Monday, September 15, 2014

Paper Towel Paradise!

We loaded up and headed out for Orange Beach this past Labor Day weekend. We have been looking forward to this trip ever since we got back from our first trip in June. We are beach people.
Our beach trips with my family are always so relaxing and full of nothing but gourmet food! I always gain a good 5 pounds on this trip because all my family wants to do is lounge by the pool and eat fancy foods!  But trust me...I am not complaining!
We had to make a few extra stops along the way for Mr. Weston Hayes. He still is not a fan of traveling and he lets us know it by screaming the entire trip.
Once we arrived though, he was all smiles! Weston was cutting two teeth and wasn't really feeling well so I would say he had the least fun. Being hot, sandy and sleeping in a pack and play is not his idea of a great time.
My brother and sis, along with their three girls joined us for the trip and let me tell you...those girls were SOOO excited to see each other. The moment the elevator doors opened it was deafening. They screamed and hollered and jumped up and was priceless.
We settled in for a fantastic five days doing nothing but going back and forth from the pool, to the lazy river, to the beach and then to the table for food!
We always stay at Turquoise Place and it is just gorgeous. This year we had a room in the first tower by the lazy river and it worked out perfectly.
The kiddos loved the balcony although it quickly became apparent that Aubrey is not to be trusted 8 stories up. The girl thought it was loads of fun to throw everything off the balcony! I can't count how many times we spanked her, but she just kept throwing things off!  Toys, food, name it and it went over! She's lucky I didn't toss her butt over...just kidding!!!
I decided to bake my special strawberry shortcake cake one night and I went on and on about how it is my specialty and how everyone loves my cake. Well, my sis was helping me get it together and she put paper towels down lining the cake pans instead of using Pam. Totally fine. I baked the cakes, and went to frost them. I took the paper towels off the cake and went ahead with my icing. That evening I presented everyone with huge slices of my delicious, fresh strawberry cake. My daddy devoured his and boasted how yummy it was. (He is always one to compliment his baby girl) My hubby started to eat his and very loudly proclaimed, "babe...there is paper in my cake!" He went on to pull out a huge wad of paper towels from his cake! Now that I think about it, I think he could have been a little less loud and dramatic about calling me out on this. LOL. Anyway, everyone else began to inspect their cake and much to my horror...each pulled out a paper towel! I was horrified. I thought I had removed every bit of paper but I didn't realize it was two-layers thick! I only removed the first layer of paper towel! OOPS!
We died laughing because A.) I had made such a big deal about how wonderful of a baker I was and I messed up royally and B.) my dad devoured the whole cake...paper towel and all!!!! It is the true love of a father to eat his baby girl's cake, paper towel included, and still proclaim how amazing it was!
Our first year with 5 grandbabies! My oh my how precious are these kiddos!
It was an awesome of our best! Full of tons and tons of laughter and many special memories. Each trip we take, I am always a little sad at the end because I hate to see it come to a close. I have to remind myself that these memories are something that will forever be with us. These special times spent with family are so priceless to me and I want to keep these memories in my heart forever!
Moments and memories with family are what I live for. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family to spend my days with...there is no one else we would rather be with!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dancing in Freedom

I've shared on my blog in the past about my struggle with my eating. By the grace of God, I have come out from the trenches of dealing with anorexia. I am by no means healed completely, and I struggle with bad habits on a daily basis...but overall I would say my progress has been nothing short of a miracle.

I have struggled lately with realizing that even though I may not restrict my intake in huge ways, my small behaviors are still affecting Aubrey. She is beginning to be extremely aware of what I do and don't do, and she is seeing that sometimes I do things differently than her. That was exactly what I have feared for the last 3 years. I never want my struggle to be passed down to her. I want nothing more than for her to have a healthy and strong view of her body, and her relationship with food to be only positive.

Christian and I recently went and visited with a Christian counselor to discuss some ways to move more towards complete freedom. My eating and body obsession affects my whole family and sometimes it is difficult for Christian to know how to handle things. Our session went very well and we both walked away with useful tools for promoting healthy habits in our family.

One thing I knew I needed to tackle was the scale. I had gotten into the habit of weighing myself every single morning and that is NOT something I wanted Aubrey to see. I would try and do it when she wasn't around, but it never failed that she would walk in and see me. It may not seem like a big deal to her now, but she will remember what I do and I don't want her to think that a number is what makes it a good or bad day.

So Christian and I talked and we decided it was time to get rid of our scale. This was huge for me. The scale is like a lifeline for me and it has been offering me a false sense of security for as long as I can remember. We thought about just throwing it away, but we wanted to do something a little more symbolic of our strides towards freedom. 

So we decided to smash our scale...and let Bre have a front row seat. I tried to explain to her that scales aren't important, but what is important is to love ourselves no matter what. To know we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe...and He doesn't make mistakes.

I can honestly say I felt a physical release when I brought that hammer down onto the scale. Almost like chains and bondage were being flung off my body. It was so liberating and freeing for me to make a real, tangible step towards healthiness.

I think with any bondage or stronghold, when we make one small step towards freedom, God meets us and carries us another ten steps. I think when we make little attempts to let go of satan's grip...God steps in and takes huge strides on our behalf.  I never thought I would begin to find peace without knowing exactly how much the scale says, but I honestly am finding a sense of calmness and joy in not having to be a certain number. There is such entrapment in satan's lies, and it takes walking out into the light to see just how far in the dark we had really been.

Again, it goes back to the truth that when we move a allows God to move in monumental ways. He sees our willingness and wants to prove Himself faithful. I believe my chains will continue to fall off the more small, uncomfortable steps I take towards Him. I honestly don't think complete freedom will come easy or quickly but with each step, I find joy and satisfaction. I know that only comes from moving away from the lies and garbage of the devil...and more towards a Holy God.

So on behalf of my sweet girl, I will continue to make strides in the direction of freedom. Not on my own, but with God carrying me through and my family cheering me from behind.

And speaking of new beginnings, my sweet girl started dance class last week and is loving it! She is still very shy and timid, but I know she loves it because she continues to ask to go back! If nothing else, she sure is cute in her outfit...and they get a sucker at the end of class so that is nothing short of the best thing in the world to her!

SO here is a shout out to my sweet girl...let us both continue to dance freely...without cares or concerns and remember that with each step we make...we are dancing towards joy and freedom.