Category Archives: Friends

Blood Work, Parties and Pictures…

My pain level has decreased significantly since my last post, and while I’m not 100% better, I feel well enough to exercise again and do the things I usually do.

My weekend started with friends and colleagues at a work party Friday night when I went to the Sizzling Summer Soiree, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and finally being there felt like a huge success.

Michael and MeMy boyfriend, Michael, was my date for the event (obviously,) and we arrived early with a car load of sushi that had been donated for the event. When we arrived he went to work as if he had been a part of the team forever. I love that about him. He’s incredibly intelligent, bright and successful, but when a job needs to be done he gets it done. No job is beneath him because he values everyone, which is such an attractive characteristic.

He already knows the folks I work with because we’re all friends, and they’ve known him since before we were really dating. The cool thing is that he would have worked just as hard or strangers. His parents definitely raised him right. Swoon.

Stacie and KenlieStacie, who has become one of our aforementioned close friends, worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I know others did too, but I saw the work she did first-hand. We definitely all breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the event come together, then she and I took our first selfie. Seriously, we’ve had some great times together, yet we had never taken a picture? We’ve talked about that a few times.  Aren’t we cute?!

After we took our first one we took a few more with our friends and awesome co-workers. (Why not?! We were all feeling snazzy without our ponytails and gym clothes. Haha We were only missing Haley, who looked gorgeous and sparkly from head to toe! )

YMCA Friends

Michael even took one of us that was not a selfie. Who doesn’t love a good group photo?

The Cannery New Orleans

Following the party Saturday and Sunday were the quietest days I’ve had in quite a while. Michael flew out of town for work early that morning and landed as I was waking up for the day (at 7:30 am) while I ran errands around town before returning home. I typically fill my weekends with activities and events,  but I chose to take a much needed rest from all the things.

I did some writing, cooking, reading, baking and shopping. I also watched Hillary and Kaine as she announced him as her VP and  picked up a ring that I had resized. (More on the ring later.)

I had such a quiet and relaxing weekend that I almost felt guilty about it, then I was reminded that sometimes I need that. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled lifestyle tomorrow, but it felt good to have some rest after the last few weeks. I can’t say that I’ve been busier than usual, but I do have to say that everything feels more tiring and challenging when I don’t feel well.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend. I’m seeing my doctor again on Tuesday, and I hope to have a lot of questions answered pertaining to weight-loss surgery.

Oh, and my blood work came back normal. They tested my A1C (Yay! No diabetes,) thyroid, cholesterol and a long list of other things, and it all looked fine apart from my weight and blood pressure. (Both are higher than they should be, but I’m working on it.) I figured I was probably okay when I didn’t hear back from them immediately, but it’s comforting to know  that I’m alright for the most part anyway.

 

 

 

 

Hello, 36…

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but in a good way. Tonight I actually made it home just as the sun was going down, which allowed me to cook dinner and catch up on The Mindy Project. Does anyone here watch it? It’s definitely my favorite show right now! Suits comes on again next week too, so I’ll have a few things to watch in my free time.

friendsYesterday was my birthday, and it was easily the best one I’ve had so far. I can identify a few reasons for that.

My friends and co-workers made a big deal about it (because they know how much it means to me.) My boss, who has become a close friend, booked a private karaoke room at a sushi bar over the weekend. Um, does she know me or what? I love to sing, and I love sushi. Put me in a room filled with friends, and that makes for a pretty perfect night. I’ve never been in a room full of people who love to sing karaoke as much or more than I do. It was awesome. We need a reason, any reason, to do that again soon. (As you can see I took a few selfies that night, but most of us forgot to take pictures because we were having so much fun.)

Earlier that day my boyfriend and I spent the day with my mom at her house. We ate lunch, played board games and relaxed. I love being close enough to Mom that I can see her often, and I’m really glad she likes my guy. It usually takes her a while to like who I’m dating, but she liked this guy right away. He’s a gentleman. He treats me really well, and she sees it. What’s not to like?

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

Monday I slept in, went shopping with my good friend, Michelle, then went to a dinner party with friends. We never got around to playing board games, but we all had great time. I met a guy who went to the same church I went to in Oklahoma at the same time I was there. He was so familiar to me, and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Tell me the world isn’t small…I just won’t believe you. 😉

Cafe Dumonde New OrleansTuesday, which was my actual birthday, was fun because when I got into work I got flowers from a sweet friend and co-worker and friend. My boss, who’s also one of the most awesome people I know, brought me flowers and a bag of beignets from Cafe Dumonde.

I didn’t do much tracking in my Weight Watchers app this week, but that changes today. It’s hard to stay in the tracking mindset when you’re distracted, but life is busy. I need to make it a bigger priority, so I will now.  I managed to lose weight while my sister and nieces were here, and I kept it under control for the most part throughout the last week.

Michael KorsI’ll go to the meeting tomorrow, but I won’t weigh in because my feet are . It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily. because my feet are so incredibly swollen. It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily.  I’m hoping that they get back to normal soon, but the last few days have been rough! I’m drinking water, but not enough. My Hyrdroflask goes everywhere with me, but I need to fill it up a few more times a day.

 

In addition to my swelling feet I’m having some painful skin irritation issues. I mean, my skin hurts. This is one of the unfortunate effects of being plus-size in New Orleans during the overbearing heat of Summer. It’s hard to exercise because right now it hurts to move, but the only way this will ever go away is if I lose weight and have excess skin removed. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. Now would be the perfect time to find a primary care doctor, but I still haven’t attempted to do that.

I’ve had a stellar week, but I’m looking forward to the quiet time that Friday brings. My favorite thing about Fridays is the time I spend alone reading and praying in the morning. I think it’s important to pray and read everyday, but I like the habit of quiet,  uninterrupted time that I’ve developed over the last several months. I’ll also do some grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll even make time for some arts and crafts.

There’s a lot going on in my life, but it’s mostly good stuff. I’m happy, and I’m moving in a positive direction. I took it easy this week because I’ve been in so much pain, but I’m looking forward to doing some cardio this weekend. I’ll probably give myself one more rest day.

If you’re reading this I hope you’re doing well too. Until next time…

 

 

 

I Will Always Love Richard Simmons Because of Moments Like This One

I cannot believe that this happened for the first time five years ago!

I think of Richard so often, and right now I’m going through training that makes me think of him everyday.

He helped me change the way I see myself. He made it okay for me to love myself more, to desire more for my life and to feel confident dancing off the pounds.

I’ve gained weight since this video, but I’m in pretty healthy groove right now. Watching this video for the first time in ages reminds me that I can do very cool things.

If you’re reading this, Richard, I love you and miss you and pray for you.

An Open Letter to Chris McClarney: Thank You

I wrote this intending to send it as an email, but when I didn’t find one I decided to post it here. I’m thankful for the music and lyrics and how it will forever remain in my mind now. I don’t know if Chris will ever see it or not, but I had to let it all out.

Dear Chris,

Last Saturday was an emotional day for my family and me, and your song, “God of Miracles” played a powerful role in it. A dear family friend, Charlene, went on to meet Jesus a week ago, but my mom and I spent her last moments in this life with her first.

She had been sick for several months, but I didn’t realize how ill she was until she chose to move into a Hospice facility in New Orleans last Friday.
Charlene was an amazing woman of God, and several years ago while I was steeped in sin, shame and bitterness, she told me that God had a plan for my life. I scoffed at her with condescension as she said, “He’s never going to stop pursuing you, and I’m never going to stop praying for you.”

A few years after that conversation, I realized for the first time (even though I grew up as a pastor’s kid) that I’d never be able to earn salvation; it was God’s free gift for me, and I didn’t have to work for it. I simply had to accept it. That realization changed my life, and as a result of my relationship with Jesus I’ve surrendered the anger, self-loathing and bitterness that I carried for far too long.

Now, as a worship leader at NOLA Church, a place I swore I’d never go to when I was initially invited, I listen to a lot of amazing music, and our bass player added “God of Miracles” to my playlist a few months ago. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times since I first heard it, but it helped shape my view of death and eternity over the weekend.

When we arrived at Charlene’s bedside my mom sang one of her favorite songs, “He Touched Me.” (We always sang when we were together.) I thought she’d ask me to follow up with a different Southern Gospel tune, but instead she said, “sing the song you were playing on repeat in the car.”

Charlene was on morphine to ease her pain, so I assumed she wouldn’t know what we were singing anyway. In spite of that I sang the song a cappella, struggling to get through it without breaking down. At the same time Charlene began to lift her hands, and though she had not been responsive before that, her sister asked her to give us a thumbs up if she knew we were there and wanted me to continue the song. She gave a feeble, yet distinctive thumbs up, and at that moment I realized that the Holy Spirit was empowering me to walk with her through the painful moments shortly before all of her pain would cease. By the second verse, the four of us in the room, knew that God’s presence was there and filling in what would be the last few minutes of her life.

“Let faith arise, and see the kingdom come, I lift my eyes, for the battle has been won. My God is faithful, and every single word He says is true.”

As I sang those lyrics I thanked God for His mercy and comfort and for the example of unwavering faith that I saw first hand as my precious friend went on to see Jesus.

Today I sang at her memorial. I woke up heavy hearted, knowing that we’d all be saying goodbye to her a few hours later, but what happened instead was a celebration of her life and her choice to live her life fully surrendered to Jesus.

family

“God of Miracles” is the last song that she heard before moving on into God’s glory, and I’m forever thankful that I was able to worship through her last moments with her, filled with the promises and truths that exist in those lyrics.
Thank you, Chris…

Sincerely,

Kenlie

The Post Mardi Gras, Good Grief I Need To Get It Together, Valentine’s Day Blues, Or Something Like That

I’ve sat down to blog several times lately, and I’ve been almost immediately distracted by other things. I wanted to share the details of my food intake during the week of Mardi Gras. In short, I ate a lot of random junk that can barely be considered food. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen the fried Oreos that my neighbor delivered to me during my afternoon nap. You may have also noticed that I enjoyed King cake with friends on more than one occasion.

king cake sucre new orleans

This city shuts down for Mardi Gras. It’s amazing. Stores close, and everyone goes to parades…lots and lots of parades. The revelry lasts for two weeks, and people take it very seriously. I had more fun this year because I found a way to get back to my apartment while avoiding most of the traffic. (This isn’t easy to do when you live at one of the most popular parts of the parade route.) I also went to a couple of parades with co-workers who have become friends, a former colleague and friend and the guy I started dating recently. My favorite neighbor spent a lot of time with me during the week too, and I got very little accomplished. On Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday) I brought Christopher to Starbucks with me, and we met several of my friends there and played board games all afternoon. It was such a simple day, but I loved every minute of it.

My friend, Andrew, who was here in New Orleans for over a week, returned home to New York late last week. And Christopher  is there right now for work, so I took the opportunity to get some sleep, clean house, spend time with people who matter to me and to consider meals for the next few days.

Mardi Gras consists of 14 days of over-indulgence, coupled with time off, but it’s over now. Thankfully, Valentine’s Day is over too. Every year I feel so much pressure to be loved on that day, and every year I feel positively ridiculous about that. I know that I’m loved everyday by my family and friends and Jesus. I’m also happy that I’ve met someone who’s smart, handsome and easy to talk to and makes me laugh until my face hurts, but the pressure of this holiday is way too intense for something so new. Instead of going out on a date, I spent today singing love songs at an assisted living home near my church. They ate ice cream sundaes, and we had some awesome conversations.  The idea was to serve and honor the lovely people there, but they ended up blessing me far more than I could have blessed them.

I’m ready to get back into the healthy groove that I’ve been carving out lately because I feel so much better when I’m doing good things for my body. I spent a lot of time discussing healthy recipes and nutritious lifestyles with one of my favorite people this weekend, and I feel motivated to consume healthy and delicious meals this week. I’ve also caught up on some sleep that I’ve been missing lately, which feels great.

It’s a new week, and I’m ready to make it a good one. I’m taking on more responsibility at work this week, which means I’ll have more opportunities to exercise. I also have my food planned out for Monday and Tuesday. Bring on the quinoa, black beans and chicken! It’s crawfish season too, and I’m already loving that!

crawfish

Is anyone else fighting to get back into the groove this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Did You Meet Your Mate?

Several of my friends have fallen in love with people they met online. Actually, I’ve done it before too. I think that finding love is wonderful regardless of how you meet, but I’m not interested in meeting anyone online now. I’m just not.

My friend, who knows me well, was surprised by my desire to stay single instead of “putting myself out there.” There are a lot of reasons for my preferences in this area, but the biggest one is that I just don’t want to.

I always envisioned meeting someone in my favorite coffee shop and falling for him, and I spent most of last year with a man who simply wasn’t right for me. I’m not saying I’ll meet the future Mr. Kenlie at a coffee shop either; I’m just saying that I don’t want to worry about it right now.

My desire is to be with someone who will complement the life that I already love, but I’d rather stay single than go out looking for him. I don’t want to be emotionally or physically attached to someone who’s not good for me, and I don’t want to waste all of my energy wishing, hoping or even praying about it.

Seriously, God knows my heart. He knows I’d like to meet someone tall, brilliant and fiercely loyal who will look adorable in our selfies, so before Christmas I decided to stop bugging Him about it. Instead I’m trying to help others, find my purpose and enjoy everything that’s already in front of me.

Is it weird that I’m so closed off to meeting someone online? I haven’t always felt this way; it’s just what I’m feeling now, at least in this season of my life.

Did you meet your spouse/significant other online? Did you ever go through a period in which you didn’t want to go that route? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whether you’ve dated online or not.

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!

 

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.

 

Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?

Hurting People Hurt People, Or Why Blogging Probably Isn’t The Answer

I feel so much better than I have for the last month or so. After realizing that the contents of my work was bothering me, I was able to address it. I addressed everything else that bothered me as well, and I realized that people really are (mostly) good. 

Some of the feelings I faced were tough to navigate through because I’m insecure, but after some self-reflection and straightforward talk from someone close to me, I realized that I’m pretty lucky. It’s easy to count the times when someone has been mean to my face, but it happens countless times here on my blog. 

I find so much encouragement here, but there’s also a lot of negativity from the trolls who are still obsessed with hating me. There only seems to be a  couple of them, but they are loud and obsessive. It’s insane and a little disturbing that people who don’t know me are willing to waste so much energy obsessively hating me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel so sorry for them. I mean, how much does your life have to suck to be obsessed with spewing judgement and blind hatred on someone else’s? 

When I look around at my life, I see so much validation and fulfillment that didn’t always exist for me. I feel content in who I am and what I’m doing even though I still want to make changes. I think there will always be room for growth and progress, and I don’t think I’ll be a failure unless I give in to the feelings of self-doubt that I experienced last week. 

We all have bad days, and I had several in a row. When I think about the things that other people go through my issues seem pretty insignificant. My issues matter, in as much as I need to face them, but today my heart goes out to the people who are truly suffering – the people I read about at work and the people who are so consumed by hurt and anger that they target me and others like me. 

I love to write, and I love to share my feelings. It helps me grow, but I’m processing and progressing a lot right now outside of the blog. It’s hard to imagine not checking in here regularly, but it’s also not something that sounds appealing right now. 

I won’t make any hard and fast decisions, except to do what’s best for me regardless of what others think about it.