A Single Donut

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There is a new teacher that has been having a difficult time controlling her class. She was a special education teacher in elementary school and is now teaching 8th grade Spanish. She has sent numerous emails and phone calls to parents begging for their help when it comes to their kids behavior. Luckily for me, my child is one who always gets a good report and for that I am truly grateful. Yesterday she sent an email telling the parents how well the kids behaved and how much they were able to accomplish in class. She mentioned it was her best day of teaching all year and little did the kids know it was also her birthday. When I read the email to my son and thanked him for always being respectful, he mentioned he would like to bring donuts in to celebrate her birthday. So today, I delivered donuts and she was very appreciative. Do something nice for someone just because. Life can be so hard and filled with endless struggles but even a simple little sugar filled donut can make all the difference in somebody’s day.

Float Away

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Sometimes it’s great to do something new. Last night, we headed to the city to watch the 1st Annual Pumpkin Float. Sure, it was a bit corny but the fall chill was in the air and it was amazingly peaceful watching the lights dance and reflect off the water. They lined up pumpkins and placed them on small platforms tied together and pulled by someone rowing a kayak. And there it was, a parade of pumpkins flowing down a waterway in the middle of beautiful gardens. It was nice to get out as a family and allow the troubles of the week to fall away. We wrapped up the night with a stop at the Spaghetti Warehouse for some delicious pasta. What a way to end the week and start the weekend? How did you spend your Friday night?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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Tonight, a very important lesson was reinforced for me. I can’t always get what I want. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes getting what I want is dependent on someone giving me what I want and let’s face it, people can be pretty difficult sometimes. We went for pizza tonight and three out of four of us eat pepperoni so we ordered a pizza 3/4 pepperoni. The pizza man refused our request and made us choose between half and half or putting pepperoni on the whole thing. He did not go to the school that teaches the job is to make the customer happy. So what did we do? We picked the pepperoni off of my sons two pieces. Some things will never make sense but in the end, everyone was happy. Lesson: give people what they want if you can. If the power is in your hands, perform some magic.

You Want A Happy Ending?

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As I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday, I heard that familiar ding from the inside of my purse. It was a text message from my husband asking if we should go out to eat to celebrate the first day of school. The image appeared almost instantaneously. There I was almost three years from the day, sitting on my closet floor fighting back tears. I can see myself slumped against the door, hating every inch of myself. It had been a great summer filled with celebration. A trip to Greece, Malibu buckets and chips at the pool, brats, ice cream, burgers, dessert. The list went on an on but it was quite a celebration. I’m not sure when the word celebration became synonymous with food, but it sure did.

I remember trying to button my pants that day. I remember feeling the sheer panic and thinking, could I have really packed on THAT much weight? I hit rock bottom right around the same time my own bottom hit that floor. I never wanted to come out of that closet again.

I’ve had a body image distortion disorder for as long as I can remember. I was always ashamed of my body. I hated everything about it and to top it all off, I was a gymnast. Imagine having to parade in front of the entire high school in a skimpy, little, revealing leotard. It was excruciating. My body was changing everyday and everyone I knew had a front row ticket to see.

What I learned in that closet that day was that I was living to eat. I wasn’t eating to live. I was literally feeding every insecurity I had to try and comfort myself from the reality of the things I never faced. We don’t even realize how much our eating relates to our mental state. Stuff it down, memories…food. Then do it some more. Then tell ourself that food makes us happy when that same evening it makes is completely loathe ourselves. The mind can be so damaging if we fall for its manipulative tricks. It can make the simplest flaw or memory or experience into the Grand Canyon when it’s simply a tiny hole.

It was time to remove the damage I had done one thought at a time, one pound at a time. I found yoga then and healing and a smaller size of pants. It was all connected and I never realized it before. When one thing was out of balance, it knocked everything else out of balance too.

I looked in the mirror today and I smiled. I have a confidence that took me 44 years to develop. Even with some parts sagging, others wrinkled, I feel beautiful for the first time. My skin is a happy home for what is on the inside. I am so grateful for that day in the closet that gave me the strength, commitment. courage and real desire to finally make that change. There was no diet on earth that could fix me. I had to start with my thoughts and find the compassion and care that would help me love myself just as I am. I had to own every thought, action, decision, choice and I had to forgive myself. I had to let go of this perfect image of who I thought I should be and allow myself to be completely. I had to listen to my own voice and worry about making choices that would lead to my own happiness and stop worrying about what anyone else wanted for me. I had to live. I had to choose and I had to start being accountable for the direction my life would take me in. I had to look myself in the mirror and say, you are enough. The truth is, I am enough. I have always been enough.

I hope that sharing my own story will make a bell go off for someone else. Just like a heard the sound in my purse at Starbucks yesterday, I hope this helps you hear the sound in your own head begging for the change only you can make. There is hope. Change is possible. There are happy endings. Guess who decides?

Another Piece of Cake Please

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For those of you looking for an easy, light, delicious dessert, I have just the thing. Tonight we tried a poke cake recipe. I was a little leary but I have to say, the end result was a pleasant surprise. All it takes to start is a cooked chocolate cake. As it cools, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke several holes into the cake. Heat the hot fudge and pour it into the holes spreading the rest over the top of the cake. Finish it with a layer of cool whip and top with thin slices of strawberries. I guarantee the crowd will be pleased. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

What Do You Binge On?

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To binge or not to binge? I thought the answer to that simple question was answer enough. We all make choices. We have the power to say yes or no, but I think I’ve been missing an important part of that whole equation. I believe we all binge.

According to Webster, a binge is a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence.

Is there a person you know who doesn’t resort to binging? For many, when we say the word binge, we automatically associate it to eating or drinking. The fact is, most of us don’t binge on those things at all. This is the tricky part, we need to acknowledge that we all partake in binging while at the same time have enough courage to ask ourselves, what do I binge on? What is my brief, excessive indulgence?

I actually had an eating binge last night. Someone at work gave my husband a 5lb box of chocolate so guess what I chose to indulge on last night? The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became. I didn’t even taste the chocolate after a while. I was just fixated on shoving something into my mouth. I have been craving Dairy Queen for weeks so why would I excessively indulge on something I didn’t even really want? That’s a tough question to ask but it leads to a very important aha moment. Maybe I should feel less guilty about the binging itself and focus more time on asking myself on a deeper level….what is it you really need? What are you lacking? What are you really wanting? I can guess the answer will be much deeper than a piece of chocolate. Imagine if we choose to binge on something that feels good. Do you know anyone who binges on judging others? How about gossiping or negativity or self loathing? Those things are like the chocolate. They are not good for us and we really don’t even want them but we repeat and repeat the same behavior over and over until we are so full of what we don’t need or don’t want that we are now feeling a horrible sense of guilt and remorse.

Next time you catch yourself tempted to binge, take a step back and ask, what is it I need right now? Is it love, support, encouragement, peace of mind? I can guarantee twenty pieces of chocolate are not the answer. Binge on whatever it is you need, the food for your soul, and remind yourself there is always enough to go around of whatever it is you really want. Let the temptation to binge serve as a red flag, to step back and ask yourself, why do I feel the need to do this right now? Why am I feeling so empty? What am I really craving? I bet the answer will become pretty clear and finally you can put that box of chocolate right where it belongs, in the garbage.

Is Your Mind Trustworthy?

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What do you see in the picture? Can you trust what you believe you see? How many times do you swear something is one way and convince yourself it must be true because you saw it with your own eyes?

I did this little experiment and I found the results fascinating. My son loves chocolate covered almonds. I was going out the other night and he begged me to bring him some home. As I was paying for them at the register, the worker asked if I had seen the ones that look like green olives. I went back to take a look and couldn’t resist buying some of those green little beauties as well. When I got home I told my son the green olives I had at the restaurant that night were so delicious I brought some home for him to try. I popped one in his mouth and the look on his face was priceless. He was totally repulsed and ran to the garbage can to spit it out. That is when I informed him what was in his mouth was really a chocolate covered almond in disguise. He tried the same trick on his sister and had the same result. Isn’t it amazing how easily our minds can be misled? Remember this lesson. It is an important one.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Oh hi! Did the title happen to tug at your attention? If it did, then you are probably a lover of coffee cake and cinnamon rolls just like me. I promise you will thank me later for this wonderful recipe from Six Sisters Stuff. Never in a million years did I ever think I was capable of making a cinnamon roll better than any I have already tasted, but this recipe really took the cake. Sorry for the terrible joke! So, without further ado, here is the recipe. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I have.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 T butter, melted
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1 T cinnamon
2/3 cups nuts (optional)

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
5 T milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
With an electric mixer or stand-up mixer, mix 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in 4 T melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9×13″ baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nuts until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoon and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. Place powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm (we like it straight out of the oven) or at room temperature.

I must admit I used more of everything mixed in the large bowl. The more you use and mix into the cake, the better it will taste. We didn’t even need the drizzle and chose to eat our delightful slice of heaven without it.

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The Choices We Make

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It is 5 o’clock in the morning here right now. To be honest, I have been up since 2:00 popping Tums and fighting excruciating indigestion. It makes me question why we repeat patterns that we know are harmful to ourselves. This is really a basic example but it applies to many areas of our lives.

I love Chuys. It is one of my favorite restaurants. Even as I sit eating my meal, I already know what that meal will lead to later in the evening. I have no idea why I still chose to bring that on myself. It is avoidable and painful. I love Mexican food but it doesn’t love me.

As I look around me at some of the people in my life, they take this concept to a whole new level. I watch as they repeat choices that cause them pain. I watch as they make choices that make them unhappy as they continually choose what breaks their spirit. Unfortunately, there is no magic Tums pill that can alleviate every bad decision we make. That is the part that is most hard to comprehend. Why do we remain stuck? Why do we choose pain? Do we not realize the same choices give us the same results? It’s something to ponder for sure. Hopefully next time I choose to eat dinner out, I will choose a place that doesn’t make me feel so awful at the end of the day. The lesson here is simple. If you want a different life, choose different circumstances. You have the power to say no to all that does not serve you well. Start saying yes to what feels good. You may not know what that is at first but you sure know when to say no way, no more, not for me. You deserve better. We all do. Life is not meant to be a death sentence, to bide our time until our days are up. Life is meant to live and feel and experience and to love. Be happy and love yourself enough to make the choices that send you to that happy place. You do have the power to change your life. It starts with making new choices. So choose well.