Last Day in Town…

Yesterday, we worked pretty hard and got the house 95% packed.  Today, we blew off pretty much the entire moving process and decided to enjoy our last day in my sleepy little Florida town.  I think it was pretty much a great idea to build in a day of relaxation and enjoyment into this process – never underestimate the importance of morale!

We started out the day, bright and early and headed to our favorite Flea Market.  I’m REALLY going to miss this Flea Market – it’s one of my very favorites, in all of the places I’ve ever lived.  We ended up with James Bond Monopoly for $2, an antique potato ricer for $4, and some books for the Monkey, 3/$1.  Certainly not our largest or most exciting haul, but.. we had a great time, simply walking around and enjoying our morning.

By 10:30, we were done there, having walked the 2 miles around the marketplace.  So, we headed to Target, to see if we could pick up some goodies for Miss Monkey’s new room in the Atlanta House and check out the Halloween costumes as well.   We ended up finding her some new organic cotton sheets for $5, marked down from $25.  So, score there!

Then we drove out to the Beach and had lunch right on the Beach.  We went to this little Seafood place that I absolutely love.  Lunch couldn’t have been more perfect – they sat us directly next to the playground in the sand, and right near the Beach Volleyball nets.  Monkey made quick friends and played the afternoon away on the playground equipment, and The Fiance and I enjoyed some amazing shrimp and seafood on a gorgeous afternoon, watching the water and people play Volleyball.  It was simply beautiful.  Oh, and we finished it all up with an AMAZINGLY HUGE piece of incredible Key Lime Pie.

We came home and took naps, and then Monkey and I went out for sushi for dinner while The Fiance got up, took some tums and extended his nap into what will probably be tomorrow, because his tummy isn’t feeling so good.   He worked hard for us yesterday and he’ll be working even harder tomorrow – so he absolutely deserves a comfy long nap.  I’m going to go snuggle with him in a few, once I load a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother onto my iPad, and see if he wants to do a little cuddling and TV-watching before retiring for the night.

Moving time!


Well, today’s the day! Today’s the day all of the boxes will be finished, taped up and ready to make their move to The Atlanta House. I’m excited and a bundles of nerves all stuck together! I’m feeling like there are a billion little balls in the air and I’m just wondering which ones I will drop.

I’ve got reinforcements coming — my friend Tiffany, from high school, who I haven’t seen in 2 years is heading my direction with her kids in tow, and she’s going to pitch in and help me finish up the last of the packing. I’m so excited to see her and so grateful for her help!

The plan is to have everything except the linens we are using to sleep on, in boxes and broken down and ready to be loaded into the truck by the end of today. Then, tomorrow, we have planned a relaxing day to stop by some of our favorite places one last time. (You know I had to hit the flea market one last time! What if the PERFECT TREASURE is there, waiting for me??) Monday, the truck will be here and we will load it up and clean the Florida House, and then hit the road, the path to our forever.

Through it all, The Fiancé will be off of work, but I will not, so it’ll be a tiny bit tricky fitting it all in, but I’m confident we can do it. The first day in Atlanta, my soon-to-be In-laws will be taking Monkey back to their house for a day or so, so that we can prioritize her bedroom and getting all of the furniture in place. I expect that, by Friday, you should start seeing photos of all of my dreaming and scheming coming to fruition.

My goal is to have the house fully unpacked, basically in order, and decorated for Christmas by November 25. That’s just a smidge over a month, and then I’ll be able to relax and focus on wedding plans. With The Fiancé’s support, your encouragement and maybe just a hint of Monster energy drinks, I think I can get it all done.

I am strong. Together, we are stronger.


How to start fresh with organization when you move (part 1)

This is going to be in 2 parts.  The first part is here, in Florida – as I am packing on this end.   The second part will be from The Atlanta House when I am setting up a new household.  

So, the countdown to The Atlanta House is in full swing. The Fiancé is holding it down in Atlanta, painting and prepping for our arrival, and Monkey and I are in Florida, packing our things in preparation for moving day.

I’ve taken this opportunity to reevaluate our organization, what has been working for us, what hasn’t been working for us, and how things will change with a different living arrangement. I’m going to share some of these tips with you today.

1. Purge as you pack.. This seems like advice we hear a lot, but the implementation is usually not as easy. Well, let’s make it easy. There are no other scenarios other than moving where you are literally faced with every single thing you own, so now is the time to make some decisions.

Next to each box that I pack, I place a second box — the goodwill box. As I empty each drawer, cabinet, and closet, I envision The Atlanta House and how those objects will fit in to the house in my mind, as well as their use when I get there. The Fiancé and I have some duplicate items, so we’ve previously discussed who’s toaster, microwave, etc. stays. Therefore, these are a no-brainer. Other things such as sheets… I’ve been keeping three sets of sheets in each bed size, and either donating additional sets, or evaluating their usefulness as fabric for other projects.

For my closet, I sat on the bed as the decision maker and clothes folder, while The Fiancé and my Monkey took care of all the things that involved moving. Monkey pulled all of my dresses, one by one, out of the closet, and I evaluated them from the bed, either having her hand it to me, to be folded and packed, or having her hand it to The Fiancé, to be folded and donated. Once we’d been through all of the clothes in the house, The Fiancé had many bags of clothes to donate, which he took up to Goodwill the next morning and brought me back a receipt.

2. Reevaluate where you want to store your belongings.. This has been crucial for me here in Florida. I have had to be very creative with the storage space available to us in our small little home, and thus – some items are stored in rooms where I might not necessarily store them if I had more room available to me. There are also those little things that stray from their like items, such as the lotion that manages to make a home next to the bed, or the DVDs that meander to a tv in a room that isn’t where they belong, etc.

To address this, I’ve started 4 different boxes, labeled for the rooms where I ultimately want things stored in The Atlanta House. For my purposes, I have Bathroom, Family Room, Master Bedroom, and Dining Room.  Bathroom – because that’s where items tend to migrate away from in my household.  Family Room because in The Atlanta House, we will be combining the Office(s) with a living space, which is different than either of our set ups at the moment.  The Master Bedroom because in my current set up, I do not have a dressing area/make up area in my bedroom, but in Atlanta I will.  And Dining Room because my teeny tiny little Florida House does not have a Dining Room.  My Dining Room furniture is currently in storage and all of the things I would typically keep in the Dining Room are sporadically stored throughout the house as I have found space for them.

With this set up, I will avoid the unpacking of items in a room I do not ultimately intend for it to wind up.  That way, as I am packing my bedroom closet, instead of packing my tablecloths from the top shelf into my bedroom boxes, they can go straight into the Dining Room box, to facilitate easier unpacking when we get to our destination.

And finally..

3. I have packed all of my baskets, storage bins, containers separately on their own.  Why?  Well, I have many different baskets, bins, jars, totes, boxes, etc… And they are being utilized in a way that makes the most sense for the space that I have here in Florida.  The spaces in The Atlanta House are much different, so I figure when I unpack – having all of the storage containers in a central location will allow me to assess each space and shop from my own collection as I go about organizing our things.

I love starting fresh and having an opportunity to fine-tune the organization in my home..

How about you?  How do you handle moves?

Desk made for 2..

So, The Fiance and I both work from home.  We’re also both video game dorks.  With that comes a need for 2 work spaces and various gamer-intricacies.  For example – my monitor is 32″…  and The Fiance rolls with 2 monitors that are 27″ each.

Small desks won’t cut it here.  Also, we don’t really want to be segregated from the rest of the family (read: kiddo(s)) if we are on our computers, because we both spend a greater-than-average amount of time sitting at the computer.. For either work or pleasure.

Beautiful, but this won’t work for us. (Photo Source: Young House Love)

And finally – I didn’t want a side-by-side-looking-at-a-wall-or-out-a-window linear configuration for a number of reasons.

  1. I’d really prefer not to have my back to Monkey or the rest of the family when I am working.. it’s not very conducive to conversations.  It also encourages little eyes over my shoulder when I’m on the internet and I’m not a huge fan of that.
  2. I didn’t want my family room to be the background when I am using Skype to connect with a client.  It takes away from the professionalism a bit when  you see my child hopping around in the background, playing Wii.
  3. I’d really rather see The Fiance’s face when we’re both at the computer, as opposed to his back or the side of his head, etc.

So, I went internet hunting for a possible set up that would could DIY.  We originally saw this in IKEA:

GALANT series from IKEA, set up as a 2-person workstation.

This had a couple of problems.  First, it was $610 for that set up.  That’s a bit steep.  Also, I don’t really like the legs at all.  And finally – it has ZERO storage.  I’d be paying $610 for a funny-shaped table.  No drawers, no shelves, nothing.  So, we continued to hunt and brainstorm.

Then I came across a post on IKEA Hackers.  The guy who posted it turned some IKEA Expedit units into the support for a desk and used Vika Amon Tabletops to build a super big workstation for two!  There are many things to love about this.

Isn’t this great?! Look at all that space! And the storage! (Photo Source: IKEA Hackers)

First, I already own those exact IKEA Expedit pieces.  In my bedroom, I’m sporting (2) 2×4 and (1) 2×2 units.  We talked about it, and The Fiance would also like a 2×2 on his side, so we’ll need to buy one more, in addition to the table tops, but that brings us from $610.00 down to about $112.  Considerable savings!  Plus, it just looks so much better and HOLY COW, the storage!

I’m most definitely excited to bring this together.

Do any of you have to balance two workstations?  How have you solved this?

Christmas in.. September?

It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS….  Well, in my head anyway.  And all over my Pinterest boards.  (Do you follow me on Pinterest?!  Because you should… Pins are FUN!)

Don’t you LOVE this? I love this! (Photo Source: Pinterest)

I am moving up to Atlanta the week of Thanksgiving.  The Fiance and I spent last week packing boxes in Florida and stuffing them into his car.  He took a load up to Atlanta yesterday and will be back for another in 2 weeks.   That means that I’ve officially shifted into dreamer-mode when it comes to my home and DIY lovin’.

Normally I start decorating the house around Halloween and don’t stop until somewhere around Valentine’s Day, but moving over a major holiday has kind of thrown a Monkey Wrench into that plan.  Plus, this Christmas is going to be extra special for a number of reasons:

  • It will be our first Christmas as a family in The Atlanta House.
  • It will be the first major holiday I can decorate for, since we’re moving over Thanksgiving
  • It will be the first time my mom is coming to ME for Christmas
  • …. something way awesomer than all of that, but it’s a SUPER SECRET SURPRISE.
  • It will be the first Christmas with my In-Laws and we are hosting Christmas Dinner this year.

So, I’ve spun out into full nutjob mode.  I’ve come up with my Christmas Timeline, begun planning the decorations for the house, the meals I will make, and the gifts I will give.  There just might be some DIY-lovin’ going on in Florida, in anticipation…  I’m not sure I can hold out another 2 months! 😉

This is positively adorable! I think I’ll be making this in Florida… (Photo Source: Pinterest)

When do you start thinking about Christmas?  Do you shop early?  Plan early?  Or are you a last-minute, pull it out of the attic and shop the week of Christmas for presents kind of person?  Any great ideas planned for this year?

Clutter buster: Digital Storage Part 1 (Paper)

Last year, Monkey and I made a move to a tiny little beach house in Florida.  While the location was great, it most definitely required us to simplify our lifestyle and learn some valuable lessons about space.

When going from a 2500 square foot home to a 900 square foot home, even if temporary, I have been hard pressed to find storage space in every available nook and cranny, so that we don’t find ourselves reported to the Hoarders show by a well-meaning friend.

We also decided to overhaul our consumption habits and be a little greener than we previously had been.  In marrying these two ideals, I began to think about digital storage.

Digital storage enables me to not have to make hard decisions about what’s valuable and what isn’t, and instead enjoy a huge collection of things in a teeny-tiny footprint.  While we’ve shifted into the digital age for music and sometimes even movies, there are so many other ways to utilize technology to store a massive amount of information.  Today I’m going to talk about paper.


Hoarders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paper. Oh, paper – how I loathe thee.   I can’t seem to ever find myself on top of the paper monster.  Paper flows into my house at an alarming rate – between Monkey bringing home 3-15 pieces of paper each week from school (with her schoolwork, annoucements, projects, etc. on them), mail coming in daily, magazines, catalogs, books, notepads, etc..  There is a LOT of paper in my house.  But slowly I am working to move it all into the digital era.

For Kiddos – A flatbed scanner is a great tool for those of you with kiddos.  One of the kind that has the pages feed through a scanner is fine for the most part, but sometimes Monkey brings me home a project that she has glued things to and they don’t fare very well in a feed-style scanner.  So, a flatbed scanner would be the best bet here.

I had to take this one on the fly, in between moves, so I took a quick picture of it with my camera. This is one of the few that I kept the original – and framed it to put in the house, so it was okay that there’s a shadow from my arm. 🙂

I started with folders named “Kindergarten”, “Vacation Bible School”, “First Grade”, “Second Grade” “Third Grade” etc.  Inside each of these folders, I’ve got “Math” “Science” “English” “Art” etc.  As she brings home papers each day, they go into an in-box on my desk, and once a week or so, I go through, scan them into my computer, plunk them into their designated folders, and then toss the paper itself.  Now I have everything she’s done in school and it takes up no space in the house at all!

Tip:  For projects that are larger (Posters, dioramas, etc.) that will not work very well with a scanner, take a picture (or many!) of the project, and even better – of your child WITH the project.  Then you have a record of their beautiful creation(s), a photograph capturing how sweet and small they were when they created it, and you can then either toss the project, or pawn it off on a grandparent.   Either way – it’s not clutter anymore.

For Bills – Virtually all of my bills are no longer mailed to me, and instead emailed to me from the respective company.  My electricity bill, water bill, cell phone bill, etc. – They are all sent to me electronically and paid electronically as well.   You can check with your companies and see about opting into that service.  However, there are a couple of places that do not offer electronic billing statements, and for them – to the scanner they go, too!

For these, to store, I have a folder labeled “Finances” and then yearly, monthly folders inside.  In each folder, I keep a copy of the electronic statement (usually downloadable via the email that is sent to you, or from the website of each company), as well as the scanned copies of the bills I cannot get electronically.   Inside each monthly folder, I also keep a word file where I track the payments that I made that month.  For this there are simply lines that look like this:

Cable Company |  8/02/12 |  $29.95 | Confirmation:  318468384 

Electricity Company |  8/02/12 |  $132.18 | Verification Number: 646872

When each months’ bills come in, I simply start a new folder for that month and begin the process again.  If I ever have a problem and have to make a phone call, I have all of the information available to me and ready to give to the customer service representative.  Inside the Financial Folder, I also keep a file that lists all of my account numbers, passwords, etc. so that I can readily access that information and not have to dig to find something on the fly.

For Books – I know there’s an ongoing debate on Digital books vs. real books, and some very strong opinions on both sides of the fence.   I’m not going to attempt to argue for one over another, I’m just going to give you a run-down of how we do it in Minx World.

I love my devices.  Between  my Kindle and my iPad (with both the iBooks and Kindle apps), I love how much technology is stored at my fingertips at any given moment.  (I even have the apps on my iPod touch, so it can literally be in my pocket!)  I store a lot of books on these devices.  However, I also love books in general, and I like having them about.  They’re beautiful, they’re fun to decorate with, and sometimes there’s just nothing better than flipping through the pages of an actual book.  So, we do both.

For reference books, like The Breastfeeding Book, I like to have a digital copy.  I am a Breastfeeding educator, and within my circle of friend and associates, I often field Breastfeeding questions.  When helping a mother, I like to have this book (as well as many others) around to reference if I need additional information not off the top of my head, and it makes far more sense (to me) to have it in my purse, than to have to return a phone call when I’m back at home and can pull out a book that I need to reference.

For fiction, fun-to-read books, I’ve moved into digital format, because I typically would buy those books in paperback form, knowing that they were a once-or-twice read, and I didn’t want to spend the money on the hardback versions.  Now that I have access to digital books – these are also on my list of digital information, because paperback books just become clutter in my household, so once I am done reading a digital book, it just disappears into the cloud of archived books.  I can still pull it back onto my devices if I want to read it again, and I’m not shuffling paperback books off to charity or the library every few months.

For Magazines – I’ve gone digital, hehe.  Magazines are an indulgence that have contributed to a massive amount of paper in and out of my house for years.  I read a few per month.  Most of the magazines that I read have digital subscriptions available, and are simply downloaded to my devices each month when a new issue is out, but there are a few holdouts.  For these, I treat them the same as I do catalogs.

As I’m flipping through a magazine or catalog, looking at pictures for inspiration or reading articles, if I stumble upon pictures that I love, I slip it into my scanner and plunk it into a folder that fits its theme.

This got a bit lengthy, so I’ll cut it off here, but hopefully that helps plant some ideas in your head that can help you conquer the Paper Monster.  Later this week, I’ll talk about other digital information storage.

How about you?  What are some of your solutions to paper?

I’m linking up to:


Lean Body Challenge

Well, hello.  Today’s post isn’t about my house, it’s not a quick fly-by anecdote about my Monkey, or The Fiance.  Today’s post is about a much more important home to me:  It’s about my body.

Exactly 30 days ago, I started a 28-day diet and lifestyle modification program called the 28 Day Lean Body Challenge.  The woman who offers this program (and other phenomenal lifestyle/nutrition coaching services) is a lady named Sirena Bernal.   She is a client of mine, and I’ve been working with her for months, watching all of these other people go through it, but I had yet to commit to trying it for myself.

However, for July’s challenge, I decided to not only to participate myself, but to rope The Fiance into giving it a try with me.  You see, I felt the tasks that I completed for Sirena weren’t taxing, but I also felt like perhaps I wasn’t relating to the participants in a way that I could – in a way that would truly help me to understand the basic needs of the ladies who participate.  Also – I felt like I really needed to make some lifestyle changes.

So, the tables were turned.  I found myself on the other side of the measuring tapes, on the receiving end of Sirena’s advice, humor, and wisdom, and this is what my journey was like:

Days 1-7:  I was going to nail this.  I felt like I had a clear advantage, since I worked directly with Sirena each day.  I had constant available contact, I had the benefit of weekly phone calls and daily emails.  I wanted to be enthusiastic for The Fiance, so I felt my creative juices pumping in the kitchen.  I was so worried that he would feel deprived, or defeated, or unhappy with this choice that I had asked him to participate in, that I was killing it each day in the kitchen preparing amazing treats that were “LBC-Friendly” in hopes that he would think it wasn’t so bad.

I diligently took pictures of nearly everything that we ate..  I uploaded them to the private FB group of these ladies, proof that I was sticking to the plan, and also as inspiration for pretty, healthy meals.  I know how much I benefit from a photograph of inspiring food, and I hoped that they did, too.

I got up each morning and did my morning work out.  However, I found inside that I was battling some frustrations that I thought maybe meant that I was lazy… or too fat or out of shape to make this work.  I think it was Day 4 that I lounged in bed until nearly 11 a.m.  Why?  Was I just that tired, having cut out my beloved Diet coke?  No.  I wasn’t tired.  I didn’t want to get out of bed because I didn’t want to do my exercises.  I knew, with that being the first thing on my list of things to accomplish, that if I didn’t get up, I didn’t have to start yet.   So, I just willed myself back to sleep.  Finally, I got up and did them, and felt like my mood all day was pretty terrible.

I was mad.  I was mad that I had to do exercises before I started my day.  I was mad that I couldn’t just flop down at my computer, do what I was good at and not have to struggle.  I was good at:

  • Cooking.  Even within the confines of dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free meal plans, I was gooin the kitchen.
  • All-things computer.  What do you MEAN having a “desk job” isn’t optimal?  I am GREAT behind a desk!
  • Finding humor, even when making bad choices.  I typically described the taste of Diet coke as “tastes like God’s love.”  There was definitely nothing funny at all about not having any Diet Coke – or caffeine at all, for that matter.

I was NOT good at:

  • Exercising first thing in the morning.  Wait, wait – let’s be honest.  Exercising at all, really.  The idea of doing a half million lunges (which is how I viewed my wake-up call in the beginning) and holding myself in the push-up position wasn’t my idea of a good time.  The fact that it came in the beginning of the morning also meant that I wasn’t doing it to its full benefit, because I was just trying to get it done so I could check it off of my to-do list, not really embracing it.
  • Adapting to life without flour.  Okay, fine.  I can’t  have pasta.  I was dealing with that.  I can’t have milk or cream in sauces.  Dealing with that, as well.  But flour?  NO FREAKING FLOUR?  What will I replace it with?  Almond flour was a poor substitute – it was heavy and not the silky, smooth texture in my mouth that flour provided.
  • Being accountable.  I felt like I gave up all ownership of my choices for a while.  I was dutifully logging in my food journal, for Sirena’s viewing pleasure.  I was consulting The Fiance on every single thing we were putting into our mouths, and I was carrying on a constant dialogue with My Monkey about the choices that I was making and explaining 459 times per day why we couldn’t have ice cream.

On Day 7, The Fiance and I went to dinner with the In-laws.  Going to dinner was different.  Instead of choosing a fatty, cheesy appetizer we chose sweet potato fries.  2 Fries in, I was sure they were coated in something and fried.  I ate them anyway, remembering Sirena’s advice that stressing about food was more detrimental than just having a couple of bites of something that wasn’t optimal.  Luckily, the fries were so great that everyone at the table was eating them in pretty rapid succession.  Also, Monkey needed to be taken to the bathroom while they were on the table, so by the time I got back, there weren’t many.   So, just a few fries made it into my mouth.  No biggie.

I ordered a steak (I’m not a big meat eater), and asked for no sour cream in my potatoes.  I had some vegetable on the side (I forget which) and the meal itself was technically within the confines of the LBC guidelines, so I felt like I could relax and just enjoy it.  I promptly finished everything on my plate.

Getting into the car, I remarked to The Fiance that I felt overfull…  And that I hadn’t had that feeling in a week – it felt comforting.  However, we got home at 6:30 and I went straight to bed and fell asleep, remaining in bed until the following morning.  Overfull wasn’t a comforting feeling – it was just a familiar feeling.  It was UNcomfortable, to be honest, but it was something I routinely felt prior to that week.  That was my first lesson in emotional comfort vs. physical comfort.

Days 8-14: I stopped writing in my food tracker.  I’d missed a day on a day that I was particularly busy, and so it loomed over me.  I couldn’t just jump back in where I left off, because I had make-up work to do.  The more I put it off, the more upset it got to be.  After 3 days, I no longer remembered what I’d eaten, so I felt like going back and retroactively updating it was a lost cause – it wouldn’t be accurate, it wouldn’t be perfect.  So I didn’t do anything at all, because I didn’t want to be imperfect.

I had the greatest of intentions.  I wanted to do this right for Sirena.  I wanted to be the picture of success for her.  I wanted to lead by example for The Fiance and show him the ropes, because he deferred to me as someone who was far more familiar with the program.  I wanted to showcase success for the other participants, inspire them to create, love, taste with renewed energy.  But none of it was for me.  I realized then that I had approached this all wrong.

Days 15-21:  I stopped.  I don’t mean I stopped sticking to the program – The Fiance and I were still trucking along, remaining faithful and accountable to each other.  However, I stopped communicating with the outside world about my food, my feelings, my choices.  This wasn’t for them, it was for me.  And by opening up to the world, I was also taking on the responsibility of their investment into my outcome.  If I was going to succeed it had to be only because I was accountable to myself.  The Fiance and I were gearing up to spend 3 months largely apart.  I would only be seeing him a few times per month.  If I didn’t do this for me, what would stop me from falling into my old habits when he wasn’t around and then only being “good” when I was being watched?

Nope.  This couldn’t be about someone else being proud of me.  It couldn’t be about the scale or the measuring tape or the food pictures on Facebook.  It couldn’t even be about Sirena’s feedback.  It had to just be me.  I had a responsibility to myself to find peace.  I had a responsibility to my own body to treat it with love and respect because I wanted to; not because I didn’t want to let other people down.

Days 16-27: I was on my own for the first time in the LBC.  The Fiance and I spent the first three weeks together, but this final week – I was alone.  I had to make those choices without a watchful eye.  I had to stop being angry at food and angry with myself.  So, that final week of the Lean Body Challenge, I withdrew into my own feelings and processed how I was doing – how I wanted to be doing.  I learned several things during that reflective week:

  • A few minutes of meditation before my morning work out made my morning work out more enjoyable.  Just sitting, quietly, breathing and allowing my mind to wake up and talk to my body helped me hear what my body was saying to me as I was doing the exercises.  I wasn’t just stumbling through them, bleary-eyed and angry, trying to do them as fast as I possibly could.
  • My inner toddler has temper tantrums that food doesn’t solve.  Yes, when I would throw an internal fit, it could be temporarily subdued by having some macaroni and cheese, or a Diet coke, but – how was that any different than giving an actual toddler a cookie each time they threw themselves on the floor?
  • Just like an actual toddler, when I was unhappy on the inside, it was usually an exterior source of frustration.  Am I truly upset that I can’t have bread before dinner, or am I angry with myself for poor choices in the past?

At the beginning of the challenge – Sirena makes each personal an individual manual.  When I read mine, she had written this:

Along with sleep, I want you to really, really, (like really) focus on finding forgiveness in yourself.  I know it is not easy, but I feel this will help you along your journey.

When I first read it, I got teary.  It’s easy to forgive other people.  For me, anyway.  I forgive and love very easily.  It’s even been fairly easy to forgive myself at times, when I’ve made a mistake that hurt someone else.  Maybe because it’s easy to understand the repercussions of your actions when you see the pain in another person.  But choices that I have made that only harmed ME…  I hadn’t forgiven those.  Why? Because I hadn’t acknowledged my pain.  Because I hadn’t bothered to realize that it’s not okay to hurt me.  It’s not okay when someone else hurts me, and it’s not okay for me to hurt me.

Once I sat and realized that these choices DID have consequences, and that hurting myself WAS something real… it was time to set aside some love for me.  Love and forgiveness to heal those hurts.  Love and forgiveness to like the person I saw in the mirror each morning.   Not because she’s thin.  Not because she’s intelligent, or witty, or giving.  The girl in the mirror deserves my love for simply being.

Day 28: I did it.  I did what I didn’t really start out believing that I could do.  What did I do?  I didn’t just stick to a diet for 28 days.  I released some of my guilt and made a promise to myself that I would continue to forgive.  I took ownership of my body and began to believe in myself.  How could I possibly have thought before this that a slice of cheese was more powerful than my own resolve?


My body is strong.

I have grown 2 children inside it.

I have nursed 2 babies and sustained their lives solely with my body.

I have beaten ovarian cancer.

I have mourned and grieved and my body carried me through the days I never wanted to have.

My body is a machine and I should fuel it.

My body is my best friend.

I deserve to feel good, I deserve to feel proud, and I deserve to feel in control.

This was never about food.