Listening to K-Love this morning,

Steven Curtis Chapman singing "Live Out Loud".

Such a lighthearted song.

It occurred to me how much it's unlike his new album.

He's more somber now.

Subdued. Introspective.

I feel the same way.

Hope's Mama put it well, how much losing a child changes you.

It's true. I'm nowhere close to being the same person I was.

I wonder if the people I knew years ago would even recognize me.

But what are we, except the sum of our experiences?

I pray that I'm reflecting the Lord's light through my grief and healing.


Last night we took an order for two large 1-topping pizzas for $12. It's a coupon we have, super-cheap, huh?

I was back at the oven cutting pizzas when two men came in to pick up the pizzas. Two Indian men.

I didn't pay any attention until the driver who was waiting on them turned to me and said, "Do we have any cups?"

I looked around, said "no, I don"t think so. Well, there might be some in the back. Did they buy a 2-liter of pop?"

My driver: "No, they just wanted some cups."

I look at the two men and they're loaded for bear: a double handful of napkins, about 20 plates, pockets overflowing with parmesan and red pepper packets.... (I may be exaggerating there, but not by much)

And now they want cups.

Seriously, when does buying something from a restaurant entitle you to outfit your entire kitchen and pantry with complimentary condiments and dinnerware? Is there no shame?

I always seem to have problems with the Indian community here (and there's a large one). They own the local hotels, we buy their key cards for their guests with our advertising on them (one less thing for the owner to worry about, right?). Then the owner calls us *demanding* free food because he *allows* us to advertise in his hotel.

Say what?

And we have this one customer who you just cannot explain toppings to. She wants "just a few" jalapenos on her onion pizza. Ma'am, that's an additional topping, and you'll have to pay for it. And back and forth we go, me explaining it to her over and over while I've got three other lines on hold.

And don't get me started with those darn Entertainment Book coupons - they don't want to hear that they can't pay the $6.99 large carryout price and use that for buy-one-get-one-free.

I don't want to be labeling people. The Indian people that I know outside of work are warm, charming, just very conscientious people. We have several families as neighbors, and we enjoy their company. Why is it, when I have the carry-out counter between us, that everything changes?

My Indian readers, can you explain this to me? Do you guys have anecdotes of Americans in India?


Week 5 - 1/30/10

(those are my cappuccino socks. Note to self - they don't photograph well...)

Yay or "Neigh"? Yay! That's another .6 lbs off my body, for a total loss of 7.4 lbs. I'm pretty happy with that, considering the way this week went. My average daily calorie intake was 1607, and my new BMI is 36.9 (woo-hoo!!!).

Lessons Learned? This was my hardest week yet. I always seem to hit that brick wall around the one month mark, where the motivation and interest just disappear. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that brick wall hit me this week, when I went on an all-out one-night-only sugar binge. In diets past, that probably would have been the end of my efforts, but I'm still here. Struggling, but persevering. Partly thanks to you guys out there who are keeping me honest.

Goals Achieved? I said it wouldn't happen, but guess what? I fit into a smaller pair of jeans this week! No, it wasn't pretty, those denim tubes sucked on to my cellulite-encrusted thighs like warm Saran wrap. But I didn't need to hold my breath to get them buttoned. :)

Goals Made? Ha! To make those above-mentioned jeans decent for wearing in public! (I kill me!) Seriously, this month is going to be about staying motivated. A friend emailed about joining SparkPeople. My goal for February is to sign in to SP every day of the month.

My best moment of the week: Probably putting on those pants. Or when Yasar tells me I look so different. I love that my weight loss is not limited to feedback from the scale!


Saying Goodbye...Again

My car is weighted down, just like my heart. Last night I bagged and boxed Leila's clothes and sundries up and heaped it all into my little grey car. We'll be making a trip to the local chapter of Right to Life to donate these things to someone who will really benefit from them.

I'm trying to focus on the good here. That maybe someone will make the decision not to abort their child. That Leila will have a small part or influence in that decision.

Still, I can't even describe to you how hard that was. Putting all those little outfits into garbage bags. Boxing up my maternity clothes. Carrying it all downstairs and filling up first the trunk and then the backseat of the car.

A few things I kept. My friend Christine bought me a little pink baby book and a musical bunny when she found out Leila was a little girl. I can't part with those, both because of Leila's memory and now Christine's, as well...she's leaving me, moving 1600 miles away early next month.

God, I've had enough with grief. Could You please rustle up some joy for me?


Week 4 - 1/23/10

(drum roll please.....)

Yay or "Neigh"? Um, that's a YAY! From 230.6 last week, it's a weekly loss of 1.2, and a total loss of 6.8 lbs! My new BMI is a flat 37. Average calorie intake this week was 1524. Just the facts, ma'am (in my best Joe Friday voice). :)

Lessons Learned? You know, I love watching The Biggest Loser...but it's starting to get to me. 1.2 lb loss is a GREAT loss, however I feel like I'm running through knee-deep mud. And I think it's from watching all those contestants pull those huge numbers. It's hard to get out of my head, "if I could just have one week of Michael's weight loss, I'd hit goal". It's hard to look at that number on the scale and realize it's a significant loss when it's not double digits.

But it's not going to stop me from watching. :)

Goals Achieved: I didn't really hit any new goals this week. Still on the Wii Fit daily, mixing up my yoga/strength routine every few days (ever seen a fat girl hold a plank for 30 seconds? Awe-inspiring!). This week I had the pleasure of spending a day once-a-month-cooking with a good friend, and I did it in my jeans. Yeah, the so-constricting jeans that I couldn't even sit down in this time last month. The thighs didn't cut off circulation. I didn't have to hold my breath all day. One step closer to those smaller jeans size.

Goals Made: Ho, hum, same old goal. New pants size by 2/1 (though I'm starting to have my doubts I'll make that one). I need to start tightening up my eating, too. I'm getting a little loosy-goosey on the calorie front. So I'm going to aim for 1400 cal/day this week.

My best moment of the week: Sorta embarrassing, but I want to share. I was doing the Super Hula Hoop on my balance board, and my son was surreptitiously recording me on his dad's phone. When I found out, I made myself watch it - I was mesmerized. I expected to need eye-bleach after that, but it wasn't bad a-tall. Hmm, maybe some belly dancing lessons are in my (skinny) future?


Free At Last!!!!

(I hope I'm not jumping the gun on this)

A few days ago, Holly, a fellow babyloss mama and just an all-around wonderful person, announced some good news. Her Rainbow Baby is coming!!!

In this community, it's a cause for celebration.

In this community, that mood of celebration is mixed in with a whole stew of other emotions, too.

Anxiety for the new life growing.

Sadness for the one they lost, who won't know their little brother or sister this side of Heaven.

And there's a lot of self-pity and jealousy among us still dealing with infertility.

Never outright, for no one deserves to savor this moment quite like a babyloss mama.

I've watched a few grieving mommies go on to be mommies of new, healthy babies. And, while it's on my lips to thank God for those babies, the green-eyed monster has always lurked close by.

This time? I'm just happy. No complicated emotions, just happy and thankful to God for giving Holly this gift. My opinion is that she's earned it well. Not that my opinion means all that much. :)

God, You don't suck. Whether my day comes to be in Holly's position or not, It's all in Your capable Hands. It is well with my soul.

Someone posted this as a Facebook status update the other day and it resonated in my heart.

"God’s timing is perfect. God may not do things on your timetable or in the way that you would like, but he is never late. Sometimes we have to go through struggles and bad decisions to truly appreciate Christ and grow in the Lord."

I'm wondering if that temper tantrum I had wasn't the last of the bile that needed to be released. Because, since spewing all over Blogger, I feel free.....



This journey is unlike anything I've ever imagined myself walking.

I have moments when I'm so angry with God I can't even see straight.

It's impossible to fathom why He chose this route for my life.

And I'm only human. Created in His image, yes. But still prone to falling. To self-centeredness. To thinking I could do this better than Him, given the chance.

But I lack His all-encompassing vision to see the broader picture.

I went to bed last night with a heavy, heavy heart. And, despite my rant, I still found myself praying.

Not apologizing. He understands my pain. Even feels it Himself.

But praying for my new friends, walking this same road with me. Praying for my husband and my son. Thanking God for what I have instead of focusing on the opposite.

Yes, I did behave like a child last night, ranting on the blog. And don't you know that image of a child having a temper tantrum was in my head all day long? Me, throwing myself to the ground, kicking and screaming, while my Father looked on, feeling my pain but knowing He couldn't give me what I wanted because it wasn't best for me. Oh, yes, it was.

I'm not going to pull down last night's post. I'm human, and struggling my way through this. I'm not a saint. I could sit there and pull the pious face and never let you know the turmoil underneath.

It would even be easier than letting you see what's truly inside.


God? You suck!

Sorry if that shocks you, reader. But that's just how I'm feeling today.

I was really praying HARD for this month to be "the month".

You see, our house is up for Sheriff's Sale 2/24. Which means we're probably going to be moving 3/1-ish.

I still have all the stuff I bought for Leila in the spare bedroom.

I got pregnant this time last year, so I really wanted to get pregnant NOW so that I could still use that stuff.

We're moving into a smaller place, so I either needed to NEED that stuff or get rid of it.

And, since Aunt Flo arrived today, I guess I'll be donating it.

God, I can't even fathom why you chose to put me through this.


Before that positive pregnancy test last year, I was *happy* with just one child. I had resigned myself to infertility and accepted my lot.

Then You throw this curve ball at me. And let me fall in love with the idea of being a mommy again.

Let me get past the dreaded 14-week mark, so I could breathe a sigh of relief and feel safe.

Let me find out I'm expecting a daughter, the little dark-haired girl I'd always dreamed of.

Let my husband and son get all excited.

And then You yanked her away from us.

And now, 7 months later, I'm back to struggling through infertility again.

I don't know what I did to piss You off so badly, to make you want to punish me like this!

I NEVER ask You for anything! We're losing our house, we've got no income to speak of! We're still struggling to keep our business afloat! Yet, through all that, I've NEVER asked You for help!

I ask You for one little thing, the thing that so many women take for granted. And You shut me down.

Pardon me if I'm not the president of Your fan club right now.

I'm not turning away from You - I'm just going to take a little hiatus tonight.


Week 3 - 1/16/10

(I know you love my socks!)

Yay or "Neigh"? Meh. I'm not giving myself a yay OR a "neigh" because of basic female physiology, and how our bodies have a tendency to retain water just before "that time". And, combined with the cravings that also accompany "that time" (including my complete inability to stop inhaling my husband's creamy Cajun chicken pasta last night), I think a > 1 lb. gain is pretty okay. So my weight is down from 230.8, for a weekly loss of .2 lbs and a total loss of 5.6 lbs. IMHO, any loss on a week such as this is cause for celebration! And my BMI is still at 37.2.

Sorry about the blur - Andrew's photo chops are still developing. That's me holding a 5 lb bag of sugar, an 8 oz box of cream cheese (very plentiful in my fridge!) and 2 tbsp of butter.

Lessons Learned:
Just that this is going to be a long, long road. Perseverance and commitment are the qualities that are going to get me through this. So my mentality is more tortoise than hare. Plod. Plod. Plod.

Goals Achieved? Remember back here when a I made a mini-goal of how long it would take Yasar to make a comment? Marked the date - 1/10/10, Yasar hugged me from the back and said I looked skinnier! Yay!

Goals Made? Still my same old goals - new pants size by Feb 1. To keep going on the Wii Fit Plus for 35+ minutes a day. Which has been an easy ongoing goal...I keep mixing up routines and doing a new game every few days just too keep myself interested. I'm stoked to announce that this was the week I completed the Island Cycling Expert level! W00t!

My best moment of the week: There were a few. First, that feeling of sinking into your bed, muscles tired from exercise, and sleeping the sleep of the just. And that uncoached compliment from Yasar. And completing the Island Cycling bit. And when Sakai chose to buy my cheesecakes. Heck, yeah, it's been a great week!

My worst moment of the week? When Andrew stood in the middle of Walmart and trumpeted "Mom! You need to get this Alli stuff to lose weight!" at TOP volume. I love my kid, but I never wished for a roll of duct tape so badly in my life!


Lifting You Up

So many of you are scared right now.

Or sad.

A few of you have a new glimmer of hope, and a whole new laundry list of worries.

One of you has been given your gift, but your laundry list is still there, just in a different way.

Some are still nursing a broken heart.

Raising your voices to God and asking "why me?"

Some are still brokenhearted, but accepting of God's Plan.

A few are walking this journey without God's comfort.

Please know that I lift you up to the Lord by name daily.

And it's so nice to be able to say, "Lord, please be with ______ today. I don't know what she needs right now, but I love that You are very aware of what that need is, and You can provide it. Please be with her, and hold her through this."

He loves us, Oh how He loves us!

Sending all my sisters so much love and prayers....


Cottage Industry Part 2

Ahhh, cheesecakes.

No dessert can gain you notoriety so quickly.

As Alton Brown put it in one of his cookbooks, "someone who can make a cheesecake well can walk into a room with his head held high."

My head is scraping the 8' ceilings right now, and almost too big to fit through the doorways!

I blogged about what kept me busy over the winter holidays. And I was indeed busy.

In that 6-week period, I made sold almost 100 cheesecakes for friends.

When you consider I can make 3 a day, you can see that it was an every-morning-at-5am endeavor.

I also had the pleasure of creating some new recipes.

My two pride-and-joys are the Vanilla Chai cheesecake (
Tea-infused cheesecake with notes of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger poised on a vanilla cardamom cookie crust) and the Chocolate Cow cheesecake (A homemade brownie layered with Kahlua-spiked cheesecake and topped with rich dark chocolate ganache).

But once the New Year had passed, and everyone (self included) started their post-Christmas body detox, if I wanted this to continue I was going to have to take it to the local restaurants.

So last week 4 Samplers went out. 2 no-responses, one negative response (from the restaurant that had just asked me for my list of ingredients, isn't that interesting?),

And A YES!

Sakai, our local sushi house/HIbachi Palace has asked me to make them a special cheesecake for their menu. Green Tea. Oh, I'm so excited! AND they want the Chocolate Cow and a Raspberry Lemon Curd (homemade lemon curd and raspberry syrup made from these raspberries). Doubly exciting when you understand that the chef said he probably wouldn't be able to sell anything but green tea, and then changed his mind after sampling my product.

My foot is officially In. The. Door.

Praise God!
He is amazing. He will always take care of us!



Holly just posted about her being able to offer comfort to someone else in the depths of grief.

That really got me thinking.

I'm grateful that Leila happened so early in my life.

I have many years and almost unlimited opportunities to reach out to others.

To tread water with them.

Sometimes it feels selfish.

I have a chance to make Leila's life and death mean something.

Even if it's only to me.

I hate that I've gone through this.

But I'm determined to make the tragedy worthwhile.

Is that wrong?

It's not a rhetorical question - if you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.


Week 2 - 1/9/10

Yay or "Neigh"? Yay! And a whoop-whoop! My weight is down from 236, for a weekly loss of 5.2 lbs and a total loss of 5.4 lbs. My new BMI is 37.2. I can't wait for my BMI to drop enough that the Wii Fit Plus stops chastising me by weighing me and saying "That's Obese!" Yeah, yeah, I know. But Rome wasn"t built in a day...

This is me holding the food equivalent of my loss-to-date. And yeah, I'm wearing a "big D" uniform. Maybe now you'll appreciate how hard I have to struggle to lose weight, huh?

Lessons Learned: That water is very, very important to weight loss. Drinking lots of water can actually negate small dietary infractions. So if you slip up (which I haven't...yet), commit to drinking more water and flush your system. Also, sometimes being dehydrated can feel like being hungry to us, so drinking your water can actually help control hunger. And it's also critical to stay hydrated while exercising. Gatorade? Pshaw! Grab a big glass of water and let your body do what God designed it to do.

Goals achieved? I've consistently met or exceeded my goal of 35 minutes of daily exercise. And my daily caloric intake average for this week was 1452 - a little higher than I wanted, but that includes a celebratory chocolate fondue night with my boys. So I'm still giving myself a gold star. AND my sweatpants are starting to feel a little looser. w00t!

Goals made? To consistently drink my 64 oz water every day. To be in a smaller pair of pants by 2/1/10.

My best moment of the week: When Yasar first bought me the Wii Fit Plus, I ran the marathon. And almost died. Seriously! This week, I ran it twice, back-to-back. Yeah, I was out of breath, but far from reaching for my inhaler. I wonder if it'd be too much of a stretch to make a goal of running a real 5k or something this summer. Shari? What say you?

Oh, and turning 35 is was pretty cool, too. :)

Phillippians 4:13 says "I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me."

So take that, fat! You're no match for me, because my God's got my back! :P


Leila's Collage

Jessica, thank you. It's so beautiful. We'd been looking for something to frame, and this is perfect! God bless you!


Week 1 - 1/2/10

Yay or "Neigh"? Yay <~mini Yay (Ha! I crack myself up!!). My weight went from 236.2 to 236.0, so a loss of .2lbs. And my BMI stayed at 38.1. My number was better first thing this morning, but I thought I'd wait for my coffee to induce my (ahem) morning ritual. Guess that backfired a little, huh?

Lessons Learned: Okay, I think I've been eating too many daily calories. My average intake for this week was 1674. I started off good, watching the scale going down. Then, about Thursday, the scale started going the wrong way. So I'm backing down to 1300-1400 daily calories. We'll see what happens from there. And I'm not discouraged - I didn't pack on these 80 lbs in a week, so it stands to reason that they won't peel themselves off that quickly, either.
BTW, I use FitDay* software to keep track of my calories and nutrition. I bought the software many, many years ago, but I think they have a free version online.

Goals achieved?
Well, I've scrapped my goal of 35x up the stairs by the time I'm 35. My goal is 35 minutes minimum on my Wii Fit Plus* (an early b-day present from my amazing hubby ~ love you habibi!), and I have met it daily since he bought it for me on Sunday. I never expected indoor-type exercise to be anything but tedious, but the Fit Plus IS! Easily the best $100 we've spent in a looong time.

Goals made? Just to continue my 35 minutes a day, and to make it down at least one pants size by February 1st. I measured my waist at 47 inches the other day, so TBC.

My best moment this week: Looking in the mirror and seeing changes in my body. It's a long road ahead, so getting that early confidence boost felt so great!

*And no, I have not been compensated to endorse any products. Can you believe we have to add a disclaimer to our blogs now? Sheesh!


Looking Forward, Looking Back

Now, I'm an old lady. On the cusp of the dreaded 35 (6 more days! Eeek!). So no, I did not stay up last night to watch a lighted ball lowered in NYC. I was in bed, dreaming the dreams Nyquil provides (yeah, I'm sick, too).

But before bed I had an interesting reaction to the new year. One would think, after as crappy as this year has been, I'd be all too happy to put this sucker to rest and start anew, right?


I had a mini-anxiety attack last night.

2009 was a shit year,

but it was the year I held my daughter.

I wasn't ready to let that go yet.

I feel like I've been pushed into the next year.


2009 will always be the year that I held Leila.

In my belly. In my arms.

Going forward into 2010, I can only hold her in my heart.