yes. i moved to michigan

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I never thought I would be on the other side of this disorder.

I honestly thought I would be one of those people that just dealt with it for the rest of my life. Or at least be really in the thick of things for a long time.

Back in the summer. 
But it’s crazy because things are so different. And I never thought it could be.

It’s so weird. I literally could not see the problem. 
Like. What??

I’ve said before, I know there is so much more to go. And that my life can be even fuller then it is now. But these last few weeks, I’ve been able to really appreciate where my life is at the present moment.

When Jake and I first moved to Michigan, people would ask if it was good? Were things better now? And initially I just answered “yes”. But I don't know if I really meant it.  I was happy to be home, I loved growing up in Michigan, but I think I just gave people an answer.

Now, for the first time, I’m able to see how much this move has really impacted me. 
Don’t get me wrong. I loved living in Downers Grove. 
It was close to friends. Close to my church. Everything was just two minutes down the road. 
Trader Joe’s to Nordstrom to Starbucks, I didn’t have to think about it, we could just get in the car and go. Bored? Lets’ just call someone and hang out.

What I noticed now is that my eating disorder could hide in Downers Grove. Smile. Be busy. Don't think about it. 

There was so much to fill my time with. I never needed to work through things because there was always a way to avoid it. I could avoid meal times. I could avoid the feelings. I could just go with the flow of being busy and pay no attention to ED. Things occupied my time. Work, friends, church, they would come and go and ED could hide, keeping me stuck. I had no appreciation for the things I was a part of because they were always there. Just a phone call, or walk away all these things were right there. 

I literally thought there was nothing wrong. 

For a while, I never felt like I had anything to give up. To change. 

But so much is different now. 
ED can't hide anymore. 

Yea, I live in a small town now. 

But it’s so good. 
Yes. It has its restraints. 
If I want to be somewhere, it isn’t at my beck and call. My friends aren’t close anymore. But ED has been fully exposed. 

I’ve had time to focus on it. Work through my thoughts. And honestly my life has never been more full. Like the difference is insane.

I went back recently to visit my old small group of girls and spend time with them and the other leaders I worked with while I was in Illinois. We had a great time! Sleepover, snacks and a lot of pictures later I was on my way home.

On my drive back, I was beyond happy. Happy that I was finally able to be fully present with those girls, just enjoying life and time together with each other. ED had always held me back from that, but this time was so different.

That’s not the only thing that’s changed. I’m able to be a better wife now.
Joining Jake for coffee, sharing donut holes at Tim Horton’s, eating meals together, spending real time with each other. My life is so much more authentic and full now then it ever has been before. 

I’m so thankful I’m learning how to cope with mental illness, and be real, and be myself.

Able to have fun and eat dessert before dinner when I’m spending the day with my cousins. Able to share meals with my family.
Able to be the role model I always wanted to be.

Able to be more full of love than fear.

st. patricks day

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
I don't know about you, but I love any reason to do anything seasonal.

Normally I never really do too much for St. Patrick's Day, it's such a quick holiday on the calendar and I'm not into being pinched.

But this year, I decided to do just a little something.

Mostly I just love an excuse to try new recipes.

So, here is something QUICK, SIMPLE and DELICIOUS!!!

I give you,
St. Patrick's Lucky Cereal Cake.

I found the recipe while visiting my cousins the other weekend. Inspired by the original layout we followed, I decided to take my own spin on it. By that I mean, I just used different cereal and decided it was festive!

step one. 
--melt 4 tablespoons of butter.

step two. 
--add 4 cups of mini marshmallows, mix until melted. 

step three. 
--at your own liberty, add or don't add food coloring.


step four. 
--add six cups of your most favorite cereal. 

mmmm yes. 

step five. 
--in a greased round cake pan, add half the crispy mixture. do the same for the other half. 

step six.
--once cooled, remove cereal cake from cake pans. frost top of the first cake (liberally). stack second on top. if there is more frosting, top the second layer (or lick the spoon). add sprinkles, chocolate chips, more cereal, or whatever you'd like!! 

It's SO simple. 
Quick, easy, and so cute!!

--Comment below!! Let me know what you're favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition is. Do you wear green, or just get pinched?

Have a magically delicious afternoon friends :) 

the dark one

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Life has been SO good lately. My puppy is growing up fast. The weather (for the week at least) is getting warmer. Jake and I have settled into our apartment more and more everyday. My life is just starting to find its rhythm.

But I’ve noticed that it’s easy for life to be simple in my comfort zone.

The other day Jake and I were watching my favorite show Once Upon A Time.
As a Disney child, I’m completely Hooked ;)

Pun intended.

So, mid binge watch of season 5a, I started to have a crazy connection with the show and my own personal life.

Quick plot—
--Emma (our hero) is filled with darkness and eventually gives herself over to becoming the “Dark One”. As she begins this new chapter of story, the previous man to bear the title (Rumplestiltskin) guides her along this journey into darkness. 

It’s this huge mental struggle as Emma (her true self) wrestles with Rumplestiltskin as she’s faced with decisions that can either lead her deeper into the darkness or keep her true to who she is. 
As he appears to her, it’s only in her head. 

Her friends and family know she’s wrestling, but they can’t see or hear who he is or what he’s saying to her. And the more she focuses on her struggle and on him, the more he’s there. Day in and day out he’s speaking to her, feeding her mind with riddles, and thoughts that she can’t shake. Pushing her further and further toward acting on the pull toward the darkness.

And even though it’s super fictional, and totally not real, this concept to me wasn’t.

Day in and day out, my own version of Rumplestiltskin is there, constantly reminding me how easy it is just to give in. Maybe it’s only a small step into the darkness, but once you make the first step, the rest get easier and easier. And it feels a lot different than temptation. Because I've been there, to where the darkness took me, and I know what that power feels like to be there. And it's waiting for me every day. Like Rumple, waiting for Emma. 

Now as friends and family come to her aid, it's much easier for Emma to relinquish this hold Rumple has on her. Her love interest draws her out of herself. Realizing her fears, asking that she begin to place her trust in him. As long as she thinks it's up to her to protect her family, up to her to know what is up ahead, she'll never be able to let go of the fear keeping her in the darkness. As Killian continues to stand beside her, she finds Rumple's visits into her head less frequent. 

Which is where I've found myself lately. 
Darkness has a funny way of making you think you hold all the cards, all the power. 
But as Jake and I finished out this half of season 5, even as Emma held all the magic and power of the Dark One, she was never really in control. The plan she had was only a small piece in the entire scheme of where that darkness wanted to take her. 

I thought last summer I was holding all my cards. That I could work my own way out of my disorder. Planning what was next, not letting go of this incessant "need to know". This idea that I could plan out and know what was happening next kept me blind to ED staying so close. This way of thinking only led me deeper down the rabbit hole than I ever wanted to be. It took me somewhere, that I never thought possible. It kept me comfortable because it gave me the illusion that I had the power and the control. But it wasn't real. And as much as I thought I could embrace this, and live a full life, I couldn't. 

I wont ruin the story for you if you're watching the show, but it's a fairytale, so obviously things turn out hopeful and happy in the end for Emma. And I'm happy to say that is where I am now. Emma is lucky enough to live in a world with magic that can suck all the darkness right out of you and put it somewhere else, but today I feel stuck. Rumplestiltskin in my head, reminding me just how things could be if I only gave in. Even a little bit. 

But you just can't. 

There's so much light in the world that it's keeping me out of that darkness. But that light didn't start until I began to let people in. I've noticed the more I lean on those around me, the less Rumple is inside my head, calling me back. 

Which I didn't really notice until this weekend. 
Out of my comfort zone, away from my support system, he was there. Waiting. 

A weekend away from my schedule, my simple rhythm, he reminded me just how easy it would be to give in. 

I'm glad I didn't. 
I'm happy that I have more cards and power in my hand now than I ever did before. 

And it's crazy! How easy it is just to become your own version of a dark one. 

You have to find trust in the future. There is no way that I can know how tomorrow is going to turn out, even if I plan my every move. 

There is so much strength in being open about the darkness, that when the darkness comes back to haunt you, it's easier to keep moving forward. 

This probably sounds SO lame, but I love a good fairytale, so it spoke to me :)

Be on the lookout this next week for an easy St. Patty's day treat that will please everyone!! 

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