Friday, December 30, 2016

Repurposed Em- My Weight Loss Surgery Journey

RepurposedEm #1

I was going to take my WL Journey to a separate blog. I kind of was hiding it, I guess. But I've decided that I will fit it in here on my blog. I hope you will follow along and share your WL stories if you have them.

Here is my first and last post on the other blog. It was my intro and blog purpose.

Please look up Saint Margaret of Cortona. She is the Patron Saint of Weight Loss (her image is on my blog, and there is a link too).

I will do a weekly post about this and share the ups/downs/findings, etc.
Love and Hugs....


Hi there,

Welcome to RepurposedEm. I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself and share with you the purpose of this blog.


My name is Em. I'm a fifty-three year old Catholic wife, mother and grandmother, and I have lived many places in the US and I also lived in England for a while. I have two degrees, and had a great career (one I hope to go back to in Fall 2017).

My life has been complicated and interesting, and through all the madness and chaos, I've found a great support system that I call family. We're a motley crew,  but we are awesome.

I currently homeschool our youngest son and have for five years now. He's in 7th grade. Our other children are grown and we have three beautiful grandsons. In my spare time, I volunteer at our Parish and make Cards (paper craft). I am also into Bible Journaling, and wish I had time to play.

I grew up a Navy brat and married an Army man.  My mother was a vicious alcoholic and my childhood and early adulthood bore many mental and physical scars. But, as always my GOD is bigger and He has blessed me so much.

When I was young, I thought I was fat. It's because I was told how fat I was... by my mother, sister, brothers, and several other relatives. People made comments about my broad shoulders or how short and "stocky" I was. What they didn't get was it equated to a poor self image. At my highest weight in high school, I wore a size 12. We now know that I was heavy - sure... but I wasn't fat.

When I look at the pictures below, I can see that I am thicker than some of the children in the pics. But FAT? To say I was always fat... what a number it did on my perception of self.  You can see that I was a pretty average size child/young adult. Sure, I gained and lost the same 20lbs here and there. LOL But I was completely average.

Wedding Day 1999
This is me two weeks ago.

Currently, I weigh approximately 115 more than I did in high school. Sigh. I feel like I've morphed into what I always thought I was. However, I don't want anyone to think that gaining weight was the fault of anything that happened to me. So, I am moving on... I mean, I could think of a zillion people and things to blame... but I prefer to take responsibility.

Alas, after I finally got and stayed pregnant... I gained 120lbs and weighed 270 when I delivered my child. I was so swollen and miserable. I got back down to about 175... and then we moved to Texas... and for the most part, I spent about 8 years completely depressed about being here. My husband was equally bummed... and we loved food - so we ate. I'm a great cook, so is he... and it was like I woke up one day and weighed 250 lbs and had health problems... sigh. NO BUENO.

What I don't think we talk about enough is our own choices. I made the choice to become sedentary and over-eat. Sure, I have spinal injury and arthritis, etc... but I should have stayed active and I should NOT have used food to fill the holes in my life. That was all my mistake. I take full responsibility. And I think until you do, you can not fix yourself!

After thinking about it for the past five years... about six months ago, we decided to move forward with Weight Loss Surgery for me. He is in it with me and will be drinking a shake for one meal a day and drastically cutting portions and eating much healthier - my child too. It's all in around here and I am so blessed with that.

My surgery will be the Gastric Sleeve (the link I shared is to my surgeon's site, where you can also find out about other surgical options if you so choose). And my date is January 30th. One month from today. I'm so excited.

I joined a fantastic group on FaceBook. if you are doing this, join Patricia @ My Bariatric Kitchen. I am learning all kinds of exciting things.  Oh, and she offers a Nutrition Class starting January 17th. Can't wait!

So let me share with you my blog's purpose.

Blog Purpose:

Over the next year or so, my plan is to share:

  • Why I chose the Gastric Sleeve Surgery.
  • Before & After Pics.
  • Process Info & Timeline.
  • My Goals
  • Nutrition Tips.
  • Support Group Info.
  • Physical Fitness Tips

This blog is going to be my WLS Journey Journal.

I hope you will be encouraged!

Hugs & Blessings,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Preparing Our Hearts.... Keeping Christ in Christmas

Happy Tuesday!  I pray you are well today.

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we have lists and lists of lists... we bake, we shop, we wrap, we decorate, we do for others, we do for ourselves (hopefully), we volunteer, we donate... we are exhausted.  These things aren't BAD. However.... we have to ask ourselves what are we really focused on? Or in our case WHO are we focused on?  Are we behaving like the rest of the world OR are we exuding Christ's love?

LOVE is the key to Christianity. John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Advent, to me, is about preparing our hearts to love as God loved us, as Jesus and Mary taught us to love, and in the spirit of all the Saints before us.  We must prepare our hearts to love as they all did.

I have to be honest, as a homeschooling mom, who's husband is often out of town, I can't promise that I focus or am even loving at all times. But this time of year, it's a great reorganization of typical priorities. I think the best way to keep the focus on the birth of Christ and all that has meant to us -- as the body of Christ, as a family, and as individual Catholics -- at the forefront is to start in Advent.

This year, because of the death of my father, it's been hard to concentrate, in general. We have scaled back quite a bit in terms of Advent Activities.... and to be honest, it's so much better. A few weeks ago, I posted Keep Calm...Advent is Coming and I have to say, that with the exception of weekly Adoration and Confession, we have been sticking to it. I know I know - we need to be better at that. I'm just keeping it honest.

There are so many prayers and things we Catholics do daily, that I really feel we have Christ at the forefront, so for my post, the point I would love to make, especially to young mamas and busy women (you know, all of us) is you do not have to do it all. When I first was converting, I was so confused because there were so many things to choose from, it was like the "squirrel" scene in UP, where the dog couldn't concentrate. It was miserable to try to keep up or change my plans every time I read something new. It may just be my personality... I just want you to know that whatever you do, however elaborate or simple - Advent Season reinvigorates our purpose to rejoice in the birth of Christ. We must walk the Advent path in a humble and purposeful way so that our hearts are in the right place to receive HIM!  Advent is a time of preparation.  And if you, sweet mamas can only do ONE or two things to prepare yourselves for Advent - then do not feel bad about that! It's counter productive. Just choose what you can do wisely, God knows your hearts.

That being said, my suggestions are simple. Small daily reminders of preparing my heart and mind, and that of my family:

Daily Readings. (I use my Magnificat and the Magificat Advent Companion).  This is my "me" time. My centering and peace for the day. I can't think of a better way to stay near Christ, than in the Advent Readings. It's the story of His coming. There is also a Daybreaks Book that we read in the evening before supper... this I torture my child with read so that my child can be in the conversation. It's so important that we speak about our faith with our children. p.s. he is 13... everything is torture. HA! But I digress.

Jesse Tree & O' Antiphon Readings. Thank you Jesse Tree Treasures for creating the best ornaments. We have had ours for five Christmases now (I think).

Advent Wreath. Sunday evenings, we read the readings and light our candles. We sit down for supper and discuss what we read. We actually have a pre-made wreath this year. It was in our boxes and is perfect.

Daily Books about the Spirit of Advent/Christmas. There are so many out there and reading with family lends to great conversations. I love this.

Gather Food for Food bank - we have a pile in our pantry.  We simply pick one or two items daily and add to the pile. We will take to the food bank or family in need before Christmas.  We normally do an Advent Calendar loaded with tasks of kindness, but we simply aren't this year. We are purposing to be kind while keeping our Advent simple.

Keeping Your Tree & Decor Christmas Centered. Consider decorating your tree later, maybe Gaudette Sunday weekend, and keeping it up at least through the Feast of the Epiphany. AND when you do decorate, make sure you have Angels, Nativities, and ornaments that represent your faith (we have Jesse Tree ornaments from a swap we did years ago and our Parish sells ornaments each year). We are not decorating our tree till Marque comes home, so it's going to be next weekend before we get it all done.

However, check out this scene I made for our living room table. Christ is represented through the Church.

Notice that the Baby Jesus is still inside Mary (until Christmas day) in our nesting doll Nativities. This is to signify WAITING on Jesus. I explain that to my child yearly when he asks WHY!

Advent/Christmas/December Feast Day Crafts. My son has largely outgrown wanting to craft. But he will help cook or decorate cookies. So I try to do what I can. But for those of you with littles, I would not try to do EVERY feast day or every craft. But pick a few, one/week or something that fits into your schedule. Tracy @Slice of Smith Life, Angie @Real Life at Home,  Lacy @Catholic Icing, and Monika +Monica McConkey Equipping Catholic Families are my go-to bloggers for fun Catholic things to do at a moment's notice. There are tons more, but these are my top four.

Birthday Cake for Jesus. About the time Christopher was three, he asked why we did not have a birthday cake if it was Jesus' birthday. And so, we made one. Now, we make it on Christmas Eve. This year it will be a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. It changes every year. But it's a fun Christmas Eve tradition. This year I am directing the Live Children's Nativity at St. Patrick for the 5pm Mass. So the cake will be made before and iced after. But it will be done!

Two last things, and the things that I am most guilty of NOT doing often enough...

  1. Reconciliation/Confession. What better way to prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus' coming than to confess our sins as often as possible. 
  2. Adoration. Sigh. I have NEVER been. I know. There really is no excuse. As a convert, I find it so intimidating. But it's my goal to go this Advent, and pour my heart out to the Lord. Pray for me!

I hope in a small way that my post has been helpful to you. If you can't do it all, sisters, make what you can do COUNT!

I am joining up with Allison Gingras and crew for the CWBN Blog Hop: Making Him Room, Putting Christ in Christmas.  It's a monthly, blog post geared toward a pointed topic. And it's awesome.
This month's topic... Putting Christ in Christmas.  Please go to Allison's blog and check out all of the other bloggers. There is so much talent!

This is my first Christmas with no parents. Sigh. I know there are others who struggle with loss this time of year. Please know you are in my prayers. <3

Love, hugs & many blessings,

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Small Success Thursday - Advent is Coming Together

Happy First Thursday in Advent.
Happy Feast Day of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Check out his story.

Happy Small Success Thursday! I usually link up with Sherry and the ladies for this post, but there is not one up for today. However... I am doing it anyway. <3 I'm a rebel. haha

Tonight I am having a sleep study. I'm not sure how they will study something that never happens. Honestly, the way my brain works, um - sleeping in a random bed, all wired up... doesn't sound very restful. HA! Pray for me.

I really try to blog on Thursdays regardless because I just love Small Success Thursday. It's intended to remind us mamas to look for small things that are successes instead of getting bogged down with the big picture.  And ya'll, my big picture right now is a little overwhelming, so I will take it day-by-day.

Small Successes...

Made it through.... It was our first Thanksgiving without my daddy. That was hard, but we did well. We kept it small - literally just us three. We slept in a little and had a leisurely day. We really are so blessed. We also had dinner at our friends N&J's house. Her parents were visiting, and her mama is from Italy (where my husband lived)... and she cooked us an authentic Italian dish... I made a cheesecake and other treats. It was awesome.

Kicked off Advent... We had been saving our pennies and went to the Movie Tavern for a movie & lunch after Mass. We still have not gotten everything out to decorate. We are going to work on it tonight. AND we have not done the daily family readings like we want. BUT - we did find our Advent Candle and will catch up with the Jesse Tree and a few other things tonight. Just being honest. We are kinda depressed around here... but working on it. Sigh. It is what it is.  This is the week of HOPE! I think that will be my word for 2017 - HOPE! Hold onto it.

Eating Healthier/Losing Weight... Since I have been cutting back on portions and cutting things out of my diet, I have lost seven pounds. My husband who is not even trying has lost ten. HA Isn't that always the way. BUT - he just found out he is pre-diabetic.... so we will be working harder.  As an aside, if you are looking for a sugar substitute that is natural, please check out the recipe at Joy Filled Eats - Sweetener. I had this in my coffee at her home. Ya'll... no bitter aftertaste. Just saying.  Oh - and if you have given up Caffeine, please share how you did it. I have to give it up for a while... I can have decaf. AACK But I will.

Making a Difference... I love volunteering at our Parish. It's infusing new life into me. As a mom and wife, we don't always feel thanked. I don't need anyone to gush, but you know - it's nice to be thanked. <3  The ladies are awesome, and I love it.  So thankful for my Faith.

Oh - and if you are not already, consider playing along with  +Allison Gingras and the crew for #SnapAdvent. Check out the picture below. I am @Mrsedavis99 on Instagram. Look me up!

Have a great rest of your day. Don't forget to look for the small successes! Some days, it could be that you washed your face and brushed your teeth and everyone lived through the day, relatively well-fed and clean! lol  Whatever it is, thank God for it. We are all so blessed.

Hugs & Blessings,