Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Coming Home - A Christmas Memory

This is a post I wrote several years ago when I got to see my husband for the first time in months due to his service in the military. It was Christmas time and I was missing him so much. I thought I would share it again with everyone because it my favorite Christmas memory. Very rarely does life give you a movie-perfect moment, and I never want to forget this one.

I was waiting for Stephen at the airport. And I thought I would pass out before he actually got here. I was bouncing around, trying really hard to hold still, and failing miserably. The airport was crowded with a bunch of people with signs for LDS missionaries coming home, long lines of people waiting to get through security and people pouring out of the exit and into the baggage claim. They all smiled at me indulgently, probably thinking I was waiting for a missionary.

I saw Stephen coming around the corner from his reflection in the glass and I promised myself that I would hold still.

I lied to myself.

As soon as he got out from that long hallway I found myself running towards him and throwing myself in his arms. The whole airport burst into cheers. People in the security line were jumping up and down, random people took pictures. It sounded like we had just won a big football game. Everyone was yelling, clapping and cheering like crazy. And it went on for a while. I was crying, with my head buried in his uniform and arms wrapped firmly around his neck. He maneuvered us to the back of the crowd, carrying me and two large back packs. I was too overwhelmed with happiness to be of much help. We just held each other for a minute, and I cried some more, and then made our way to the escalator.

As we went up, people below saw us and again started cheering.

It was awesome.

And I think that for the first time ever, the outside world sounded exactly like how I was feeling inside.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sub for Santa

I was raised in a family that taught me how important giving is, especially in the Christmas season. Even when we didn't have a whole lot, my parents made sure that we took care of others. I have always appreciated what my parents did for me, and I want this tradition to carry on to my family.

During the Holidays it is so easy to get swept up by crazy to-do lists and party schedules. I know that last night I skipped the gym to go shopping. Last year I signed my family through United Way to help a family out. With the help of family and friends, my husband and I were able to help a struggling young mother have everything her family needed. On Christmas Eve, I took my siblings to drop off gifts. They loved playing Santa's elves and wrapping gifts for someone else!

This year I wasn't sure if I would sign up again. We have a lot on our plate what with school and paying off medical bills for Stephen's knee surgery. But my sweet, angel of a little sister told me that her favorite part of last year was dropping off the gifts for that family in need. She said she wanted to do it again this year. So I signed up!

This year we have the opportunity to help a family of four have a good Christmas. The dad has a chronic illness and lost his job because he couldn't work back in September. The mom is trying to make ends meet and is currently working nights. They have a 14 year old boy who loves soccer, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and adventure books And a 9.5 year old little girl who loves to skateboard, watch movies and read adventure books. After speaking with the mother, I found out what these kids really need this year (as well as want!)

Unfortunately, we can't do it alone. If you are looking to help a family out or give this season, maybe consider getting something off this list:

If you have any hand-me-downs in the following sizes, please let me know!
Shoes - Mens 10
Shirt - 16-18 boys
Pants - 18 boys slim
Favorite Color: Red, black

Shoes - Girl's 4
Shirt - size 8
Pants - size 8
Favorite colors: yellow, light blue, purple

There is also an incredible, wonderful, heart warming project going on over at the bloggess! Some wonderful people there have already started to help us make this Christmas a great one for this family in need. You can always peruse the needed items there and fulfill a wish there as well!

If you feel so inclined to give, but can't give much you can always send a $5 amazon gift card to me at ames.jeannie at gmail dot com and I PROMISE to use it ONLY for this family (scouts honor, cross my heart, pinkie swear.)

I am sooooo grateful to the many people who helped make my birthday so wonderful by donating to the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. I feel like I am always asking for help with these things, and you guys always step up. Thank you sooooooo much for support, love, good wishes, good vibes and everything else you all do for me and others Every. Single. Day.

Love to you all this Christmas Season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Observation and Confessions

I always feel like the best thing we can do for ourselves is be honest. Somethings we really don't want to tell the world. In fact, many wouldn't ever tell you that I swept for the first since returning home from India. Yes that was over three months ago. (Sorry Mom. I know you raised me better... I do.). But that is the truth y'all. I swept AND mopped for the first time in 3 months this past week. It felt good. And now, everyone can feel better about themselves. You're welcome.

This is what my mother is doing right now. 
I just had to add this one. Because: Penguins.
But this isn't really what I want to talk about. I just wanted to break the ice. Show you how very human I am. What I wanted to talk about was my current journey. We are all on one. Most days I feel like mine is a journey between the loony bin and my bed (I love my bed.) But really, I am just trying to live my best life.

I've talked about how food and I have a long and complicated relationship. Our relationship is more drama filled than most soap operas. And I've really had this weird bungee jumper like attitude about food. I just stand on the precipice with my heart in my throat, and curse words running on a loop in my head trying to figure out how to jump. How do I take the plunge and just leave all the garbage behind?! And then I get so confused and scared that I ignore it. Take off my helmet, sit down a good five feet from the edge and indulge in a bag of marshmallows.

I decided that enough was enough. That I wasn't going to try and change anything, but simply observe. I read that the most effective health and weight-loss tool ever is a food journal. I decided I wanted to take my food journal to the next step. So, I am recording when I eat, what I eat, why I ate and how I felt before and/or after I ate (both emotionally and physically.)

There is no judgement involved. Last night, when feeling and recognizing all these emotions involved with food felt raw and open and overwhelming, I self-sabotaged. I didn't go to the gym like planned. I ate marshmallows and potato chips and pie. (Curse you delicious pie!). But I didn't judge. I just wrote it all out. How I felt when I went scrounging for junk food. How I felt afterwards.

And this morning, when I had oatmeal for breakfast and an orange and hot tea for a snack I wrote down those emotions too. When I am just observing there is no way to "fall off the bandwagon." I'm actually sitting comfortably in my bean bag watching all the bandwagons file by.

I don't have a lot of conclusions quite yet. I am noticing that I feel "good" or "bad" when I eat certain foods. I felt like I was "being good" when I had an orange as a snack. I felt like I was "being bad" or "breaking the rules" when I ate marshmallows. And this is something I want to break I don't want anything like my self-worth or ability to "be good" attached to food. I am both good and bad. I am human. I am imperfect and messy and trying my hardest. Food is just that: food.

For the first time I am not trying to change my eating habits to "be good". I am trying to give myself grace and love and the ability to process my emotions. I think that as I find and work through all the negativity that surrounds food that my eating habits will correct themselves.

I am sharing this because I know I'm not the only one who struggles. I know I'm not the only one looking for a way out of the food guilt and frustration. Keeping this food journal is actually easy. I have a little book and pen with me all the time. I use one word if possible to describe my emotions. So it looks something like this:

When - 10:30 am
What - hot tea
Why - feeling cold and low
Felt - warm, like I was "being good"

See, short and sweet and to the point. Some are even shorter than that! Sometimes I eat because I'm simply hungry. And after I eat I feel: full. No emotions were involved. Other times, I've ended up with a paragraph trying to figure out why I ate what I did in the first place. But it rarely takes longer than 1 minute. The most it has taken is 5 minutes.

I don't know how long I will keep this up. I don't know what the true and lasting repercussions are. I just know that I am giving myself permission to just be. And I'll sit back and observe. And maybe at the end of all this I will have let go of a lot of unneeded stuff.

Anyone is welcome to join me! Its easy. And you can keep it to yourself. On top of simply observing my eating habits I have one health goal, and only one, and that is to run 2 full miles without stopping by Christmas. Cause I want too, dagnabit! I've done it before and I shall do it again!

So tell me, what goals do you have for yourself? Does a food journal sounds like something that could be helpful to you?  I want to hear what you have to say!