Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Chikki?

In case you haven't realized it yet, I am about to confirm that I am, indeed, a huge nerd!

While I was warming up some water in the microwave for my Christmas cookie tea, I noticed a pink bag sitting on the counter. This particular counter is the place that all unwanted food goes and magically disappears! It's the "free for all" counter. Since I had a couple minutes before my tea was done, I took a look at the bag. Even after reading the bag, I still had no idea what was inside.



I read the back of the bag to find out more. "Old fashioned brittle; reminiscent of your childhood", I thought, "well I know what peanut brittle is, and it's good, too!"



I opened the bag, expecting to see the peanut brittle that I once knew. To my surprise, the contents of the bag did not look like brittle, to me. By this time, my tea was ready and I decided to give this brittle a try. To my surprise, the brittle was amazing! It had a nice earthy texture but tasted sweet, like the brittle I had as a child. The nutrition information didn't look half bad, either! Five pieces of this brittle contains 125 calories; 1 gram of fat; 27 grams of carbs, and; 2 grams of protein.




This particular brittle is called Chikki. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more so I began to research. (ding ding ding, nerd alert!)

According to Wikipedia, Chikki is defined as follows:

Chikki is a traditional ready-to-eat Indian and Pakistani sweet generally made from groundnuts and jaggery. There are several different varieties of chikki in addition to the most common groundnut chikki. Each chikki is named depending upon the ingredients used. Usually, ingredients such as puffed or roasted bengal gram, sesame, puffed rice, beaten rice, and Khobara(desiccated coconut) are used.

So, it is made from groundnuts and jaggery. I had no idea what jaggery was, so I decided to dig deeper. According to Wikipedia, jaggery is defined as follows:

Jaggery (also transliterated as jaggeree) is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal whole cane sugar consumed in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It is a concentrated product of cane juice/date juice without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, moisture content of up to 20%, and the remainder made up of other insoluble matter such as wood ash, proteins and bagasse fibers. It was originally created as an easier way to transport sugar. In Venezuela, it is an essential ingredient for many typical recipes, and in some parts of the country, it is used in place of refined sugar as a more accessible, cheaper and healthier sweetener. Jaggery is mixed with other ingredients, such as peanuts, condensed milk, coconut, and white sugar, to produce several locally marketed and consumed delicacies.

I have found that jaggery is wholesome, pure and filled with minerals and vitamins. It has even been referred to as "medicinal sugar" and was used as an energy supplement in ancient times. Jaggery is a natural alternative to white sugar. Pretty neat, stuff!

So, now I'm curious. How many of you have heard of jaggery or Chikki, before?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

On the Bright Side

Please don't tell me that I'm the only one listening to Christmas music on my way to work, at work, on my way home from work and right now. This has been going on for a few days. I am officially feeling the Christmas spirit! We have our house decorated and 85% of our Christmas shopping is complete and wrapped. Of course when I say wrapped, I mean bagged with some super cute Christmas bags!





This Saturday, a few friends and I are getting together to decorate Christmas cookies. It's become our very own tradition and I can't wait to see everyone! We have one other cookie exchange and it includes me making 16 dozen cookies. Does anyone have a suggestion for an easy cookie to make for that large of a cookie exchange?

For those who are not quite ready for the Christmas talk, this portion of the post is for you. So far, I have been doing a great job at keeping up with my streak of meeting my mini goals for each day this week. I drank my 64 oz of water, took my prenatal vitamins and packed my lunch again, yesterday. My mom even went to the gym with me last night, too! I only walked for 30 minutes, but that 30 minutes time was better spent on the treadmill rather than on the couch. I also enjoyed the time to chat with my mom while walking. Sometimes our time together at the gym provides some much needed therapy. Other times, we enjoy the quiet. Either way, I definitely love going to the gym with my mom. Even though I know she mostly goes to support me, I like knowing that she is taking care of herself by walking there beside me, too!

Speaking of being supportive, I really am one lucky girl. I have such a huge, loving, amazing support system. I was reminded of this the other day when I told a few of my friends about my blog. They were all so happy for me and supportive. I am truly blessed with loving family and friends.

I am a little nervous for tomororw. I am leaving work early for my follow up appointment with my OBGYN. I am hoping that everything goes well. They are going to do another internal sonogram to make sure that there is no remaining tissue from my recent miscarriage. I am feeling a lot better physically and hope that my sonogram turns out well. On the bright side, at least tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bahamas Vacation Recap - 2012

Warning: this post is going to be very photo-heavy. My husband and I returned from our Bahamas cruise nearly two weeks ago. We cruised with friends and visited Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay. I didn't get to see Nassau this trip because of some medical issues but we thoroughly enjoyed the other two ports and day at sea! I'll let the photos do most of the talking, now...

Fresh made guac with chips at Senor Frogs in Freeport, Bahamas.
 
My husband, looking out at the ocean on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.



That would be my husband, at Senor Frogs.


This is paradise. My husband and I in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.

Lobster night is my favorite night on the cruise!


The beautiful Lido Deck at night.

My husband and I with the other couple we cruised with. We had so much fun!


<3


My goof ball.

Another photo of Lido Deck at night.


It's 5 o'clock somewhere!


My view for most of the afternoon...


Water slides on the ship!


This photo says it all...


Coconuts in Freeport


Dressed up for formal night in front of our port holes in the cabin


Having fun in Half Moon Cay


Formal Night

Excited for my new sun hat... which didn't survive the trip home.


:)



Lido Deck at night


Sunset leaving Freeport, Bahamas


Splash!


Formal night


Drinks at Senor Frogs in Freeport


Trying new things... alligator is pictured in there somewhere.

We always have a blast on cruises, but going with friends makes the trip even better! We always seem to do more and are more apt try new things with friends around. My husband turned out to be a karaoke king on the cruise with our other friend. They were rock stars and had people going up to them throughout the trip, asking them to sing again. We have a lot of great memories from this trip and I really enjoy looking back at the photos. We took over 300 pictures. The photos above were just a few that I picked out quickly to share.

Now, back to the present. I am happy to say that I met all of my mini goals for the second day in a row, yesterday!

Mini Goals for the Week:

1. Drink 64 oz of water daily - 2/2 days
2. Take prenatal vitamins daily - 2/2 days
3. Pack lunch every day this week - 2/2 days

It feels good to accomplish something, even if its little, each day. Every little bit of good helps; it all adds up after time. One of my favorite quotes is "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson

What seeds will you plant today?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Lot to Process

I want to first start this blog by saying that I am completely honored to have been featured on one of my favorite blogs to read, www.healthyberg.com. I have been following Krista's blog for quite a while. She is a great writer and I always drool over her food photography. Krista featured my weight loss story while I was on vacation and I found the link to the post yesterday! If you are interested in seeing the post, you can click this link: http://www.healthyberg.com/2012/11/weight-loss-success-story-kay.html.

In my blog post from yesterday, I outlined a few mini goals for this week. My results from Monday are below.

Mini Goals:

1. Drink 64 oz. of water each day - Done!
2. Purchase and begin taking prenatal vitamins daily - Done!
3. Pack lunch all week - Done!



My awesome, sweet, supportive husband went to the grocery store for me last night while I worked late. He made sure to buy some prenatal vitatmins for me and some spongebob gummie vitatmins for himself.




My husband also took my grocery list with him to the store and bought everything I need to follow through with packing my lunch every day this week. Today, I brought a can of Progresso Light Chicken and Dumpling soup. It was the first time I had tried this particular soup and I really enjoyed it. The soup had a base of chicken noodle and the dumplings were delicious! The entire can was only 160 calories and totally delicious.

I started thinking about getting back in the gym today. The free gym, that is. I have access to gym equiptment at our school district. The gym is open from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on Monday - Friday as long as school was in session that day. They have treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. I started going through my song lists that I created when I began running really hard in October. The songs really helped me keep up my fast pace. I remember how challenging it was, and how far I pushed myself. I would usually leave there feeling dizzy. I feel incredibly guilty at this time because as I was looking through my song list, I noticed the date it was created. I created this particular song list and used it during my hard run the week before and during the week  I began hemorrhaging (which evenutally lead to my miscarriage in early November). At the time, I had no idea I was pregnant. I was in the middle of the 6th week when I eventually found out I was pregnant and was at 7 weeks when I miscarried. I still can't help but feel guilty. Perhaps my intensity in the gym caused the hemmorage? I felt defeated when I realized this possibility; guilty. I know that I shouldn't blame myself but it's hard not to.

So, while I am eager and wish to get back to the exercise routine that I had in October, I am not sure if I should quite yet. I will definitely take it day by day, hour by hour. I have a lot to process and a lot to deal with right now. The desire to resume working out is there and I trust that my body will tell me when I should go and when I need to take a break.

In effort to end on a brighter note, I am happy to say that I am down two pounds from when I left for vacation. I lost a pound while on vacation and I lost a pound last week during Thanksgiving break. I am at 238 lbs. right now and hope to be down at least another pound come Sunday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life Will Go On

I'm not currently working on a challenge right now (pause for reaction), however; I still feel the need to post my work week dinner menu. After about a year of planning out my dinner menu each week during challenges, I just can't seem to shake the habit. Not to mention, it is essential for my grocery list to plan ahead as I only like to go grocery shopping once a week.

Work Week Dinner Menu:

Monday - Steak Salads
Tuesday - Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday - DiGorno Personal Pizza
Thursday - Leftover Frozen Enchilada Soup
Friday - Cheesy Beef and Veggie Pasta

Planning ahead has always been a part of my personality. Due to my most recent medical incident, however, I have found that I can't plan for everything. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in the past few weeks is that life still goes on and things still get done without a to-do list. I tend to be a high anxiety person when it comes to planning things; events, day trips, etc. Lately, I have been trying to step back and give myself a break. (Repeat new motto: life will go on). In sharing this, I do not know exactly how this will effect my healthy lifestyle efforts. I guess my current attitude could be described as 'going back to the basics'. I do have a few mini goals in the back of my mind for the week ahead:

Mini Goals:

1. Drink 64 oz. of water each day
2. Purchase and begin taking prenatal vitamin daily
3. Pack lunch all week

I am looking forward to working on these mini goals and reporting back throughout the week. Everyone make it a great day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Comfort Food to the Max

My husband and I have been having a blast during our Thanksgiving break! We have been spending a lot of time with family, which is just what I need right now. Not to mention, we have been eating comfort food to the max. I don't know how I did it, but I have lost another pound this week; even after eating plateful after plateful of our traditional Thanksgiving feast! My body must be getting itself back to "normal".


Our traditional Thanksgiving plate (thanks mom for the leftovers!)
I was really excited to try a super easy pumpkin muffin recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I made about 6 dozen muffins. Each batch is made with only two ingredients; a box of spice cake mix and a can of 100% real pumpkin. I used about 4 boxes of spice cake to make the quantity of muffins I thought we needed for Thanksgiving break. My husband is really enjoying the leftovers for breakfast in the morning and I love sharing our muffins with friends and family!

My new favorite pumpkin muffins
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am ready to start eating healthy again. I woke up early this morning and made myself an omelet. I call it the veggie explosion. I guess I got a little carried away with the amount of veggies 2 egg whites and 1 egg could hold.


This afternoon, we have one more Thanksgiving feast to attend. I don't think that I will be indulging in much, if anything. While the comfort food was great this past week, my body is really ready for the healthy stuff to come back! Tonight, we are suppose to go out to the bar to celebrate my husband's mom and step-dad's birthdays. They are providing the first two drinks for their guests. I don't think I will have any more than that, if that, at all. Ever since my miscarriage, I feel differently about a lot of things. I don't really want to drink much pop, or alcohol, or anything else that's unnecessary. I want to eat and drink clean fresh things. I want my body to be ready for the next time we get pregnant.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Finding My Way Back to Me

I am looking forward to spending time with family during Thanksgiving tomorrow. Unfortunately, we will not see everyone, but it will still be a great day! With four sides of family, the holidays can get stressful. My husband and I came up with an arrangement that has seemed to work for the past three years. The first year of our marriage, we spent Thanksgiving with both of our moms side of the family. The second year, our fathers. We have been doing this rotation for a while now. It's a big stress reliever to only have two places to travel during this holiday. Christmas is a completely different story. We have 6 stops in two days. It can be tiring to make all those trips but it is great to see everybody for Christmas!

Holidays are great for family time, however, food is most often the center of attention at these family gatherings. It can be hard and stressful to try to "stay on track" during the holidays. So often it seems like I set myself up for failure in that aspect. I am not going to give myself the excuse to fail this year. Instead, I am just going to eat until I'm full and do the best I can. No restrictions, no deprivation. That only leads to bad things for me.

I feel like I am trying to get myself back to the basics. After the roller coaster ride that I have been on these past few weeks, I am trying to find my way back to me. I feel so much different and in some ways the same.

I don't change my hair much but I noticed when there is a big change in my life I do seem to change something. This time, I cut my bangs. Does anyone else have that habit if changing their appearance after something big or traumatic has happened? Any special tips or tricks that seem to help you heal? My game plan has been to smile. Even when I don't feel like it, I just try to smile.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Place Like Home

I am back from vacation and so happy to be home! Vacation was great but there is really no place like home. I am happy to be back to work and ready to get back on track.

I usually gain weight on vacation so I was counting on it this time, as well. I left for vacation weighing in at 240 lbs. When I came home a week later, I weighed in at 239. I actually lost a pound from this cruise vacation! I haven't been tracking food or exercising (due to my medical emergency) but I am slowly starting to feel better; more like myself, again.

Today was my first day back to work. I have been very busy so the time is flying by! I made sure to take some time (right now) to actually enjoy a lunch break. I had an artichoke, chicken and spinach panini for lunch. I packed a salad, some baby carrots and string cheese to snack on throughout the day. I made sure to eat breakfast this morning, too. I was probably too excited to eat breakfast this morning because we bought lucky charms cereal. I know its not the best choice but I made sure to eat a banana, too!

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only 2 days away. Just last week, I was in the Bahamas. It truly felt like summer! I can't wait to share some of our vacation photos, soon. Here are a few iphone photos from our trip to hold you over until I transfer photos from our camera card:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Blog: Em is Getting Healthy

One of my favorite things about having a blog is the opportunity to "meet" and learn about some pretty amazing people! Emily emailed me a little while ago and I could just tell that she was a pretty special lady! I know that you'll see just what I mean when you read more about her story, below:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Emily's before photo: in the green


Emily's after photo

Hello, my name is Emily and I am a recovering overeater. I found Kay’s blog on another weight loss blog and decided to check it out. I loved it. Kay reminds me so much of my best friend from school, so I sent her an email and she offered to let me guest blog, which is something I’ve never done before. I want to share my story with you, in hopes that just maybe someone out there may be encouraged to start their own journey towards health. Here it goes:

I had been overweight my entire life. I can remember going to my pediatrician in elementary school and being told that I needed to lose weight. My mom would try to talk to me about my weight, but no matter how she said it, what I heard is "you are fat and ugly" and as soon as I knew what the conversation was about, I'd run out of the room crying. My mom had been thin her whole life and she just didn’t understand what it was like for me. I felt like she judged me, as if she thought being fat was a choice I made. She would take me shopping for clothes and I just felt like every time something she picked up was too small that it was her way of telling me that I was fat. I kept these feelings bottled up, which caused not only resentment but the occasional eruption of yelling and tears from both of us.

My dad had me ride my bike behind him when he ran, after doing that for a few years he even helped me run a mile with him before he ran his normal 2-3 miles at a much faster pace. He also tried to give me incentives: saying he would buy me a trampoline and a swimming pool if I would lose weight. He went on diets with me, pretending I was doing him a favor by doing it with him. We tried grapefruit, low carb, nutrisystem and several others. My dad had been heavy in high school when he worked at a pizzeria and had struggled on and off with his weight his whole life, but had kept it mostly under control, only being slightly overweight. For the most part, my father and I exercised together but didn’t discuss my weight. I knew he was there if I wanted to talk, which made me feel loved and accepted, but still was not enough to inspire me to lose the weight. 

My parents watched everything I ate, so I started eating in my room if I didn't want them to see me. Soon I had whole boxes of little Debbie's stashed away. Food became my comfort. I craved the unhealthy foods I couldn’t eat in front of my parents. When I got a large quantity of unhealthy food, I usually hid and ate it all at once. These unhealthy habits I had learned continued throughout adolescence and into adulthood. I ate very large amounts of unhealthy foods, just not at home. My parents became concerned and frustrated when I didn’t lose weight, my mother especially.

The moment I decided that something had to be done was in November of 2011. My husband’s cousin had invited me to be in her wedding (June 2012), so we all went bridesmaid dress shopping together. There were 3 others: my sister in law who was the same size as me, the bride’s best friend (size 4) and her sister (size 6). Tiff (the bride) decided she wanted us to wear a knee length purple dress with one shoulder strap. They didn't have it in my size to try on, so I just had to order it. The lady helping us had a hard time measuring me because she couldn't get her arms around me, and then after that embarrassment was over, she made the comment that it’s a good thing they make that dress in a 28, but that is the largest that can be made. I couldn't get that off my mind for the next week. Then I began thinking about how my dad is hypoglycemic and both his parents were diabetic. I knew that if I didn't make a change, and fast, I was on the fast track to being diabetic myself.

Admitting that I made the choices that put me just 2 little pounds away from 300 was very hard to do. Once I had admitted that fact and was honest with myself about the condition of my health I felt like I had to analyze my past in order to move on. What I learned was that if you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.

I thought about what I should do, talked to my dad about the program he and his friend, Bruce, had done, and ultimately decided that's the program I would use. Not every program works for every person. I found the program I wanted to use, I dedicated myself 100% and I was ready.  I knew this may be my last chance of changing. It was now or never. I couldn’t continue to binge eat unhealthy food.  The week after thanksgiving, when getting ready to start this program, I got something in the mail from my grandma; a family photo taken on thanksgiving. I looked horrible. That sealed the deal. I had to do this and it had to be now. I was not willing to wait till after Christmas or new year’s.

I didn’t even want to wait for my food shipment from the program to come in. My dad had about a week’s worth of the food he didn’t really like but had never sent back, so he gave it to me. Eating only cream of broccoli soup and chicken and rice soup for 5 meals a day for 3 days was not the greatest idea, but I knew if I didn’t start right then, I’d talk myself out of it.

I started December 1st 2011 and I have never regretted it. I have struggled. I have plateaued. There were days when I just wanted to order a pizza or eat an entire pint of ice cream by myself, but I didn’t let myself do that. There were days when I forced myself to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill and I hated every second of it, but I did it anyway.

Some of my husband’s family has become less and less supportive the more weight we lost. Many times we have heard very hurtful comments from those who are supposed to love us the most, but if they think you can’t do it, you have to work that much harder to prove them wrong. One family member brought cupcakes to my birthday, knowing I had lost weight and could not have them!  The first month of my journey, even my husband was not yet on board with getting healthy and it was tough, but soon he saw my weight loss and decided to get healthier also.


After only a month, I had lost 20 pounds and people started noticing. I started noticing. I felt better. I became stronger. I started caring again about how I looked and felt. I began to enjoy shopping for clothes again and for the first time in a very long time, I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. I felt like I was becoming the person I was always meant to be, but my unhealthy lifestyle had engulfed. I buckled down and became very careful what I put into my body: even weighing my meats and vegetables! I became more confident and tried things I’d thought of trying before. Last month, my husband and I took a mini-vacation to Brown County, Indiana. We went zip-lining. Before, I would have exceeded the max weight limit. We shopped for two days straight and must have walked miles! We went to the state park and climbed tons of stairs to the top of the fire lookout tower! I never would have been able to do any of those things before.
When I first started, and also now when I feel the struggle of wanting to binge or go off plan, I look up videos of people who lost a lot of weight, and look at things on pinterest that motivate me. That is where I found some of the sayings that have helped me immensely:

"A moment on the lips isn't worth forever on the hips"
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch"
“The pain of being overweight is much greater than the pain of working out”
"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels"
“You won’t get the butt you want by sitting on the one you have.”

In conclusion, this journey has not been easy, but it has been more than worth it. Don't think of it as being on a diet; you're making a life change. Not everyone will be supportive, but you can prove them wrong. I’ve lost 135 pounds and I’m still going strong. My husband has lost 150 pounds! You can do this! I know you can, because I did. Again, not every program works for every person, but if you want some information about the program I use, feel free to check out my blog at emisgettinghealthy.blogspot.com or email me at emylou7956(at)gmail(dot)com.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Emily! I know that I can relate to so much of your story and I am sure there are many out there who can relate, as well. You're a true inspiration!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I Was Pregnant

Hello from vacation! We just woke up in sunny Orlando, Florida! I feel bad for not having blogged all week but I have had the craziest week of my life, literally. It's been a week of happiness and heartbreak.

Lately, I had been feeling nauseous if I looked at certain foods, smelled certain things, or even thought about eating something like meat or eggs. I was dizzy, too. This had been going on for two weeks. My mom asked if I was pregnant but I couldn't have been because I have been on my period for two weeks. Regardless, I took a pregnancy test and it was... Positive! My life changed in a moment. I was instantly thankful as I have been told that I am unable to conceive with my PCOS, but then my thanks turned to fright as I have been on what I thought was my period for two weeks. Something was wrong.

Hours after taking a positive pregnancy test, I was in the ER. We found that I was indeed pregnant and that the baby was alive and the cervix was closed. The bleeding was actually coming from a hemmoragh. I left the hospital scared but hopeful since the cervix was closed.

I spent two whole days being the happiest and most worried person in the world. I had no idea that those two emotions could live so strongly together and create this feeling of being a mother. I was 6 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The baby was at the stage where she could move her hands and feet; she had her eyes and nose and cheeks. Her heart was beating. I was a mother, something I never thought I would have the opportunity to be. My dreams had come true, so unexpected, so bitter-sweet this week has been.

On Thursday, my dream came to an end. I began bleeding a lot from 11 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. At 4:00, my nightmare began. I started to feel cramping and hot sweats. I was at work but took a 10 minute break to ride that out. It went away long enough for me to finish work. As soon as I got home, however, the cramping became more intense. It was the most painful thing I have ever gone through, physically and now, emotionally. I vomited many times from the pain. The pain was constant and I knew i was having a miscarriage. I tried to go through it at home from 5:00 p.m. until my mom called 911 at 9:30.

I went to the hospital by ambulance. I wasn't medicated for the pain until 2:00 a.m. I was delirious from the pain. I found from some tests that the baby's heartbeat had slowed and the cervix was open. It was only a matter of time. I was discharged from the hospital despite my plead to stay. I lost her only 20 minutes after my discharge from the ER. My physical pain went away instantly and I knew it was over.

It was 3:00 in the morning on Friday at the time. We had already decided to not leave on our flight to Florida while I had been writhing in pain only hours before. The flight would leave only hours later, but I told my husband that I still wanted to go on our cruise. I needed it now more than ever. So, we left that same day. My emotions on the flight, just having lost her early that morning, were back and forth. I have to say that I would have never got through that horrible experience without my mom, step dad and husband. They were all there for me, watching me be in pain. Doing anything they could do to help. They prayed aloud, asking for healing. They rubbed my back, helped move me when I needed it. I couldn't imagine surviving that experience without their help.

Now, it is Saturday morning and I am in Florida. I had a really rough night in the hotel last night with my husband. I was finally able to cry and express all of my feelings and questions. Our baby is in heaven and I have never even met her. I'm a mother and have been for nearly 7 weeks and only knew for a couple days. I am so thankful for those days of pure happiness while I carried her with me. I feel so empty know but full in knowing that she was sent for a reason. She was sent as a messenger and is already with our God. Her message was that we can conceive, and there is hope for our future. She helped me think like a mother, something that will change my life forever. I loved her so much and always will. I know that I will still have my emotional moments, but I really want to use this vacation for what I believe God has intended; to relax, reflect and refresh with my husband. The timing in all of this has taught me a lesson I should already have known; I am not in control. God has blessed us in so many ways this week. I am truly blessed. I am blessed that this occurred while I was at home and not in the middle of the ocean. I am blessed that it happened in time for us to have a place to go away and relax on vacation. I am blessed to have a strong support system, which is only stronger now.

This will be one of my last blogs until we return from the Bahamas. I have a guest blog scheduled for Monday that I am really excited about. As for our vacation so far, we are really having a great time already.

Last night, we ate at Carrabas in Orlando. Today we are boarding our ship to visit ports in the Bahamas. Here are the first photos from our trip, the rest will come upon our return!