Welcome to the most wonderful (and busiest) time of year! If you are reading this Friday morning I am currently on a plane to GA and AL! I get the privilege of seeing one of my dearest friends get married this weekend! I also get to see one of my besties and some other friends too! I am so thankful for such wonderful friends and the ability to travel and spend quality time with each of them!
I met my sweet friend Kim a little over 15 years ago on a mission trip to Costa Rica and an instant friendship was born! Kim has been such a encouragement and support in my life over the years, and she is probably one of the kindest individuals I have ever met! Her life shines for Jesus and she shares love with everyone she comes in contact with! I can not wait to see her marry her love! It is an honor to be there for her this weekend! Love you Kim!!!!
This past week was a super packed week again. I took a week off from blogging to refocus on some other areas of my life. This past week the Hubs and I celebrated 2 years since his major heart surgery! It so happened that one of my FAVORITE artists, Natalie Grant, was in town this week. Her music really encouraged me through his surgery and recovery and it was the perfect time to do a lot of celebrating! As this season of year is packed full of so many activities (and traveling for me), I revisited an old recipe for a fab snack that is packed with energy and fiber!
I am linking up once again with Farrah from Fairyburger, Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama, and Jess from Hello to Fit!! Our theme this week is dried fruit! One of my favorite ways to eat dried fruit is in a homemade trail mix. My other fav way is in my homemade energy balls!
Cranberry Energy Balls
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 -3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup flax seeds
3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup chia seeds
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 min.
Remove from refrigerator & form mixture into balls. Place in a storage container with a lid.
Store them in the refrigerator. If you are anything like me, they will not last long!
Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome recipes!!
It is Eating Disorder Awareness Week! It is a week that holds a very special place in my heart. I will share my story a little later this week…but today I want to share a story from my dear friend Elizabeth! We ‘met’ when we were both in a rough place of life, and I know we have both come a long way since 2006! I am so proud of the work she has done, and I am thankful that she keeps working to be healthier!
Elizabeth’s story: I’ve been known to tell people that I ran my way out of anorexia. I struggled with an eating disorder for about three years before I started running. At first, running was merely a way to burn calories, but gradually I started to love it. As my daily and weekly mileage increased, I started eating more. I had to–I couldn’t starve myself and run the mileage I wanted to. That was the way things continued for several years; I ate “just enough” to sustain the running I loved, and if you had asked me then, I would have said I was recovered from an eating disorder. No matter what I did, though, I couldn’t make myself eat more than a certain number of calories each day. Even while training for a marathon three separate times, I would not allow myself to eat more than a specific number of calories each day. I had a mental block about eating more than that number–a holdover from my years of being anorexic. People tried to gently encourage me to eat more, but I was terrified. To me, eating THAT many calories would signal a loss of control and guaranteed weight gain. Deep down I knew they were right and I needed to eat more, but I kept putting it off. In January of last year, my dear friend Esther told me about the 24-hour burn test that she had taken. She suggested that I try it, “just to see. You may find out that you burn a lot more calories than you think.” I decided to give it a try, and I was shocked at the results. I burned a lot more calories in a day than I thought…and that was on a day when I wasn’t running! I was in the middle of training for a half-marathon at the time, with plans to run 3-4 more over the course of this year, and the burn test clearly showed that I was eating way too little for the amount of exercise I was doing. I realized that I had to start eating more, as much as it scared me. That was eight weeks ago. On the advice of both Esther and my nutritionist, I stayed away from the scale for the first six weeks and increased my calories gradually. The first couple weeks were very hard for me emotionally, because eating that much quite honestly terrified me, but I started seeing a physical difference almost immediately. I had more energy and didn’t feel exhausted all the time. I’ve struggled with insomnia for years, and that started to get better as I ate more. Also, my running improved: I had the ability to run faster and longer after just a couple weeks of eating more. When I weighed myself after six weeks, I was pleasantly surprised: I had only gained 3 pounds, which I knew was probably all muscle (based on the amount of training I was doing). More than anything, though, I knew that eating more was the best possible thing for me because I felt so much better. It’s been a difficult transition, and there have been times when the old eating-disordered thoughts try to resurrect themselves and torment me, but I know that I’m healthier and happier now, and much closer to making a full recovery than I was when I wasn’t eating more than a certain number of calories each day. I’ve learned over the past eight weeks that listening to my body is the most important thing I can do; when I’m hungry, I should eat, regardless of what time of day it is or if I’m over my calorie “limit” or not. Taking those restrictions off myself has given me so much peace and a greater sense of freedom. I think I’m a better runner and overall a nicer person to be around now that I’m not hungry all the time!
Elizabeth and I from the Nashville half marathon in 2010!
(Side note…I am a little behind with my posts due to my husband having heart surgery and being in the hospital for a few weeks, and then my computer broke! Ahh. Be back to normal soon!)
Today the challenge for Elf4Health was to be make-up free! It really got me thinking…
I don’t really ever wear make-up to work. Mornings are not my favorite and since I am with little ones all day, it doesn’t make sense to me to even bother putting any on. Yoga pants and sweatshirts are what I usually wear too. I am all about being comfy!
As I scrolled through the pictures that were popping up on Facebook, twitter and instagram, my heart was happy with all the beautiful faces that I was seeing! Some, like me, don’t wear much make-up, and then there were others who found it more challenging to go make-up free. Whatever the case, I could tell that each and every person was beautiful!
Over the last few years I have really learned more about what beauty really means to me. As a result of some painful events early on in life, I struggled with terrible self-esteem issues, and even a horrible eating disorder for most of my life (20 of my 32 years). I am really thankful that I have been able to heal from those events, and learn to see myself, and others differently! I have been blessed to learn the valuable lesson that beauty is more than just what someone looks like! Yes, I feel all my friends are beautiful, but it goes deeper than the smile on their faces. It comes from the heart, the depth of friendship, and how people sacrificed so much to contribute to my life in big and small ways! My life has turned from shattered darkness into a beautiful light!
If you look in the mirror and might not like what you see, please remember that you are indeed beautiful!! You are worth SO much more than being a certain size or looking a certain way! You are a stunning masterpiece who was made to shine!!!
No matter what I am wearing, or if I have makeup on or not…I am ALWAYS beautiful! I am very thankful for all those in my life who remind me of that often!!
(I know I am missing MANY people, but this is what I had to work with today….Know that if you are in my life you are very important to me, and I am so blessed by you!)