Coffee, Cooking and Connecting

After a blogging break it’s always tempting to catch up on everything that’s been happening since my last post, but if we’re connected through social media you already know that I’ve been cooking up some amazing fall recipes, traveling and spending time with friends and family, reading a great American novel and knitting like a champ. (How did I ever drink iced coffee without a cup sweater?)

Cooking and Knitting

During my time “off” from the blogosphere I’ve been searching for opportunities to create change in my life. I’ve decided to make some professional changes, and I’ve faced moments of self-doubt, stress and challenges. I’ve also felt some relief, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the horizon.

If you’re reading this I hope all is well for you, and I’m looking forward to connecting more with everyone soon!


Ask the Questions, and I’ll Give the Answers When I’m Ready

Over the last several months I’ve been asked why I blog and why I share my life so openly through social media, and I’ve been reflecting on those questions and my answers.

First, I think it’s important to note that I don’t say nearly as much as I used to online. I’ve been writing here for nearly 7 years. I stopped sharing as much as I used to for a few reasons:

  • Sometimes sharing my feelings isn’t worth opening myself up to criticism from strangers
  • When I got involved in a loving and accepting faith community I no longer felt as compelled to seek out virtual support because I could just get a hug from a friend if I needed one
  • I no longer need the constant validation that I once got from pouring out my feelings here
  • There are folks in the blogosphere who constantly yammer on about tolerance, yet they’re harsh when they come here to spew their intolerant nonsense
  • I stopped losing weight and started gaining instead, which made me feel like a piece of crap who doesn’t deserve to blog here anymore
  • Sometimes I don’t want people to think I’m struggling even though I am, and that’s where it gets dangerous for me

As a result of changes, personal growth and let’s be honest, embarrassment, I don’t share as much as I once did, but I’m still relatively open about my life because I don’t want to revert back to my old habits. And there are some pretty specific reasons for that too.

  • When I bottle up my feelings they eventually explode into an emotional mess.
  • It is very easy for me to let pride take over, and when that happens I don’t let anyone in.
  • Often times when I stop writing I turn to food
  • It’s much more cathartic to write here than it is to day dream about punching people in the throat. (Okay, I’m kidding…I don’t actually want to throat punch anyone, at least most of the time.)
  • it allows me to release my feelings, look at them in black and white and recognize that it’s not as bad as it seems.

Blogging may not be for everyone, but sometimes it helps me. On days like today, when my heart feels shattered by the harshness of reality, I come here because at one point there were people ready to remind me that I’m okay.

I know God loves me, and I wish I had the patience to wait on Him to heal my heart. Ultimately, that’s what I’ll do, but I’m not going to pretend I’m okay on days in which I’m not okay. And today, I’m not okay.

I could use a hug from friends and family, but I’m not with them. Instead I’m sitting in a hotel room alone, lamenting the fact that there’s no one here to hug me and kiss away my tears.

I’m worn out, and I’m hanging on to the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Until then…




Kenlie’s Personal Life Inventory

During my blogging break I did some journaling with a pen and paper, and I started with an inventory of my life.

Kenlie's Life on Paper

I faced my past a long time ago, but there are still periods in which I recall very little. There are also parts that I don’t like to think about, and I’ve decided that’s okay. My guess is that most of us have memories that we love to remember and others that we wouldn’t mind forgetting. That’s life, isn’t it?

Dad helped me develop the timeline because there was a lot that I didn’t recall. I talked about the list I made with Mom and Dad, and It was enlightening to compare my view of the past with the views of my parents.

Looking back on the past doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I faced it and realized that it wasn’t so bad. Sure, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, but I also reached a point in which I forgave myself.

Writing it all out on paper made allowed me to examine it without anxiety or shame, and now I’m back to looking at the present and the future.

My past is part of who I am, but that’s all it is. It doesn’t define me, but it does encourage me to do what I can to live a life of happiness and fulfillment now.

Have you ever looked back at your past in this way? Did it help you?








In My Kitchen

I did some baking over the weekend, and it was the first time my kitchen has smelled like fall this year. After grocery shopping Sunday I decided to make use of the pumpkin I bought, so I attempted to make pumpkin scones like the ones I saw at Starbucks last week.

pumpkin scones

They’re not low calorie, but knowing how many calories are in each one helped me stay on track. It also urged me to give most of them away! Ha..

They were so delicious that I promptly invited neighbors over to share them, so I could bake without being tempted to over eat my delicious treats. And they were a hit!

corn and beans

This simple dish is packed with protein and healthy fats, and it keeps me feeling full for hours.

I’ve been spending more time at home over the last month or so, and I’ve cooked a lot of healthy meals. I’ve also been doing meal prep, so that I can reach the little goals I’ve set.  It seems to be working well, and I’m rediscovering foods that I used to love. 

Breakfast is simple because I’m at home. I eat oatmeal, and lately I’ve been adding an egg and half a cup of milk before I cook it. It’s easy, delicious and filled with protein, which makes it my go-to meal in the mornings.

egg and oatmeal

I topped it with almonds and a tablespoon of brown sugar. It wasn’t low calorie, but it kept me satisfied all morning!

For lunch I typically make sandwiches on whole grain bread for the significant man that I vaguely mention here sometimes. We usually eat them with fruit and veggies, and sometimes we share a serving of chips too. (He knows that I don’t like eating sandwiches without chips. Am I the only one who feels this way?)

I’ve also made a few meals that aren’t as healthy, but I eat reasonable portions of those too. Last week I made BBQ Shrimp, which isn’t BBQ-ed at all. I impressed myself with this dish because it tasted like an authentic New Orleans meal, which it was.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

I made it again over the weekend for my family, and they loved it too.

I also made a killer, lightened up grilled cheese sandwich last week and paired it with tomato soup and an ounce of kettle chips. (Seriously, is there any other way to eat a grilled cheese?)

grilled cheese

Sometimes you just need to make a gooey grilled cheese…

This week has consisted of roasted chicken, beef, chicken and broccoli stir-fry and other delicious things. I’ve skipped the calorie-laden lattes (for the most part) and enjoyed unsweet tea and iced coffee. (I love sugar, but not in my tea or coffee. Weird, I know.)

I have healthy snacks like mixed nuts, Laughing Cow Babybel wedges and more. I’m feeling good about the things that are happening in my kitchen, and I like seeing the the numbers on the scale as they go down.

What are you cooking up this week?


Fat Shaming Is A Thing, But It’s Not A Helpful Thing

Fat shaming has never made anyone healthy…ever. I doubt that it has ever made anyone skinny either, and before I go any further, I want to highlight the fact that these adjectives are not synonymous with each other.

Being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy, and being fat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhealthy. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, resting heart rate, etc. is all excellent now. There are a lot of risk factors associated with someone my  size, but you can’t judge a person’s health based on how they look.

You can’t look at me and know that I significantly reduced my chances of having a heart attack or stroke by dropping a significant amount of weight or that I exercised today, nor can you know that I’ve struggled to keep a lot of it off because of thoughts that swirl around in my mind. You can’t know the reasons why.

One of a few significant reasons is that I allowed an airline’s perception of me to take up space in my mind. I allowed one seemingly disgruntled gate agent’s blanket prejudice to define me long after his hurtful comments were an old headline in the news, and it didn’t cause me to lose weight. I didn’t thrive off of the negative attention that followed his comments either; I caved.

I take responsibility for that. I am the only one who can make a decision to change or to let others define me, and I accept that. It’s all on me to change what I need to change for myself, but if fat shaming worked I’d be skinny by now.

On of the reasons that I stopped blogging as much is that I no longer wished to put myself on a chopping block for trolls who think I shouldn’t exist or that I don’t have a right to share my story because I’m obese. That’s nonsense, of course, but eradicating that negativity has been good for me.

I’ve been quiet here for quite some time. I’ve shared opinions, pissed people off and taken a break, but that break is over because it’s time to stand with other voices and to say, Hey, it’s none of your beeswax if I’m fat or not. Your opinion of me doesn’t define me; it defines you.”


I’m not skinny…not even close, but I love myself.

I’m lucky to have a supportive group of people in my life who love me and accept me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to undo the damage that I allowed to take root in my heart and mind when I allowed society’s opinions to define who I was.

I gained a significant amount of weight that I had lost, and I’ve felt a lot of shame as a result. Never has that led to a lower number on the scale. It doesn’t work that way, nor should it.

The last few weeks have been healthier and more successful for me because I’m enjoying my life. I’m reclaiming a lot of the confidence I lost thanks to my friends and family, a significant other who loves to remind me that I’m brilliant and sexy, and I’m making healthier decisions because it makes me feel good (not because people think I should feel bad.)

I don’t hate myself, so that will never be a driving force in my fight for better health. I exercised today because I value my life. I shopped for groceries and prepared for a healthy week of meals because I want to be around for a long time to love people, and I can only hope (and assume) that these small positive steps will lead to other positive steps.

If you truly care about my health go for a walk in the park with me, or take me to lunch and order something healthy and delicious. There are people in my life who do that. There are people who want me around for a long time, and they offer support, not criticism.

I’m not going to link to that newest fat shaming video that’s making its way around the internet  because plenty of others are doing that. I don’t know when it became acceptable to spew hatred on social media, but I do know that there’s no end in sight.

I do know that the responsibility for my life falls on me, not on a skinny girl who could benefit from some acting classes or a gate agent who was probably having a really crappy day. I get to decide what I’m worth. I’m just sorry that I didn’t always know that.

At our core, we’re all the same. We desire to be loved and accepted (even the jerks who spew hatred…especially the jerks who spew hatred.) One important lesson I’ve learned is that I’m lovable, and I don’t have to care if others agree with that or not.





What Does Blogging Actually Accomplish?

I’d like to think that at some point my blog had a powerful effect on someone, and I think it did…on me. I’m not convinced that it’s good for anything else though, and at this point (for a long time now) I’ve wondered whether or not it’s good for me.

I’ve discussed a lot of topics over the years, and I’ve received a lot of amazing comments and insights from people, many of whom have similar goals and desires. I love communicating on various levels with people who live differently than I do. Rarely do I have a desire to change anyone’s mind (on my blog or in person,) but I do like engaging and widening my perspective.

My last post, in which I respectfully shared my views (apart from my title hook) made me think about whether or not my voice is benefitting anyone (myself included,) and the answer, at least in this case, is no.

I stand by the things I said, but what good does it do to come here and share my opinion? Everyone has one; why do I blog about mine? I started to keep myself accountable not caring whether anyone ever read it or not, then I continued because I enjoyed the constant onslaught of encouragement and attention. Now I do it because sometimes I have things to say, recognizing that not many will see it anyway.

I like to share my thoughts, views and opinions, but my goal has never been to hurt anyone in the process. As an American I have a right to say whatever I want to say, and I think it’s only fair for those who demand tolerance to offer it equally. Having that right doesn’t mean that I should always act on it, and the fact is, I rarely do.

It’s fine to disagree with me. I don’t share my thoughts here to elicit specific thoughts or opinions. I share them because they’re my thoughts and opinions. We are facing some serious issues in this country, and it’s important to acknowledge them. It’s even more important to do something constructive to change it, and I’m actively trying to do that in my community.

I have a separate blog to talk about what God’s doing in my life, but the same message applies here. Colossians 3:17 says,

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It’s pretty clear than I have a right to share my thoughts and opinions, but I need to be more conscious about what I feel and why I do. I’m asking God to change my heart, to help me see myself and others the way He sees me. He offers grace, mercy, forgiveness and a clean slate. I want to be the kind of person who does the same, so if my last post hurt you, I’m sorry.

Until next time…




Enough with the Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality Stuff, Or Why It’s Not Going To Work That Way

Before I share my thoughts I’d like to note that I’m half (yes, 50%) American Indian, and I’m obese. I face harsh and unfiltered discrimination on a regular basis, and I’m actively working on changing the tide (starting with myself.)

I mentioned my chat with Senator Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago, and while I don’t agree with a lot of his political views, I’m pissed about what happened in Seattle on Saturday.

The senator and presidential hopeful was there for a rally that was disrupted and ultimately shut down by Black Lives Matter “activists” who stormed the stage, showing a complete lack of respect for the senator and for the thousands of people who waited all day to hear him speak. 

Of course black lives matter; I have zero tolerance for those who disagree. The fact is all lives matter, and it’s ridiculous and sad that there are people in this nation who disagree.

There’s a serious race issue in this nation that needs to be addressed, but it’s no longer one-sided. Misdirecting anger toward one elected official who actively fights for civil rights seems like a dumb move to me.

Note to the “activists” who showed no remorse for their blatant disregard of everyone else: If you really want to affect change, try showing some respect, as opposed to acting like tempermental lunatics on a stage that isn’t yours. 

And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t believe that everyone should be forced to be a woman, but I don’t see the problem in being on either.

I have friends who are transgender, and I understand and empathize with their struggle to find contentment because I am keenly aware of the difficulty associated in feeling different than everyone around you. Moving away from gender-based signs is a separate issue.

When I was growing up I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my dad’s sermon notes and highlighters. I wanted to be a consultant or an analyst before I was old enough to label myself as such. It didn’t matter to me if my blocks were pink and purple or if they were primary colors. I liked Lincoln Logs and Barbies, though my versatility never led to gender identity issues.

Society (myself included) has become so incredibly weak and overly sensitive that I fear we’ve forgotten that our differences make the world go around.

Men and women are different. We just are. When did that become such a deplorable and unacceptable thing?



Hurricane Katrina Wasn’t As Bad As This

According to WWL, the local CBS affiliate here in New Orleans, New Orleans has already experienced 112 murders this year. At this time last year the number was 78, so our rate is rising exponentially.

Murders in NOLA

As I looked at the map they released earlier this week I noticed that none have occurred in my neighborhood, but it’s sad and scary to think about how many people are facing tragic losses in this little city.

When I left New York I considered it “home,” but now I feel at home in New Orleans. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea to live in a place that is so riddled with crime. We’re talking about murders now, and the numbers are astronomical, but robberies and non-fatal attacks are on the rise as well. It makes me wonder about the state of the city.

You can’t spend a day among people in New Orleans without hearing about how awful Hurricane Katrina was. I didn’t live here at the time, but my family did. The city, which is widely known for its resilience, was able to rebuild, heal and grow. The hurricane was devastating, but it ended.

Crime never stops, and it’s much worse than anywhere else I’ve lived. When a hurricane is coming we can prepare for that, but no one is adequately prepared to lose a family member or a friend to violence. I wasn’t prepared when a gun was pointed in my face a couple of months ago.

New Orleans has the opportunity to thrive, but people like me will be forced to find a new place to grow if the crime rates continue to rise. I love this city, but I value my life and my safety more.

When I chatted with Senator Bernie Sanders last week before his rally, we discussed gun control. (I talked about it here,) but stricter gun laws won’t fix the problem. Instant background checks isn’t the answer either, though I support that.

I wish I had an easy answer, but I don’t. No one does, but I think it’s important to pay attention to who’s being appointed and who we’re electing, particularly at a local level because that’s where change is most likely to happen.

What is crime like where you live? Do you fear for your safety in your community?

Family, Love Updates, Grown Up Coloring and Hand Knitting

Last week had some bright moments and some not so bright moments. I talked about the rough part here last week, and I’m happy to say that we talked today. I didn’t know that I was going to see him, but I’m glad I did. I was able to share my thoughts and feelings (and French press) with him, and I was filled with a sense of relief when I saw him. He was relieved and happy to see me tooI don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happier today than I’ve been in the last week.

The fun parts of last week came as a result of my sister and nieces. They visited Mom’s house, so I spent most of my time there.

Baby Niece

oldest niece

We did some cool stuff in my neighborhood too. My friend, who is a veterinarian at Audubon, brought us behind the scenes and let my nieces feed the giant turtle. We watched them feed the stars as well, and we ran around in the fountains after that.

New Orleans Aquarium

They headed back home Friday evening, so I returned home and caught up on things that I didn’t do during the week. I went to church, spent time with friends, and did some meal planning.

I went to an Outcry concert last week too, which featured some of my favorite Christian artists including Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Hillsong and more. My friends and I sat in a suite, which is my favorite way to enjoy any event (except Pearl Jam because I need to be in the front row for that.)

I also decided to join the grown up coloring book craze. I colored with my nieces last week, but I picked up an adult book at Michael’s too. It’s fun and relaxing, and i finished my first page today.

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Sunday afternoon I decided to try something new, so I signed up for a hand knitting class at Michaels. It was an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon, and I left with a finished infinity scarf. I already know how to knit, but I did this without needles. Actually, I used my wrists and hands as if they were needles, which was an interesting and easy concept.

hand knitting Michaels

It looks like a loose braid.

Last week I said that I was going to focus on all of the positives in my life, and I did that. I’m thankful that there are so many reasons to enjoy life, and I’m looking forward to the month of August. It’s typically the hottest month in New Orleans, so I’ll be okay with it when it’s over. I’m also ready to start school again even though I enjoyed the summer break.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I have some things to figure out, but I feel hopeful. I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep a lot better tonight too.


Grocery Shopping and Racist Remarks at Wal-Mart

I was inspired to do some meal planning and grocery shopping over the weekend because my goal for the next week is to prepare every meal and snack at home. I’m healthier when I do that, but it does require a bit more effort and planning than I’ve been accustomed to lately.

I don't know if I'll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn't buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

I don’t know if I’ll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn’t buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

It’s much easier to eat out since I’m often 15 or 20 minutes from home when it’s time to eat dinner. It’s also easier to order take out on my way home at the end of a long day than it is to go home and cook, but that convenience has led to major weight gain on my part.

Saturday I went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. I prefer to go to Target or Whole Foods, but I have a gift card (that I forgot to use.) It was also easier for my aunt, who’s here with my uncle because he’s in the hospital, to get what she needed there.

When the cashier was ringing me up she laughed at the way I shop. I don’t use plastic bags for my produce, but I used one for the chicken breast that I bought. I apologized for inadvertently creating more work for her and explained that I didn’t want to waste bags for produce because they’d end up in the trash as soon as I got home, but I definitely don’t want chicken juice all over everything.


I thought that was pretty solid reasoning, but she laughed, pointed at the iced mocha latte in my cart and said, “You’re young and white, baby. It’s all good.” I can’t imagine what my skin color has to do with my shopping methods, but I think it’s nice that she thought I was young. I don’t think she said it to be offensive; it was just an odd response.

Am I the only one who skips the bags when buying produce? Do you think socioeconomic status  plays a role in our shopping habits?