Saturday, November 1, 2014

I'm engaged!

This past month and a few days has been a whirlwind. On September 27th, I went on my first date with T. We met at a Cici's, then we went bowling, and then we walked around the mall. I never wanted the date to end. When I went home that night, I told my family that I had met the man I was going to marry. A week and a half later, we were at the mall again looking at engagement rings. We were both so set on that we were going to do this thing. I know that ring shopping may seem like a weird thing to do in the first two weeks that you are dating, but it was so us. I fell hard and fast for this boy. He loves me for who I am. I don't have to pretend that I'm something that I'm not around him. I knew that it would take roughly two weeks for the ring to come in, plus T had some scheming to do around the proposal, so I honestly didn't know when I was going to get a ring on my finger. T had a business trip coming up in Texas, so he asked me to come along and said we could stop by Houston on the way so that I could meet his family. I said yes, very excitedly. 

About a week ago, I started getting impatient and started bugging T about the ring. He fed me some story about the ring having to be sent back for quality concern issues, so I wouldn't be getting the ring for ANOTHER two weeks at least. I didn't totally believe the story, but I went with it. It seemed like too good of a lie. Over the next few days, T met with my dad for lunch to ask for his permission to marry me and unbeknownst to me, picked up the ring. We got ready for our trip and on Tuesday, we departed for Houston. I knew that T was scheming something, because he kept texting someone and wouldn't let me see his phone. I bugged him about it, but he refused to tell me. I became convinced that he was going to propose, but then he said something about not wanting me to be disappointed when it wasn't what I expected, so I began to think a proposal was not forthcoming. 9 hours later, we arrived at his parents' house where we had dinner with his parents, sister, brother in law, and nieces. We made plans to go ice skating at the Galleria the next day.

Wednesday, October 29th, we went into Houston to go to the Galleria. It took us about 30 minutes to find a parking spot, which was weird, because it's not that close to Christmas or anything. We walked down to a little park with a water wall, where we met T's father. Then, we walked over to the wall to get a closer look.

I started to get misted on and kind of wanted to leave, but then I saw my very best friend drop to one knee.

He pulled our three empty ring boxes first and tossed them aside, so I began to suspect that something was up and he was playing a very mean joke on me. Then he pulled out a ring pop and that just made me mad. I almost walked away, but he very quickly pulled out the fourth and final ring box, holding the ring that I'll wear on my left hand forever and ever. He asked me "Will you?", I said "Yes!" and that was that.

Then, I noticed his mom and sister taking pictures and I knew that this had been the plan all along. He told me about how his brother propsed in this very same spot, and I thought that was really neat. I love little traditions and I'm happy that we have some special places in Houston now. We did go ice skating (which was disasterous! I'm horrible!), and then we went to the Lego store for him to buy some Legos. Overall, I couldn't be happier. My life is in a wonderful place. I have a wonderful fiancé. I have hope that there is something bigger and better out there than living in my eating disorder.

And that's my engagement story!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Hi. My name is Lauren and I'm one very bad blogger.
Blogging used to be such a part of my life. I'd check up on my favorite blogs daily, blog weekly and I had a ton of "blog friends" that lived inside my computer. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of daily life, the isolating, and the trying to simplify, I've lost this art. It makes me sad. I remember the days that I loved blogging, but now it is kind of starting to feel like a chore. It feels like something I have to do, something I feel obligated to do...and I don't want it to be like that. I think the hard part about blogging for me right now is that I don't have a niche. There's not a whole lot of other blogs out there about being a 24 year old, living at home, and unemployed. I've found myself distancing myself from blog friends, mostly because of intense jealousy in my heart. I know that blogging is full of highlight reels and everyone has struggles, but somedays, it is HARD to read about others successes. It's hard to see people young and in love and having babies and teaching children and to think that I could have all of that, but I don't because I'm super messed up. It's hard to read about people working out and eating yummy foods when all I want to do is lose weight, exercise obsessively, and restrict my intake. It just makes it hard to relate.

But, I'm wanting to jump back on the blogging train. I know, I know, I've said it before. I'm probably going to fail a few more times before I pull myself together, but I think this could be a good thing. I'm currently in the process of trying to put my life back together and things are coming along quite nicely. I'm dating a wonderful guy. I'm almost a month in solid recovery. Good things are happening. I want to get back to the days when I blogged pictures and baked apple pies and did fun blog things. I want to get back to the days when my life didn't revolve around an eating disorder. So, while the eating disorder thing may be mentioned some, I'm going to try to keep my rants to a separate blog that is more private and keep this blog about me and who I am outside of that. I think I'm going to start by sharing 15 facts about myself at the moment. Yes, that sounds fun.

  1. I like doing word searches and logic puzzles in my free time.
  2. I need to get back into the reading groove. Currently, I'm not reading anything, but the boyfriend is trying to get me into Game of Thrones.
  3. I spent the summer in Georgia two summers back and I miss that place. That internship was really fun and a great growing experience.
  4. I'm doing laundry for the first time in forever today.
  5. I sleep with a teddy bear (Allie), a puppy (Puppy), and a flamingo (Flammy).
  6. I'm currently watching my way through the Star Wars series with my boyfriend and we've decided that I make an awful fangirl. Jar Jar Binks is my fave, but I do get why everyone hates him.
  7. I really want to work on another quilt (it would be my third) and make one for my future child's nursery. Yes, I'm already planning out the nursery.
  8. On the topic of future children, I really like the names Eloise, Annie, and Mary Catherine. I don't know about future boy children yet.
  9. I have some things that I want to sell on ebay but I'm too lazy to take pictures. I just want more money out of these items than Plato's Closet will give me.
  10. Even though I have a Mac, iPad, and iPhone, I really don't like Apple.
  11. Leggings are still my most favorite item.
  12. I got super excited that it was getting cold and I really wanted to pull out my long sleeve things, but then it got warm again.
  13. I think I'm going to start working on my Christmas list soon. I'm really excited about this Christmas!
  14. I really want to bake some cupcakes right now, but I don't want to make 24 of them and have that many staring at me all weekend.
  15. I have a kitty named Fitz that is super cute. 
And that's 15 facts about me! Yay blogging!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

thanks mom.

For when I was zero, thank you for birthing me. Thank you for going through months of pregnancy and hours and hours of labor- all so that I could have life.
For when I was one, thank you for quitting your job to stay home with me o that I could always know that I had/have a mommy who loves me. Thank you for spending time with me. Thank you for sacrificing so that I could have time with you.
For when I was two and three, thank you for loving me and teaching me songs about Jesus. Thanks for watching The Jungle Book a million and two times with me and for listening to Copycats of the King a million and seven times with me.
For when I was four, thank you uprooting everything and moving to Alabama so that we could be closer to family and live in a better environment. Thank you for the trips to the library to pick out fun books to read. Thank you for letting me get something from the ice cream truck one time.
For when I was five, thank you for holding my hand and walking my crying self into school each morning- even when I yelled and screamed and didn't want you to leave me.

For when I was six, thank you for volunteering in my classroom and helping my teachers and going on field trips. Thank you for teaching me how to read and encouraging the love of books that I still have today.

For when I was seven, I guess I can thank you for giving me a little brother. :)

For when I was eight, thank you for being my girl scout leader and going camping with me. Thank you for the time we stayed up late getting the head lice out of my hair so that I could go to camp with the rest of my troop, and thanks for reassuring me that even though I forgot my socks that day- the snakes wouldn't really bite my ankles.
For when I was nine and ten, thank you for being a friend and a listening ear. Thanks for being someone who always loved me, was always on my side, and someone who was always there when I needed someone. Thank you for encouraging me to use my voice and to speak up for what I believed in.

For when I was eleven, thank you for teaching me about how to love those who don't love you back. Thank you for teaching me that I was more than what a mean girl or mean teacher said to me.
For when I was twelve, thank you for introducing me to the miracle of adoption. Thank you for being willing to open up my home so that I could have a temporary sister that I had always wanted. Thank you for teaching me that being a mom doesn't just come from giving birth- but rather a place of love in the heart.
For when I was thirteen and fourteen and socially awkward, thank you for standing by me and letting me spread my wings to fly. Thanks for being a Band chaperone so that I could go on the fun trips without getting homesick. Thanks for bringing me to practice and school and everything else. Thank you for encouraging me to stick things out when they got hard.
For when I was fifteen, thanks for not leaving me. Thanks for sticking with me even though I didn't always want to be around you and I was a moody teenage girl. Thanks for not sticking me out on the side of the road when I threatened to call DHR on you because I was mad.
For when I was sixteen, thank you for giving me independence and space when I needed it, but not pushing it on me quicker than I could handle.
For when I was seventeen, thank you for standing beside me as I waded through the mess of scholarship and college applications and trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. Thank you for being my advocate when I needed you. Thank you for letting me make my own choices on what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Thanks for hemming my prom dress.

When I was eighteen, thank you for not abandoning me. Thank you for coming to visit me on Thursdays in Auburn so that we could have lunch together. Thank you for driving me to and from college because the interstate and driving freaked me out. Thank you for embracing my quirks and not making them seem abnormal- but rather accepting me for who I was, even if it meant massive sacrifice on your part.
When I was nineteen, thanks for letting me change my major for the second time. Thanks for letting me move back home. Thanks for encouraging me to never give up on my dreams. Thank you for telling me to speak up when something wasn't right.

When I was twenty and wanted to move off to Chicago, thanks for letting me go and then rescuing me. Some of my sweetest memories are of you and me walking in downtown Chicago, sharing a crepe, exploring Navy Pier on our last morning together. Thanks for letting me take the leap of faith. But thanks for coming to get me a week later too. Thanks for being there when I needed you.

When I was twenty one and still unsure of what to do with my life, thank you for encouraging me to follow my heart and my dreams. Thanks for letting me change my major a third and a fourth time. Thank you for instilling a love of children's ministry in my heart. Thanks for listening to me whine about how much I hated HC and the childish drama there. Thanks for rescuing me when I needed rescuing. 
When I was twenty two, I came to you crying about how I had an eating disorder and you did your best to do whatever you could to fix it. Thank you for listening. Thanks for the hugs. Thanks for taking me to doctor's visits and therapy appointments and treatment centers while we tried to figure out what to do. You drove me back and forth from Birmingham every weekend. You drove me to appointments two days a week in Birmingham. You became knowledgeable about treatment centers and models that you never knew of before. We didn't have a clue what we were doing and sometimes you messed up, but that's okay because you were trying your hardest to get me the help I needed. 
Now I'm twenty three. Since last year, you've held my hand countless times. You were there when I when I yelled and screamed and got manic and mean. You were there in the messy times. You were there to pick me up when I fell. You have always been there for me and I am so so so thankful for that. I'm grateful to call you my mom. Thank you for being there for me when my brain gets weird and I want to do bad things. Thank you for holding me as I scream at you. Thank you for never leaving me. I'm thankful that I have you to hold my hand when I'm getting blood drawn or a hard therapy session, and I'm thankful that we get to smile and laugh over lunch. I'm thankful that I have this season to learn from you. Thank you for accepting my messy beautiful life- even though it's not what we always expected it would be.
Thanks Mom.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Reading List

Every so often, I like to share what I'm reading. What's on my shelf, what's caught my eye. I realized the other day that I haven't shared what I've been reading in awhile....probably because I'm not reading too much! I feel like I read many more interesting books when I was in college, because I had to for classes (that was definitely the good part of being a religion major- all the fun books to read!). As I'm finding myself find a routine again, I find the urge to relax and curl up with a book. It's just the "safe and comfortable" thing for me. It's comforting to curl up under a quilt and read before bed. It's comforting to lie in a bubble bath while reading. Anyways, long story short- I'm back on the book reading train.

I've been prayerfully considering leading a bible study/small group this summer on healthy self esteem and body image and what God has to say about all of that. It's funny. I planned for things to work out one way, but God works in funny ways and things work out differently- but still really good. I'm at a peace about the study, which will be for 3rd-5th grade girls- but I'm kind of nervous about writing my own curriculum. There's just nothing out there on the market like what I want to do, which is incorporating art and creating projects while discussing the themes of the study. I've found two books that I plan on reading to hopefully inspire the curriculum.

Perfectly Unique was written by Annie Downs. I haven't read too many of her blogs, but I've heard good things about this book and it's author! The description reads as follows,
Your body is an instrument. No, it’s not a flute, or a guitar (I hope). It is a sacred and original design by a master craftsman with a specific plan and purpose. That’s a pretty big deal. From head to foot, the way you view your body is directly connected to how you serve God. Seriously. From the thoughts you think to the steps you take, every part of you is linked to the divine. Perhaps you are struggling with your body image or are trying to make sense of why God made you as you are. Maybe you are looking for new ways to understand Scripture or to love God more fully. Either way, this book will take you on a thoughtful, funny, and spirit-filled exploration of the way you were designed and will help you better honor the Creator by learning to value his perfectly unique creation (yourself!).

The second book I plan on using is Graceful, by Emily Freeman. I just love Emily and her blog. I used her book Grace for the Good Girl in some papers I wrote for college. It's one of my absolute favorite books, so I thought that getting the companion written for girls would be a great idea! Here's the description:
You know her--the good girl. She's the reliable one who shows up every week at youth group wearing a purity ring and a smile. She gets good grades, makes the team, and doesn't need to be told to come home on time. But deep down she is crushed by the weight of the responsibility to be the good one, the smart one, the one who never messes up.
With the same candor and gentle spirit she showed women in Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman now gives young women what they need to be free on the inside, no matter what's going on outside. Through an honest look at the roles girls play, she helps them learn to stop trying and start trusting that the Jesus who came to save them also comes to live with them, right here and now.
Freefall to Fly is the third book on my list. I've been wanting to read it for awhile, so it seemed like a good time. It's not necessarily tied to the study I'm doing, more just for personal growth and development. 
Women today are fading. In a female culture built on Photoshopped perfection and Pinterest fantasies, we’ve lost the ability to dream our own big dreams. So busy trying to do it all and have it all, we’ve missed the life we were really designed for. And we are paying the price. The rise of loneliness, depression, and anxiety among the female population in Western cultures is at an all-time high. Overall, women are two and a half times more likely to take antidepressants than men. What is it about our culture, the expectations, and our way of life that is breaking women down in unprecedented ways?
In this vulnerable memoir of transformation, Rebekah Lyons shares her journey from Atlanta, Georgia, to the heart of Manhattan, where she found herself blindsided by crippling depression and anxiety. Overwhelmed by the pressure to be domestically efficient, professionally astute, and physically attractive, Rebekah finally realized that freedom can come only by facing our greatest fears and fully surrendering to God’s call on our lives. This book is an invitation for all women to take that first step toward freedom. For it is only when we free-fall that we can truly fly.
So that's what's on my list! What's on yours?

Friday, April 25, 2014

For the first time in forever...

So, a common theme around here is honesty. I'm trying to be more honest and open about my life. I'm trying to remember to blog in the good times and the bad times. I'm trying to remember to blog at all, actually. Something happened yesterday that I wasn't going to blog about. I went to an intake evaluation for a treatment program that I was at last year. I went into the appointment feeling very defeated and very nervous. My brain was telling me that I wasn't "sick enough" and that I needed to do certain things to get sick again (silly, I know. Brains work that way sometimes). And then I got some "bad" news....I really wasn't sick enough. Actually, maybe it was "good" news?!

When I did my assessment today with my former therapist, I might have cried a bit in her office when she told me that she didn’t think I needed a HLOC. But, I’m starting to understand what she meant and how its really a good thing. We spent an hour and a half doing my assessment and then comparing it to my previous two assessments at EDCA. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, I AM progressing. I'm beginning to realize that it's really a good thing that I’m not sick enough. I’m no longer the girl I was a year ago- and I don’t really want to be her again. My relationship with my parents is better and more supportive. I’m not using behaviors as much. My weight isn’t at a critical level. While I need some additional support (like groups and stuff), there isn’t really a reason to give up everything good that is going on in my life (leading a small group, volunteering at my church) to put life off again and go to treatment. It would kind of be a backwards step. Actually, it would be a major backwards step. It was totally a God thing that Bryn was the one to do my assessment yesterday. As we looked back at my previous two intake evaluations, I was able to see that I really am progressing, I'm changing, I'm finding free. I'm not the girl that ate a piece of ham on a bagel thin and called it lunch. I've gone a whole month without purging. I'm more open and honest than ever about my feelings and what I'm thinking. Am I struggling? Yes. Are the thoughts still there? Yes. But, I'm slowly learning to deal with the thoughts and not act out on my behaviors. I'm eating things like pizza and hamburgers and candy bars. I'm doing the next right thing when I slip up. Am I totally and completely recovered? No! But, I am getting better. I am healing. I am reaching a state of wholeness and completeness. 

So, for the first time in forever...I'm choosing to make goals and dreams. For the first time in forever, I think I understand. It's not about what I'm going to be doing a year from now or five years from now, or a month from now. It's about living in this moment, dealing with the hand life has dealt me, and sticking to it. I'm learning that my life doesn't have to be "Excel Spreadsheet" perfect. I was created for so much more than I could ever think of, dream of, or imagine! I'm figuring out who God made me to be, and it's okay if my life looks a little different right now. I may be living at home with my family, but this just gives me more sweet moments and snuggles with them. I may be unemployed, but I get to volunteer at my church and learn from a godly woman about how to be a children's director, mom, and wife. I may not be where I always thought I would be at 23, but that's okay. When the right thing comes along, I'll know.

I also fully believe that we are perfectly positioned in certain places. I was born now and positioned where I am, for SUCH A TIME AS THIS. I'm taking a leap of faith and starting the process of starting up an EDA group (Eating Disorders Anonymous). It's kind of like AA, but for eating disorders. While talking with Bryn, I realized how few resources there are in my community for recovering people. There are no eating disorders support groups in my area. I have to go to Tuscaloosa to attend the closest group. It's also a group that just started...and it's literally one of three in my state. Three support groups. For a disorder that affects . There's nothing. This makes me really sad, because I want support so badly. So, I'm taking that leap and starting up a group. Right now, I don't know where we'll meet or when it will start...but I'm going to be a light in my community. I'm excited, nervous about logistics and if anyone else will show up, but I'm trusting that God will provide. He always has, he always will, and I know that if he placed this on my heart, he's going to work out the details (even if it's in an unexpected way). 

I was a slave to my eating disorder and depression and anxiety, but now I'm finding free. For the first time in forever...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Adding the Paprika

About a month ago, a lawmaker in my state made some comments about race and adoption. The subject of race is no stranger to my state. Alabama is known for having archaic and outdated laws still on our books. Section 256 of our state constitution (which, by the way, is the longest constitution in the world) still demands racial segregation in schools (which obviously doesn't still happen thanks to Brown vs. The Board of Education and other legislation). It wasn't until 2000 that interracial marriage was "legalized". We have some problems. Racism is rampant. I get it. Lawmakers making comments about race isn't uncommon, and to some extent...I get it. But sometimes, things just don't add up. In this particular case, Representative Alvin Holmes was in a debate over a new abortion bill that Alabama was trying to pass. He made some comments about how white daddies wouldn't want their daughters having black babies and how most of his fellow lawmakers would make their daughters have an abortion if that happened in their lineage (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the point). I get where this thought process comes from, somewhat agree, but we are in 2014 and Alabama IS making strides. Give us a little credit, Holmes. Then, he made the big oopsey.

He got into transracial adoption. He made the comment that not enough white families adopted black children. He even went as far to say that ""I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama. I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it cash in 20 dollar bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase." Well, Mr. Holmes stirred up quite a racket in Alabama. Hundreds of adoptive families and thousands supporting the adoptive families have joined forces in a Facebook group called Faces of Families in Alabama. I'm super excited about this movement. I'm super excited that adoption is getting out there in the news and that maybe more families will consider adding to their families through foster care and/or adoption. Maybe this can bring about awareness of all the kids that are waiting for their forever families. Maybe another family can add some "paprika" to their life!

Here's the deal. I have a brother that adds paprika to my life! I remember the day that we went to DHR to pick him up. He was 9 months old. I remember discussing nicknames with my mom- should we call him Desi or Mondo? (We settled on Desimondo and it stuck for a bit. Then he got old and nicknames got embarassing). 
Through the years, we've grown together. I can't imagine life without my baby brother. Even though he's really annoying at times, I feel like something would be missing in my life without him. In 2007, when Des was 5, my parents signed the papers and the adoption became official. My brother was now "officially" a part of the family that he had joined many years before. In our hearts, he's been an Adam since the beginning. Mom even kept his baby toys and coloring pages, just like the rest of us.
 Just because he's a different skin color, it doesn't mean he's any less of a brother to me. Yes, the repetitive questions and awkward answers sometimes get annoying. Explaining that he's adopted (which you would think was obvious!) gets old. He gets tired sometimes of people asking him why he has a white family. But, I'd pick this life with him over a life without him...most days at least. :)

 Des is now 12 years old. He's a character. He's charming and hilarious. He makes me laugh. I love running to his different sports events. I love the fact that he can have a sweet personality, when he wants to. I love his smile and his laugh. I love when he gets in trouble and Mom gets mad at him (Hey! I'm a sister! That's what sisters do!). :)
We like to say that Des adds the paprika to our lives. The rest of us are pretty boring, but there's never a dull moment with Desmond around! He adds spice to our lives. His extrovertedness brings us out of our introverted cages. He makes us smile and laugh. I love fighting with him about who gets to cuddle with our dog. I can honestly say that my life wouldn't be the same without transracial adoption....and I'm not even sure who or what I'd be without Des. This charming, witty, funny boy has charmed my heart....and he's here to stay.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flashback Friday: Prom

I thought it might be fun to do a prom picture flashback today. The local high school has prom tomorrow (not tonight as I said on my Instagram...duh Lauren! Prom is on Saturday!) and it's making me all reminiscent. I'm still in disbelief that it was ten years ago that I was a freshman in high school. It's been almost six years since I graduated high school. No way. I just don't feel old enough! :)

Let's start with Junior Prom. 2007. I wore a pink dress and to this day, it's my favorite dress I own. I went to David's Bridal with my mom and best friend and picked the first dress I tried on. It was pink and sparkly and just *perfect* for me. I loved it. I went to prom with a friend of my best friend, someone who I didn't know at all, but it was still fun.

We took a limo to and from prom, but our parents rode around in it while we were at prom. Which means that we were the last ones to leave...because they were still in town getting Starbucks with their friends!

Yes. I wore a cardigan to prom. What do you expect?
Post prom, we had a pancake breakfast!
And now, senior prom. Senior prom was the year that most of my friends went to prom, so that was obviously exciting. I'm not the most exciting person at the party, I'm not really a dancing queen, so Senior prom was more exciting because I had more friends like this at my prom with me. Once again, I went to David's Bridal with my mom and my friend to find a prom dress. Once again, I chose the first dress I tried on. It was tagged as costing $180, but when we got to the register, it ended up being $25...$32.99 with taxes and fees and stuff. So that was exciting! I planned on going to my senior prom solo, but I had a friend get involved and set me up with someone a week before prom. 

Post-prom, we went bowling. Because why not?

When I look back, I really did have some happy memories. Maybe everything didn't always work out how I'd always dreamed or planned, but I did have some happy memories from high school, and it's fun to look back every once and awhile!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let's hit the restart button.

My name is Lauren and I blog around here at Finding Free.

Or I did. Somehow in the messiness of life, running a blog kind of got put on the back burner. I've written posts....but none worth publishing. Last year, I published 53 posts. Yikes. That's the least I've done in a year, ever. Somehow or another, last year got away from me. I kind of discovered my eating disorder, graduated college, went to treatment a few times at a few different places, moved in and out of an apartment....and somehow I ended up where I am today. I'm not really sure how that happened. I'm not really sure how I made it through this past year. I survived? Yeah. Let's go with that. Someday, I'll write a book about 2013. It was a year of...adventure, mishaps, and craziness. It was a year that changed my life. It was a year...that I'm sure glad is over!

But now that it's over...I think I'm back. For good.
I debated over this. Should I return to blogging? Should I keep my blog or start a new one? What should I blog about? All of these thoughts filled my brain and I got confused and overwhelmed. So...I didn't. I posted a little here and there, but nothing significant. But today? Today I have a plan. I have an end goal. There's so many things that I have percolating in my brain that I want to share with you guys. I've got ideas for blog challenges. I want to share pictures from this past year. I want to share my heart with you all. I'm still not sure what this is going to look like. I have a feeling that my blog will shift directions. I'm not in college anymore, so I'm not really a "college girl" blogger. But, I'm also not an "employed" blogger or a "mommy" or "married" blogger. I'm not sure where I fit into the blog circles anymore. I feel stuck, stuck in the "in between". My daddy sometimes refers to this as my time being a "Protestant nun", but I'm not really sure how I feel about that or how that's supposed to look. I've got plans. I'm moving forward. But, it's all on God's time schedule now, because I don't really know what I'm doing anymore. I know that God knows my heart and he will bring me where I'm supposed to be, when I'm supposed to be there. For now, I'll spend my time reaching out, ministering to girls, sharing my story, and working to better myself and my health. Is it the typical "I've been graduated for a year" deal? Not exactly. But...acceptance. I'm learning to love where I'm at and this sweet season that I'm in. I mean, I get to spend lots of time with my family (that can be good and bad). I get to spend time loving on sweet babies in the nursery and telling preschoolers about Jesus. I get to have long talks with my Mom about life. I get to snuggle with my dog. I get to take my time eating breakfast in the mornings. I get to clean my room and do laundry. I'm so blessed to have this season...that's how I'm choosing to look at it.

So, hello again. I'm so glad to welcome you to my corner of the world wide web, dear friend. I don't know what things are going to look like around here and it's a little messy right now, but that's okay. Progress, not perfection. I'm back in the blogging game! :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

True Life: I "Hate" Adoption

I was going through my drafts archive and I came across this piece that I wrote back in college about adoption. Since this month was the 7 year anniversary of Desmond's "official" adoption day, I wanted to share it with the world. It's a little piece that I like to call "I "Hate" Adoption." I never published it out of fear of embarrassing my baby brother or bringing shame to his story. But, as I read over it today, I realized that this post is a story of redemption and blessing, not shame. This is my life, this is my brother's story, this is my family's story. I ask that you respect that in any comments or judgements you may make.


Now, before you go unsubscribing and start calling me an awful person, please allow me to explain what I mean by the phrase "I hate adoption."

Let me start by telling you about this little boy that I love so much.

If you can't tell or haven't read my blog for that long- he's adopted. It's not a secret (I mean, he's not THAT stupid. His skin is kind of a different color.). My parents didn't hide the fact that he was adopted (probably because he was five when the adoption was finalized, but whatever). When I was in sixth grade, my parents started doing foster care. Right before I turned 12, this kid joined our family. He was nine months old. We thought that it would be temporary, but that's not how things worked out. Over the last ten years, we've learned a lot as a family. We've grown a lot. The "blessing of adoption" has definitely had some great impacts on my family (Hey- we have at least one cool family member now!). Our lives would be terribly boring if not for this kid. Sometimes I refer to him as my "paprika"- he adds spice to our lives. I love him so much, even when he's really annoying.

But, there's also a side to adoption that all to often, we don't highlight. My brother's case was a little different than your typical adoption. He has a birth mom that loves him, but was really young and unprepared when she gave birth to him. I joke around that we don't have an open adoption, we have a "the front door's wide open, so come on in" adoption. We are so blessed to have his birth mom be a part of our extended family. Is it perfect? Far from it. Is it always easy? Definitely not. It makes me laugh when I run into people from "that side of the family" when I'm out with friends. Yes, it might not be typical to see someone like me talking to a large black man. But, what's wrong with that? Why does society view that as "strange"? I love the fact that I have the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. I think it helps me become a greater, more accepting person. Maybe it's not always easy to involve the "extended family", but, who are we to deny him his heritage, his birth mom?

Sure, his birth certificate has my parents listed under "Mother" and "Father". But, if you look at him, you can tell that that's in the legal/relational sense, not the blood sense. Why would we go around pretending like his birth family doesn't exist? There's this idea of "I deserve this child and she doesn't". Why do we think of ourselves as better than the birth family? They are not any less of a person. They are not any less a child of God. Even if they made a mistake along the way, there is no reason to think that you are any better than them. Romans 3:23 says that "all have fallen short of the glory of God." We've all messed up. Some people's sins are just more visible than others. Some people's sins have a greater impact here and now, but we will all have to stand before the throne of God someday and ALL of our sins will be made visible. From this point, I believe that the first goal of adoption should always be to avoid it. Adoption should be a "last resort" option. The birth family should be supported. Resources should be provided to try and keep the family together. Mentor the birth mom. Show her how to be a good parent. Teach her the skills that she needs to be able to succeed. Give her the chance to succeed, and believe in her. If you've gone through all of that and it's just not possible, then consider adoption. But, don't write the birth mom out. Give her an active role in the child's life, if possible. Don't just send her photographs and letters once a year (that's really not an open adoption). Allow her the chance to be involved in the child's life, as appropriate. Don't write her off as a failure as a parent. Don't write the birth family out of the child's life and pretend like they don't exist.

But, I feel like that's what we (as a culture) do a lot of the time. We view adoption as a fashion accessory. It's something that makes us "feel good" because we're helping someone out. But- that's the wrong reason for doing it. Adoption is not an accessory. Adoption is not an "obsession" or an "addiction". I feel sometimes like we are so obsessed over adoption. We treat it like a wonderful thing, but it is a horrible part of us living in a fallen world. With all my heart, I WISH that we did not have adoption. I wish that there were no orphans. I wish that we would spend the time and resources equipping birth parents so that they could parent their child. I wish that families could stay together. I know that sometimes parents make unwise choices that have consequences, but I HATE the fact that adoption has to exist. It breaks my heart. I wish that parents could stay involved in the life of their child. It breaks my heart when I hear about the state "taking someone's child away". It breaks my heart to hear that someone is "unfit to be a parent".

It breaks my heart when I see adoptive families that don't acknowledge the child's birth family or culture. It breaks my heart when I'm talking about open adoption and someone says "I could never do that". YES YOU COULD. You just choose not to. It might break your heart. It may stretch your faith. You might learn some new things and feel some new hurts. It might be painful. But, you could do it. It is possible to love a child like they are your own, even if they know that you are not their birth mom. You never know what kind of life this could lead you to. You could meet all sorts of new and wonderful and different people. You could learn so much about what heaven is going to look like someday- NEWS FLASH: NOT EVERYONE IN HEAVEN IS GOING TO LOOK JUST LIKE YOU. By embracing an adoptive child's family and culture, you will be able to show them the love of Jesus. You might be the only Christ that they see. "Front Door Wide Open" adoption is an amazing thing. It merges the old and the new together into some big, messy, amazing blob. I truly believe that if adoption has to exist, this way for it to happen. I know that some people might say things like "But, what if the birth family lives on 'that side' of town" or make excuses about safety. Safety-smaftety. The safest place to be is in the middle of God's will. Don't you think that God is just a little bit bigger than an uncomfortable position? One of my professors made the comment the other day in class that "Satan wants you to fear liability, because it holds you back from following Christ wholeheartedly." Is there a place for healthy boundaries? Yes. There are times when you may need to distance yourself (and the adopted child) from a person or situation. But, you can't let the fear of "what if" hold you back from allowing a child this opportunity. Open adoption allows a child to learn from their birth family- learn family history, cultural history, and the chance to learn life lessons from another person's successes and setbacks.

So, the big question- since I "hate" adoption so much, will I ever adopt? The answer is "I don't know". I have a heart for the broken. I desperately want to see children be able to have a family. I learned so much from this experience as a sibling of someone who was adopted, and I would love for my future children to be able to have that experience. But, I know the heartbreak involved (on all sides). If God leads me towards adoption, I will follow. That being said, if I adopt, I'd love to have an open adoption. I won't adopt as an "accessory" or "obsession". I won't adopt for selfish needs- to make myself feel like a "better person"- but rather to provide a loving home for a child to grow up in. Family reconciliation is the goal. Adoption is not supposed to be about "me" or "my family"- it's about loving God and loving people. It's hard. It's painful. But, it's worth it.

There's so many other issues that I wish I could address. I wish I could expand on my feelings about family preservation. I wish I could tell you about the issues and judgements that arise when you adopt a child of another race. I wish I could go into great detail about our journey. But this is not the time or place for that. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at and I'd love to chat. But, keep in mind that protecting my baby brother (who's 12 now!) is at the forefront and I don't want to do anything that would violate his security or trust. Some things are not my story to tell- they are his story, when he is ready to share them. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Guest Post: Eating Disorders from A Biffie's Perspective

I'm so excited to have a guest post on my blog today! A few days ago, I asked my friend Kaitlyn if she'd be willing to guest post on my blog about what it's like to have a friend with an eating disorder. One of the things that I've learned on this journey is that eating disorders don't just affect the individual. They also hurt families and friends. 


Katie, Katykins, my biffle/biffie....she's been with me for a large portion of this journey, and my entire journey in recovery! I'm so blessed to have this girl in my life. I can't wait to homeschool her children and brainwash them with my Republican ideals (Just kidding Kait. Kind of. Not really). I mean, this girl even Instagramed a #purpleproject post for me! This girl is amazing and I'm so happy that she agreed to share with you guys today!

Hey everyone! I'm Kaitlyn. I'm Lauren's biffle/biffie. I have been her friend now for 3 years going on 10 plus. Totally kidding about the 10 plus years, but really I have been her best friend for 3 years now. How did I know she was going to be my best friend she got me out of a shirt in a dressing room, not even a week knowing me. haha.

We have been through a lot together my first 2 relationships plus the heartbreak coming from those events, to the biggest one of them of them all.

           Lauren's eating disorder. 

You see I found out through email before she came out on this blog. I was the first friend she told. Receiving that email was one of the saddest days of my life. I blamed myself for not seeing it. I spent everyday with this girl. Well mostly everyday. Oh I cried for days. 

However being friends with a person who has an ED is serious and hard business. 

One of the hardest things was when the disease even cut me out of her life for some time. It was so so hard. You see Lauren is one of the true friends who actually gets me. She gets my weird quirks, my anxiety. This girl is going to be yellow dress (jk) wearing bridesmaid, my engagement photographer, and so much more. 

Here's a few things you can do to help if your "Lauren" in your life has an ED. 

1. Find the right time to do it. Don't do it when it is a stressful time. Be cautious when you do it. 

2. Don't let the focus be on meals. This is one of the hardest. Meals are hardest for people who have ED. So do something else for a change. 

3. Lastly be patient with them. Her ED won't disappear over night. Rome wasn't built in a day people. Just be there and love on them when you can. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. 



Y'all. This girl is the sweetest. I love her big heart. If you want to find out more about her, check out her social media!

Twitter: @katiemac007

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I wear purple....

I wear purple...
because I'm an overcomer.
because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, and I'm starting to believe it.
for "someday babies".
because I'm more than a number.
because I'm more than a diagnosis.
because I'm more than a label.
because I'm not defined by a scale.
because food isn't good or bad, clean or unclean.
because life is about more than ER visits and treatment programs.
because I really want to live.
because I'm sick of living like this.
because I want to be independent.
because 1 in 5 will die of this disease.
because my worth isn't defined by a size.
because I want picnics in the sunshine.
because I want to eat cake at my wedding.
because I want to celebrate life.
because I don't want my future daughters (or sons!) to live like this.
because even my hardest days in recovery are better than my worst days in relapse.
because Toaster Strudels and pancakes and peanut butter are amazing.
because food shouldn't be scary.
because I'm worth recovery.
because recovery is possible.
because someday I WILL recover.


I also got someone else to join in on the fun!

Want to join in? Put on some purple, make a "I wear purple because" or "I wear purple for" sign, and snap a picture! Post it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, tag it with #purpleproject and #NEDAwareness...and tell me about it! :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"I Had No Idea"- NEDA Week 2014

"I had no idea."

That's what most people's initial reaction to me telling them about my eating disorder is. For someone who's ridiculously horrible at lying (as in, I tend to smile and giggle)- this came as a bit of a surprise. I guess I was good at hiding things. I guess that since I maintained my weight and ate food, people didn't notice the fact that I was running to the bathroom to purge after eating. I guess the fact that I didn't reach a state of emaciation for a majority of my disorder, people didn't notice. I was just "Lauren, the picky eater" or "Lauren, the girl who doesn't eat in the dining hall" or "Lauren, the girl with weird food allergies/stomach problems". I mean, since I struggled with body and self image from the time I was little bitty (like preschool) and I WAS an unusually picky eater- how could I have expected anyone to notice that my strange quirks and feelings were translating into something more sinister? I mean, I didn't even recognize that I had a problem for four years. Why would someone else notice? How would they notice? We live in a society that has such a perverted way of thinking about food and weight. Disordered eating is even seen as, might I say...normal? Society jumps from fad diet to fad diet. Juicing. Cleanses. Constant battles with the scale and numbers on the inside of our clothing. It's kind of hard to see the line between dieting and disorder when everything is so close. What's healthy for one person is bad for another. Add in the fact that eating disorders are horribly misunderstood- and we've got a massive problem on our hands. 

I thought I might share a few words on eating disorders today. After all, it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Maybe someone can learn from my experience. Maybe you know someone with an eating disorder and you don't know what to say or what not to say. Maybe you don't understand why they can't "just eat" and get better. Maybe this little post can help. Maybe this post can give you a glimpse into my world.
  • Not everyone that has an eating disorder is underweight. There is more to an eating disorder than weight or level of emaciation or a certain diagnosis. Anorexia is defined by refusal to maintain a natural or healthy weight (or BMI) and it IS marked by being underweight. But, Bulimia, EDNOS/OSFED, and Binge Eating disorder can all occur in healthy weight or overweight individuals. These illnesses are just as serious as anorexia and can have similar health consequences. Interesting fact- my bloodwork and all came back perfectly normal when I was 20 pounds underweight. When I went to treatment the first time (to do weight restoration), I wasn't really having major health issues. It wasn't until months later when I began to abuse laxatives and diuretics that the dizziness and chest pains and heart issues started popping up. By that time, I was weight restored to my "ideal body weight". Just because someone is at a "healthy weight" by BMI or IBW standards doesn't mean that they are healthy, they don't have an eating disorder, or that they can't seek treatment. 
  • Most people with anorexia DO eat. Asking me if I eat isn't a funny question. Yes, I eat. Even at the point of my disorder when I restricted the most- I still ate. I ate three "meals" a day most days. Were they substantial? No. Were they healthy? No. I was eating "starvation diet"- which simply means that I ate less than 1200 calories a day. That magical 1200 calorie number? It's not the magic weight loss number. It's the number at which your body goes into starvation mode. It's not really meant to be used as a diet, and definitely not long term. Some days I may have eaten less than 1200 calories, but I almost always ate something at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That's one reason why most people were so caught off guard about my disorder. I ATE. I ate real food- not just diet foods or vegetables. Anorexia doesn't mean that you never ever eat. It is marked by restriction- not necessarily total avoidance. Otherwise, anorexia would kill you in 1-4 weeks.
  • Most people who purge don't "like" throwing up. The purging side of my disorder is my least favorite and it was the first part that I really committed to giving up after this most recent relapse. This might get a little messy- but I think it needs to be said, so I'm going to say it. Purging ISN'T like it is in the movies and on TV. It's messy. It's not leaning over a toilet once, sticking a finger down your throat, and everything from dinner magically coming up. No, it's spending a half hour leaning over a dirty, messy toilet. It's vomit splashing up and hitting you in the face. It's crying and tears and wanting it all to be over and the food to just "get out" because you have this fear that the food is literally sitting in your stomach, multiplying- and you're totally going to gain 20 pounds if you don't get it out. The marathon vomiting session is normally followed by massive amounts of guilt and fear and crying and messy feelings involved in all of this. It's not glamorous, it's not beautiful and it's not something I enjoy. On one of my ER visits last year, I had an especially awful nurse who asked me extremely personal and rude questions about this- they were totally unrelated to my medical care. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...if you are in the medical profession- don't tell me how you've "never met an anorexic before" or ask me if I "like, make myself throw up and how" ...because you want weight loss tips. Anorexia is NOT A DIET. It's a serious medical condition.
  • The media and/or society does not create eating disorders. I'm beginning to learn more about eating disorders, and I've come to the conclusion that I have the perfect genetic makeup for developing one. I'm highly perfectionistic, anxious, and I have low self image and body image distortion. These factors along with my genetics made me extremely susceptible to developing an eating disorder. It wasn't the skinny actresses or models, or gossip magazines, or anything like that. Could society and the media have contributed? Sure. They may have pulled the trigger to the gun- but they didn't create the gun. I wasn't constantly told I was fat and ugly by others- I was told that by my own self- my brain. These messages had been in my brain since I was itty-bitty. I had these messages in my head in the days before I watched TV or read magazines....and I never really enjoyed watching fashion shows or models. The thoughts were in my brain, creating a breeding ground and something finally "clicked" and it became an eating disorder. I don't know what "clicked", but the media and society did not create the disorder. My brain and genetics did.
  • It's a choice, but it's also not a choice. I once heard it said that it's not a choice to develop an eating disorder, but it is a choice to recover. Recovery is hard. It's the hardest thing I've worked at. Telling me to "just eat" or to not count calories or not weigh's not really useful. I know what I need to do. I've been to treatment. I know the tools. I know the coping mechanisms. It's about convincing my brain to use them. For my, my eating disorder is all about compulsions. It's feeling this need to control what I eat. It's feeling this need to control the number (I always get really obsessed with numbers). Sometimes, the compulsions are too strong and I can't help but do them. Some days, I am simply not strong enough. You can tell me that drinking water won't make me gain weight, but when I'm in that "compulsion" mode, you aren't going to convince me. It's not because I'm strong, it's because the disorder is strong. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. They aren't just about vanity or "getting skinny". I mean, it'll trick you and make you think it is....but it's really not. I often compare my eating disorder to demons from the Bible. I'm not totally convinced that it's not a demon possession sometimes- that's how strong the urges and compulsions are. It's really hard to explain, and it's really hard to try and control. 
In a nutshell, that's five things that most people have "no idea" about eating disorders. Some misconceptions and some explanations. I think the key here is grace. Offer grace. Offer support and love, too- but don't forget about grace. Recovery is full of mess ups and slip ups. But, don't give up on us. Don't give up on me. Please.