Check-In: Day 4

I’ve come to realize why cross training is so important. I’ve been going to Oragetheory classes for several months now, and while I definitely feel fatigued during the classes, I hardly ever get sore from them anymore. This week between classes, I tried a NTC workout and did my yoga dvd yesterday and MAN are my muscles sore. It’s amazing to me how different muscles are worked so differently with each workout. The body is an amazing thing.
Yesterday’s diary was similar to Wednesday’s. I’m officially obsessed with avocado toast and have made it a little differently every day! Here’s the breakdown for Thursday:

Breakfast (140 cals)

  • DKB Thin Sliced Whole Grain Toast, 1 slice (60 cals)
  • Small Avacado, ¼ (25 cals)
  • Coffee, 2 cups (5 cals)
  • Coffee Creamer, 2 teaspoons (20 cals)
  • Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar, 2 tablespoons (30 cals)

Morning Snack (167 cals)

  • Egg, 1 (80 cals)
  • Wasabi Almonds, 1/3 pack (87 cals)

Lunch (100 cals)

  • Medifast Chocolate Shake, 1 (100 cals)

Afternoon Snack (280 cals)

  • Small Banana, 1 (90 cals)
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter, 1 pack (190 cals)

Dinner (300 cals)

  • Chipotle Carnitas Burrito Bowl, half bowl (230 cals)
  • Tortilla Chips & Salsa, 5 chips (70 cals)

Dessert (80 cals)

  • Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate, 1 square (80 cals)

Activity (325 cals)

  • Yoga, 48 minutes (325 cals)

Caloric Counts for the day:

1,066 consumed

325 burned

I was sorta bummed that yoga didn’t burn more calories than that, but I KNOW it was a good workout (I can certainly feel it today) and I need to remind myself that it’s more than just calories burned.

Today and this weekend will be challenging, I’m sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue with the momentum I had over the week. We’re having dinner and drinks with friends tonight and a concert on Sunday where much wine will be consumed. My plan is to just have everything in moderation! We’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed!

I likely won’t blog on the weekends so Monday will be a big weekend check-in as well as my weekly weigh-in and progress photo. Aren’t you all excited?!?

Wishing you all a great weekend!


Check-In: Day 3

Yesterday morning, I was actually excited to get up and eat my breakfast! I’ve always been really good about eating something before I go to work in the morning but since I went to the store (FINALLY!) on Tuesday, I had plans to make myself some incredibly hipster avocado toast. I had some once at a coffee shop recently and wanted to try to recreate it. It was SO good! I took a piece of toast, smashed some avocado on there, added shaved radish, salt & pepper, and some chili flakes. It was a nice departure from my normal breakfast and I felt full for a long time, which is always nice. I had the exact same thing this morning (only added some toasted sesame seeds) but I’m excited to see what other combos of avocado toast I can imagine up. Let me know if you have a favorite recipe!
The rest of the day went really well, too. I switched up my snacks a bit and was happy with how long they stayed with me. I even weighed and measured out portions of toppings for my taco salad we had for dinner which I would NEVER have done before. I was surprised at how much cheese and sour cream half an ounce actually is! It was perfectly delicious and I liked knowing that I was still on track.

Daily diary for Day 3:

Breakfast (140 cals)

Note: I didn’t count the calories of the radish as it was seriously like three slices.

  • DKB Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grain Bread, 1 slice (60 cals)
  • Small Avocado, 15 grams (Yes I weighed it) (25 cals)
  • Coffee, 2 cups (5 cals)
  • Coffee Creamer, 2 teaspoons (20 cals)
  • Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar, 2 teaspoons (30 cals) 

Morning Snack (80 cals)

  • Egg, 1, scrambled in the microwave! (80 cals)

Lunch (187 cals)

  • Medifast Chocolate Shake, 1 (100 cals)
  • Wasabi Almonds, 1/3 pack (87 cals)

Afternoon Snack (280 cals)

  • Banana, 1 (90 cals)
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter, 1 pack (190 cals)

Dinner (280 cals)

  • Ground Beef, 4 oz (170 cals)
  • Low Fat Sour Cream, 1 tablespoon (20 cals)
  • Black Olives, .5 oz (6 cals)
  • Corn, .5 oz (11 cals)
  • Sharp Cheddar, .5 oz (56 cals)
  • Small Avocado, 9 grams (17 cals)

Dessert (94 cals)

  • Halo Top Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, ½ cup (60 cals)
  • Frozen Black Cherries, 3 (18 cals)
  • Wildflower Honey, drizzle (16 cals)

Activity (633 cals)

  • Orangetheory, 59 minutes (633 cals)

Caloric counts for the day:

1,061 consumed 

633 burned

I know that this will only get easier with time. Soon I won’t have to put my plate on the scale to figure out how much a half and ounce of olives is, but right now, it’s extremely time consuming. Honestly it probably took me 10 minutes to put my salad together last night! I guess, in the end, who really cares, right? Probably just my dog who had to wait around in the kitchen for 10 minutes figuring out if I was going to drop anything for her to eat. And just in case you were wondering, I did. 🙂

Check-In: Day 2

Using My Fitness Pal has been both great and a pain in the ass. I’m sure at first it’s annoying because you’re getting your frequently eaten foods set up and the scanner option really helps speed things along, but MAN! It feels like all I do all day is enter food into the app! It also yelled at me last night for not eating enough calories and it was going to punish me by not giving me a 5 week forecast or posting to my daily news feed. So I did what any normal human would do and had a square of dark chocolate! I realize I probably could have fudged a little of the numbers to get over the daily minimum amount but the chocolate sounded SOOO good and I’m not in this to lie to myself (or an app). Anyway, I ate it, loved it, and don’t at all regret it.

I also tried a low calorie, high protein ice cream last night! It’s a bad habit, I know, but we’ve gotten used to having a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips after dinner and in this heat, I was looking for alternatives to keep that tradition alive. Mark stayed with his standard chocolate chips but I opted for some frozen dark cherries with a drizzle of local honey and it was great! It may not be an every night sort of situation but it’s nice to know that I can still enjoy the things I love, even when trying to watch calories.

Anyway, here’s what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast (135 cals)

  • Large Egg, 1 (80 cals)
  • Coffee, 2 cups (5 cals)
  • Coffee Creamer, 2 teaspoons (20 cals)
  • Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar, 2 teaspoons (30 cals)

Morning Snack (120 cals)

  • Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt, 5.3 oz (120 cals)

Lunch (100 cals)

  • Medifast Chocolate Shake, 1 (100 cals)

Afternoon Snack (173 cals)

  • Wasabi Almonds, 2/3 package (173 cals) 

Dinner (360 cals)

  • Grilled Chicken Breast, 1 (165 cals)
  • Rice with Butter, ¼ c (63 cals)
  • Heirloom Carrots Roasted with EVOO and Brown Sugar (132 cals)

Dessert! (174 cals)

  • Halo Top Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, .5 cup (60 cals)
  • Dark Sweet Frozen Cherries, 3 (18 cals)
  • Drizzle of Wildflower Honey (16 cals)
  • Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, 1 square (80 cals) 

Activity (479 cals)

  • NTC, 47 minutes (479 cals)

Caloric counts for the day:

1,062 consumed

479 burned

Overall, I’m feeling good about my first two days. I really feel like this is something I can keep up which is, obviously, the goal. I FINALLY went grocery shopping last night and armed myself with some yummy treats for today which I’m excited to tell you about tomorrow. So far so good!

Let’s Get Physical 

I know they say that abs are made in the kitchen and I’ve heard percentages like 80% of weight loss is in what you eat, but I think staying active, at least for me, is just as important as the food I put into my body. I don’t have any scientific proof of that, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that not everything works the same for everybody (or every body!). While obviously I’m keeping an eye on my caloric intake (see yesterday below!) I’m also putting a huge emphasis on my daily activity. Like I mentioned yesterday my goal is to be physically active at least 4 times a week. Prior to this (at least for the last several months) I’ve been pretty good about going to Orangetheory Fitness (which I’ll talk about in a later post probably) but two times a week just wasn’t cutting it. I thought today, I’d show you a few apps I downloaded to help me with staying active and my plan going forward. Some I’ve used before, most I haven’t, so I’m excited to try these new options to keep things interesting.

1. Biketown: Just last week, the City of Portland and Nike introduced a new bike sharing program called Biketown. This is one I haven’t used yet but I’m really excited to rent my first bike and go for a ride! I don’t see this as being something I get great cardio doing, but a nice 30 minute ride along the waterfront every now and then sounds just fine with me!

2. Running for Weight Loss: I downloaded this ages ago and have never used it! I don’t mind running like some people do. As a matter of fact, sometimes I even enjoy it! I imagine this is similar to the Couch to 5K program (which I’ve completed in the past) so I’m eager to see how this is different and if it’s something that will work for me. I’ll keep you posted!

3. NTC: NTC stands for Nike Training Club. I have several friends who work at Nike (one who even helped market and launch this app!) and they all rave about it. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a lot of weight training with some cardio mixed in. Weight training is something I’ve never been good at, but from what I’ve read helps boost your metabolism the most.

4. My Fitness Pal: While this isn’t an app to use while working out, I think this app will be used more than any of the others. I plan on tracking my food here as well as my workouts. If you’re so inclined, my user name is kellielynndavis. I’d love to connect and keep each other accountable if that’s something you’re into!

5. OT Beat: These last two are part of a studio I got to called Orangetheory. It is 60 minutes of high intensity circuit training. This app in particular is one that works with my heart rate monitor I got through OT. I really like it because I can use for any workout I do, even if it’s not at Orangetheory. For instance, I used it yesterday on my lunchtime walk! I’ll use this to keep track of calories burned during my workouts so it will definitely come in handy.

6. Orangetheory: This is really only used to book my classes at the studio, but I thought I’d throw it in as it’s definitely a fitness app I use regularly. I’ve been going to these classes for a few months now, and while I haven’t seen any results on the scale, I can definitely tell I’m getting stronger. I’m hoping with my commitment to healthy eating and mixing in a few different workouts throughout the week, I’ll be able to say soon that the scale reflects how I feel!

As far as apps go, that’s it for now! I also really enjoy yoga and have a great yoga dvd that kicks my ass for an hour so that will become part of my routine again. Also, a couple of friends at work and I were really dedicated to Cize (which is a Beachbody program) that was SO fun and right up my alley, so hopefully we can get some dancing time in as well.

I think the main thing I’m trying to avoid with all these options is boredom. I figure if I have some exciting new things to try, I’ll keep motivated to move!

So for all of you out there, what’s your favorite way to get those activity points in? Do you agree that physical activity is just as important as the food you put into your body? Obviously, I think it’s a combination of both, but I don’t think we should downplay the importance of getting a good sweat on!

Ok you beautiful people! Until tomorrow!

Check-In: Day 1

I want to start this off by saying that the responses I got to yesterday’s postwere overwhelming. The texts and emails I received from friends and family were exactly what I needed to get this thing started off right. So, to all of you who sent a quick note of encouragement or committed to join me in this journey, THANK YOU!

This will sort of be the daily check-in format. I’ll tell you what I ate along with the calories consumed as well as my workouts and calories burned. I might have some other clever anecdotes or reviews of an app I recently tried. As a matter of fact, I have an ENTIRELY SEPARATE POST planned for today just about that! I won’t post twice all the time, but the app and activity post turned out to be way longer than I thought, so I wanted to break it up in easier to digest, bite-sized pieces. 
So! On to the daily diary!

As you’ll see in the post later, I’m using My Fitness Pal to track my food as well as activity. My user name is kellielynndavis if you’re interested in joining me there as well! To be honest, I didn’t plan on starting this whole big thing yesterday. As a matter of fact, we had such a crazy weekend that we didn’t even have the chance to go to the grocery store, so snacks and dinner weren’t quite what I would have planned but I did the best I could with what I had. So here we go:

Breakfast (354 cals)

Note: I had breakfast before I really committed to starting this thing here, so I had things (like butter) that I probably would skip otherwise. No excuses, I’m not planning on being perfect and I’m gonna eat butter but just sorta filling you in.

  • Daves Killer Bread (DKB from here on out) 21 Grain Thin Sliced Bread, 1 slice (60 cals)
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon (102 cals)
  • Large Egg, 1 (80 cals)
  • Coffee, 1 cup (2 cals)
  • Half & Half, 4 teaspoons (80 cals)
  • Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar, 2 teaspoons (30 cals)

Morning Snack (323 cals)

  • Peanut Butter, 1.5 oz (253 cals)
  • Celery, 1 cup (16 cals)
  • Coffee, 2 cups (4 cals)
  • Coffee Creamer, 2 teaspoons (20 cals)
  • Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar, 2 teaspoons (30 cals)

Lunch (100 cals)

Note: While I am not going back on Medifast (that’s another post for another day), you’ll see me having one of their meals from time to time as the food is too damn expensive to waste. They’re also pretty convenient for when I forgot my lunch (like yesterday) or have an off-site meeting, so you know, there’s that.

  • Medifast Chocolate Shake, 1 (100 cals) 

Afternoon Snack (85 cals)

  • Wasabi Almonds, .5 oz (85 cals)

Dinner (348 cals)

Note: We had leftovers which were baby back ribs. Those will be something to eat in moderation going forward, but it’s what we had and I did the best I could.

  • Baby Back Ribs, 2 ribs (238 cals)
  • Homestyle Baked Beans, ¼ cup (70 cals)
  • Green beans roasted in EVOO (40 cals)

Activity (1,029 cals)

Note: While I rarely work out twice a day, I did yesterday. I was so tired at work I just needed to get out and move so I took a walk on my lunch break.

  • Walking, moderate pace, 61 minutes (406 cals)

  • Orangetheory, 56 minutes (623 cals)

    SO! My total caloric counts for the day:

    1,210 consumed

    1,029 burned

    Honestly I’m not sure what my daily goal should be as far as calories in goes. MFP says 1,460 but that seems a little high. I think I’m just going to pay attention to my body and do what feels good. I know that slow and steady wins this race, so I’m not looking to drop 10 pounds a week or anything. It will be a balancing act between what I consume and what I burn. We’ll just have to see.

    ALSO! I should note that I don’t believe in “cheating”. Let me explain because that may come across the wrong way at first. I plan on eating whatever I want. Like, whatever.I.want. I’ve found that depriving myself of stuff might work for the short term, but I go off the deep end eventually which is how I got myself back into the situation I’m currently in. So, my opinion is as long as I track it and can make up for it in exercise, it’s fair game. This works best for me and my lifestyle, but you’ll have to find what works for you. Eating (and let’s be honest, drinking) brings me great pleasure. It’s something my boyfriend and I have in common and can share with each other and I’m not willing to give that up. This means when we go have pizza I may have 1 slice and supplement the rest with a giant salad, but mark my words: I’m eating the damn pizza. And I might just have a beer with it too! 😉

    Anyway, this is getting long enough for today. Check back later for my new app acquirements and I’ll check in again tomorrow with my daily diary.

    Love you all!

    Starting Over

    Well hello there lovely internet. It’s been a while! How about we get reaquainted, shall we? Ok then!

    I don’t think I’m going to bore you all by recapping the last three years or so since I’ve come to this space to share with you, so I’ll just jump right into it! I’m starting blogging again for one specific reason: to chronicle my never ending battle with my weight.

    I think it’s pretty serendipitous that the last thing I posted was about this very same subject, but boy was I in a different space then than I am now.

    Four years ago, I lost 80 pounds with a combination of Weight Watchers and Medifast. I was at my lowest weight I’d been in as long as I could remember. I was HAPPY!

    Fast forward to today and I’ve gained 50 pounds back. That’s a lot. That’s a whole lot. And initially I thought my reaction would be sadness and defeat and while there’s certainly a little bit of both of those things, I really am more determined than anything. It’s been a great three years of handmade pasta, weekends in Boston, pizza and beer, wine, and a LOT more, but I’ve shared all of that with the man I love and I’m not sure I’d take any of it back. I mean sure, I would love to be where I was three years ago weight-wise, but the last three years of my life I’ve lived fully and spontaneously, and you know what, sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

    That being said, I’m really ready to be healthy again. My brother is getting married in a little less than 11 months and I want to be confident standing up there, not feeling self consciencious. And honestly, I’m not doing this just for the wedding. It’s a good excuse, for sure, but more than anything I’m ready to feel happy with myself again.

    I’ve decided, even though it scares the hell out of me, to make these posts public. I’m not sure anyone even reads here anymore, which is fine because this is really for me, but if my experiences can help or encourage someone else then maybe, just maybe, this was all worth it.

    I’m sure I’ll talk lots about my journey and what brought me to this point but I plan on doing the following here:

    1. Keeping track of what I eat. I think to start I’m going to try keeping track of my calories. I’d like to say I’m going to do this daily, and at first I’m sure I’ll be ok, but let’s be honest; that’s not a realistic goal. BUT, I do promise to do it more often than not.
    2. Keep track of my weight, no matter what. Weekly (let’s do Monday’s shall we?) I’ll post my progress, even if it goes up. There are definitely weeks where that will happen but if I DON’T post it, then the slippery slope slowly begins. You all know what I mean.
    3. Keep track of my workouts. My goal is to get activity in a minimum of four times a week. I’ll be posting what I did, the duration, and calories burned.
    4. Progress photos! I’m not sure if I should do this weekly or monthly. I think I’m leaning towards weekly as it will be fun to see the progress later on down the road. I guess we’ll just see what I’m in the mood for.

    I’m sure there will be more like recipes and little motivations, but those 4 things are the keys I’d like to stick to.

    So, here we go! My “before” photo. Super awesome work bathroom selfie, huh? 🙂


    So who’s with me? If you’re reading here I’d love to know. Any encouragement we can give to each other will go such a long way in making this work. I’ve struggled with this all my life and I can tell you it’s easier when you have a tribe of like-minded people doing the same damn thing. Time to fist bump and kick this day right in the ass!



    Real Talk

    Umm.. so I know I’ve never talked about this on here before. It’s been a very conscientious decision because.. well.. it’s terribly personal to me. But as with every major life change, accountability is key and talking things out helps tremendously. I know this from past experience. So here it is: I’m trying to lose weight. Whew! What a huge revelation! A weight has been lifted! I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness this is a huge part of me and has been for as long as I can remember. As I’m sure all of you can relate, the holidays were NOT good to the waistline. They were great in every other aspect: family, friends, gifts, giving, relaxation, and the food.. can we just take a moment to remember all that delicious holiday food? Ok, the moment is over, the holidays are over, and so is the time where I get to eat everything that gets put in front of me. In an effort to become more accountable, I think I’m going to write about this journey here if you all don’t mind. Who knows.. maybe I can help someone else who is going through the same struggles I am. That’d be pretty great, I guess. So, today is my first day back on plan and I checked in with my coach this morning. I think I’ll just re-post the email for now.. Maybe I’ll delve more into it later.


    Hi Susie,

    First off, I want to thank you for the email and voice message of encouragement. Honestly, the holidays were very hard for me (as I’m sure you gathered by my lack of response). I wasn’t on plan really at all and honestly, after the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I couldn’t believe how much what I ate affected my body. I mean, I know what good food does and how it makes you feel. Of course I know. Perhaps I just forgot? Maybe I just was enjoying my time not thinking about everything that went in my mouth and just having quality time with family? Maybe I just wanted to take the holidays and not stress about weight? I don’t know. What I DO know, is that if I’m not in the mind frame of wanting to actively lose weight, it’s never gonna happen. And I’m just going to frustrate myself trying. Weight loss takes tremendous willpower and sometimes, sadly, I just don’t have that. I came to a point, just before Christmas where I was very frustrated with myself and how I’d let myself slowly creep back into old habits. Over the holidays I only gained 8 pounds but it’s mind-blowing how 8 pounds feels on a body. I was starting to not like the way my clothes fit like they did before. I didn’t like the way I was looking in the mirror like I had just 4 weeks before. I was having occasional heart burn and not sleeping as well. Not only that, but I was very stressed emotionally about the weight gain. Every time I get to a milestone (usually the 10 pound mark) I tell myself ‘I’ll never weigh that again’. Well, over the holidays I got back up over one of those milestones and sort of broke down. It scared me to see that number. Actually, on one hand it scared me. On the other hand, I was relieved that I was having the feelings of anxiety that I was. I know that sounds weird, but my biggest fear from loosing so much weight is allowing myself to gain it back. It’s happened to me before and it’s happened to countless people I know and love. So the fact that I was scared after gaining 8 pounds made me realize that no matter if I gain a few pounds during the holidays, I’m never letting myself get back to where I was three years ago. I am a different person now. I’m happy! I like myself and who I’ve become. Not only with the weight loss, but also as a friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend, and co-worker. I’m sweeter. I love more. I work harder and have more energy. All these are things that I refuse to give up.

    So, to make a short story long (!), as of today I am fully back on plan. I woke up excited to start. I remember feeling this way before I started the first time and it’s invigorating to take matters back into my own hands. This is the year I’m going to meet my goal! I have tremendous support around me (mom and dad, you, my friends, my boyfriend) and I know I will succeed. I also am trying to remember those 8 pounds. If gaining 8 pounds can make my body react that poorly, think of what losing 8 pounds will feel like! I also need to remember where I started. Three years ago today (WOW!) I was 78 pounds heavier than I am now. Sure there have been some peaks and valleys, but I’ve kept that weight off for THREE YEARS!! That’s longer than ever before. Anyway, I greatly appreciate your love and support. You are so good at giving me space when I need it, but just when I feel a little out of control, I’ll get an email or call from you and it reminds me how many people are here to help me.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season. Thanks again, Susie, for being you.

    ‘Tis the Season

    Photo Dec 19, 7 53 33 AM

    I love Christmastime, don’t you? It’s probably my favorite time of year. I love the music, the jingle of the salvation army bell outside my grocery store, the cozy sweaters and warm mittens. I love how this season can bring out the best in people–although, as we’ve seen lately, it can also bring out the worst.

    This year here, 2012, well it’s been one of the best of my life. I’ve been blessed in so many ways, some I’ve shared here and some which are too personal to post. But while things in my life have been going well, the people I love and surround myself with are going through the hardest times of their lives. Dear friends losing babies, houses being broken into, sick mothers, pay cuts & reduced hours, financial stress, sickness.. the list could go on. And these are just the people I know!

    It’s hard for me because, other than lending a sympathetic ear, I don’t know what I can do for those dearest to me. I wish I could fix things. I wish I had a bank account that could pay for hospital bills & rent. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and take the immense pain and grieving away. I wish I could protect those I love from the evils of this earth. Sadly, you know as well as I do that these things are impossible. All I can do, all anyone can really do, is let those near us know how much we love them.

    So this is to all of you, my dear friends. Whether you’ve been through heartache lately or have been blissfully shielded from pain, each and every one of you mean the world to me. I hope you know this. We can only hope that we’ve done a good job of telling those we love that.. well.. we love them.

    Merry Christmas everyone. Please, now more than ever, remember to be kind and just love one another.

    Oh Canada

    Ok, I don’t know what is wrong with me! I literally have two–count them, two!–draft posts sitting in my dashboard and I can’t seem to find the inspiration to publish them. They just don’t excite me, ya know? And I mean, there’s nothing worse than posting something that doesn’t positively inspire you, at least at that very moment!

    So, I’ve decided to post about my trip to Canada this summer! Every time I think about my time spent up in Malibu, I’m reinvigorated. Not only was the setting probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, but going up there to serve as a high school leader was amazing–challenging, hard, stretching, & uncomfortable–but amazing none the less.

    If you’re not familiar with Malibu (and I’d be surprised if you were), it is a Young Life camp most of the year. However, for two weeks a summer, the camp transforms into a family camp for active service military and their families. All of the campers are based out of Ft. Lewis just outside of Seattle. They have to apply to come to camp, and for the few lucky families who are chosen, they get an all expenses paid trip up to the Canadian wilderness to hang out with their family, uninterrupted, for an entire week.

    It is an incredible thing to watch the transformation that happens in these families in such a short time. When they first get to Malibu landing, they’ve been on a bus for 12 hours driving straight through the night. All of us volunteers do what they call a Tunnel of Love–which is basically lining up and waving spirit fingers in their faces and cheering at the top of our lungs as they exit the bus–you know.. being all around obnoxious. I’ll admit, If I’d been packed on a bus for the entire night with screaming children and hardly any sleep, I probably wouldn’t be thrilled to be welcomed by the Tunnel of Love either. BUT you could just see a hardness in some of their faces that was a little unexpected. I mean, these men and women have all been deployed at least one time, many of them several times. That takes its toll on a person. Also the dynamic of a family that goes through something like that isn’t like most traditional families (if there is such a thing anymore). One of the girls in my small group said that her dad had been deployed 9 out of the 17 years she’d been alive. That’s so hard to relate to as someone who’s dad was home for dinner every single night of the week!

    Like I was saying though, these families were transformed almost immediately. By the second day, these tough, military dads were dancing like fools with their children and not even worried that everyone at camp was watching them. There were mothers who, on the first day were verbally berating their children in front of everyone, became nurturing and encouraging right before my eyes. There were couples on the verge of divorce, who over the course of the week reconnected and decided to renew their vows in front of all their new-found friends. Seriously, guys.. when I was talking about writing an inspiring post, I guess this is the one I had been waiting for!

    I could literally write pages and pages about my experience, but I don’t think it would do the whole thing justice. If you ever have the opportunity to go somewhere and serve like this, I encourage you to do it. It was such a growing experience for me in a thousand different ways, but I will never forget my week up North nor will I forget the great friends I made or the families who have forever touched my heart.

    Maybe I’ll do a follow up post on Malibu later and get a little more into depth about what went on during the week, but I think for now, just reliving it even just a little bit has made me a pretty happy girl.

    And now, for some pretty pictures!

    The pool. No big deal.

    I got to work on this dock for the entire week. Rough life.

    School is Back in Session!

    So apparently I take teachers hours when it comes to blogging. Can we say summers off?? Yes please! But honestly, I’ve missed writing and posting. I’ve done some amazing things this summer, met some amazing people, and really took a lot of time for myself. I’ve traveled to Canada & Vegas, cheered on the Timbers (even when there was no hope of them winning), BBQ-ed like a crazy person,  hiked the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, volunteered at a Young Life Military Family Camp, played some golf with the Dad, FINALLY got my Oregon drivers license, and so much more! I hope to share a lot of these things with you in the coming weeks so hopefully my hiatus won’t have been in vain.

    In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy these last few days of summer we’re having here in Oregon. It’s supposed to reach 95 today! Bleh! Keep cool babies!!