Looking Back and Being Thankful

A few years ago, shortly after I moved to New Orleans, Mom gave me a crystal, pumpkin-shaped candy dish. I loved the pumpkin, but I didn’t want to fill it with candy because I’d eat it. So I decided to fill it with notes about why I’m thankful instead.
Kenlie Thanksgiving It was surprisingly easy to fill the pumpkin with reasons to be thankful, and I spend a lot of time reflecting on that all year.

I added to the pile last year using a different format, but it it was so much fun looking through things that made my happy and grateful in prior years.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year too, so maybe I should make a new compilation of blessings. Does anyone else do that? If so, how to do reflect on them?

What’s Happening In Your World?

I really enjoyed and appreciated reading the wonderful responses to my last post, and it made me reminisce about the days in which I hosted ‘Friend Makin’ Mondays.” I also like “Thoughtful Thursdays,” and I decided that it was okay to write in a similar style today.

I’d love to see your responses to these questions in the comments or on your own blog. If you decide to answer please let me know, so I can head over and read your responses.

Here’s what’s happening in my world:

  1. What’s the title of the last book you read? I just finished “The Great Gatsby,” and now I’m back to reading “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer and “LoveSmart” by Dr. Phil. (Uh, judge me if you will. I probably would, but one of my lovely and well-respected friends suggested it. I’m also reading through The Bible in its entirety this year. I’m about 76% through it so far, which feels awesome for a number of reasons.
  2. What is the last thing you cooked at home? I baked an acorn squash, but technically speaking, the last thing I cooked was the divinity fudge that I made last night. It was my first attempt since moving to New Orleans, and while it wasn’t pretty, it came out very well!

    Thankfully, I'm not really tempted to eat this stuff. There's too much sugar in it (even for me.)

    Thankfully, I’m not really tempted to eat this stuff. There’s too much sugar in it (even for me.)

  3. What is your favorite thing about Fall? I love all. things. pumpkin!!!!! There, I said it. #SorryNotSorry
  4. Share one thing that challenged you at some point over the last week. I applied for a job that would be an incredible fit, and writing the cover letter was a challenge. It’s always challenging for me to eloquently say, “Hey, I’m awesome! Pick me! Pick me!”
  5. List three hobbies that you actively pursue or want to pursue. I knit, sing and read often. I enjoy a lot of other things as well.
  6. Did you watch the Democratic debate on CNN last week? Yep. It was fun to see Bernie in action across from Hillary. Even though I’m not a part of his camp (because we have differing views on some major issues) I still think he’s awesome because he was so respectful and searched for common ground in our conversation.
  7. Which company do you use for car insurance? I switched to Geico earlier this year, and I’d love to know who you all use and whether or not you’re satisfied with your choice.
  8. Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Yes. I found matching sugar/gingerbread cookie pajamas for my nieces, and I’m also knitting a new items that I plan to give as gifts as well. Last night I watched my first Christmas movie of the season.
  9. Share three things about the last person you spoke to today. 1) His name is Chris 2) We met in 2007 when we both lived in New York, and now we both live in other states. 3) He made homemade gummy candies recently, which was adorable. Now I’m totally going to make them too!
  10. Do you remember your dreams? I do sometimes. I’ve had some vivid ones lately!

Harsh Reality and A Warning

When I was at my heaviest I started having issues with my feet, and for a period of a few months I was seeing a podiatrist to get cortisone injections on my heels. It hurt so much to walk that I struggled to do little things like shop at big stores, walk out to my car in the snow, etc.

When my niece was born in 2009 I flew to Colorado and cried for hours when I arrived because my feet were so swollen that I couldn’t put on any of my shoes to go and see my family at the hospital. Even my big pair of Uggs, which I bought a size bigger than usual, was too tight to put on.

The pain was intense, and at that point I had lost about 12 pounds. I felt hopeful, but I also felt terrified. I knew that I didn’t want to live that way, and over the next few years I worked to change it.

It only took about 2 months of consistent weight-loss to make me realize that I no longer felt any pain in my feet. In fact, the constant ache was replaced by a spring in my step. I started feeling great, and life got much easier and more enjoyable at that point.

The sad, embarrassing and scary truth is that as I was rehearsing to lead worship at church today I felt pain in my heel. It was mild, and by no means did it keep me from running around all day. But it still hurts tonight.

I’m not at my heaviest weight now, but I’m close enough that it scares to think about how easy it would be to get there. I’ve gained so much weight over the last 2 years, and I don’t like it.

I’ve experienced feelings of failure and defeat, but I also realize that control is within my reach whenever I’m ready to grab it.

My habits were better in September than they’ve been in a long time, but after some emotional turmoil and stress I felt myself slipping again.

I never want to step on the scale and see the number I saw the first time I walked into Weight Watchers, which means I need to get serious. I’m committed to counting calories, and I need to work out at least 3 – 4 times a week.

I don’t want to be who I was before. I didn’t like her very much because she loathed herself too much to try. She gave up easily until she realized she was worth fighting for.

I’m worth fighting for, and I’m going to spend the next month obnoxiously posting about my workouts, food intake and everything else that I usually post about on Instagram.

It’s ridiculous to start over again and again, but it’s better than not trying. There are some cool things on the horizon, and it’s time to make sure that I’m healthy and happy enough to enjoy it.

Is anyone else struggling with weight, self-control, etc? Do you have a plan to change it? Are you succeeding? If so, what are you doing to see progress?


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!


The Night Before Life Goes On

Two months ago I wrote a post about the man who held my heart. I talked about the love and affection that he lavished on me, and after several emotional days of thoughtful consideration I decided to give our relationship another try. It was so lovely after that. He was amazingly loving and supportive, and I’ve never felt as desired emotionally and physically by anyone.

Throughout time since the last post I’ve posted status updates and Instagram photos, in a not so subtle attempt to gush about my mushy feelings toward him. I’ve mentioned him here too. I don’t post photos of us, but I have them…sweet, loving photos of us embracing and kissing, and personal ones that make me smile because they remind me of his deep desire for me.

We went out of town a couple of weeks ago, and while we were at dinner we talked about our futures, fears and a myriad of other things. We continued our conversation over coffee, then we sat outside talking before entering the hotel.

He stepped outside while I was in the shower, and when he returned he took the wrong dosage of medicine, causing his blood sugar to drop significantly. (We’re talking diabetic coma low,) and it scared me. His health eventually improved, and he went to sleep. I stayed awake for hours after he slept because his breathing sounded so different than it usually does when he’s sleeping. I love him, and I needed to know he was okay.

I was tired the next day. We argued about something that really bothered me, and I overreacted. He overreacted too, and we didn’t speak again until he walked into our Starbucks on the following Monday. He came to our table and moved his chair close to mine just like he always does, and he asked if it was okay to sit there (after he was seated.) He knew it was okay, and he knew I’d be willing to talk. I was cautious, but I was friendly too. (I’m not going to let anyone change who I am, you know?)

The following day he called and asked if we could meet to talk, and I knew what was coming. His assertions that he loved me and that he was “too invested in our relationship to walk away” had been replaced with silence throughout the prior week.

Surprisingly, I was able to discuss it with him without feeling overly emotional, so he laid out the reasons he thinks we should be “friends.” His reasons included some pretty specific “reasons” that I simply don’t believe, then he said he’d prove it. The thing is, he doesn’t have anything to prove to me. He didn’t like the way I reacted, but it felt as though he was looking for an excuse to end us before that.

I’ve mentioned that he’s significantly older than I am, and the twenty year difference always bothered him. I didn’t mind, but I know that (for other reasons) I’ll be better without him than I would have been with him.

He was extraordinarily attentive while we were together. He made me feel beautiful and desired, and I affected him in a positive way too. We had some incredible moments together, but he was selfish too. I would have done anything to please him or to show him how much I valued him, but he was only willing to do those things on his terms. I think I deserve more than that; I just have to be willing to wait for it.

My heart hurt for a while. It still doesn’t feel good because being around him means there are some ups and downs, but it doesn’t hurt as much as it did yesterday. His mixed signals and gestures bothered me last week, but his selfishness made an overwhelming impact on me yesterday.

My heart feels like glass that has been shattered into tiny pieces, but I realize that it won’t always feel that way for long. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but looking back I recognize that I have wasted love on undeserving men in the past. I have also discovered the incredible courage and resilience that exists in my heart.

I may not be loved by the man who claimed to love me ( at least until recently,) but I am brave. I am quick to to forgive and humble enough to admit when I’m wrong. I am sincere enough to say that I’m sorry when I hurt someone, whether it’s intentional or not, and I’m strong enough to recognize that I will love again.

After a long and difficult day yesterday I was reminded that I am loved. I’m thankful for my friends and family who are always ready to remind me of my worth (even when I can’t see it myself.) I’m also thankful that tomorrow is a new day and that there’s a light at the end of this little tunnel.


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…