March 07, 2021

Affirmators! - Week 3 - Authenticity

Last Sunday, I drew an Affirmators! card from the deck that John sent me. Affirmators! are cards that state a positive affirmation. Stealing John's idea, I am drawing one per week and then taping it to my bathroom mirror so that I see it frequently (and read it out loud).

Last week's affirmator was about going with the flow and accepting changes in life--life will have ups and downs and we can learn to handle them instead of letting it throw us off the rails.

I found that card to be very timely because I had to make a big change in my walking routine. I developed a bad blister that went deep and I finally got to the point where I couldn't walk on it anymore. Instead of letting that change completely derail me, I simply switched to riding my bike for five miles instead of walking.

I learned that changes can be good things! The first thing I noticed (other than not having the blisters continuing to pile on top of each other) was that my chronic pain got about 50% better right away. I used to walk around like an old lady, super stiff and in a lot of pain. After a day of not walking my five miles, my body felt better. I'd assumed that because I wasn't doing strenuous exercise, it was okay to do a streak without stopping. Clearly, my body wanted a break.

When I started riding my bike instead of walking, I instantly felt the difference in my pain levels. I didn't gasp or moan when standing up. I'd gotten so used to doing that, I thought it was just a typical part of chronic pain. I still feel pain but not as bad as it was when I was walking every day (it was my hips, hamstrings, knees, and ankles). So, I think that the change has been a good thing! I've been riding my bike instead and I feel good about it.

My blister is still healing. When the scab comes off (on its own--I don't pick at scabs) I'll start to walk/run on it again.

Today, I drew a new Affirmators! card, and was surprised to see that it's something I've already been practicing for the last four years now--ever since my bipolar diagnosis and meds.


My entire life, I was a people-pleaser. I didn't voice my opinions much because I didn't want to argue about something. I just let people talk and I listened. I was used to being "talked over" or interrupted in groups of people, so I stayed quiet.

In 2017, when I started taking my bipolar meds, that all changed. I suddenly didn't care what people thought of me for voicing my opinion. When I didn't want to do something, instead of making excuses for why I couldn't, I simply said no, it wasn't really something I was interested in. I quit feeling intimidated and feeling pushed into doing things that didn't interest me.

I finally felt authentic. And it was so freeing!

A funny example of this is when Renee and I were at baseball practice for the kids, we were facing each other and talking, and I noticed she kept looking at the left side of my face, near my ear. It's something she had been doing for YEARS--ever since we met in 2009 ish. I always wondered what she was looking at, but I didn't want to say anything that might embarrass her.

Well, I finally just straight up asked her. I explained that I'm not feeling inhibited anymore about things that I say, and I have been wondering for years why she glances at the side of my face while we're talking. (I said this while laughing and covering the side of my face--I wasn't confronting her in a bad way). She said she had no idea she was even doing it. We both laughed about it, but I was glad I finally just said what was on my mind.

Something else that was HUGE for me during this time was that I told the truth about everything--if I was feeling too much anxiety to go to a party, I told the host the reason that I wouldn't make it (instead of coming up with an excuse). And they were so gracious! It's amazing how understanding people are when you are honest with them like this.

My family (parents and siblings, not Jerry and the kids) thought I was always trying to avoid spending time with them, but I wasn't. My family enjoys all the things that I don't: the outdoors, beaches, tropical vacations, going out on the boat, having large social get-togethers, etc. I am the complete opposite: I am a homebody, and my idea of vacation is exploring a new city without an agenda and without doing the touristy stuff. I prefer small gatherings of people--maybe 1-2 couples over for Euchre or a bonfire.

Prior to my bipolar treatment, I would always feel like something was wrong with me (the "black sheep" of the family). Once I started being myself and stopped trying to please everyone else, I realized I actually liked being the black sheep ;)  I could try to fit in and be unhappy, or I could just do my own thing and be happy. (I also learned that many of the people that I thought were authentic and happy were actually just people-pleasers as well).

I became a much happier person once I started being my authentic self. I don't make apologies for who I am/what I like. I just tell the truth, and hope that they see it's not personal. This was hard for my family at first, because they were used to my agreeing to everything. But I don't feel bad expressing my opinions anymore.

I think I'm pretty good at understanding the wisdom of this authenticity card because I do practice it all the time already. There are still areas I could work on, though. Here on my blog, I avoid several hot topics because they are just inviting arguments (politics, religion, and the best way to lose weight--haha!).

I like to keep my blog light-hearted for the most part. In that sense, I'm still being authentic--I'm just not sharing all of my beliefs about all of the topics. I save that stuff for close friends who I can joke around with and who know when I'm being serious and when I'm joking around. I love healthy conversations with differing opinions, but as you probably know from reading comments on Facebook or other social media, people like to get into heated arguments over a difference of opinion--and that doesn't do anybody any good.

The more comfortable I get with being my authentic self, the happier I am. It's hard sometimes, because my opinion might not be the popular one, but I remain true to myself. It's worth it to find that happiness!

I have to say, though, I do kind of love passive aggression! It has its own kind of humor ;)

March 06, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Brown Dumplings


If you only knew how much time I spent trying to choose a heritage recipe today! I need to start choosing and cooking recipes several days in advance, but I'm a procrastinator.  I really wish I had some sort of fun information to share about the person who submitted this recipe, but I couldn't find much about her.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Joanne Stuivenberg in memory of Lottie Sachse. Joanne passed away this past August at age 81. I googled and fell down a rabbit hole of ancestry websites, and I still came up with nothing about Lottie (except that I learned Lottie is a nickname for Charlotte).

However, this recipe looked good to me and I had the ingredients at home already.


I had a lot of questions when I read through the recipe for these dumplings, but I think I made them correctly because they turned out amazing! They are basically dumplings in an onion gravy. I was picturing more of a dumpling and potato soup when I read the recipe, but I believe the potatoes were meant to be a thickener for the broth. 

As always, I followed my own rule of preparing this exactly as written in the cookbook (interpreting the best I can for the things that aren't very clear). I'm going to write this out how it's presented in the cookbook, but make sure you read my notes afterward.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Brown Dumplings

2-1/2 qt. water
6 med. potatoes
1 lg. or 2 med. onions, chopped
1 T. oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put potatoes on to cook. At same time fry onion until it is deeply browned. Add one cup of water to onion before adding mixture to potatoes and water.

Dumpling:

5-6 c. flour
1 egg
salt and pepper
water

Add enough water to the flour and egg to form a soft dough. Drop by teaspoonful into potato-onion mixture and cook until tender. The dumplings will turn brown. (In memory of Lottie Sachse.)

MY NOTES:

Like I said, I had a lot of questions when I read this. Do I peel the potatoes? Dice them, slice them, leave them whole? How should I cook them? And 5-6 CUPS of flour? That's a lot!

I assumed that I would boil the potatoes in the water. I debated with Jerry about whether to leave the skins on or off. Since it's an old recipe, I thought maybe leave them on (people were far less wasteful than we are now, and I imagine they kept the peel on); however, because there weren't any other vegetables in there for different textures, I thought the peel would be odd.

I decided to peel the potatoes, and it was definitely the right choice! I diced them into bite-sized chunks, dropped them into the water and let them boil when I prepared the onions and dumplings (after the water came to a boil, I reduced the heat to a simmer).

I used two medium sized onions and cooked in the oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they were "deep brown". I didn't want the heat to be too high because burned onions aren't the same as caramelized onions.


My mom makes chicken paprikash (chicken and dumplings with a paprika-sour cream gravy) and I figured that I would make the dough to be the same consistency as hers. First, I beat the egg a little in a large bowl, then I added 5 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. I added a little water at a time, stirring until the flour was all mixed in. This is the consistency that I was going for:


When the onions were cooked to the point of being sticky and brown, I added a cup of water (from the faucet, not from the potatoes) to the pan to deglaze. Then I poured the onions into the pot with the potatoes. I set the heat on medium and began dropping the dumplings in. I thought that there was no way I'd be able to fit the dumplings--it didn't look like there was enough broth. I scooped out 1 tsp. of dough at a time and dropped it in--it felt like it took forever!

The dumplings cook super fast, so as soon as I was done dropping the last one in, I reduced the heat to low and stirred the dumplings for a minute. I realized that the broth was getting thicker and the potatoes were getting smaller, so I either way overcooked the potatoes, or they were meant to break down and thicken the broth. I tasted it and it definitely needed salt--I added a tablespoon of salt to the pot.

In the end, I wound up with a pot of perfect dumplings in a nice onion gravy. The whole family really liked this and said they would definitely eat it again. It reminded me of my mom's beef and sliders, so I think pot roast would be great with it. For next time, I think I'll add some beef bouillon cubes to the water with the potatoes instead of the salt. I will definitely add more onions--I'll probably use four medium onions instead of two. Other than that, though, it was great as-is!

March 05, 2021

Friday Night Photos

Friday Night Photos! 

On Monday, I made the Amish Friendship Bread sourdough starter. I'm really excited to do this! I wrote this on my (revised) list of 40 Goals Before I Turn 40 Years Old. Amish Friendship Bread starts out with a sourdough starter (like what I made below). It takes 10 days. On Day 10, you divide it up between 4 Ziploc bags (with the directions written on the front) and you give a bag to each of 3 friends, keeping the fourth for yourself.

You use one cup of starter to make two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. Your friends follow the directions on the bag as well, and on Day 10, they divide it up and give away. And on and on. Very fun! (I used this recipe for the starter, and I'm going to use this recipe for the bread itself. You only need to make the starter if you don't receive it from someone else.)



Luke and Riley stayed the night on Saturday, and when I was going to set up Riley's portable crib, I noticed a couple of eyes staring at me from inside the bag with her blankets... (it's Chick in there).


I wanted to do something different with the kids (Luke and Riley), so we made homemade ice cream in a bag. You just combine 1/2 cup half & half, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag (for one serving). Then you put a bunch of ice (about 3 cups) and 1/4 cup of kosher salt in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. You place the small bag with the ice cream mixture--sealed well!--into the bag with the ice. 

Then you seal that bag and shake the whole thing for a while until the half & half mixture becomes ice cream! It took about 15 minutes, and it was kind of a lot of work. My hands were FROZEN when I was done, even though I wore mittens while shaking the bag. Once the ice cream is the texture you want, you rinse off the lip of the bag before opening it so that you don't get salt in your ice cream. The kids added sprinkles, of course. The ice cream was delicious!


Riley brought over some toy doctor's stuff--a stethoscope, thermometer, etc. Noah used to be really interested in anatomy when he was three years old, and we got him a lab coat for Christmas. I still have it, so I took it out for Riley to play with. I noticed something was in the pocket, and I pulled out a "business card" that Noah had made!

It says, "I (love) Bean"--Bean is the affectionate name that my kids (and Luke and Riley) call my mom. Noah was her first grandchild, and we referred to her as "Grammy" when he was a baby. When he started talking, he somehow started calling her "Bean"; and instead of saying "Grampy" for my dad, he called him "Pay". So, my parents are known as Bean and Pay to their grandkids. Anyway, this is Noah in his lab coat and the business card he made. I'm assuming the drawing is of my mom! Haha.




Speaking of my parents, my dad has me cracking up with his text messages. He's going to be 70 this year and I swear he gets funnier and funnier as he gets older. He and my mom went to South Carolina and he sent me a text to tell me that they saw three alligators. He included this gif! (I don't know how to post the actual gif on here, but the alligator is dancing.)


I told him that I had no idea he even knew what a gif was, let alone how to find and send one! I was impressed. Then this happened...

He sent me a message that he meant to send to a friend (he meant "well" get started)... and he included a gif of a dog "talking" on a phone! Jerry and I were dying. I'm curious what he searched in the gif gallery to find that, hahaha.

I really felt like sewing something yesterday, so I went out to the garage and made a cover for a pillow insert I had. I have two of them, actually, but I still have to make the second cover. The inserts are filled with feathers and have pokey ends sticking out--so I didn't use them. I first made a cover out of canvas to keep the feathers from poking through and then I covered that with this fox pattern. It goes really well with the orange in my house! And it was fun to make--I don't sew zippers very often and I put an invisible zipper in this cover.


Finally, here is an adorable video of Chick and Joey. It melted my heart! Eli took the video, which is why it's vertical. We know that I'm not a fan of vertical video ;)


Have a great weekend!

March 04, 2021

Trying Out a Light Therapy Lamp

I did another bike ride today instead of C25K and walking, because my toe is still painful, but it's feeling a LOT better than it did a few days ago! It was hard to make myself go out to ride my bike today, though, because it's so cold. Yesterday it was in the 50's and then today I saw snow flurries. I can't wait for the weather to warm up! I miss opening all the garage doors and working on projects out there.

I mentioned yesterday that I've been in a really good mood recently. I've been working on healthier habits--not just diet and exercise, but sleep, more positive thinking, drinking lots of water, less procrastinating, and things like that. I always thought positive affirmations were kind of hokey, but I even decided to give those a try.

I also decided to finally try out a "light therapy lamp". This is another thing that sounded kind of ridiculous to me, even though several people have commented on past posts that I should try it. Light therapy lamps are meant to simulate sunlight, which helps people with seasonal depression (or "winter blues") from lack of sunlight.

I've always loved overcast weather and you will never find me lying in the sun. I just don't enjoy being outside in the sun. Until a few years ago, I always thrived during the fall and winter as far as depression goes. In retrospect, I would usually get hypomanic in the fall and then depressed in the spring. Since starting my medication for bipolar, however, things have changed.

I've been feeling depressed in the winter months and somewhat-hypomanic in the summer. The hypomania is nothing like it used to be before my meds, thankfully, but the depression can get bad. I've been trying to look for patterns to figure out something to help, and I finally decided to give the light therapy a try. It can't hurt! (There are no UV rays on the one I bought.)

I wasn't sure which one to buy, so I just went with the #1 bestseller on Amazon, which was this one (Amazon affiliate link). This is what it looks like:


I got the light therapy lamp last week and was very skeptical, but like I said--no harm in trying. I sat down in the morning to read my book and I turned the therapy light on, placing it at about the 10:00 position from where I was sitting. It's VERY bright (it comes with three settings, and I used the brightest, of course--I'm kind of an all-or-nothing person, if you hadn't noticed, haha). At first, I thought, "This looks nothing like sunlight!" but I found that as I was reading my book, the light didn't feel so "fake".

And, most shocking to me, I actually felt really good. I got a burst of energy and I cleaned the heck out of my closet (bagging up all of the clothes that are too small). I prepped dinner so that it would be easy to cook later. I even put together the sourdough starter to make Amish Friendship Bread. I didn't attribute the energy to the light therapy at that point, though--I just assumed it was a coincidence.

Over the last several days, I've used it for about an hour each morning while I read... and I am 100% convinced that it has helped my mood. Jerry even asked me why I was so "chipper" today, hahaha. Being in a better mood in general helps with so many other things and it makes the healthy habits I've been working on feel that much easier.

I think it's too early to say for sure that my good mood is due to the therapy lamp, but I am pretty convinced. I'm definitely nowhere near as skeptical as I was before. I'm going to continue to use it and see how it goes. (Feel free to say "I told you so!" ;)  I really wish I'd tried it years ago.)

March 03, 2021

Breaking the Streak (gross photo warning)


(I needed a filler photo above so that the thumbnail photo for this post isn't the gross pic you'll see later!)

It had to happen sooner or later... I just wish it had been later instead of, well, yesterday.

I broke my five-mile-a-day walking streak! On Monday, I completed Day 225. At that point, I was pretty sure it was going to be the end, but I hoped I'd be able to walk yesterday (and do the C25K workout). Ultimately, I decided not to do it. Out of all the things to stop me from continuing my streak, I never imagined it would be THIS that stopped me...

A week ago Sunday, which was my first C25K workout, I decided to wear a pair of Brooks Ghosts that I had retired. They were the shoes I was used to running in, and they still had a little tread left on the bottoms--I figured that would be a good choice to start the C25K with. 

Since I've gained weight, my feet have gotten bigger. My feet went down a size and a half when I lost 125 pounds; apparently, my feet have grown half a size in the last couple of years. I could feel that the Ghosts were smaller, but I didn't think much of it. I just decided that if I should order another pair, I would go up to a size 10 instead of a 9.5.

I started my C25K workout on the treadmill and felt great. Somewhere along the way, I started to feel a hot spot on the bottom of my big toe. I didn't want to get a blister, so I knew I wouldn't be wearing those shoes again. I *should* have stopped the treadmill and changed out my shoes. I didn't do that, and it ultimately led to the breaking of my walk streak.

Warning: I'm going to talk about a really gross blister, so if you don't want to read about that, turn around now ;)

I developed a blister during that five mile run/walk. I drained it, but left the skin there. I remember Dr. Oz saying that you should drain blisters but leave the skin there, that it's your body's natural form of a bandaid. (Speaking of bandaids, I couldn't wear a blister bandaid because I had a bad reaction to one a few months ago.)

On Monday, it was still hurting, but I did my five-mile walk anyways (in different shoes, of course). It was really hurting when I was done, and I saw that the blister had filled up again (the typical clear water-like fluid... it wasn't infected). Again, I poked a small hole in it and drained it, leaving the skin in-tact.

On Tuesday, I did my C25K workout. Same thing happened again. This went on all week. My blister wasn't healing because of the location of it. It's on the underside of my left big toe, at the base of my toe, very close to the second toe on that foot. (There is a photo below)

Jerry told me that it needs to dry out and that I should just remove the flap of skin. On Saturday, it took me three tries to get in all five miles because my foot hurt so bad. I finally decided to cut away the dead skin to expose the skin underneath and hopefully get it to heal. 

Gross photo warning! 

When I cut the skin away, I was horrified to see that there were blisters UNDERNEATH that blister. I drained those as well. Here is a photo of it after draining everything... you can see I'm not exaggerating the pain this caused on my walks.


I didn't wear socks all day or night (which, if you know me, is never something I would do--I ALWAYS wear socks--because feet gross me out, and I can't stand being barefoot). Thankfully, the blister started to form a scab.

I walked five miles on Sunday and it basically just reopened the blisters. On Monday, I just couldn't decide what to do. I didn't want to break my walking streak, but I just wanted the stupid blister to heal. I knew that the only way for it to heal would be to stop walking on it for a few days. I completed my walk Monday and saw that there was blood on the bottom of my sock where the blister was. I drained the blister and went barefoot again.

Yesterday, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was debating with myself--I knew I could suffer through it if I wanted, but when would it end? The walking would likely keep irritating the blister day after day, if it didn't end up infected.

The main reason I didn't want to quit my streak wasn't just because I had a long streak going--it was because I was worried about it totally derailing all of my other efforts. I've been working really hard on my eating habits, sleeping habits, mental health, etc., actually making some progress, and I was afraid that "quitting" the streak would make me give up on other habits as well.

Jerry suggested that I do stretches or something in place of the walking. When he said that, I immediately thought about my bike. I decided that I could continue my five-mile-a-day streak, but I could do it with my bike instead of on foot, allowing my foot to heal. Even though riding my bike five miles only takes about 30 minutes instead of the 90 minutes it takes to walk, I would feel just as accomplished. It's more about the discipline of doing it every day than anything.

So, yesterday I didn't do my walk. I rode my bike five miles and felt great. My foot was SO grateful. I was supposed to do the C25K workout yesterday, but I put that on hold. I'm going to wait until my blister is healed before the next C25K workout or another walk. Hopefully it won't take more than a few days, but I'm willing to wait until I'm sure the blister is gone for good.

I actually feel REALLY good about the decision to end the streak. I don't feel like I "quit", and I certainly gave it my all. I can't believe that a stupid blister is what led to breaking the streak, but in a way, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I rode my bike yesterday and today, and I felt like it was a good workout. My heart rate actually got up higher than it does for my run/walk workouts and I could feel different muscles working in my legs. I prefer to walk or run, but bike riding isn't bad!

I compared my heart rate for three activities, and I thought it was really interesting! This shows the heart rate zones for straight up walking (at a brisk pace--16:10 per mile), versus a Couch to 5K walk/run, versus a bike ride:




Where to go from here? I'm going to ride my bike five miles a day until my blister heals. After that, I'll continue with the C25K workouts. On those days, I'll add some mileage with either a walk or a bike ride to complete five miles total. On the days I don't have C25K, I'll either walk or ride my bike (or a combination) for five miles. So basically, I'm going to continue to get in five miles a day, but I am adding in bike riding to the mix. With those terms, my bike ride today completed Day 227 of a five-mile-a-day streak.

Most impressive to me, though, is that I didn't just "quit". I found an alternative that made me feel just as good and that allows me to take care of my body. My Affirmators! card on Sunday actually helped me with the decision. I have to learn to go with the flow, and be able to handle things that come up unexpectedly. I've been in a really good mood the last few days (which is interesting, considering what happened all week with my foot) but I'll write about that later--probably tomorrow.

March 02, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #16 - A Weight Loss and Mental Health Transformation

This transformation really spoke to me because it's not just a weight loss transformation, but a huge mental health transformation. Colena suffered from severe social anxiety and transformed her health and her life. Very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing, Colena. 




I was raised in a dysfunctional household--alcoholic parents, no structure, routines, rules or goals--but still felt loved and protected. At age 15, I became an alcoholic. I had a son at age 19. At age 25, I married someone who was 49. He gave me structure while I gave him chaos, but we are still together 19 years later. I stopped drinking and smoking cigarettes, cold turkey.

Without a crutch, I couldn’t socialize or deal with normal everyday situations. I was a people pleaser and couldn’t say no, so I stopped answering my phone and I began hiding from visitors. I would avoid any type of social situation where I had to interact with people. I had an anxiety disorder, to put it mildly. 

I can’t put into words how miserable I was. I made everyone around me miserable. It was a sad, awful life. As a result, I still don’t have super close friends and never got close to my husband's family. I kept everyone away. 

My anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t take medication because if I took a pill, I would panic because I couldn’t get it out of my system if it made me feel weird. I would research the side effects and have every single one and I would stop taking it. I was a mess and the doctors weren’t friendly!

In 2016, my world was shattered when my dad had a massive stoke. We stood around his bed and sang his favorite song, “Battle of New Orleans”, as he took his last breath. Leaving him in that hospital room and going home, 800 miles away, was the oddest feeling I have ever felt. My dad was gone--age 58, strong, active, lover of life--gone so suddenly. This heart-wrenching tragedy changed my life. 

Ironically, it was not in a bad way. I’m not as proud of the weight transformation as I am of the life transformation. I’m still considered ‘obese’, but I don’t care to lose any more weight. Society’s opinion doesn’t matter to me. I feel satisfied and I don’t want to stop eating this or that to satisfy someone else’s definition of what my body should be. It’s mine and it’s not bothering me how it is--I can run, walk, hike, wear "normal" clothes, kayak, go on cruises and live life--but most exciting is that I no longer have crippling social anxiety.


My anxiety now feels normal, not debilitating. If I say or do something stupid, I don’t dwell on it for days, months or even years! I do struggle with guilt and regret--I have to keep my mind from dwelling on it. One regret is that I raised my son to be super aware of everyone and every action. Because of my own anxiety, I didn’t let him just be a carefree kid. Now, he’s anxious, always apologizing to everyone and stresses out to the max over minor things (like finding a parking spot). Also, I feel guilt over how I treated my husband because of my own misery.

Here’s a list of things that help me. I remember feeling like nobody understood the depth of my anxiety and reading things like I’m writing seemed a million miles away from attainable.

1. Turn off the news! I would stress out over things beyond my control.

2. No alcohol at all. Any amount makes me feel extremely anxious, guilty and depressed!  I’m not missing anything by not having it.

3. I no longer worry excessively about other people’s opinions about me. We are all human and all trying our best. Their best isn’t my best. Their goals aren’t my goals. Size 14 is super morbidly obese for some but feels normal to me. My family is super critical about weight--always on diets and always talking about so-and-so having gained weight. This affected me greatly and it made me stay away from my family reunions and get-togethers. Now, I refuse to let myself stop living because someone will think I’ve put on weight, look old, etc. There will always be something. 

4. Sunshine and walking. It's free and it's the best medicine! Look at the scenery, sunrise, sunset, trees, flowers. There is beauty all around us.

5. Not binge eating. Don’t do it! Being stuffed full of food creates self-hatred and can easily spiral into oblivion. Many nights I stood in the pantry just searching, grabbing and stuffing my face. I would go to sleep hating my guts. 

6. It’s ok to throw food out. I was raised not to waste. I would eat it even if I didn’t like it or want it. I would binge on the yuckiest things so as to not waste it. I still struggle with this one. Why does it matter if I throw it in the trash?

7. No fad dieting. I would go off of my diet so I could eat "forbidden" foods. Then I would eat more than normal because I was restarting tomorrow. I got to nearly 300 pounds doing this. Each week, I would eat all the bad food, buy all the healthy food, cave, repeat. I lived with an "I’m a big failure" mentality. I went to bed every night with such a negative view of myself because I, once again, failed at life. 

8. Shower! I feel so good when I’m showered and hair fixed. I don’t feel so good when I stay in my pj’s and never comb my hair. (And brush my teeth- yes, I try to talk myself out of doing this! Eww!)

9. Do all the things! I’ve done a lot of things I never dreamed of doing. I made happy memories that I can  recall rather than depressing ones! Things like hiking a trail rated "difficult" make me feel proud of myself. 

10. Be kind! Listen, give gifts and see the good in all the people. That is freeing beyond words.

Oh, and I should add that I got my Commercial Drivers License and I now drive a school bus. I interact and socialize with all types of people, big and small! That blows my mind. I think my dad would be proud.

- Colena

March 01, 2021

Theft


I was going to just write some bullets, but once I started this first one, I kept typing until it was pretty much a whole post! So I'll just leave it at that.

Someone stole my sunglasses out of my car and I'm SUPER bummed. I have literally nothing of value in my car--I keep it super tidy and the only things in there besides the owner's manual in the glovebox are a couple of face masks and my sunglasses in a red case. I only ever wear sunglasses when I drive, so I never take them out of my car.

The sunglasses were prescription ones, which means they are valuable to me--but why would anyone else want them?!

When I was taking Eli to driver's training yesterday, I opened the glovebox to grab my sunglasses and they were gone. I noticed that the masks were underneath the owner's manual, too, which was odd. I searched the whole car and my purse (just in case they were in there). I searched at home, even though I knew they weren't in the house. I was sure that someone had stolen them, but I just kept hoping I was wrong.

I'm pretty sure I know when it happened. I woke up a few nights ago because Joey was barking. Joey NEVER barks other than if people drive slowly past or are walking past our house. It was super early in the morning--maybe 4:00?--and when Joey was still letting out a bark every five seconds or so, I went to see what was going on. I looked out the blinds and I saw two people (I think they were women) walking down the street, so I figured that's why he was barking. I didn't think anything of it.

In retrospect, because he was letting out a bark here and there for about a full minute, that was more than enough time for the people to walk past my house. They must have stopped for 30-45 seconds and then kept walking. I live on a VERY quiet street (I can count on one hand the number of cars that go by every day) so it's noticeable when people walk by.

My car wasn't locked, unfortunately. I grew up in a neighborhood where nobody locked their houses or their cars and everybody knew everybody. Nobody stole from each other. Times have changed, obviously, and we definitely lock our house. I don't keep any possessions in my car (other than my sunglasses) so I wasn't worried about theft.

I've learned my lesson and will keep my car locked from now on... although now I literally have NOTHING in my car to steal except for a couple of handmade face masks. Oh, and chapstick.

Jerry wants to get a couple of security cameras outside, and I finally agreed. I feel like it's tacky, but so many people have them now that it's not unusual. Several years ago, some teenagers broke into our garage and stole a bunch of random items. They'd broken into several other garages, too, and they threw all of the stolen stuff into a fire pit at one of their houses while they drank around the fire. They actually got caught, and some of them did jail time for burglary because it's a felony to break into the garages that are attached to houses--it's considered a dwelling. We were paid restitution for the things they stole.

After that incident with the garage and now someone stealing my sunglasses out of my car, I've lost faith that I can trust people in my own neighborhood. I despise thieves. SO MUCH. Not just because of the item that is stolen--but the feeling of being violated.

I posted on our "nextdoor" app (like a neighborhood bulletin) about the sunglasses and offered a $50 reward for anyone who may "find" them. But no luck. I don't expect I'll get them back.

I had been planning to get new frames this year for my "regular" glasses, but I'm going to just replace the sunglasses. My insurance covers one pair of frames and basic lenses each year, so I chose to get sunglasses last year and figured I would alternate each year.

Anyways, I didn't intend to turn this whole post into the story of my sunglasses--I'm not THAT desperate for something to write about!--but it is what it is :)  I'm going to just try to forget about the whole thing and I'll make an eye appointment to get new glasses. I'm also going to keep my car locked at all times!

February 28, 2021

Affirmators! - Week 2 - Impermanence

Last week, I wrote about how my friend John sent me some Affirmators! cards--whimsical cards with positive affirmations. I am going to blindly draw a card once a week and make that an affirmation to put into practice the best that I can.

Last week, I worked on gentleness, particularly with myself. And I did really well with it! If nothing else, I found myself much more aware of the negative thoughts and I put a stop to them as soon as I realized it. I made sure to remind myself to be gentle with my words and thoughts.

This is the card I drew today. It took my reading it several times to really understand it:


"Life is always changing, and I drift easily through those changes, good and bad. As I drift through hard times, I can take comfort in knowing that I will leave them behind. As I drift away from good times, I can take comfort in knowing that more will come my way. Impermanence is an equal-opportunity nonentity."

This card is actual pretty perfect for me. I've written numerous times that I thrive on routine, and that's not really a good thing. Changes in my routine throw me off kilter and I have a very hard time adapting. I would really like to be able to go with the flow.

I can try to maintain a routine, but I would also like to be able to adapt to a change in that routine if something should come up. The past two days have been hard in this sense because Luke and Riley came over and spent the night. I can't do ANY sort of routine when they are here--they are two and three years old! We had a lot of fun, but it's completely exhausting--mentally and physically. (I don't know how I ever managed that every day with my kids, haha.)

I have to stop fearing change and I'd love to learn to just go with the flow. It would be so nice not to get tripped up over little things--good or bad. So, that is what I'd like to work on this week. It's not really something that can be helped in a week, but hopefully reading the positive affirmation frequently will help me when things do come up.

On a deeper level, there have been big changes recently (the pandemic changed all sorts of things) and we have major changes coming up (the kids becoming more and more independent until they eventually move out). I want to be prepared to handle those with some confidence!

This was a good card to draw today.


Just a reminder, if you have a Transformation Tuesday to share, please email it to me ASAP! You can send a before photo and after photo, plus a description of the transformation, to me at: Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

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