Thursday, April 28, 2011

weight watchers vlog #2

it's that time again! kate and i recorded another vlog to talk about weight watchers... this time we're covering dining out and snacks.

in the video we reference a site we use to find the point values of foods at some of our favorite restaurants. it's called and i find it SO useful! in fact as i was browsing today i noticed that they have the points for rita's water ice... a must have for the summertime!

we talked a bit about snacks but i feel like i should share some more of my "go-to's." i love love love applesauce and since i buy the all-natural, no sugar added version, i consider it free. sprinkle some cinnamon on top and yum! i buy the small pre-packaged cups and use it as a side to my lunches regularly! i also love having a wedge of laughing cow cheese (garlic herb is my favorite) with some reduced-fat triscuits (1pt for the cheese, 3 for 7 triscuits). i especially love having that alongside some progresso light soup. they have points plus values on the can which is super convenient! my snacks aren't always super healthy either... i like chocolate just as much as the next gal so i always keep a stash of some type of hershey's chocolate. currently it's mini kit-kats and reese's cups and they're in my freezer. at 2pts each it's a great way to get my fix!

i think i go in cycles with my snacking. i like something for a couple weeks and then i switch out to something else. quaker has these great mini rice cakes called "quakes" and they're pretty good if you're into rice cakes. i also like the little debbie 100-calorie nutty bars. gives me that chocolate-peanut butter goodness. animal crackers are actually reasonably low and satisfy my "crunch" craving... i think you can have about 16 or so for only 3 points which isn't too bad.

so those are some more tips from me that aren't included on the video but i just wanted to share for anyone out there who is looking for some new ideas! and if you have any other dining out or snacking tips then feel free to pass them along.

hope you're all having a great week!


Monday, April 25, 2011

social network ramblings

i took a break from facebook for lent. my motivations weren't completely holy and righteous. in all honesty i was overwhelmed at the time with all that was happening in my life and i realized how important my privacy was to me. i had no idea how to begin telling people or who to tell and the thought of my business being put out on facebook sent me over the edge. it was then that i realized lent was about to begin and so i decided to give up facebook. for the most part it was an easy decision, but at the same time difficult, knowing how many people i would disconnect with.

on sunday night i reactivated my facebook account and then proceeded to delete about 170 of my "friends." funny that facebook chooses to word it like that. friends? really? since when are people from high school (who never talked to me then) considered friends? i just find it interesting. i guess my perspective has changed a lot and maybe i'm a bit jaded, but it's where i'm at. i just realize that facebook is an excuse to be nosy and dig into the lives of people you would otherwise have no business digging into. now, don't get me wrong here... i realize the benefits of facebook and i love it for the ways it allows me to keep in touch with actual friends around the world and family members who i don't get to see often. i'm not referring to that. i just know that for me, right now in this stage of life, i want to keep that space a bit more private and reserved for those i do feel close to.

i realize that this might sound completely contradictory considering the fact that i have a blog that anyone in the world has access to... and if people stumble across it then so be it. i know what i'm putting out there and that i might be surprised to actually know who reads. in fact, i've been surprised by the number of people who found out what's been happening in my life because of my blog. people i had no idea read... you know who you are! haha! so comment once in a while would ya?

i don't know where i'm going with this post. it has been weird though... being back on facebook... changing my "engaged" relationship status and then deleting the post from my feed so people don't notice. ugh. honestly i've felt so dirty since being back on. does that sound weird? yeah, probably. it's hard to explain. i just don't wanna get sucked back into the vortex of it. i've enjoyed my extra time from being off it and i know jesus has, too since it meant more time for him. man, sometimes i have things so backwards.

so that's where i'm at with all of that.

no easter recap for me. it was a beautiful day, but also a really hard one for me for a number of reasons. i spent several hours of it crying, but thank God for good friends and family who were there to listen. life is hard sometimes and it's ok to admit that. sometimes even freeing.

lost another pound and a half this week which means i'm at 27lbs total. can't wait to cross that 30lb threshhold. hoo to the ray.

grace and peace,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

my life verses

i want to share with you about an experience i had that has changed my life and the way i see myself. this is very personal to me, but something i want to share. i don't expect everyone to fully understand so i'll share it as best as i can.

last fall i spent some time praying with my pastor's wife stefanie, who also happens to be a very dear friend of mine. i was lamenting on how i was struggling with my purpose and who i was supposed to be. i had this picture of myself as a cardboard box sitting on a shelf in a grocery store just waiting to be "chosen." i shared that with her and she thought it made a lot of sense given what i was feeling. i've always tried to fit myself into what others want me to be or need me to be. it's like i'm saying, "oh you need 'such-and-such'? yeah i can be that!" or "you need 'this kind of person'? i'm your girl!" so rather than letting who i am dictate what i do, i'm letting what i do dictate who i am.

we prayed for a while that day and stef encouraged me to ask God who he says i am. i'm a firm believer that God speaks to us in many ways- visions, dreams, words, etc. he spoke very clearly to my heart that day and showed me a beautiful oak tree standing on a hillside. no, that can't be me i thought right away. in his gentle way the Father assured me that indeed it was. i shared that with stef, who thought that was amazing. she quickly asked me, "susan? what are boxes made of?" 

"cardboard," i replied.

"and what is cardboard?"

now the words came tumbling out so quickly, "cardboard is made from wood... from trees... that have been cut down and choppped up and hard pressed... and OH MY GOSH!"

it all came together so fast. i was meant to be an oak tree and i had allowed myself to become a cardboard box... a twisted version of my original design. a box has no roots to keep it standing during a storm. a box has no shady branches to comfort others. i'm not supposed to be a box! it might sound crazy, but in that moment so many things came together for me.

stef opened up her bible and began to read from isaiah 61. as she read it the words were just jumping off the pages and my heart was crying, "yes! yes!" i knew that this was my calling. isaiah 61 speaks of justice and restoration and joy... and the end of verse 3 says "they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." God has called me to be an oak tree for the display of HIS splendor. not so that others will look at me and say, "wow look how great Susan is," but rather, "wow look at what God has done/is doing/will do in Susan!" all for his glory! that is the cry of my heart. to point others to the all-consuming, irrefutable, undeniable love of God. to withstand the testing, to remain strong on the windiest of days, to be rooted deeply in the knowledge of God.

ever since that day God has shown me over and over again that this is who i am. that these are my life verses. the sunday after that revelation stef was sharing at church. she opened up her bible and an oak leaf fell out. she stopped what she was doing and handed it to me excitedly. she had been given that leaf weeks prior at a conference, stuck it in her bible and forgotten about it. i love when God works like that. it was just another confirmation that i had indeed heard from him and that's how it's been ever since.

like this morning.

i subscribe to a daily devotion called "girlfriends in God." it gets emailed to me every day and it's a great reminder to stop and take time to reflect. this morning it was about how we are the bride of christ and this paragraph stopped me in my tracks:
In Isaiah 61:3, the prophet describes what God will do for the Bride of Christ. He will bestow on her a crown of beauty instead of ashes, anoint her with the oil of gladness instead of mourning and place on her shoulders a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Are you feeling brokenhearted because of broken dreams? Have you been in mourning because your dream of being a bride has not turned out like you had hoped? God desires to blow away the ashes and place the crown of a royal bride on your head. So lift your head dear one, and accept your crown from the King of Kings.
there it was again. a reference to isaiah 61 and completely relatable to where i am today. i love when God does that! when he meets us right where we are and speaks exactly what our heart needs to hear. this is the God we serve. one who longs to comfort us in our pain and rejoice in our victories- alongside us. what a privilege and an honor!

be blessed today,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

weight watchers vlog intro

so it's no secret that my sister kate and i have been on the weight watchers train since january. and i think it's no secret that we love the program a whole lot and are amazed at the results we've achieved so far! i'm down 25.5lbs. can i get an amen? :)

after throwing the idea out into twitter-land and receiving some positive feedback on our idea, we decided to do a vlog together to share our experiences. obviously it can't all be summed up in one video (or it would be foreverrrrrrrrr long) so hopefully this is the first of more to come.

if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section and i'll do my best to respond or cover it in a future vlog. thanks for the support and encouragement. it's nice to know we aren't alone on this journey and that we've got people cheering us on!

and no, we were not asked or compensated by WW to do this... it's only out of our love and devotion for the program that we're sharing all this. haha... but who knows? maybe one day we'll end up on a commercial? sike. but it would be cool.

have a lovely day!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

such a gift

i have to be honest. hitting publish on that post yesterday wasn't easy. i knew the risk i was taking... giving you a very small glimpse into my raw emotions. being completely real and vulnerable with where i was in that very moment. what you read on my blog is not a full picture of everything that is going on- it's just what i choose to show you at different times. or what i feel like expressing at any given moment.

i know how hard it is to see someone in pain and all you want to do is help and say something that will make them feel better. i've been there. it's awful. we all want to have the magic wand that can make it go away, but the reality is that we can't. if i've learned anything so far it's that people need someone to just sit with them through the pain. to let them just be. i have a dear friend who lets me come over at any hour of the day and who knows she doesn't have to entertain me. sometimes i'll be doing work in the kitchen while she plays with her kids. other times i'll be on her patio reading a book while she gardens. there's no pressure to talk or express feelings unless i desire to. and when i do, she's there to listen and say i'm sorry and give me a hug. that friendship has been a true gift to me in this season. she knows that nothing she says will change my circumstances, so she offers the best gift she can- her presence. the gift of being present in my pain. pulling me out of my isolation and not letting me be left alone. i don't know how i will ever be able to thank her.

i can only hope that as i work through this and hopefully come out stronger on the other side that i will be able to be that kind of friend. one who can say, "my door is always open. if you want to talk, talk. if you don't- well that's ok, too." i think in this crazy, broken, mixed-up world all everyone wants to know is that they aren't alone. the greatest gift we can offer to people is that comfort. this is why i love community. this is why i love MY community. so many loving arms willing to embrace me despite the tear-stains i leave on their shirts. who don't get upset that i'm still crying about this, but instead tell me to take as long as i need. who remind me that i'm grieving a loss. that it's ok if i wake up and have no motivation. to stop striving to perform and trying to repress the pain. to let myself be present in my emotions.

such a gift. and there is gratitude in my heart today- especially for that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

let me off

i'm angry.

and i'm hyper-sensitive to everything. i'm always on the verge of another breakdown.

the littlest things set me off. i'm mad at people who've done nothing wrong to me but in my mind they have. they don't call enough. they call too much. they always ask me how i am. they never ask me how i am.

and then there's all the "you're so strong" comments.

i don't feel strong.

i feel crazy.

i feel trapped on this spinning amusement park ride and i just want to yell at the guy holding the controls to "let me off already!" but i keep spinning. around and around and around.

this week has been so hard. saturday was his middle son's 5th birthday and i couldn't do anything all day. i sat at home alone and that's not how it was supposed to be. we were supposed to be celebrating together. it's now been over 2 weeks since i even last "saw" him. 6 weeks since i received that devastating phone call. and this friday marks 1 year since we first shared our feelings with one another and began our relationship journey.

this sucks. big time. i feel so vacant and hollow inside. a shell of a person walking around trying to make sense of this craziness. i know i'm not alone, but yet i am. this is not how it's supposed to be.

most days i feel like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the candy aisle screaming at God that IT'S NOT FAIR! why can't i have what i want? why did you do this to me? what did i do to deserve this? why. why. why.

the age old question i guess.

ugh. i almost hate that i'm even putting this out here on my blog. i hate that this is who i am right now. bitter. angry. sad. depressed. anxious.

this is real and this is raw and this is where i am. not much gratitude today.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

saturday morning scene

linking up with my sister today for saturday morning scene...

it's been a rough couple days for me with hour long cry fests that result in waking up with swollen puffy eyes. just lovely i tell ya. so yesterday i decided to do a puzzle. why? i have no idea. it just sounded appealing to me. and actually? it's been kind of therapeutic. with coffee in hand and music in the background this is how i spent my saturday morning.

of course i did all the easy stuff first so now i'm left with all the annoying pieces that look exactly the same. if anyone's looking for me i'll probably be at the kitchen table banging my head out of sheer frustration.

happy saturday!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

blessings abound

last night i was thinking about all the incredible blessings in my life these days and i decided i wanted to share some with you. i'm realizing that keeping my heart in that place of gratitude fights off the blues that try to come at me... and sure, sometimes they win, but only for a moment. God has a way of drawing me back into His loving embrace when i stray or begin to think that i can handle this on my own. such a gracious Father He is.

if you follow me on twitter, it's no secret that i'm doing weight watchers. have been for 13 weeks now. that's 13 weeks of tracking every.single.thing that i put in my mouth. holy moses batman! that sounds crazy. really though? it's not that difficult. and it makes me so much more aware of what i eat. i'm down 22lbs and i still have a ways to go, but it's so exciting! if you're doing any kind of weight-loss program i would encourage you to take your measurements! if you don't see results on the scale, you WILL see them in those measurements, trust me. i added mine up yesterday and i have lost 17 total inches off my body! 5.5 of those are off my waist alone. YES! i'm thinking about doing a blog soon with some of my tips and tricks that i've found helpful... maybe katie and i will do a vlog about it or something since we've been doing this together? we'll see...

i absolutely LOVE my church. we just recently moved out of meeting in a house to a community building in the middle of the city and it's awesome. it's a lot of hard work, especially because i'm the children's ministry director, but God is doing great things. we've also recently launched 3 small groups in the city and they are growing and people are entering into relationship with the Father and each other and it is beautiful! our salvation is truly worked out alongside one another in community. we were not designed to walk this journey alone and i am beyond blessed at the support and encouragement i receive DAILY from all of them. we don't have a website yet, but we have been recording messages so if you're interested in learning about what it means to be reconciled to God, yourself, others and creation go check out our podcasts here! (shameless plug i know, but they will change your life! for reals!)

spring is here! yes, that means lots of rain, but sprinkled throughout those rainy days there have been some lovely sunshiny times and it's been fabulous. spring holds so much hope and promise and that is something i cling to these days! plus, the season surrounding easter is such a special one. a time when we get to reflect on the amazing sacrifice of our creator and bask in the love that He has for us and the victory that He has over the grave! oh yeah! it doesn't get any better than that! plus, springtime means long walks outside and trips to the park with my nieces. we went on Monday and kyra informed me that she wanted to play hide 'n seek. before long i had about half the playground hiding with me, being lookouts and running around. it was fun. kids love me. what can i say? haha!

my heart is full today... there are so many more things i could share with you but i'll leave it at that. i've been writing in my gratitude journal daily- making my list of 1,000 gifts/moments/experiences that i'm grateful for. i'm only in the 50's so i have a long way to go but each one causes me to stop and reflect and be thankful which is the ultimate blessing.

happy wednesday everyone!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

for my kater

i love my sister.

today is her birthday.

they say a sister is like a built-in best friend. i couldn't agree more.

almost every day includes conversations about nothing and everything at the same time.

i love my sister.

today is her birthday.

she makes me laugh almost every single day.

i am who i am because of our relationship. i try not to take that for granted.

i love my sister.

today is her birthday.

she's an incredible wife and mother and i look up to her so much.

i know i'm the "big" sister but she teaches me things every single day.

i love my sister.

today is her birthday.