This past week was R-O-U-G-H! Wow! Not fun.

I am feeling all sorts of things, but mostly glad the week is over, and proud of Glenn and myself for making it to the six month mark alive. WE DID IT! Mostly.

Six months down, only the rest of our lives to go.  Anyone else find that depressing?!


Along with Branch’s six-month birthday/anniversary/whatever you call it, this week brought a few other changes.

First up, I am no longer working full-time at Sea World. I am pretty sad about it. It was a really fun job and I was really liking it. I am still there a few hours a week, but for the time being there isn’t room in the budget to keep me on full-time. I guess I will have to find another way to listen to a ten-piece brass band every day. Tee-hee!

Second, I had my eyebrows done. This is a big deal mostly because this is the first time I have had them done since Branch was born. You long-time readers will remember my obsession with my eyebrow lady, Melissa of Anastasia Beverly Hills fame.  WELL, she moved!!!! To TEXAS!!!! So not only did I have to face the loss of my son, I also had to figure out how to manage this mess of a face without the professional help I was used to! Too much change all at once led to me not caring at all about my eyebrows, or much else,  for several months.

{this is right after having my brows done — nice and groomed!}

I finally made the plunge today, and went to a different “brow artist” who was trained by Anastasia as well. I am pleased with the results and am praying this girl never leaves! Or that Melissa moves back! Either would be perfectly acceptable for my eyebrows.


Third, I hit the twenty pound mark in my weight loss! Sometimes I am embarrassed to keep posting these weight updates, but the other day I realized that when I am reading blogs and people are getting healthy and losing weight, I like hearing updates and seeing pictures. So here you have it. Me at the starting point, and me down twenty pounds!


I have just started getting more serious about my workouts, and am having fun with that, too. Maybe I will tell you about those sometime, if anyone is interested.  I haven’t joined a gym or anything, so everything I am doing is either at a park or in my backyard.  I’m looking forward to the day when my “current” picture includes some serious arm muscles…. it may take me a decade, but someday they will show up!

Losing weight is hard work. It seems like everything in my life is hard work… But that’s ok. God has such a great vision for our lives, and I hope that He shows me glimmers of it every day so I can keep at least a little hope alive.

That is all I have for today. Much love to you all. Thanks for reading along … it’s a bumpy ride over here at times, and I am grateful for your continued love and support, and that you read what I write!!! That’s pretty cool. 🙂



I’m All Over the Place:: Weight Loss, Being Anti-Social, and A Cry for Help

I will start with my cry for help. It isn’t quite as drastic as it sounds, so don’t go calling 911.  It’s about my car :: poor little Camry essentially exploded on Saturday. She has been a lovely little car to me, only requiring the occasional smack of the starter to get up and going. Although we knew she would not last forever, we were planning on her being with us for at least 2 more years. She obviously felt now was her time to leave. If any of you hear of a reliable car being sold for *very* little money, please e-mail me. Stick shift or automatic!

Welp, on to the next update… I’m losing weight!

Remember before Branch was born when I talked about not wanting to have to deal with baby weight when you don’t even get to keep the baby? Yea, it’s pretty much as awful as I thought it would be, except that the grief part is worse. Oh boy! It’s a fun journey I’m on, people, let me tell you.

Even still,  I AM very grateful that I am losing weight. It is not rapid, as healthy weight loss rarely is, but it IS coming off. I am really enjoying my re-entry into the world of Weight Watchers, and find the weekly meetings encouraging and challenging.

Here is my photo for this month. I am going to be comparing each month to the starting point so that I can be encouraged by my progress.  I’m glad I chose the purple yoga pants for these pictures. It adds an element of excitement!

photo (3)

I have lost 10.2 pounds so far. Hitting the 10 pound mark was super thrilling! We’re in the double-digits here! Yahoo!

In other news, Glenn and I have basically thrown our social life to the wind and turned into hermits. I acknowledge that our interpretation of being a hermit is probably still a more active social life than many of my introverted comrades would ever want, but it sure feels like hibernation to me.  Although I do love spending time with friends, I am really enjoying living in moderate isolation.  I say no to social engagements all the time and have found a new sense of freedom in quiet evenings. It seems to take so much energy just to exist, I have no option but to pull away from everything else.  If you are friends with us and haven’t seen or heard from us in a while, please have patience. Fresh wounds over here!! We are holding on for dear life and who knows when we will emerge! We welcome e-mails, letters, calls, texts, and gifts {I mean really, who doesn’t?!}.  You may never hear back from us, but that doesn’t mean your actions and words were not appreciated.

Glenn and I are learning a lot about losing a child, or more specifically, how to actually SURVIVE and hopefully someday re-enter society after losing a child. What we are experiencing is a rather harsh and brutal reality. It is no fun, but then again it really shouldn’t be. Death is never any fun.

We are surrounded by excellent support :: I jokingly refer to my “grief team” which consists of our grief counselor, my mentor/spiritual director, Glenn, and a few friends — bless them. It is hard to hurt, and I am sure very hard to be a friend to the hurting. The hardest part, it seems, is that in many ways this is just the beginning. As the world goes on around us, as our tragedy is no longer fresh, as friends continue on with their lives … our loss sinks in.  I am grateful for people who do not expect me to “move on” or be more than I can be today. Thank you.

And finally — as I sign off I wanted to share this sweet picture with you as well as a verse. This is an idea I got from our grief counselor earlier today, to continue sharing photos of Branch and add corresponding verses from time to time.

Isaiah 52:7
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””


If there is anything Branch’s life proclaims, it is the good news of our God who reigns. What a lucky Mom I am to have a son whose life screams of His mercies every day.

Much love,


Weight Watchers

I’m doing Weight Watchers. I think I told you that before, but I’m not quite sure.

You know how I’ve had weight loss goals since the dawn of time, and they creep up every once in a while here on the ole internet? The first time I wrote about it was in March 2011, then I updated you along the way a few times like in May 2011 , and then more recently with the Murdock Weight Loss Challenge.

*Supposedly* we are still doing the Murdock Weight Loss Challenge, but I decided this past August to take matters into my own hands. So I joined Weight Watchers.

Here’s the deal with Weight Watchers: I’ve done it before. I did it one summer after college and I lost 20 pounds in a matter of months. It was awesome and I kept it off until about 2009 which was around the time I started thinking five courses should be a part of my dinner every night. Since then there have been major changes in my life, most of them involving stress of some kind. I was on a slow but steady path of weight gain and hit my all-time highest weight of 180.5 pounds in January 2011. The whole time I was gaining weight I was doing Weight Watchers online. I was super frustrated and felt like a total failure, so I quit and decided to try something different – doing it on my own. It worked to a certain point, but then I got stuck again, so I decided this past August to be “all in” for Weight Watchers – determined to make it work.



It’s not easy. At all. I have actually stayed the same weight for the past two weeks instead of losing, mostly because I’m having a hard time saying no to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the occasional second glass of wine, and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims {DO NOT TRY THEM! They are honestly the best salty/sweet snack I have ever had, and I am vowing to never buy them again! If they’re in the house, I lose all self control!} But here’s the thing: Weight Watchers really is working.

Here are my personal stats, and then I’ll go into a list of reasons why I think Weight Watchers is working for me right now. Actually, first I’ll be super vulnerable and show you a picture of what I looked like at my heaviest. It’s the only picture I can find from that timeframe. This was December 2010.

January 2011: 180.5 pounds
May 2011: 169.5 pounds
May 2012: 172 pounds
August 2012 (start of Weight Watchers): 171.2 pounds
Current Weight: 165.2 pounds

Since I shared that picture with you, I have to share a “current” picture with you, too. Mostly to make myself feel better. Here I am! This was last night with my sweet little buddy Jack the Dinosaur. I tried to find a picture that wasn’t excessively flattering — we all know how taking pictures from above and tilting your head makes you about 30 pounds slimmer. Trying to keep it real here. 🙂

Something you might notice: I essentially stayed the same weight for a year — I gave myself some grace during that time and just lived life. It was a BIG year. I ran, I did a lot of “application” of the things I had learned in therapy, and I did my best to set the foundation for a healthy view on food, exercise, and my body.  It’s actually super encouraging for me to look at these numbers and see how far I’ve come in the past year and a half. There were a lot of times where I wondered if I would ever be able to lose a pound. And I’ve lost fifteen!

Here are the major things that I think are helping me, and why Weight Watchers is working for me right now:

1.Public Humiliation. I’m not even kidding. It’s me, a stranger, and a scale. There’s no lying to the woman behind the counter who is writing down my weight. There’s no moving the scale around the bathroom to see which part of the floor I am lightest on. There’s no “oh I’ll weigh myself in the morning after a long run and then eat a burrito since I’m starving!” — 6pm, every Wednesday, I’m weighing in.

2. The meetings. It’s group therapy. I see how far people have come, and I see when people aren’t making any progress. I get rewarded {with stickers!} every time I make a significant change or hit a benchmark weight loss. I go with one of my favorite friends and we cheer each other on every week. It’s a freak-show, but it’s encouraging and I kind of love it.

3. I write down every bite I eat. No cheating! Ever! I was counting calories before, and it worked to a certain degree. Weight Watchers has their “points” system, which some people say is similar to calories, but I like it a little more because it takes a fuller picture of the food – fat, carbs, protein, fiber, and total nutritional value are all added into the makeup of a food’s “point.” The way this has translated into my every day life: I am eating more fruits and vegetables, my portions are smaller, and when I do eat things that are low on the nutritional value scale and high in points, I CHOOSE to eat them and therefore ENJOY them all the more — knowing it all works into my weekly plan.

4. I am more emotionally aware, and therefore more aware of the way stress, excitement, fears, anxieties, big life events, etc. affect my eating habits. Becoming more aware of my emotions has really helped me just sit back and NOTICE things.

“I’ve been really hungry all day, but all I want to eat is french fries. That’s interesting. Is there anything else going on in my life right now that could be influencing this??”

“Oh, we’re opening our Chick-fil-A next week, I’m working full time, we’re living with family, our bank account is totally drained, I’m starting to get back into running, and I’m super nervous about the outcome of the election. These could be factors in my desire for all things fried.”

Noticing. It helps a lot.

5. Swallowing my pride. It’s hard to admit that what you’re doing isn’t working. Especially when it comes to weight loss. I mean, it should be pretty basic, right? Eat less, move more. But we all know there are bigger factors that play a role in our bodies, and sometimes you need an extra push.

It took a long time for me to be ok with going back to Weight Watchers. And once I decided to do it, I knew I needed to do it freely. I didn’t want to be ashamed or not tell people — I needed to share this part of myself and be alright with what others thought of it, whatever their opinions may be.

There are two reasons why I am doing this: first for myself. I desire freedom and growth in all areas of my life, and my weight is one of those. Also, for my future children. I know that my growth in this area will make me more whole and make me a better mom when the time comes.

So there you have it. Weight Watchers — for the win!


P.S. For further reading on this topic: I love the way Andie over at Can You Stay for Dinner talks about weight loss. Very healthy approach!


I haven’t really talked about this much here on the ol’ blog — but I’m in the middle of marathon training. At some point last year my Mama convinced me to sign up and train for a marathon that is now only three weeks away. I have done one marathon before — six years ago. It was brutal. And yet, this time, I’m looking forward to it. It will be a huge accomplishment and I’m really excited for the time with my Mom. She turns sixty this year and I turned thirty, and honestly I don’t know many other sixty year old women who are interested in 26.2 miles on their feet.

Training for a marathon is a lot like training for a half marathon, just a lot longer. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

This week I did twenty miles {my legs are still feeling that one…} and last weekend I did fifteen. From here we “taper” until race day so I have a twelve miler and then an eight miler and then TWENTY SIX POINT TWO. Phew.

On my fifteen miler I had the foresight to take photos along the way. I took my very first step as the sun was rising over the bay.

I have been convincing various friends to join me for my walks {or portions of them} to give me something to look forward to. Piper and Chloe joined me from miles three to six. Aren’t they presh?

I was alone and excessively hot {it was over 90 degrees this day – yuck!} from miles six to twelve where Jessica and Reagan met up with me. I could NOT have been happier to see them. Jessica brought me ice water and grapes and gave me a good pep talk to help me make it through my last three miles.

When I finally hit mile fifteen I was just so happy to be finished, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a Chick-fil-A sandwich.

I don’t have any photos documenting the twenty miles, but my lovely friend Emily joined me for the ENTIRE thing. She is a true champ and a true encourager on these long distance walk/runs!

Hope everyone is having a lovely Wednesday. More fun to come this week on the blog!


Turkey Tacos… with Lettuce!

This week is cray. And by this week I mean last week and this week and the week after and the week before. Cuh-ray-zay. With all that has been going on, and the Murdock Weight Loss Challenge still looming in the background, I needed a simple, healthy, delicious dinner I could make in approximately 10 minutes.


Turkey Tacos… with Lettuce

Cook one pound of ground turkey over medium-high heat until well-done. Add a combination of cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper OR a packet of your favorite taco seasoning. Cut up 4 tomatoes. Shred or crumble some sharp cheddar. Grab a lettuce “cup” {my recommendation would be the “living” lettuce you can find at most supermarkets, but iceberg would work as well}. Fill with 2 spoonfuls of turkey, a handful of tomatoes, and a sprinkling of cheese.

As Ina would say — “How easy is that?!”


Murdock Weight Loss Challenge

What have I gotten myself into?!

I live with my in-laws, and we’re all a little nuts.

We’re also all a little overweight. So we’re challenging each other to lose a pound a week for the next 3 months.

And if we don’t lose a pound a week? We each have a “coach” whose authority we will have to submit to. Mine is Keith-As-I-Live-And-Breathe.

This is motivation enough to lose weight every week.

I mean seriously, if you know Keith you know why I don’t want him telling me what to eat to lose weight. I’d be filling my face with nothing but bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and Michelob Ultra. No. Thank. You.

So here’s a list of things I’m nervous and excited about:

Actually Losing Weight. It took me a YEAR to lose 11 pounds. I’m nervous I won’t be able to do it, even though in my heart of hearts I know I can.
Accountability. It’s gonna be kind of fun to give each other a hard time and also encourage each other when we’re doing well.
Being Hungry. I don’t really like to be hungry. I mean, who does? I know it’s all about making smarter choices, but I’m not necessarily looking forward to the day when I eat a brownie and therefore can not eat dinner. Because I’m pretty sure that day will come.
The Prize. If we all meet our goals, we are going to Disneyland. And again I say: this is motivation enough to lose weight every week.

So here’s what I need from you, my friends: SUPPORT! Help me! Encourage me! Run with me! Bring me new flavors of hummus!

I have three months. Here we go!


Catching Up

It’s been too long. Far too long.

I’m sorry, internet! There’s just so much going on, I simply can not stay on top of it all. And I want to share every. single. second with you but that is simply unrealistic and unhealthy. Oh, and you might not actually be interested in every moment of my life. SOOOO my friends, just like I did a while back in this post, here is an update from each category. And then some.

Arkansas – I am no longer there. If you didn’t know that, I am sorry. I would have thought the weekly posts about running on the beach would have given it away.If you want to read a little about the move, you can click here. If you want to read a little bit about our dreams coming true, you can click here.

Fashion – I have new running shoes. And new running clothes. Because all I do is run.

Ok that’s a lie, I work, I hang out, I sleep, I eat. But a lot of what I do is run, so all the new clothes I have purchased recently are super cool running clothes. Are you interested in a running/workout fashion post?

I am also *trying* to dress cute whenever I leave the house, especially if it’s for something professional. This is what we call “classing it up”. I will do my best to post pictures. Actually, here’s one of my outfit my first day of work. My favorite part of this outfit is that a stranger stopped me at the mall to tell me how much she loved my top and ask where I got it.  Goodwill. Awwww yea!

Work – I have a job! I started working right before we moved down to San Diego from LaLa Land. I am working at the University of San Diego again, different department but same division as before. I LOVE being back on campus. And I LOVE working part time. And I LOVE getting a paycheck. It’s been a while.

Favorite Things – Alright people, here’s the deal. Everyone is doing something favorite-thingsy. And even though like one of the basic definitions of life and human existence is that we are a strange combination of copy-cat and original — I am just not that into doing what every other blogger I read is doing. Or maybe I am. And maybe that’s why I’m blogging at all. Blurg. Bottom line: I need to get over myself. Favorite things post to come in the future.

Friends and Family – My baby sister is on crutches, #3 is moving out here at some point in the near future, the 2nd in command is dominating the hotel industry {and hooking me up with awesome hotels to stay at!}, and my parents are going on dinner dates where my Dad tells my Mom how he believes aliens are everywhere. As for the married-into family? I am living with them. And I like it. Keith-As-I-Live-And-Breathe {which is what I call my father in law} kills the spiders in my room, Janice makes me eggs. It’s awesome.

Los Angeles – I kind of miss it. Don’t crucify me. I am an eternal San Diegan and would never sell out for LA, but LA was fun! I loved driving 40 minutes to the coolest places on the West Coast. I loved meeting up with Matt and Sandy almost every weekend. I loved riding bikes in Santa Monica. I loved having 4 Lululemon shops within 20 miles. I loved that Ryan Seacrest was my local morning show. I seriously loved LA.

Personal – What does this category even mean?? The most personal things happening right now: my husband is gone and I really miss him, I have blisters on my toes and skin that’s been rubbed raw from all of my running, and I’m struggling with setting up healthy boundaries {ie. I say YES too often and NO, well, never}.

Recipes – I have not cooked in months. I can not WAIT to get all my stuff back and cook up a storm! I recently acquired two new cookbooks and I’m reading through them eagerly. This weekend I came up with a recipe for a tangerine margarita. Here’s a teaser photo.

Restaurants – Are my second home.

Running – I completed The Five Experiment! It was great! I ran 100 miles in a month and I enjoyed {almost} every mile. I am keeping up my 5 runs a week, but am not being as nitpicky about the distance. Last week, for example, I ran 3.5 miles one day. I have decided I really like the 5 mile distance, though. It’s long enough to be a good workout no matter what, and short enough that you don’t feel like you can’t make plans at night.

San Diego – Love it. It’s as good, if not better, than I remember. May Grey is in full swing, and is a great reminder of the Ah-mazing climate we have and the fact that this blessed marine layer keeps our temperatures so moderate all year long. Last night I practiced skateboarding at the bay with the fam, and then we ate fresh fish at Point Loma Seafoods. How could I complain when this is just an average Sunday afternoon in San Diego?

Travel – Here’s what is coming up this summer: a trip to the ATL next week to celebrate the completion of Glenn’s Operator training — aaaand to celebrate the fabulous Kelly Reynolds’ birthday. BAAAH! I can hardly wait!

In mid June we are going on a Murdock Extravaganza to Las Vegas. I am pretty sure we are going to try to all fit into one car, and I know for a fact we will be eating at some serious buffets. Then later in June, Glenn and I are going to Scottsdale, AZ for a Family Life conference called Weekend to Remember. We will be staying at the Firesky Resort and I’m puuumped.

Weight Loss – I lost 1 pound during the Five Experiment, and have lost another pound since. Two pounds. Boo ya!

Phew. I’m exhausted.

Happy Monday my friends!



An Update from each Category

Arkansas: Yep, we’re still here! The weather is crazy, the people are chatty, Boulevard Bread is still my favorite, and we have made some fun friends, which we are so grateful for.

Fashion: It is difficult to take stunning fashion photos of yourself. It is especially difficult to take stunning fashion photos of yourself when all you have been wearing lately is running clothes or a mummy-bag winter jacket. I will try to get into something blog-worthy soon.

Favorite Things: My favorite things have all come from the thrift store or the Dillards clearance rack this past month, and sometimes I feel bad blogging about things I have that are awesome but were just lucky finds at Goodwill, because what if YOU want to buy it for yourself and can’t??!! Argh, these are the things that keep me up at night, people!

Friends and Family: I love my friends. I love my family. I love that I have friends and family all over the place. Sometimes its sad, like when you want to see them and can’t, but more often its awesome.

Personal: My sister told me the other day that I had bad breath, and now I’m totally self conscious about constantly having bad breath. I would just pop in a piece of gum, but my Costco box of Orbit Wintermint just ran out. Woof.

Recipes: Fruit Tart, Bran Muffins, and Thomas Keller’s vegetable soup have been my latest kitchen creations. Mmmm.

Restaurants: Tomorrow night I am going to a new one! In Memphis! For steak! I am really excited! I will tell you all about it when I get back!

Running: OH EM GEE I love my Little Rock running buddy Keri. I don’t really understand how God or His timing work, but I am just grateful that I get to be Keri’s running partner even if its only for a short season. We meet 2-4 times a week in the wee small hours of the morning and run and talk together. I love basically everything about it, except for the time when my jacket was stolen.

San Diego: Two of my closest friends at home are having babies like RIGHT NOW {or very soon! Hi Jess and Sheri!} and its sooo weird for me to think that I won’t be there to meet the little munchkins right away, let alone that I will never live in the same city as them again without them having children. I am, however, VERY excited for the baby boom that has taken over my social circle back home, and can’t wait to hold all the little bambinos.

Travel: We head to Memphis tomorrow to celebrate our anniversary, then next weekend we are grabbing Kimberly and meeting up with the Reynolds in Nashville where I will turn 30! AAAAH! I! AM! SO! EXCITED!

Weight Loss: I lost the 5 pounds that I had gained over the holidays, and am working on more. Yippee! I have also been drinking an EXCESSIVE amount of water. I always thought I drank a lot of water, but wow, now I really drink a lot of water.

The end. Bless you for reading all of this. I love your face. F’real.


The Injury

Seven years of running has finally caught up to me. I am officially injured.

Why yes, that is a man’s belt wrapped around my foot. Glenn has been having fun coming up with clever ways to get the ice pack to stay on my ankle. Oh my.

It happened yesterday as I was forcing #3 to run exceptionally fast sprints with me through an exceptionally fun running trail in what has been an exceptionally beautiful week of 75 degree mornings here in Little Rock. It had rained earlier in the morning, so I was making sure to mind my steps and not jump onto a huge pile of wet leaves that would make me slip and hit my head. In minding the piles of wet leaves, apparently I did not mind the massive pinecones that were scattered all over the trail.

My entire foot and ankle somehow managed to bend behind and under my leg in a way that it certainly had never bent before. All of a sudden I couldn’t stand on my right ankle anymore. I crumbled to the ground like a pathetic heap and had no idea what to do. Thank goodness #3 was with me! We sat on the {wet and leafy} ground for a few minutes until it started feeling a bit better.

I am now limping around with an ankle the size of a small child’s head that has recently decided to bruise. It’s kind of annoying but also kind of cool because I feel like it’s a battle scar.

Running: Almost as Dangerous as MMA.

Have a lovely Thursday! My family has been in town this week and we are having all sorts of fun that I will surely share with you soon as soon as I have a minute to do anything besides eat or laugh.


Sports Bra Challenge

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this challenge, let me just say this is not intended to be an attack on modesty, or a reason to flaunt parts of our femininity that should not be flaunted. The intention here is to keep things modest, but to embrace our bodies as they are and be ok with the way we look, imperfections and all. Stepping off soap box now.

I don’t know if you guys watch The Biggest Loser but I totally love it! This season was my favorite by far, and I was SO inspired by sisters Hannah and Olivia – I loved their authenticity, positivity, and willingness to work hard in ALL areas {emotional, spiritual, physical} to make their goals a reality.

Like a true Bieber fan, I have totally e-stalked Hannah and Olivia since the Biggest Loser finale.  To my delight, they have a SUPER cute blog called My Fitspiration. Love it! Aren’t they just too presh?

Side note: Olivia’s haircut has definitely been added to my “cute short hair” collection. I have always wanted to go Pixie but have never had the cohones to go through with it. I’m thinking next year might be the year. 30 is a good year to chop your hair, right?

Welllll anywaaayyyzzzz… Hannah and Olivia really are an inspiration to me as I’m inching toward my weight loss goals, so I’ve decided to accept the challenge they have thrown out: the sports bra challenge. Basically, on July 29th, I’m going to join them and anyone else who is brave enough, and work out in my sports bra WITHOUT A SHIRT. *Shudder.*

I will also post a {thumbnail sized} picture of said workout. *Shudder again.* It’s time to embrace it, ladies… who’s with me?

You can watch the video where Hannah and Olivia throw down the challenge HERE. Also, if anyone is wondering how my “Half Marathon Training Bootcamp” as I have dubbed it, is going… I’m on day 3 and still going strong. Yesterday I had to run 6 UP-HILL sprints. Brruuuuutttaaaallll, but I felt good afterward.