Category Archives: Lifestyle

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…




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?


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.