The Guy Who Asked Me Out at AutoZone

Earlier this week I had to stop at AutoZone I needed a new brake light, and when I was leaving, another shopper who helped the guy replacing my light asked if I was single.

He caught me off guard with his question, but he explained that he was surprised that there wasn’t a man around to install it for me (apart from the sweet guy at AutoZone who offered to do it for me.)

The guy, who was around 40 years old, asked if he could have my phone number, and after chatting for a few minutes I gave it to him. I figured it couldn’t hurt anything since I’ve been in a dating kind of mood lately, then he called me.

He asked about my life. He wanted to know why I didn’t have a boyfriend, and I didn’t know how to answer that. I mean, the answer seems obvious to me. I have some pretty high standards for anyone who enters my life, and I’m plus-size, which seems to deter a lot of potential significant others.

I went out with a guy couple of times recently who reminded me how to have fun and accept things for what they are, and I’m trying to do just that. My fellow shopper wanted to know why I seemed so surprised that he had asked for my number in the parking lot. He wondered if it was something that rarely happened, in general, and I explained that it was just random and unexpected in the parking lot.

Now I find myself wondering if he assumed that I was surprised because no one asks me out…ever. Obviously, it happens. It’s definitely not something that typically happens so quickly. Guys usually spend some time talking to me before they decide that they want to go out with me.

Now I’m asking myself pointless questions that will unlikely be answered. Did he genuinely find me attractive? Did the guy in the parking lot think that I’d be an easy target because I’m plus-size? Perhaps the answer is yes to both questions, but his inquiries about my reaction make me think that perhaps he thought I was an easy target.

It doesn’t matter because I’m not particularly interested in going out with him. I was much more smitten by the guy that I went out with a couple of times last week.

I know that I’m overthinking the stranger’s reasons, but isn’t that why my blog exists? ;)

 

Slow Cooker Disaster and The End of Caramel Macchiatos

My days are usually pretty busy from start to finish, and Tuesday was no exception. I left home to get some work done at “my office,” which is more accurately described as Starbucks, and I didn’t get back home until almost 10 pm.

When I left I thought I’d be back by around 6 pm, but I had an unexpected conference call that lasted more than an hour and a half among other things. I completely forgot that I had chicken cooking in my Crockpot. Oops!

I planned to make honey chicken with pecans, which was a new recipe, but what I made instead was a disgusting, burnt mess. Thankfully, slow cookers don’t catch on fire (at least right away.)

CrockPot Disaster

I cleaned up the mess and washed away the smell of my fix-it-and-forget-it failure, and I was thankful that I ate dinner before coming home.

And in keeping with feeling thankful, I wore my new Kork-Ease boots yesterday, and I have to say that I love winning beautiful, comfortable boots! Who doesn’t?

Kork-Ease Boots

I finally used my reward drink to order caramel macchiato from Starbucks after almost 40 days of no sugary drinks, and I was disgusted by it.

I knew that I could live without the caramel macchiato because i did it for over a month without much hassle, but I didn’t expect to be completely disgusted by it like I was. I gave the ‘free’ drink away after one sip and reverted back to my unsweetened, caffeine-free passion tea. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but I am thrilled that I’ve broken my macchiato habit.

Starbucks Macchiato Passion Tea

I have no plans to try it with doughnuts anytime soon because they’ve been a trigger food for a long time. Right now they’re not even appealing so I’m just going to roll with that.

Tuesday was a day of failures, but it followed a day of freedom from sugary crap that I craved almost to the point of mild obsession over the summer. I’m calling the day a win and looking forward to Wednesday.

I’m meeting with a friend who’s visiting from the Northeast before taking an exam in my favorite class. Now it’s time to get some sleep before my alarm goes off.

Until later, friends…

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

I love weekends, but this one was one of my favorites lately. Friday evening I had dinner and drinks at a place that has been on my list of places to try with stellar company, then I woke up Saturday morning and learned that I won a pair of Kork-Ease boots via instagram from Feet First, a local shoe boutique.

Kork Ease Boots

I went in that morning and picked out a pair boots with my friend, Michelle, and she bought a great pair of shoes. After that we spent time at the Riverwalk Outlets in my neighborhood. We ate lunch and spent time looking around at various shops, then I met up with another friend who spent the afternoon on my rooftop with me.

It’s been a while since I took advantage of the rooftop, but the weather in New Orleans is beautiful right now. My neighbors and I were joined by my friend, Alonzo, that evening too.

Sunday morning I didn’t attend church. It’s weird to sleep in on a Sunday, but it felt good today. My long time blog friend, Lynn, came into New Orleans, and it was awesome to finally meet her!

Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

We had lunch at one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood, Domenica. I was sad to learn that they had removed my favorite pizza from the menu until I tried the pumpkin pizza. (I know, it sounds odd, but it was amazing!) The pizza, which was loaded with roasted pumpkin and bacon.

Domenica Happy Hour Pizza

When Lynn and her husband headed to the game, I came home and did a little baking and visiting with my neighbors. We watched the Saints win, which was awesome and long overdue and painted my nails for the second time of the day.

OPI Lacquer

“Miami Beet” and “Ski Teal We Drop” by OPI

Lynn brought me two sets of holiday Jamberry wraps, and I can’t wait to wear the Halloween wraps later this week. Has anyone else that I know use Jamberry?

Now it’s time to start a new week, and I’m ready for it. A friend from New York is coming in for a few days, and I’m going to get to spend some time with her Wednesday morning. I’m kind of hoping that there’s more fun coming up in the next few days too.

Now it’s time to get the week started, which means that I’m back to limiting the amount of sugar that I consume. I’m definitely going to hone my goals this week and add some new things to the mix. More on that later.

Until then…

 

 

 

One Month Later

It’s been a few days since I looked at my blog because I’ve been busy with things that are more important, but now it’s time for an update. My aunt, Debbie, came into town last week because her youngest granddaughter, who’s only four years old, has a tumor on her brain. it didn’t look good when she arrived, but after a six hour surgery we’ve learned that she does not have cancer. We’re so relieved, and it feels good to know that she’ll be able to go home without having radiation or anything else that could harm someone as little as she is. She’s laughing and playing now, and it will be years before she understands the severity of what she was facing going into that hospital. Kids are so resilient, and we’re all so thankful that she’s going to be okay.

It has been one month since I have consumed a sugary drink from Starbucks, and the same goes for doughnuts. If you don’t struggle with food, then you may not be capable of understanding how empowered I feel as a result.  That’s okay. You don’t need to. I feel awesome because I’m no longer a slave to caramel macchiatos and fresh glazed doughnuts even though I’m still a regular at Starbucks.

Starbucks New Orleans LA

Shannon and Ariel love coffee as much as I do, and they have helped me stay accountable.

Last week I decided that since I was feeling so good about not eating those sugary things, that I’d add all other sugary things as well. I decided to try one day without consuming sugary snacks, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I decided to try it again the following day, and I was successful in that too. Starting now, for the next month, I’m limiting sweets to Saturdays, but I was mindful of what I ate over the weekend as well because I was reminded of how incredible I feel when I’m in control.

I have a long way to go, but I’ve made more progress in the last month than I have in years. A month ago I was completely fed up and disgusted with myself, and today I feel like there’s hope for me. I’m taking it one day at a time, and I’m happier with myself than I’ve been in a long time as a result.

What’s your trigger?  Do you prefer sweet or savory foods? Do you have any tips for staying in control of your cravings?

 

 

 

Sneaky Addictions

If you asked me if I struggle with addiction, my quick answer would be no. I’m not addicted to alcohol, and I’ve never even contemplated using drugs (with exception of that one time that I considered smoking something at a Pearl Jam show at Bonnaroo.)

Drugs and alcohol don’t do it for me. I enjoy a glass of champagne from time to time, and I’m not opposed to drinking a beer or two at a game or out with friends. It’s just not my thing, but ‘my thing’ definitely exists.

I don’t have caffeine daily, but I have it most days. When I spend a few days away from Starbucks, I get a fairly strong urge to go. It’s safe to say that my new found love for Passion Tango Tea (unsweetened) isn’t going to lead to waking up in an alley somewhere, but I do recognize that I could easily become addicted to Starbucks and those cute little gold stars if I’m not already.

Starbucks Passion Tango Tea

A few days ago I spent about an hour without access to my cell phone, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. At one point, I needed to call Dad, and I couldn’t. I also missed calls from Mom, who seemed a little worried that she couldn’t reach me (because I’m usually so accessible.) I couldn’t post a photo of something cool that I saw on Instagram, nor could I waste time wondering why Facebook wasn’t showing me anything new. I couldn’t text my friends to tell them how crazy it feels to be without my cell phone for an hour. The number of times that I reached for my phone, which wasn’t there, was ridiculous.

I’m addicted to food too, which is a tricky thing. We all need it to survive, but I often crave more of it than I should. I’m learning learning to accept that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying food. I like it. I like the things that we associate with it too – being with friends, celebrations, comfort, etc. I just want to continue trying to control my intake because whether we’re talking about Apple products or coffee or most other things that interest me, moderation is the key to living a healthy life.

Sugar seems to be the basis of my food addiction. I’m not a doctor, but I know my body pretty well. I also know that sugar is hidden in a lot of things, and I’m striving to avoid those things. My avoidance comes from a desire to be healthier and fitter than I am now, and right now that seems more important than eating dessert or using pecan creamer in my coffee.

Right now it feels like I’m headed in the right direction, and I find myself thinking about what else I can do to make progress. I like this phase a lot more than the phase that I was in prior to it. I can honestly say that I’m trying, and I hope to see some results that will motivate me to continue down a healthier path to self-control.

Do you have any addictions that may not seem like a big deal? Do you call it something else?

 

 

 

I Can’t Believe That It’s Been Almost Three Years

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years to the day since Uncle Wesley died. I was pretty lost during that time.  I lacked faith in myself and in God. I struggled with my beliefs, my utter disdain for people in church and my lack of understanding in why someone like Uncle Wesley had to suffer so viscously.  I also struggled with guilt because I was so relieved that my parents were both healthy.

I was in a bad place, and one Sunday after a week that we were’t sure if he would live through, my uncle preached an entire sermon about faith. I talked about it on my blog right after it happened.  He believed in God, and he had faith that God’s will was best until his last breath.  It’s still hard for me to think of the last night that I saw him without getting teary-eyed.  He told Mom that he loved her, and with one tear streaming down his closed eye, he smiled as he went on to meet Jesus.

He knew how I felt about church and God, but he never failed to remind me of God’s love for me. He accepted me even though I was a complete mess, and it was obvious that he was at peace in spite of his imperfect life. I talked about that on my blog as well.

…feeling the peace that surrounds him already and the faith he has as he spends his last few days on earth has truly been a testament of his authentic belief to me.  People professing to be “christians” usually just piss me off, but Uncle Wesley has shown me what an imperfect human’s life should look like at its best and its worst.

I was filled with a lot of bitterness and anger at that time.  I was completely lacking in direction, and I was hanging on to hope by a thread.  I had no idea that the next few years would lead to extraordinary life change, but it did.

In December of 2012 I met my friend, Jeff, at the mall through my friend, Shannon, and I couldn’t have imagined that he’d become such a close friend!  As we stood by the makeup counter at Macy’s (waiting for our friends) he invited me to church.  Here’s how it went:

Jeff: Hey, you should come to church sometime.

Kenlie: Uh, I’ll be friends with you, but I’m not going to your (expletive) church.

Jeff: Okay.

During that conversation I explained to Jeff why I thought GOD was real, but I also explained why there was no way in hell I was going to church.

As a kid, I was in church (or church activities) several times a week. My dad was the pastor so I was there for EVERYTHING whether I wanted to be or not. I had to put a smile on my face and go regardless of what was happening in my life. I had to sing whether I wanted to or not.  I saw good things happen, and I saw a lot of horrible things happen – things that hurt me, things that made me angry. I did what I was told to do because well-behaved kids do that, but I was never overly concerned about GOD’s presence in my life.

After meeting Jeff I spent the next several months going out of my way to curse and drink in front of him. I waited for him to judge me or tell me off, but he didn’t.  Instead we became friends and eventually, because it’s hard to say no to Candi, who is now his wife, I walked into church.

Now it’s no secret that I have a relationship with God. I love Jesus, and I often talk about how incredible it is that He loves me in spite of myself.  Uncle Wesley’s birthday passed earlier this week, and I smiled as I thought about what he would think of me now. The truth is he’d love me now just as he did then, but I wish he was still here so he could see the changes that have taken place in me.

I wish I could tell him that he was right, that I get it now, that I know God loves me, and that I love Him back.  I wish he could be here Sunday as I lead worship at my church because he loved hearing me sing and because he loved worshipping Jesus. I wish I could have conversations with him about faith. I wish we could sing southern gospel together like we did even when I was far from God. I wish I could talk about the verses in the Bible that have impacted me recently.  I just wish he was here.

Uncle Wesley and Me

There’s a lot of hope, peace and contentement when you believe in God. You get to cling to the fact that you’ll see your loved ones again in Heaven. I’m able to acknowledge that what’s happening in Uncle Wesley’s life today is far better than what would be happening if he were still alive.

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since he left earth. My life is different now, more settled…I’ve gained some weight, but I’ve also gained peace, friends who know all of my junk and love me anyway, a church family that is filled with other imperfect people who are working on being faith distributors. I’ve begun the process of healing from a time in which my entire world was rocked. I have a steady routine that I didn’t have back then, and I’m more honest with myself and the people around me than I’ve ever been before.

I miss my uncle, and many people that I love still miss him too. I know, in as much as my human brain can comprehend, that Uncle Wesley is in a far better place where he is.  I know that, but I miss him anyway.

 

 

 

 

Perspective

I rushed across town to get to a private tutoring session on time, and now that I’m here, I’ve learned that the student isn’t coming. This is the frustrating side of making my own schedule. I wouldn’t have had to be here until 7 pm, and it’s hard to make parents understand the inconvenience that I experience when they don’t show up. Perhaps I need to be tougher and less friendly when it comes to business. (Yeah, I know.)

On the bright side, I get a lot of pleasure out of watching kids who are struggling in school learn that they can succeed in the classroom too. Last week one student, who was failing in Algebra and science, made A’s on her exams. She dominated a Spanish exam that we worked on too. A younger boy who struggles with reading and spelling is making A’s now.

I don’t want to be a teacher for a number of reasons, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to be a part of a child’s learning experience. Understanding how they learn makes it easier to succeed, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of watching those lightbulbs go off.

Reflecting on the positive side helps level out the negative side for me.  I’m frustrated today, but I will let it go now. I didn’t have class today, but I have an assignment due. I suppose I’ll take advantage of this time to work on that.

Starbucks New Orleans

Say hello to Zo!

Another plus to being here instead of being at home is that I usually run into friends. I’m meeting several awesome ladies here this evening as well. I’ll just order a pink iced tea and get started on my assignment.

 

 

Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.

IMG_3955

I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?

 

 

 

Giving Thanks and Showing Thanks

I spend a lot of time being thankful for all of the good things in my life, and as the weather gets cooler and the pumpkins start showing up everywhere, I find myself feeling even more thankful for everything in my life.

I’ve been very open about my struggles lately, and one of the best ways that I’ve found to navigate through difficult times is to be thankful for all of the positive things.

I know it’s not the holiday season yet, but I’m starting early with thankfulness this year.  I want to make a positive impact on the people around me too, so I’m getting a head start now.  Here’s a list of things that I plan to do to take the focus off of me and to affect people positively over the next few months:

  • Write a letter to someone on paper or a card, put a stamp on it and mail it.  I love sending and receiving letters and cards in the mail, and one thing that I’m thankful for is that I have friends who enjoy sending cards and thoughtful little gifts.
  • Spend time with someone who may not love this time of year.  I love the holidays, but there are people who don’t feel that way.   Sometimes the holidays remind us of people we’ve lost and/or people who won’t be here to celebrate with us.
  • Spend the afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) in a coffee shop or bookstore simply to enjoy the surroundings.  I do this a lot, but I still wish I did it more often.  I’ve met some awesome people who have amazing stories that I might never have met without taking time to look up from my computer.  (I need to do the latter more, as I am currently sitting in a coffee shop…looking at my computer. Ha.)
  • Take a moment to think about the little things that make life good.  I write a lot, and I think I enjoy it because it helps me focus in on my thoughts, as I have a tendency to think about a million things at once.  This year, instead of filling my glass pumpkin with candy, I am filling it with fall-colored notes about my reasons to be thankful. I did it last year, and now it’s definitely a thing.  One note says, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the worship team at NOLA Church.”  Another says, “I’m thankful for my apartment, its location and the things in it.”  Some of the notes are about really big things while other are small, but when I look at the pumpkin which is stuffed full of blessings, I’m thankful for that too.

Pumpkin

  • Share something you have with a friend.  I like crafty things and baking so making something for someone just because will make everyone feel good.
  • Compliment someone everyday.  I’m pretty good at this already.  I tend to say what I think (when it’s positive) so it’s not weird for me to tell someone what I like about them.  I know that when someone takes time to compliment me, it means a lot.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

I’m not saying that focusing on the positive will eliminate every issue we have, but it will go a long way toward helping us get through it.  Last week in class, my professor said, “Optimism isn’t something that you have; it’s something that you do,” and I’m doing it.