th anniversary is June 14 and we have to drop him off on the 11th and he flies out on the 12th. We won't get to celebrate or be together on that day and he won't be here for Father's day and it sort of all hit me at once. Even today, as Abigail is still with my parent's and we are enjoying  a quite Saturday morning, I can feel the emotions starting to build. I want to be strong for Abigail but I'm afraid that Monday is going to be a lot harder than I have been anticipating.

Thankfully, my parent's are going with us to drop Ryan off on Monday. We are making the trip there and back all in one day and I was afraid that I might not be able to drive Abigail and myself back after saying our goodbyes. Plus, we left Ryan's car at a friends house so we didn't have to pull it behind the moving truck so dad's going to drive that back and mom will drive Abigail and I, if need be.

If you think about us over the next few days, please continue to pray for us.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Jumbled Mess

I feel like my brain is a jumbled mess.

I have so much information floating around in there. Mix that with conflicting advice and worry and then it becomes a real problem.

By nature, I'm a worrier and a stress-er. I get easily overwhelmed and my coping mechanism is to completely shut down. However, I can't do that right now and my brain feels like it's going to explode!

We leave on Monday to take my husband back to Louisiana. We have to drop him off at the recruiters office in Slidell and say our goodbyes. We won't see him again until his graduation from boot camp sometime in August. Of course I am sad about him leaving but all the stress of getting him ready to leave keeps me from really being able to deal with that right now. I'm sure that won't really hit until the goodbyes are said and Abigail and I come home to an empty house without him.

Right now, the problem is making sure we have everything together and ready for us to leave on Monday. You know how, when you pack for a trip, you always have that nagging feeling that you left something behind that you really needed? I feel that way EVERY TIME I go out of town but I've only actually left something behind a couple of times and luckily they were things easily picked up when we got to our destination. There are so many important documents that Ryan needs to take with him when he leaves for Basic. Things that can't be picked up at a local store if we forget them. I'm a stressed out mess right now, constantly checking and re-checking the what to bring list. On top of that, we've received conflicting information on whether or not he should take the original documents or just copies. And even more on top of that, it seems like the recruiters keep losing things that we've already given them numerous times. It's all really frustrating. Especially being new to this whole Army thing, not knowing all the lingo, and feeling like you aren't really prepared even though you've watched the videos they've given you and poured through the online forums and paid close attention to the emails! I don't think I'm ready for this! I feel like there is so much that I don't know that I probably should know. Part of it's my fault because I'm also well known for my procrastination! Ugh!

So for probably the 20th time in the last couple of days, I'm about to re-check the what to bring list and hit the forums. I'm sure there will be another Wal-Mart run just to be on the safe side. By the time I'm done being overwhelmed with making sure he's ready to leave, I'll be overwhelmed with the fact that he isn't here and that I can't just call him or text him if I need to know something. I'll be waiting for that scripted phone call saying he's arrived and trying to fill mine and Abigail's days so as not to dwell on the fact he isn't here. I see a lot of trips to Hobby Lobby in my future. It's a good a time as any to start working on all those Pinterest projects that I've re-pinned!

Any Army wives out there with some advice?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheap Rent and the Days Ahead

Life has been stressful lately...

and it's only going to get more stressful.

If you were hoping that this was going to FINALLY be a healthy living update. Sorry. It isn't.

I know you are curious and I promise one is coming but let's just leave it hasn't been going so well and I have to take full responsibility for that.

This post is more or less an update on what's been going on in my life over the last couple of months and just getting some thoughts out of my head...

Back in January, my husband joined the Army. He's been in the delayed entry program so he hasn't gone to training yet. He leaves next week.

The initial plan was for Abigail and I to continue to live in Slidell, Louisiana while he was away at training. We had discussed the possibility of us moving closer to my parent's while he was away but financially we just couldn't afford it. I was fine with our decision. We have some really great friends and a great church family in Slidell. I knew that Abigail and I would have a support system while Ryan was gone.

Skip ahead a few months...Abigail and I were visiting my parent's in Graceville, Florida. My mom works as the secretary to the Director of Student Services at The Baptist College of Florida. Many times, when local residents have a home for rent, they contact the college and ask to put up a flyer on one of the many bulletin boards around campus. These things pass through my mom's desk before going up. So, as Abigail and I were visiting her at work one day she handed me a flyer that had just been brought into her office. It was for a two bedroom house with rent that couldn't be passed up. It was $300 less than what we were currently paying for rent in Slidell. My initial reaction was to shrug it off. We weren't moving to Graceville so it really was of no use to me but then I got to thinking....maybe I should just call the owner and take a look. It couldn't hurt, right? So, I did. The place was nice and again, the rent was CHEAP! After calling Ryan and talking at length about the possibility of moving, we came to the same decision we had before, we just couldn't afford to move no matter how much we wanted to.

I relayed the decision to my mom and that was that. Or, so I thought. God has placed some really great people in my life over the years and some of those people blessed us beyond measure! I got a phone call from a close family friend and was completely shocked...they offered to pay for our moving expenses! Seriously! Who does that!? I was floored by their generosity and love for my family. Tears come to my eyes as I think about it now. I'm sitting in that little house in Graceville, Florida with the CHEAP rent all because of them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Everything fell into place. The landlord was kind enough to hold the house for us until we could move at the end of May. Abigail and I made our way back to Slidell to begin getting things ready for the move and to say goodbye to our friends. Ryan's last day at work was May 22 and thanks to the help of some wonderful friends we were able to load the truck and get on the road to Florida the very next day. My brother and his family met us at our new home in Florida to help us unload the truck. My parent's came over and helped too. That night we had everything unloaded into the house and by Thursday afternoon we were finished unpacking.

We have enjoyed the nearly three weeks we have had together as a family without Ryan having to go to work everyday. It has been so nice just being together all the time. We've spent a lot of time with my family and even Ryan's parent's came for a visit last week. We are so incredibly blessed!

We only have 5 days left together before we have to say goodbye to our wonderful husband and father! We are sad but we know that we have a great support system and that God is in control. We are proud of Ryan and his willingness to sacrifice for our country and to follow his dreams. The road ahead will be hard and lonely but God will see us through. Pray for Abigail and I as we adjust to life without Ryan for a while. Pray that I will be able to handle being a "single parent" over the next several months. Pray that Abigail will adjust to our new circumstances and that she will be brave. We've talked about being strong and brave while daddy is gone. She told me just last night that she couldn't and that she didn't know how to be brave. I reminded her that God is always with us and that He will show us how. "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!" Psalm 105:4

Pray also for Ryan. Even though he is about to embark on a journey he has dreamed about for a long time he knows that it will not be easy. Pray for his strength, his health, his witness, and his safety.

Thank you to all of you who have already checked up on me this week, offered encouragement and support, and prayed for us! We love you!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,