so I'm talking about food. again.

>> 12.28.2012

Oh, wait, it's 11:24 am and I'm drinking the Diet Coke I swore I'd never drink again?
Yes. How the mighty have fallen.
(Also, I just figured out how to take pictures of myself straight from Blogger.
Expect more self-portraits stat.)


Riding your own bike is hard.

Even with staring at those pictures that I put up a few weeks ago, I seem to have fallen headfirst into a pile of sugary Christmas goodies, and even though I am totally owning the choice I made to eat half of the monkey bread pan ALL BY MYSELF, I am so ready to clean up my diet again.

When I read this post by Holly Would If She Could, I was like, "Yes, that is exactly how I feel." I had already been planning on doing a January Whole30, but it was really nice to read that I was not the only person that had gone a little bit bananas over the holidays.

I bought 'Well Fed' and have been scouring through it for recipes. I printed out a calendar for January and am currently planning out meals, and am getting ready to start some bone broth in my crock pot. We're hitting up the Farmer's Market tomorrow and Sunday is going to be about purging our cupboards.

Even though I'm kind of dreading the first week of it, I'm not scared that I won't finish it anymore, because I've already done it. Not to mention that I KNOW it's worth it now, because of the awesome results I had last time. Seriously, I'm looking at it now and am like, "I cannot believe how terrible I feel, and I cannot believe that this is how I used to feel ALL THE TIME. This is NOT NORMAL!"

In order to help myself through the first week of sugar-withdrawals and cries for cookies, here is a list of how crap-tastic I feel, so that I can remember how this will ALL GO AWAY by Jan. 31st:

Fatty-fat-fat: I am bloated to the max. And those skinny jeans that I bought and that were getting too big are now starting to feel a little too tight for my liking. And the jiggle...well, the jiggle is picking back up and I'm none too happy about it.

Soooo tired: I'm staying up later and later, and waking up in the middle of the night again, and I am STILL tired when I crawl out of bed in the morning. This is not cool. I used to feel awake right when I woke up and at 3 p.m. I was still going strong. I need that even energy back, especially because it feels like Jameson is siphoning it out from me and I can't handle running around after him when all I want to do is lay on the couch and eat. Boo.

Sugar-dragons: Mentally, I'm getting to that state again where I start to obsess over whether or not I should eat something, and then I eat it and feel guilty and sad and mad, and this is not a healthy relationship with food at all. I am tired of staring at donuts and mentally wrestling with myself, then talking myself into it and then being mad and wanting to just throw it all up. I want to get to a point where I enjoy food and I like eating it, but it doesn't control me. Where I know that it's there to nourish my body and make me healthier, but I don't sit around thinking about the chocolate in the cupboard for three hours and whether or not "just a small piece" is okay to eat.

Inner-workings: Let's just say that...things aren't being digested like they should and my insides aren't really being as efficient as possible. I'll spare you the details, but basically I miss having my guts do what they're supposed to.

Illness: Okay, so I got sick like three weeks ago, and then it sort of went away, and then it came back almost two weeks ago with a vengeance and after a round of antibiotics, I'm still sick. Now, I don't necessarily think that eating dirty made me sick, but I think that it's prolonged it since my body can't focus solely on fighting the illness when it's also attacking my stomach lining and intestines and trying to weed out all the grains I've been eating. Basically, I want to hear out of my right ear again and stop coughing up my lungs.

So that's it.
I kind of can't wait for January 1st, even though I am kind of dreading the detox phase.
It's time to get thing back together over here, and I'm looking forward to being a healthier person again. Plus, I'm adding in a regular strength training routine and I'm excited to see how that influences my physical results (muscles, anyone?)

Let me know if you're on-board with this and we can keep a log together...I post a lot on the Whole30 forums, but am thinking about keeping track of it on here this time around. Just so you all can witness how whiny I get when my chocolate is taken away. Ha.


before and after

>> 11.30.2012

Oh Lord.
I cannot believe I am about to post before and after pictures on the internet, but I believe in this way of eating so strongly that it's worth it to me.
Plus I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments, so why hide in the corner, right?

Left: Before (Oct. 22, 2012) Right: After (Nov. 29, 2012)
Left: Before (Oct. 22, 2012) Right: After (Nov. 29, 2012)

Left: Before (Oct. 22, 2012) Right: After (Nov. 29, 2012)

Left: Before (Oct. 22, 2012) Right: After (Nov. 29, 2012)

And this is just because I'm proud of my guns.

So, here are the numbers that I've got so far:

Hips before/after: 38.5"/ 36" (2.5" lost)
Waist before/after: 33"/ 29.5" (3.5" lost)
Thighs before/after: 24"/ 22.5" (1.5" on each side, 3" total)

Total inches lost: 9"

I don't have my weight yet, because I haven't gotten a chance to get to the gym and use the same scale (Jameson came down with croup three days ago and we're running on too little sleep and too much caffeine), however I'm hoping that the numbers will be pretty good.

Now. Here's where the honesty comes in.
Am I completely happy with myself when looking at these?

I still see the bulges and the rolls, BUT, I can definitely tell a difference and that is important. It's also encouraging enough to keep me eating this way for the long foreseeable future, especially coupled with how I feel. Not to mention that I got these results after only ONE MONTH. 
--My energy levels are stable throughout the day, something I've never experienced before (and with a toddler, this is even more amazing to me).
--I haven't had any more stomach pain or issues since I started my whole30, something that hasn't happened for years.
--After the initial week and a half of awfulness, I have had hardly any headaches, which was something I was experiencing daily.
--My mental issues with food are still there, but I'm gaining insight into them and learning that this is a marathon, not a sprint. My relationship with food is something I'll be working on my entire life, but I am now confident that I can handle this.

I have plenty of other things to say in regards to my thirty days and all of the thought processes and things I have been working through, but I'm too tired to string coherent sentences together right now, so I'll leave it at that.
Please be nice.

(If you're interested in the whole30, check this website out or buy the book!)



>> 11.25.2012

Watch out for giant spiders that crawl on you in the middle of the night.
 It's Sunday morning, and ever since I've had a child that wakes up earlier than I would like, I've begun to experience what life can be like on a Sunday morning before "get ready for church" madness starts.
There is time to sit and drink coffee and wander through Facebook, and think about things I don't normally have time to think about.

Like all of the dreams I once had, and the way reality has played out so different (but also aligned right up) than I thought it would.

I wanted to be a missionary in Africa for a good chunk of my life.
I'd go to missions conferences at church and soak up everything the visiting speakers had to say, and I could see myself there, living in a cave and telling people about Jesus. I wanted to live the rough missionary life--the one with no electricity, no modern amenities, no distractions from the reason I was there.
When I went to Panama and stayed in a hut in the middle of the jungle, and slept on a slatted wood floor, being woken up by monkeys and goats running underneath our house on stilts, I knew that I was in a place I could stay forever. I could see my life stretching out in front of me, and I was thrilled. The world wasn't big enough for me, and I wanted to go everywhere and live with everyone and love them.
So I went to Moody as an International Ministries major, telling myself that I wouldn't let anything distract me from my goal of going out and living in discomfort so that others could hear the gospel.

These babies were so sweet.

Obviously, things changed a bit. *wink*

I got married, and had a baby, and although I did move to a foreign country, it is a thoroughly Western foreign country and I'm not exactly living in a cave like I had planned.
In fact, I'm living on the knife edge between "desperation" and "enough", so much so that often my thoughts are consumed with figuring out ways to get just a little more, so that I can be just a little more comfortable.
I am distracted by things and this is the opposite of everything I ever wanted.

I definitely got bit about 2.5 seconds after this photo was taken.

I am an all-or-nothing kind of person.
In order to shape my character, I have to make the change all at once and cut the offending issue out completely. 
No "adjustment period", no "gradual change" because I'll just slip right back into that habit.

I wanted to be a missionary in a third-world country because I knew that if I didn't have the option of having something, I wouldn't want it as much, and I wouldn't be distracted from my whole purpose of being there in the first place. 
No nail salons around? Guess I don't really want a manicure that badly after all.
No electrical outlets? I don't need to blow-dry my hair.
No clothing stores? I don't need clothes that make me look skinny/fashionable/etc.

I shared the hut with this lovely and his parents.

I think a lot of this is coming up since we're getting ready to move back to America, the land of even more excess, and I am worried about who I am going to become. 
I know who I want to be, and I know who I am, and I don't necessarily know how to make the two match up.
Maybe it's copping out, to just ask for all of the temptations to be taken away, and maybe I'd still struggle with jealousy and covetousness just as much, but...but. I'll never know.

And I think I've got the word "failure" rolling around in my head for so many reasons.

Our society always raises up those people who didn't let anything (or anyone) distract them from their purpose in life, and I always wanted that for myself. To be so focused on what I was supposed to do that I didn't let anything get in the way.
So now that I'm here, worrying about cars and houses and furniture and Christmas presents, I just can't help but shake my head in disgust at how very far away I am from where I thought I'd be.
Not only that, but I'm leaving this "foreign" country where I thought we'd be living forever after only two years, and that kind of feels like a failure as well. 
And I know that it's not. I know that we're not crawling back to America with our tails between our legs, but that we're making the decision to move where we feel like we ought to be, but...but. The perfectionist in me is still crying out, "Can't you see anything through? Why do you give up in the middle of everything?"

And sometimes I just don't know how to keep her quiet.

It was so hard to get these two to sit still for the camera.


wake-up call.

>> 11.16.2012

My lovely, wonderful, adorable, sunshine-of-my-life son decided to wake up sometime in the 3 o'clock hour and harass me until I got out of bed with him at 5:15 this morning.


So I am tired and kind of cranky, but trying to convince myself that my coconut milk creamer isn't spoiled, and it just looks like that in my coffee cup because it wants to be different this morning. Right? Right.

I've been quiet on here for awhile. I'm not sure when I'll pick it back up regularly. We've got a lot going on, and choosing to sit and write a blog post is usually way down on my list of priorities. Maybe after we move, I can pick it back up.

Because, oh yeah, I've got a few announcements:

We are moving back to America!
This move has been in the works for awhile, but we only felt like we could announce it recently, since it looks like Hubs green card process is going to wrap itself up smoothly. 
Our plane tickets are bought and our final interview at the embassy is in a little less than a month.
I am slightly terrified that everything will go wrong and I will forget all the paperwork or something disastrous will happen, but barring all of that, I think Hubs should be approved fairly easily and then we've got a green light to get life started in the Land of the Free. 

We eat like cavemen now!
This is probably not as cool of an "announcement", but I've had a few people that have been interested in all of this whole30 business that I've been talking about for the past few weeks, so I figured I might as well mention it. 
Hubs is on Day 25 of his whole30, and I am on Day 19. So far it's going really well, and we are starting to reap the benefits that are talked about in the book. I'm not sure how much weight I've lost, but I know that I'm at least a few inches slimmer (I had to tighten my belt by an extra hole, and my jeans are loooose) and I'm finally getting rid of that small spare tire that Jameson left me with after he was born. My digestive issues have stopped since Day 1, and I am excited to get to the reintroduction part and figure out exactly which foods were causing me problems. I know gluten was one of the major culprits, but I'll be interested to see if I'm sensitive to all the grains as well.
Anyway, if you've got any questions, feel free to ask.
Depending on how confident I can get, I might post before an after pictures, if you guys promise not to laugh and love me no matter what. Might. As in maybe.

Aaaaand. That's it so far. I am pumped for Christmas this year. I've got 25 Days of Christmas planned out to do with Jameson, and I cannot wait for December 1, so that we can get started. We'll be in England for the holiday season this year, since we will be moving back to the States shortly afterwards, so I am trying to combat my homesickness with an extra dose of holiday cheer. 
Thanksgiving is going to be low-key since I'll be working (I guess that's another "announcement"--I got a part-time holiday job at LUSH and am really loving it. I'm hoping to transfer to a store in America when we move home, because now that these amazing products are in my life, I don't know how I'm going to a)live without them, or b)pay full-price!)

p.s. To those 50 people that still read this blog, thanks for sticking around. I do feel bad about the lack of posts lately, but for the sake of my anxiety and my family, I am taking a step back until I feel slightly more in-control of my life. I appreciate the patience/encouragement/general awesomeness of you all.


two weeks and two years.

>> 11.01.2012

Oct. 31, 2010's been a few weeks since I've opened up this page and put words on it for you to read.
I don't know what that means.
As always, I am torn about how much time to dedicate to this, how much headspace I want to give up, and whether or not this is something I should commit myself to doing regularly.
There are lots of threads that are attached to this knot, so it's not as easy to untangle as you might think.
I'll get there one day.


It's been two years since I looked out the window of an airplane flying across the Atlantic, and saw England waiting for me from the sky. 
Two years since Jameson was a baby bean in my belly, and I packed up all my stuff and my husband and filled that one-way ticket to the UK.
Two years since I cried myself to sleep that night because "what have we done?" and "I want to go home, but I don't know where it is."

Two long, quick, excruciating, overjoyed years.
The hardest years of my life, without a doubt.
The years that have brought the biggest blessing of my life.

I feel like I should have something more profound to say.

I remember back in those first few months, thinking, "I will not make it here for two years. I don't think I can survive."
I remember looking at the expiry date on my visa and thinking that date would never come.

But, as ever and as always, here we are. 
Two years later.
With bumps and bruises and struggles and wins.

I'm stronger and different, and it's a strange feeling to live in suspension for two years, but it's coming to a close soon.
And I wonder what little thing it is that I'm going to miss the most.



>> 10.16.2012

It's that time of year again, where the sun disappears and the sky is a resolute void of color, and I can usually be found hunched on the couch with a cup of tea in my hand, begging the Lord to give me a slice of sunshine just for a moment.

It is the time of fog that billows in to all of the nooks and crevices of my brain and burrows itself in, making it hard to think or accomplish anything, since I can't seem to keep myself focused long enough to actually follow through. Where I find myself fighting to just get-out-of-the-house and just-cook-dinner and just-go-for-a-run and just-stay-sane.

It is the time of distractions in the form of anything and everything:
--too many tv shows
--too many blogs
--too many chores
--too many moments

And sometimes the problem is that I know I need to sacrifice the little distractions in order to achieve the greater wellness, but it's hard.
(Which is so ridiculous, but it's true.)

I know that keeping up with fifty blogs about how to be a mom and keep your house clean and write well and look good and eat healthily is not actually beneficial, but in reality makes me neurotic.
But I do it anyway, because I don't want to be "left out" and maybe if I can just get my life together, I too, can look like those people and their nice lives.

I know that picking out every single lump and roll and line on my body does not motivate me to work harder and stop eating junk. But what it does do, is make me want to crawl back under the covers with the entire pan of brownies and just give up, because why even try anyway?

I know that comparing and wishing and desiring and hoping are not, actually, going to get me that perfect house/car/wardrobe/life. I know that "looking at everyone's highlight reel" is not reality and comparing it to my "behind the scenes" is a surefire way to make myself miserable, but I still find myself wanting that new purse that she got, or going on a tropical vacation like they did, or buying a new house like his.

And clearly the answer to all of these problems is to simply STOP with the frenzied pace and the million influences all plugged into my life.
But the sad part is that it's hard, because in a sick and slightly twisted way, I like these influences.
I like the few moments of dreaming of myself wearing all of the clothes on my Pinterest board, or imagining what I'll look like after working out five times a week and eating Paleo (never mind where my child will be during these four-hour workouts each day). It's like a rush of adrenaline and endorphins shot straight into the aching, empty part of my brain that can't see the sky outside my window but can see it on the screens all around me.

And I just want to be free.




>> 9.30.2012

From the Catholic Memorial at Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich, Germany.

Sometimes I seem so up-and-down with this thing, I feel like a hormonal teenager that bursts into tears for no reason all over again.

One day, I'm ready to kick it all into high-gear, market myself like crazy, and enter the rat race of mommy-bloggers writing to make money.

The next, I'm struck with an overwhelming feeling of "Maybe this is all narcissism wrapped up in pretty packages" and questioning what my motivation should be for this platform that I've given myself.
Oddly enough, this is the first time this questioning isn't borne out of, "Maybe I'm just not good enough, maybe no one will care about what I have to say," which is a good thing, I think. That line of pondering is so self-centered, so focused on what other people think about me and that shouldn't be the point of anything.

Really, it comes more out of examining what I want my life to be about, and how is the most valuable way to spend my time? Sadly, I only have twenty-four hours in a day and even though I have enough things that I want to do that would fill up thirty-six of them, I simply cannot get it all done. I just can't. I've tried, and this has led to my mental defeat and breakdown in the form of tears, binge eating, and twenty 'to-do' lists scattered all around my house. 

What do I want my life to be about? 

--Loving the Lord with everything inside of me.

What does that look like?

--Being intentional with my time and my energy. Investing in things that are going to bring glory to Him, not to myself.

And that is the crux--I want my life to be about Him. 
I want the words that I write to reflect His power and glory, to bring people closer to Him, not to get people to marvel at the words that He's given me.

This desire has been lost for a long time. 
It's been buried under piles of sadness, depression, anger, longing, exhaustion, and hopelessness. 
The last two years have been the hardest of my life, hands-down. 
The last six months have been even harder. 

I have come thisclose to giving up on God completely, to throwing in the towel, and telling Him to leave me alone because I'll make my own way from now on, thank You very much.

Somehow (I am not sure how), I have found myself in a place of surrender to Him. 
I am beginning to rest in the fact that He is in control, and the only place I am going to find fulfillment and joy is in Him.
I am claiming the words of my favorite hymn, and asking the Lord to "bind my wandering heart to Thee".

I will write, because I need to write, because I was created to write, and because not writing would be ignoring a gift and passion that God has put inside me.
I will write the truth, and I will tell you about my life and sometimes I will show you what I wore, but the point of it all is different now.
It has to be. 

 "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

{Romans 7:24-25}


a lovely love story (continued).

>> 9.13.2012

After the fateful meeting at Joe's, I'd see Daveo around occasionally. He'd always mention something about how we should hang out, which everyone said to be nice but no one ever really meant. Honestly though, he said it so many times that I started to think Wow, this guy really actually does want to hang out. That's kind of weird. Why?

I'm clearly the easiest person in the world to romance. Not.

Our next real conversation happened at dinner one night, while I was getting ready to head to my night class.
I was sitting in the dining room with a friend, when he came over and joined us. He and the girl I was eating with were already friends (Of course, I thought with an inner eye-roll) so they were busy chatting while I was finished up my food and dreading the idea of spending four hours in a classroom for the rest of the evening.

Abruptly he looked at me and said, "You should come up and see me tonight on your break."
I paused and looked at him, then said, "Okay. I guess."
He continued on, "I'll give you my free shift drink. I get one per shift and I usually give it to a friend, but I'll save it for you tonight if you come up and see me."
Being the poor, tired college student that I was, I knew there was no way I could pass up a free coffee, so I told him that I would see him later that night while my friend and I quickly gathered up our stuff and hurried off to our class.

Apparently I needed the caffeine more than I knew, because I forgot all about Daveo and his free coffee and inadvertently stood him up. Oops.


The next day at lunch, he had this stern look on his face while walking over to my table and I was slightly amused when he opened his mouth and started scolding me for not coming to see him on my break. "I saved my free drink for you!" he said. "I had people coming in and asking me for it and I said, 'No, I can't, Cami's coming up and I told her she could have it' and then you didn't come!"
I laughed and told him that I was sorry, and that he should have just given it to someone else.

"Yeah, but I said I'd give it to you, that's the whole point!"

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry! Are you working tonight? I'll come up then, okay?"

So, at 7 pm, I promptly packed up my laptop and books and headed up to Joe's to claim my free drink from this strange AsianBrit that was oddly offended when I didn't show the night before. He was much nicer when I tried to make conversation this time and somehow he ended up speaking to my sister on the phone when she called me and I said something like, 'Listen to my new British friend speak!'

Somehow I ended up staying for his whole two-hour shift, at which point he started to get nervous and mumbled something like, " you want to hang out...or something?"

(He told me later that he felt like he "owed me", since I'd been standing up there with him for two hours. Good to know that it wasn't because I was so charming and he just couldn't get enough of me.)

We ended up walking to a nearby Dunkin' Donuts, where he bought a bagel and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I thought he was pretty forward, but at the same time it was kind of nice to talk to someone who just said what they thought and not what you wanted to hear. After that we walked back to campus and exchanged pleasantries about how 'we should do this again or something'.

According to Facebook, we officially became friends on January 27, 2007 at 8:36 am.

It didn't stay that way for long. *wink*

"Live it, love it, hang out with Daveo."


mom-wear-wednesday [8]

>> 9.12.2012

coat: Anchor Blue// jeans: Express// cami: Charlotte Russe//
necklace: West One// sandals: Primark

on Jameson:
 pants, vest: Carter's// t-shirt: target// sandals: the Golden Boot

I bet you guys thought I forgot about this week and was going to break my promise (again).

Well, this almost actually happened, due to the fact that the surprise guest above did not feel like going to bed and staying there until 9:14 pm (which happens to be the time that I am currently writing this post).
This, friends, is why it is called mom-wear-wednesday. I should probably tie that whole mom-thing into the blog name too, since I seem to bring it up all the time.

Oh well.

I guess I'm just going to have to take pride in being a "mommy blogger" now, instead of the serious and accomplished writer I used to be.

Anyway, onto the clothes.
Like I said before, I am loving that fall Autumn is here. I feel like I have clothes that are a lot more suited to this season, and I also feel like I pull them off a little better. Summer is about wearing as little as you can get away with and this can result in looks that are not so flattering for those of us with spare stomach skin and stretch marks from carrying children in our bodies.
So when the time comes to cover yourself up with style, I like the challenge.

I love this jacket, even though it's probably five years old.
I bought it when I worked retail before I left for college and it has become one of my favorite fall Autumn jackets. It's got a nice shape, a good neutral color and it's not overly warm. In fact, I haven't taken any pictures for next week yet because I've been wearing this jacket every day and I figure that I should probably come up with something new for you all to see.

Do you like how I have finally made Jameson take pictures with me for this week? Actually, let's try, 'Do you like how Jameson got tired of Dad standing in the doorway taking pictures of Mom and decided to make a break for it while he saw the opportunity?' Because I think that's a little closer to the truth.

Oh well. At least he's cute.
And he's got a nice sense of style. Which fits in well.


a lovely love story.

>> 9.09.2012

On Dec. 31, 2006, I loaded up six boxes of my most important belongings and got on board a train headed to Chicago.

After spending forty hours clacking our way across the country, my family and I arrived in Union Station at 2:30 in the morning and caught a taxi cab to our hotel. I was about to start classes at Moody Bible Institute and had prepared myself for this new phase in my life by messaging a few people guys on MySpace that were already there, and also reading 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye'.

The first week was a whirlwind of figuring out where classes were, how to get the elevator in my dorm to work, and trying to conquer the fear of being mugged on the corner when I went out in search of a cup of coffee. I met one of the guys I had stalked messaged before I got there, and even took a picture of him sitting in the student dining room to send home to my mom (he was cute and I kind of had a "crush from afar"). Interestingly enough, I think that this was the first glance of my future husband (it's the first photographic evidence I had of him, at least) that I had.

*Spoiler alert: he was not the guy from MySpace. Haha.

One of the best parts of going to Moody was the ability to meet someone from around the world, and to also meet someone from Wisconsin. Everywhere I looked, there was someone different and something new to experience. I remember noticing this one Asian guy with cool hair (this was kind of a novelty at a Bible college with a dress code), and then realizing that he had a British accent which was weird at first but also kind of cool. He seemed to be pretty popular with the girls, since I always saw him in the company of one or two, and so I left it at that. I've never been one to voluntarily compete for attention, and Asians weren't really my thing, anyway.


A time-honored tradition at Moody comes in the form of naming a building or landmark on campus after a former president. Joe Stowell got the coffee cart upstairs, which also happened to be that AsianBrit guy's place of employment. I remember ordering an iced mocha one evening during a study break, and he happened to be the only barista working that night. 
I smiled and placed my order.
He smiled back and said, "So, what's your name? I don't think I've met you yet."

"I'm Cami," I said, thinking it was odd that he had said yet. Did he think he knew everyone? "What's yours?"

"Daveo," he replied, pouring espresso into a cup.

"So, where are you from?" I asked, trying to get to the bottom of the accent confusion.

"England," he said, handing me my coffee.

And that was it. He seemed abrupt and snobbish, reinforcing the mental picture I had of stodgy old Brits looking down their noses at lowly Americans, and I rapidly decided that I would probably never talk to him again.

(to be continued.)


oh, Chicago.

>> 9.07.2012

I miss you so much today that it hurts.


mom-wear-wednesday [7]

>> 9.05.2012

sweater: West One// jeans: Express// boots: Payless

necklace: Past Times// nails: Rimmel 60-second dry in "Grey Matter"

Well folks, we're back.

After an unscheduled absence last week, I decided to try to make up for it by giving you a real, put-together outfit complete with accessories and polished nails.

Also, please note my reverse ombre hair that has occurred because I am too poor to keep up a dye job (and because it takes two boxes of the stuff from the store because I have too much hair). So actually, I am just setting a new trend that none of you all have caught on to yet.

Finally, please be aware that everything but the sweater in this outfit is at least two years old, if not older. And I bought that sweater in the middle of June, when it was on sale, because I knew how flaky summer was (and then I wore it a few weeks later during one of our "cold snaps"). Oh well. Look at me being resourceful.

But bigger than anything else is the news that fall Autumn is officially here.

Which I am really excited about, because it means boots and sweaters and pumpkins and spices and hot tea with good books while the wind blows and the leaves fall.
But I am also sad, because it means the chance for summer is gone and I didn't get so many of those amazing summer things that I love. However, I am trying my best to embrace where and when I am at, so I am now saying, "Bring on the pumpkins."
Except that England is kind of lacking in the pumpkin department, which has led to me ordering pumpkin candles online since I can't find them anywhere else.
(ex-pat problems)

Anyway. I am loving big flow-y sweaters this year, because they are so comfortable and super flattering.   Not to mention that I can also wear them with leggings if the mood strikes, or a cute skirt and tights (if I actually owned those things).
I've kind of jumped on the gre(a)y bandwagon, too, even though that's been around since last year. I just like the different look and it pairs well with other colors--it looked great with the turquoise nail polish I had for summer, but will also look good with the deep purple I bought for fallAutumn/winter.
And I love long necklaces because when I wear them I don't have to worry about other accessories. It's a one-stop-shop thing, and as a mother, I appreciate the ease of not having to think.

Okay, friends. That's it for this week.
I promise to be back here next week (I've already taken the pictures, so I'll actually keep that promise this time) and I've even got a surprise guest.
Aren't you just dying to know who it is?



>> 9.03.2012

So, I am going to let you all in on a little secret of mine.
And by secret, I mean the best breakfast ever.
I eat this everyday.
It helps that it's gluten-free and easy to make, but besides all of that, it is delicious. And it tastes like fall Autumn. You can not ask for anything better, trust me.

coffee is also required.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal 
adapted from "Deceptively Delicious"

(1 serving)

1/2 c. milk
1/8 c. pumpkin puree (sweet potato is delicious too)
1/8 t. vanilla (more if you want)
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice (or any mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
1/2 c. oats
1-2 T. peanut butter
(All measurements are approximate. Play with it and find out what you like)

Put milk and pumpkin into small saucepan and heat over med-low heat. 
Add in vanilla, sugar, and spices, and heat until the milk is shimmering but not quite bubbling. 
Pour in oats and stir continuously until nice and creamy. 
Spoon into bowl and mix in peanut butter.

Eat and let your tastebuds marvel at the flavors in your mouth. 


the background [pt.5]

>> 8.31.2012

Find part 1 here.

I'm sure there are some of you that are wondering where exactly I think God was during my whole tragic ordeal.

He was there.

And He's still here, regardless of whether I want to acknowledge that or not. 

So much of these past nine years have been spent wrestling with God, demanding an answer and promising to "do better" as long as He'd tell me why or get me through it. I'd rant and rave, and then I'd beg and plead, and then I'd sit and simmer.

Ironically, I honestly feel like I've found myself the most distant from God in just the last two years. 

You'd expect it to be on the nights where the blood was flowing and my heart was pounding and all I wanted to do was escape, but even then, I knew He was there. I knew, and I knew that it would be a relief to stop being here and start being there. Sure, I thought that I wasn't good enough and I thought that He must be angry at me, but I knew He was still around.

But the last two years--maybe the last six months in particular--I've found myself in an ambivalent state. 
(and I think this is the most raw and terrifying confession of them all)
It's the closest I've ever come to "losing my faith".

You see, it seems like the hits just keep coming.
Some of the blows are softer and don't knock us all the way down.
Others strike sharp and hard, leaving us reeling and crawling on the ground trying to find a safe place to hide.
And all I want to do is stand up and shout at the sky, "This is what You promised us? How does this serve You? How does this bring You glory in any sort of way? Where are You?"
But I keep my head down instead, for fear of being struck even harder, and I go on about my life with a semi-blatant disregard for anything having to do with God.


I told Hubs today, "I just need to fall in love with Jesus again."
And this is true.
I need to sit, and savor, and be still. 
I need to stop rushing around and stop trying.
--more Bible, more prayer, more church, more study, more holy.
It's exhausting.

And before you start shouting "behind me Satan",
I'm not saying that it doesn't all have value.
Of course it does.
Of course it's all important.
 But it's not always about the action.
Sometimes it's about the motivation behind the action
and right now, the motivation is wrong.

So for now, I am choosing to believe that God can and will meet me where I'm at.
I am choosing to believe that He loves me despite ______ (fill in the blank).


Ben Howard's 'The Wolves' is playing right now, and it feels strangely accurate.

So, even though this post feels like it's lacking all of the right words, and even though it feels like nothing came out right, I'm going to dump it all out and leave it.

It is time to be finished.

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement and understanding.
It felt like ripping my heart out to write these five pieces of smoldering honesty, but it's a relief.
And there is more, because there is always more. 
And if you need someone to listen, someone to dump it onto, I'm here.

I love you all.


the background [pt. 4]

>> 8.27.2012

Find part 1 here.


A few days after contemplating whether or not I should drive my car into the side of the freeway, I made an appointment with the counselor at my community college. I was scared out of my mind, but I walked into that office, shaking and queasy and determined to get help. The appointment began with me in tears, and the counselor looking at me with pity--it was pretty apparent why I was there. As she began to go through my chart, she stopped and looked at me. "Well, it looks like we've got a problem. You're only seventeen?"

I nodded, and my heart promptly fell into my stomach.

"I'm sorry hon, but I can't treat you without your parents consent because you're still a minor."

I couldn't believe it. I'd finally, finally tried to reach out and get help, but help was telling me that I wasn't eligible. I wanted to give up, crawl into a hole, and never come out.

"I know you're scared, and I'm so sorry that I can't treat you. But I want you to go home and talk to your parents about this. I want you to ask them to take you to a doctor and get you help because I know that's what you need. I'm going to call you later today and make sure you've done this. Alright?"

I sighed out a shaky "okay", and rolled off the table. 

When I got home that morning, my heart was still in my stomach, rolling around and making me feel sick. I walked through the front door and saw my mom sitting on the couch and I knew that this conversation had to happen now or nothing was ever going to change.

"So, I went to the clinic at school today..." 
And we were off.

The next ten months are a blur of so many emotions that they're hard to sort through. 

--That dangerous boy that I was so fascinated by turned on me--abuse in the form of words and text messages came spilling through my phone and it got so bad that I had to change my number and time when I left the house so I could avoid him. 

--I went to the doctor and was tentatively diagnosed with clinical depression. I was offered anti-depressants but turned them down because I thought that if I could just get out of the state, I'd be okay. (Besides, I still thought that "being depressed" was something that you should just be able to make go away, if you tried hard enough.)

--I applied to Moody Bible Institute, begging them to consider me for the fall semester even though I'd missed the application deadline by a week. The answer came back--waitlisted for the spring semester.

--I enrolled in the community college for another semester, trying to take classes that would transfer to Moody (hoping I would be accepted) and working as many hours as I could.

It was basically me trying to keep my head above water for as long as I could.
I often tell people that it felt like being chained to a treadmill and forced to run as fast as you can--a pace you know that you can't keep up for long, but if you stop running things will only get worse--so you keep running even though you're more exhausted than you've ever been.

And then.
That golden day.
I ran out to the mailbox and ripped open the envelope on the side of the street.
"Dear Camille, we are pleased to let you know that you have been accepted to Moody Bible Institute for the Spring semester..."

This was it. 
I was getting out, and it was going to make me better.


The train to Chicago pulled in to Union Station on a cold night at the beginning of January. We took a taxi to our hotel room and skyscrapers and lights flew around me in a blur outside of the window and I breathed in freedom.

Classes started and I made friends around every corner. I was adjusting well to living in a dorm, I was getting out of my shell and talking to nearly everyone I saw. I got brave and began to explore this big city with it's magical charm and secret places to call my own.
This much happiness was foreign to me--or it had been for nearly five years. 
There were no dark shadows here, no monsters tearing apart my brain, no desperate desire to escape.
Because I had arrived.

At least for a little while.

I met the man I would end up marrying three weeks after I got to Chicago.
He noticed my big teeth and loud laugh, and our love story began.
Spring break came and found us on different sides of the country talking about marriage.
Summer vacation came and I found myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower with a diamond ring on my left hand, a rose in my right, and the love of my life in front of me.
We were the couple on everyone's lips during the first few weeks of the new semester, and I finally had it all.

Except that my brain was starting to fall apart again.
I was crying over things that didn't matter.
I was taking five-hour "naps" and just getting through the day felt like swimming in a sea of peanut butter--thick and impossible.
My fiance and I were constantly at odds--I needed this, and he needed that, and neither of us were sure that getting married was the right thing anymore.

And then one day, one of the friends I had made found me crying on the sidewalk in between classes and promptly walked me over to the counselors office and stood there until an office door opened, and I was put on a couch with a box of tissues in my hand and I began to spill out all the words that I just couldn't say to anyone else. 

I honestly don't remember much about that first session except that I walked out of there with a prescription for some anti-depressants and an appointment with a counselor in the next few days. I saw the on-campus doctor, who explained what the pills would do and said that he fully supported the decision to begin taking them. He also warned that they wouldn't cure everything, and that I needed to make sure that I was going to my counseling sessions regularly. If I really wanted to see improvement, we had to attack this from both angles. 

So that's what I did.


I wish I could say that everything was magically cured and I was fixed and all better. 
But, as with everything, nothing is that simple.

Counseling was hard. It was good, because it gave me a place to spill all of the emotions that built up during the week, but it hurt to dig up the issues and work through them. I had to explore places and people that I would have much rather shut off, and  I left the counselor's office every Friday tired and irritable.

The pills helped to balance everything out, but they came with side effects. Headaches, dizziness, lightning bolts in my brain if I forgot a pill. And then there was the stigma of "being on anti-depressants". It doesn't matter that general usage is on the rise--there are still whispers when people find out, pitiful and judgmental looks that are given, questions that may seem innocent but that cut like knives.

My fiance and I worked hard on our relationship, and our wedding day came and it was everything I wanted. Our first year of marriage was hard, but we made it and we came out stronger on the other side. Eventually we decided that we wanted to have a baby, and I knew that I didn't want to be on my medication while we were trying. I know that many people have been successful with pregnancy and anti-depressants, but I felt like I had an adequate handle on my depression--I had been taught different tools in counseling to recognize when another episode was looming and knew how to ask for help. Weaning off of the medication was torture, but eventually I made it and we got pregnant with our son almost exactly two years ago. 

All throughout my pregnancy I knew that I was at risk for post-partum depression, so I watched myself and I asked my husband to watch as well, to make sure that I wasn't blind-sided by this monster if and when it decided to rear its ugly head again.

Then Jameson was born, and everything felt perfect and terrifying.
I had anxiety walking out my front door and I cried a lot. But I loved my baby, and I had no trouble bonding with him or feeling like his mother, so I chalked a lot up to our living/financial/everything else situation. 
And now it's been a year, and the background has turned into the present, and I still think that p.p.d. might be roaming around inside my head. Sadly, I never went to the doctor for it, because I didn't want to be "back there" again. I don't want to be on medication again, and I don't want to rip my guts apart in a counselors office once a week. Maybe that's pride, and maybe I'll change my mind in the future, but that's where I'm at right now and I'm doing okay.


Of course, there is more.
But there is always more and so this is enough for today.
I'll do one more installment, because there is one more thing that I want to address.
I'll also answer any questions you may have, so please leave them in a comment or email them if you're not so comfortable with others reading.

As always, thank you for reading. Thank you for your incredible words of encouragement and your high estimation of my bravery. You make all of this worth it.


weekends in London

>> 8.25.2012

I'm sorry for the lack of posts around here.
Jameson got sick a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I've just been running around trying to get everything put back in order.
Plus, we've got some pretty big stuff that we're starting on (more news later), so I've had to make numerous different "to-do" lists in order to try and keep things organized.

And then there's the background, and how I just want to be finished with it, but I also want to tell it well and not rush through anything. It's pretty emotionally draining to re-live, but I know that it's working good things out as well, so I'll keep pressing on.

Anyway, here's a nice post full of pictures for you guys.
We've spent the past couple of weekends hanging out in London and it was so much fun to be around the Olympic atmosphere and see the world invade the city.
Seeing our friends and family was pretty great too.

*if you click on the pictures, you'll actually see them in the right perspective. Blogger cuts off the edges. Boo.*

I love you, London.

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