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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Life Saving Fork in the Road

This week I have a lot to be grateful for. That is true, but it is also true that I ALWAYS have a lot to be grateful for.

One thing that has particularly stood out to me this week is the way my life IS and the way my life COULD have been. There are several things that have taken place over the course of the last few weeks that have really made an impact on my perspective, and so I thought I would share them with you.

The events were mostly personal. A death in the family, a busy week, the possible purchase of a new car, financial planning around the wedding, and the decision to possibly make a big move in a few months. ALL of these subjects are tough ones when in a relationship because there is the conversation that has to transpire and then the collaboration therein which must occur for the relationship to be a successful one.

In the past, as you might know, I was in a less than swell relationship. Based on who you are, and how close you are to me/were to me at the time, you know anything from the facts which is that I was married for 9 months and then wasn't, or you know all the intimate details about the torment and abuse I experienced during the 6 years I was with my ex. The details really are not important anymore, they seem more like a distant nightmare-which is what this post is all about.

Four short years ago my life was going in a COMPLETELY different direction than it is now. I was failing my classes in college (at a college I actually enjoyed with a major I LOVED). I was terrified to talk to anyone other than my boyfriend at the time. I had a lack of confidence that was smeared across my face. I was working at the same time as going to school to come home to a messy house and an ungrateful partner (if you could call it that). I dreaded waking up every day. I dreaded going home every night. I looked in the future and it seemed bleak and as time went on it started to change into something even worse: Living in a double wide in Arkansas with a baby on my hip, dirt on my clothes, no money in the bank, and living off of the government, overweight, with diabetes.

Basically, I was lost.

I thank God, the Universe, the Gods, and everything imaginable DAILY for the 2nd life I was given. There was ONE MOMENT in my life which lead me to realizing that I had other options. I could leave at any moment. Thank goodness I was with my mom at that time, she was able to hold me up when my legs were unable to do so, she was able to support me when no one else would, and she reserved judgement. Even though she and my brother both expressed their concerns about the relationship, they both loved me all the same when I was a mess coming out of it. I left with my items in tow (that had been purchased with MY name and MY credit) and a bit of dignity and a TON of hope. I was broken. I WAS BROKE. I had 300 dollars to my name and 25,000 in credit card debt all to myself.

I took that time to reassess my life. I was able to pick up the pieces at school. My professor and peers were all so very understanding of my situation at the time. I was able to start seeing a counselor for the depression and the abuse issues I was facing, and she really helped me work through the core of the problems. I lived with some family paying them for food/rent. I had a job and prayed to keep it as long as I could until my internship started.

Back to the point of this blog post. I got a second option. I got to choose another option.

With the help of the Universe and tons and tons of unconditional love, I was able to create an entirely new life for myself. I could clearly see the horrid places I was going, and now I am not going there anymore.

Not only did I work my butt off to get out of some of that debt (any way possible) before my thousands upon thousands of student loans started coming in asking for money, but I also worked at being healthier and happier and learned to love myself for who I am.

I made a list, asking the Universe for the perfect partner. A person who would understand me, collaborate with me, love me unconditionally, hold me when I needed being held, and bring out the best in me. The list had 32 things on it, Ben meets all 32 with flying colors, not to mention the millions of other minute details I never thought I could have in a partner.

The idea of getting a new(er) car is TERRIFYING for me but at the same time with only one working vehicle in the 140,000 miles range, things could be scarier... The timing and price and situation all seem perfect. I have worked SO HARD to bring my credit up (even the little bit it has gone up) and I am working constantly to pay things down and pay things off even when we are living on only one income. I am really proud of the work I have done on my own, and really thrilled that Ben has all the same beliefs and motivations as I do when it comes to things like financial health.

Also, Ben and I got a taste of what it could be like witnessing some couples having arguments in the last few weeks and we both feel so blessed and grateful that that is not what we are dealing with on a daily basis. As my mom told me once "Life is hard enough, you don't need your relationship to make it even harder!" (she said that to me when I was thinking of breaking up with Ben because he is "too nice" thank god I got wise!)

Generally, I am just very grateful. I am really thrilled to know that we have each other and that this will probably the toughest times in our lives, there is no where but up from here. Thanks for being along for this ride. I really appreciate it!

Love you all,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

59/366-Month in review, and some recent pictures :)

So welcome to the lovely world of us. Yes it is late, no I don't care... :) This will be a somewhat short post but it's gotta happen.

Today I was super sore from my work out and had a TERRIBLE night's sleep last night. It was quite awful. I couldn't get to sleep (tossed and turned) and then had a horrific dream about... bad things. So it was tough.

ANYWHO it was a 7hr day at work which typically feels short but on no sleep and sore, it was kinda hard. Thank god my consumers were awesome! :D Made the day breeze buy.

After daycare I came home and could have honestly slept already at 7... but then I realized I wanted some food and I really wanted to cook. I have finally started loving cooking again. It is kind of a long story but other than when I am cooking for others I don't really enjoy it because of a lot of the things I went through with my ex-husband. It's old news and I am working through it and I think a good sign of that is that I was so in the mood to do it, alone, today. Even when Ben offered to help (while he was doing homework) I turned him down. I loved it.

I made some sweet potato wedges and some pumpkin brownies. It is shark week and I felt I deserved some chocolate-but if I was gonna do it, it would be paleo. I did miss milk while eating the brownies... but you know, whatever.

So we did that and it was great... here are some pictures for you!

 Left over stew with eggs for break fast ... SO GOOD!
 Our first shot at a pizza crust. I WILL have one by... sometime... this year. That tastes, and feels, like a real crust of pizza.
 The done crust... it was crumbly and dry.
 add some sauce and pepperoni
 Sausage, Bacon, and Onion!
 Ben added some nasty crap called Mushrooms and Olives-yuck-but it was really good!
 Pizza... :D
 These were my wedges I made today... really quick and simple, I hope to make them again soon. :)
 Wedges and a wrap-PERFECT
 Brownies! :D So good!
Look how moist they are in the middle-they were almost a bit too sweet, and almost a bit too spicy. I would probably cut back the cinnamon and the honey a bit... as a primal my taste buds are very acute though... so maybe for a "normal" person they would be fine.

So the month in review: 

Ben's Worst and My Worst are the same... the Crab Cakes. I want to reiterate that this does not mean that the cakes are bad... it just means that we did not like them very much... I think a huge part of that has to do with the fact that we live in a land-locked state and the crab we used was basically canned... it was the only thing with real ingredients we could find... I KNOW I KNOW... it was sad. WE WILL try these again with FRESH crab-some day... Maybe. 

Ben's Best: 

Dessert: Coconut Cake "It tasted exactly like a normal cake. People who are NOT primal LOVED it... How much better can it get!"

This cake was to DIE FOR!! I should do a review of the book for Bill and Hayley... they really did a knock out job!

Meal: Gyros- "even though the meat was really spicy, it was really flavorful... and juicy. It was so nice having something I liked from before without feeling guilty about it." 

YUM! :) so flavorful!

Manda's Favorite: 

Dessert: the cake-of course. It was amazing. Not to mention we got Ben's ENTIRE family to eat it! It just proved our point that it is the best decision for our wedding to make the cakes from Make it Paleo

Meal: The Stew. I was really really craving some stew... and it hit the spot. It was just so tasty. And the meat was AMAZING the next day with some eggs on top. it lasted us a total of 5 meals... (Ben-2 and Me-3) How awesome is that?!!! Not to mention I LOVE ROSEMARY! (don't tell my partner ;) )


Really everything this month has been ABSOLUTELY smashing. I have made a deal with my girlfriend Mims that we will both save up money when we are working out so that we can have a girls weekend once a year or something. It is motivation to keep working out and keep up with a goal but it is also a good way to save up to see each other so we don't go forever without. Also I love that we are working it on both ends. It is so nice that she and I are both working equally as hard because we want to see each other and spend that time together. Life gets so busy, I think I forget to work hard for those I love sometimes. 

Our rules: The exercise must cause sweating, soreness or both. (this rules out a simple stroll around the mall), There can be more than one exercising in one day allowing for more than a dollar a day if that is desired/reasonable, and there are some more things we talked about... but really the basic gist is that we are working hard on both ends to improve our health and our bodies, while at the same time saving money to spend time together... in our new awesome bodies! :) Maybe we'll go somewhere where we can wear a swimming suit! :) 

My last thing I wanna talk about is my Goal for my 200... I wasn't going to bring this up, but it is something that is really motivating me. I have never been below 199.8 lbs (since I have been an adult) so my goal is to get there... (and keep going of course) but it is my first major goal. I weighed in at 225.5 this week (down 12.5 since Jan1 and down 35.5 from my highest weight). When I hit 200 I will buy myself a new workout outfit.

 I will be getting this shirt from the Make it Paleo/Primal-Palate folks! (I might get this tank top too... depending)

I will get a pair of workout pants from CF Sioux Falls... (they are really cute and only 20 bucks) I wish I had a pic to show you... HEY if you're reading this Liza, post pics of the clothes ;)

Lastly I will get a pair of knee high socks. I am still trying to decide which ones though, Bacon, NomNom Paleo, Angel, rainbow... there are so many options!!!

Anyway I am really thrilled to have a goal in sight again. After my eating, and my working out at CF the last couple weeks... I am starting to notice a difference in my body makeup... and honestly that is the biggest motivator of all. 

Thank you for reading-for such a short post this thing really turned out long ;) 

Take care and be safe.