Busyness, Boasting & My Best Yes

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Well friends and followers, I’m back! I apologize about the recent hiatus from posting. These past few weeks have been crazy busy, and unfortunately posting on my blog was put on the chopping block in order to keep my head above water. But I’m back(!!!) and will be able to find regularly scheduled time to post again. I’m especially glad too because I have found myself missing writing more and more lately. I find writing therapeutic to help me process through so many things.

One of those things that I have been processing and mulling over for months now is the topic of busyness, of which I am the queen. I like to jam-pack my schedule full of activities so not a moment is spared in my day. I have made this a habit for years — truly ever since I can remember, I have been saying yes to things left and right. Eventually I hit some sort of breaking point, where I think I will not keep doing this, but somehow I continue to do it again and again. This time around though, I had had enough with my overbooked schedule. I was at an unhealthy stress level, and I wanted to get to root behind why it is that I do this to myself. Why do I say YES to everything?

As y’all know, I love to read (and even reading has had to take a second fiddle recently — ugh!). It just so happens that one of the books I read recently really convicted my heart about this issue of busyness. In Tim Keller’s book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, he comments on 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 and how not to be a self-loving or self-hating person, but a self-forgetful one instead. There were so many convicting passages in this book that gave me insight into why I pride myself on busyness. Here are a few:

“In his book Sickness Unto Death, Søren Kierkegaard says, it is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God. Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God…[The normal human ego] searches for something that will give it a sense of worth, a sense of specialness and a sense of purpose and build itself on that.” (14-15)

“Doing all kinds of things, not for the pleasure of doing them, but because we are trying to put together an impressive curriculum vitae. By comparing ourselves to other people and trying to make ourselves look better than others, we are boasting. Trying to recommend ourselves, trying to create a self-esteem résumé because we are desperate to fill our sense of inadequacy and emptiness.” (20)

By filling my life with activities and “things,” I am trying to find my self-worth in life other than God. I am trying to find it in my job, in my volunteer work, in how many Bible studies I can do and the knowledge I am gaining by doing them, in being a good friend and girlfriend. I am trying to find my identity in basically everything other than God. And I’m boasting in all my activities, in how much I can do, to fill this sense of inadequacy and emptiness I feel by finding my identity outside of God.

But let’s face it, I fail every day at being the best worker, the best girlfriend, the best friend, the best blogger. I fail at giving my Bible study homework 100% of my attention, having the cleanest house, having a fun-filled life. By trying to do it all, I am failing to do give my full attention to anything and not trusting God to fulfill my sense of self-worth.

So I’ve gleaned a couple takeaways from this:

First and most important, I am nothing apart from Christ. No activity, role, responsibility is going to give me worth apart from God alone.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17)

He alone is my portion and my cup (Psalm 16:5). He gives my life meaning. I don’t need activities to fulfill me or give me a sense of purpose or meaning. My life has meaning and worth because God sacrificed his Son on the cross for my life. There is no other meaning, no other purpose I need outside of that amazing truth!

Once I am able to remind myself that God alone is my justifier, I need to evaluate what it is that I am filling my time with — what activities are most important? And not only most important, what activities/roles do I feel like the Lord is calling me to?

I read another book recently called The Best Yes. In that book, the author encourages you to find the thing, the passion, you feel the Lord is calling you to and really commit to it 100%. She encourages and challenges you to say no to other “good things” in order to give your BEST yes to what the Lord is calling you to.

This was particularly convicting to me as I have a tendency to fill my life with “good yes’s,” while sacrificing my best yes because I have too many other seemingly good things happening. I need to narrow my focus to having a few things I can give my best to and be obedient to what God is calling me to do.

This season has had a lot of teaching moments, but my schedule and busyness has definitely been the biggest one. Having a new(ish) role in my life (being a good girlfriend) has come with a lot of challenges because my focus and priorities have had to change from when I was single. It has taken a lot of trial and error (mostly error it seems) and patience from P (thank you, P!!), but I think I’m finally figuring out how to have a more manageable schedule and give my best effort to each commitment. There are going to be some “no’s” coming up to some great things, but I know that the sacrifice is going to be worth it so my “yes’s” are going to the most important things, one of those being my blog.

All that to say, friends, I’m back. This blog means so much to me as I hope it does to you. I pray that the Lord would continue to use it to speak truth into my own heart and yours. He is refining me one day at a time, and I’m so thankful he is.

#SomethingNew April: Magnolia Market in Waco

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I’ve been attempting to write this post for weeks nows, but friends, April has been chaotic. I will hopefully get to explain more about my crazy schedule and what the LORD has been teaching me this month in another post, but for now let’s just focus on my #SomethingNew!

This month (a couple weeks ago), I went to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ store in Waco, TX with a group of girlfriends for a day trip that turned into a little weekend getaway. Since Waco is only about an hour and a half outside of Dallas, it makes for an easy day trip. We left Dallas early Saturday morning in hopes that we wouldn’t be waiting in line forever, and we certainly lucked out because there was NO WAIT when we got there. It was definitely good timing considering most of the reviews I read said people were waiting close to an hour. We were off to a great start!

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Once we got inside Magnolia Market, I was in interior design heaven. The place was filled with so many beautiful home goods that I nearly wanted everything in the store. It took a lot to stop myself from going overboard and sticking to my pre-determined budget.

There were so many gorgeous items in the store. They had the best fake flowers and plants I had ever seen. They felt and looked so real that it took you a second to realize they weren’t. Then they had a slew of décor, kitchen items, serving items, pillows and throws. I would call the décor a mix between Pottery Barn and Anthropologie with surprisingly reasonable prices (because you know how those places can get). I could have stayed in there for hours looking at everything and getting ideas for future rooms.

In the end, I purchased the Magnolia wreath which I had been eyeing for some time, a handful of fake tulips and a mini chalkboard. There were so many other things I wanted, but I felt like these items were the most versatile if I end up moving again in the next year or two. I will definitely want to make another trip when I get a house!

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Outside of the store, there is a grassy area for kids (and dads) to play while the ladies shop. There are food trucks and picnic tables too, so you could really make a whole day of it! Currently, Chip and Joanna are working on opening an on-site bakery and plant shop (I think this is now open, but it wasn’t when we were there). There are lots of things to do and see at the market.

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After we left Magnolia, we ate lunch at Olive Branch (a local sandwich place) and walked around Spice Village. The best way I can describe Spice Village is a huge space filled with little Etsy shops, kind of like the Dallas Flea if you’ve been to that. It was a really cool place, and I also found a little something there.

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After a day’s worth of shopping, we drove to my friend’s ranch, about an hour away from Waco. To summarize our night there, we got a truck stuck in the mud (and attempted to get it out for an hour), rode four wheelers, drank too much wine, laughed until we cried and ate lots of food and birthday cake. It was super fun and one of those weekends I will never forget!

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Needless to say, it was definitely a great trip to the Silos, and I will definitely be going back!

2016 #SomethingNews:
January: Skiiing
February: Flower Crown Class
March: Houston Rodeo

Kristin’s Story: National Kidney Month

Today, I am sharing a story that is near and dear to my heart because it is from my best friend, Kristin (who I’ve been bugging to “guest post” for months!).

We met as Theta sisters at TCU and have been inseparable ever since! So inseparable in fact that we have actually been working at the same ad agency for over three years now since moving to Dallas. She is someone who has been by my side through all of life’s ups and downs both in college and after graduation. I’m so grateful for her continued friendship over the years! And I’m excited that she agreed to share her story with us today!

Here’s Kristin:

I’m not the type of person that cries at work. I think it’s pretty unprofessional. That’s why when I found myself crying in a conference room a little over two years ago I wasn’t prepared.

Being that I live in Texas, I was unprepared for the visits home. At first, it was easier to be in denial — my dad seemed fine when we talked on the phone and just a little more tired when I saw him. But the slow decline in his physical and mental capacity was brought much more into focus because I wasn’t with him everyday. When he began peritoneal dialysis at home it was apparent that no matter if I was prepared or unprepared, my dad was dying. Realizing that it may take years to receive an organ from the National Organ Transplant List my parents started sharing their situation with family and good friends hopeful that someone may be a “match” and consider making the ultimate sacrifice as a live donor; they never asked me. But I didn’t need to be asked. I got tested.

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I cried at work because I was a match. While not “perfect” meeting only four out of the six criteria, it was good enough to be a donor. I was unprepared for the overwhelming feeling that I would finally be able to give back to someone that has given me so much in life — has given me life.

Shortly after my test came through, we got a separate call saying there was a rare six out of six match for him, and since it was “perfect” he was the recipient of a kidney! But there may be a time in the future where my dad will need a kidney, and I will give it to him — without a doubt. I think this is why God gave me two kidneys anyway. So take it; I don’t need both, but you can’t take my Dad — there’s only one of those.IMG_6213

National Kidney Month ends today (the whole month of March). Friends, 26 million Americans are living with kidney disease and another 73 million are at risk. Those numbers are astounding!

Kristin, her dad and the rest of her family are raising money and participating in a kidney walk to help fight kidney disease. If you would like to donate to her team, please click here. Any donation amount helps!

When you donate to the National Kidney Foundation you are joining the fight against kidney disease by:

  • Raising public awareness about kidney disease and risk reduction.
  • Providing free local health screenings.
  • Supporting kidney patients, organ donors and their families.
  • Advocating in Washington, D.C. for government action on the organ donor shortage, funding kidney research and defending Medicare coverage.
  • Educating doctors and other healthcare professionals with the best information in the field. Last year, 64,500 healthcare professionals were kept up to date through NKF’s Kidney Learning Solutions.

Thank you, Kristin for sharing your story! And we are so glad that your dad is doing so well with his new kidney!!

#SomethingNew March: Houston Rodeo

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I have lived in Texas seven and a half years and have never been to a rodeo. Not for lack of trying either — I’ve attempted to go to the Fort Worth rodeo at least two times over the years and tickets were sold out both times (most recently this past February).

I remember telling P months ago that one of the road trips I wanted to take this year was to the Houston Rodeo. I wanted to experience it one time because I had heard so many things about it. It’s one of the steps to becoming a true Texan, right? Because of P’s amazing planning skills and thoughtful nature, he made it happen this past weekend!

It’s funny on the way to the rodeo, I didn’t really know what to expect when I got there. I knew there was some sort of concert involved as well as bull riding, but that’s about it. And to be honest, I didn’t really understand what bull riding was – I didn’t think people actually RODE a bull. I had been on the grounds of the Fort Worth Stockshow and Rodeo, but because tickets were sold out by the time we were going to buy them, I never got to experience the rodeo aspect of the events.

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The first thing you notice when you get to the rodeo is how big it really is (everything’s bigger in Texas, right?). There are people everywhere and lots of things to see and do outside of the stadium itself (this is where the rodeo is). I’ve heard there is a market somewhere with vendors and a stock show in another area, but because it was a quick trip for us, we didn’t spend any time outside of the stadium. We wanted to see as much of the actual rodeo as we could, so we went inside the stadium almost right away.

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We got there early enough to grab a drink (or two) before heading to our seats and watching all the events in action. Because I know some of you have never been to a rodeo, here is a brief description of each of the events we saw (laymen’s version, so I might be over-simplifying for all you rodeo pros):

Tie-Down RopingMan on horse lassos steer and flips it over to tie three of its legs together. Fastest time wins.

Bareback RidingHorse has flank strap and proceeds to buck to get the man on him off. Man must stay on for 8 seconds and is judged based on how well he rides through the bucking. There is no saddle (a.k.a. bareback).

Team RopingTeam on horses — one member lassos steer’s neck and the other lassos steers hind legs so that steer falls over. Fastest time wins.

Saddle Bronc Riding: This is essentially the same as the Bareback Riding above except the man has a saddle on the horse.

Steer WrestlingMan on horse rides out as steer is released and jumps on steer to flip it over and onto the ground (like wrestling). Fastest time wins.

Barrel RacingWoman on horse circles barrels without tipping them over. Fastest time wins.

Bull Riding: This is the same as the Bareback riding above, expect it is a bull instead of a horse. And this was my favorite event to watch because it was so intense!

Mutton Bustin’: Little kids ride on sheep like a barrel. The one that stays on the longest wins. This was HILARIOUS to watch!

I truly had no idea some of these events actually happened. I mean wrestling a steer? Getting bucked off of a horse or bull? Lassoing a steer’s neck and feet in seconds? I’m not sure what I thought a rodeo was, but I was shocked that these were actual events! It was super entertaining and amazing to watch these peoples’ courage and skills in each event.

After each event winner was named, Brad Paisley came on stage and performed. He was super funny and really got the crowd going! I really enjoyed his concert.

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Overall, I would say the rodeo was way more fun than I could have imagined. The events and concert were very entertaining and the atmosphere was what I love most about Texas — friendly, fun and down-to-earth. How many events have you been to where they pray before kicking things off, where winners thank God first before anything else? It was a great first experience, and it definitely won’t be my last rodeo!

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February Edit

A lot of my favorite blogs and sites do a monthly post about all of the finds, buys and things that they are loving for that particular month. And because I enjoy reading those posts so much, I thought I would share mine too! I know we’re already a few days into March, but here were my favorites from February:

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  1. Thrive Market — I’m so excited to share this with y’all! Thrive Market is basically an online and discounted version of Whole Foods. All of my favorite “dry-good” products (think granola, spices, KIND bars, olive oil) are on the site at a discounted price. I just got my first shipment in yesterday, and I’ll be sharing more about my experience next week. Stay tuned!
  2. Meal planning — In order to make my weeks and mornings run more smoothly, I have been taking time on Sundays to get my lunches and dinners together (at least getting my veggies chopped up). I bought these containers at The Container Store and like how well they hold up in the dishwasher and the various sizes they come in.
  3. What I’m currently reading — I started Fates and Furies a couple weeks ago and could not get into it at all. Since it’s my book club book, I needed to press on and keep reading, so I did, and I have to say the second half makes the first half so much better. I’m nearly done with it, so we will see how I like the ending. I’m also halfway through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and have found it really interesting so far. There have been a lot of ideas presented that I hadn’t given much thought to before, so it’s given me a lot of food-for-thought in terms of keeping organized. I’m hoping to finish in the next couple weeks.
  4. Cupcakes & Cashmere Leather Jacket — I have been wanting a leather jacket for a while now, but the price of them always seems to stop me from actually buying one. So when I saw this faux leather jacket go on sale at Nordstrom it was a no-brainer buy! I’ve worn it multiple times in the short two weeks I’ve had it and absolutely LOVE IT!
  5. Moment app — I stumbled across this app a couple weeks ago and downloaded it to my phone right away. Basically, it tracks the amount of time you are spending on your phone, and so far I have found it really convicting. Hopefully it will continue to make me think twice about wasting time on it.
  6. Tangerine La Croix — This is a new flavor of La Croix that is exclusive to Whole Foods (or at least that’s what the sign at Whole Foods said). I really liked it and will be putting it in rotation with my other favorite sparkling waters.
  7. New Balance Shoes — I bought these on sale from Nordstrom after eyeing them for a while (and unfortunately they are sold out now). This is my second pair of New Balances, and I’m pumped to have another color option at my disposal. They are the BEST run around shoe!
  8. Zoodles — These are my new go-to food. I’ve used them in several dishes as a “spaghetti” substitute and also as a vegetable side dish. Since I don’t have a spiralizer (yet…), being able to buy these already spiralized is awesome and so convenient! This company also makes a sweet potato version that I have enjoyed as well.

#SomethingNew February: Flower Crown Workshop

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Don’t think I forgot my #SomethingNew for February! Unfortunately, things have been a little crazy around here, and this is the first chance I’ve had at writing this post. But I’ve been really excited to share it with you because this is one of my favorite #SomethingNew’s to date!

Several months ago, I bookmarked a flower crown workshop that I found through one of the people I follow on Instagram and was saving it for the right opportunity. Well, when my community group asked me to plan a retreat in Fort Worth, this workshop was one of the first things that popped into my head to do.

The workshop was a private class for 8 people, called the “Champagne and Crowns” class, put on by R Love Floral. Compared to a lot of other floral design classes I had been looking at the price was VERY affordable, not to mention champagne was included with the class (HOLLA!).

When we arrived at the studio for our workshop, all of our stations were set up with the materials we needed along with champagne and wine chilling in an ice bucket! We quickly introduced ourselves and got started.

Raquel recommended that we use a thick twine as the base of our crown instead of wire. We measured the twine around our heads to get the correct crown size. Then, we wrapped floral tape around half of the crown, covering where the twine overlapped. Next, we selected the flowers we wanted to use as well as the filler flowers and greenery.

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The rest is basically repeating the same steps over and over. You make tiny bunches using a big flower and a filler flower (or only filler flowers) and wrap them around the crown with floral tape. The cool part about this process was that you could be as creative as you wanted and use all sorts of flowers with no rhyme or reason, or if you’re super Type A like me, you can make some sort of pattern so it’s a little more structured. 2016-02-20 14.49.29 2016-02-20 15.03.10

Once you’ve repeated those steps and have flowers around your crown, you need to figure out a way to finish it off. This is where Raquel swooped in with her creative juices and helped make the end of my crown look better than just having an inch of floral tape.

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Making a flower crown was surprisingly easier than I expected it to be. I think I expected it to be harder because most of my other #SomethingNew classes have been really hard and frustrating for me (like here, here and here). But I think with this class I could implement some sort of structure to making the crown while at the same time being creative with what flowers I was using in each bundle and how I placed the bundles around the crown.

I found working with flowers to be really relaxing too. I took a floral design class in high school and remembered thinking the same thing, so it was good to see that my love for floral design hadn’t changed over the years. I will definitely be looking into more floral arrangement classes and make another flower crown or two for a festive occasion (who’s with me?).

Overall, the workshop was AMAZING! Raquel was a dream to work with and offered us step-by-step instructions while still allowing us to be creative with our crowns! I would highly recommend Raquel’s R Love Floral workshops! She also does floral arrangements and flower crowns for special events and weddings. Definitely consider using her! She was such a pleasure to work with.

This workshop was truly the highlight of our weekend and such a useful skill to learn! I mean, the possibilities are endless with where and when you can wear a flower crown. I know this will not be my last time making and wearing one!

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To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat

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First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to me regarding last week’s post. To be honest, it was really hard for me to write and talk about some of those things, but hearing all of your feedback and support made it so worth it. Part of the reason I started this blog was to talk about my struggles with a healthy body image.

Several years ago (before I started blogging), I stumbled upon a blogger who openly shared about her struggles with an eating disorder. Her openness and vulnerability inspired me to want to be more open about my own issues in hopes that not only others could relate and know they were not alone, but that we would combat these negative thoughts together.

Satan wants us to keep all of our sin struggles to ourself. He doesn’t want us to be authentic and vulnerable with others and God because he knows we are set free when we confess our shortcomings.

Two passages on this topic come to mind:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

So if you are struggling with a healthy body image or an eating disorder, talk to someone. Don’t give Satan the power by keeping it to yourself. I hope to continue to write about eating issues and share my journey to finding freedom from my struggles.

But now onto the real topic of discussion for today: my transition to eating meat (only chicken so far) and what I think this will look like in the future.

I knew about a month or so ago that I wanted to surprise P for Valentine’s Day with barbecue chicken. He LOVES barbecue, but we have not been able to eat it together since we’ve been dating because barbecue restaurants rarely have anything vegetarian to eat (except maybe a baked potato and cole slaw). So I thought the ultimate surprise would be to not only make his favorite kind of food but eat meat all at the same time!

But there was no way though that my stomach was going to be able to handle barbecue chicken at the first go around, so I spent a couple weeks prepping myself to get there, mentally and physically. I had also never cooked chicken before, so that was something I needed to do some research on.

Prior to going to the grocery store, I did research to learn about Whole Foods meat grading scale and where the chicken comes from at my local Whole Foods. Once I had confirmed that the chicken was hormone-free and antibiotic-free, I was ready to try it. I asked the butcher for only half of a breast (got to start somewhere) and after a confused glance or two, he eventually obliged.

In my research I had also found this AMAZING tutorial on how to cook chicken. And when I went to cook the chicken, it turned out perfectly the first time! (This was a miracle in and of itself.) I seasoned my chicken with a little olive oil and lemon pepper (the same way I cook most of my fish), but only ate half of the half breast because I was concerned it wouldn’t sit well the first time. But I felt find the rest of the night and the next day when I ate the rest of it for lunch. (This was a good sign!)

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the first chicken meal
Two weeks later, I tried chicken again and upped the intake to half a breast per meal, seasoned and cooked the same way. And again I felt fine after eating it. So after this second experience, I decided I was ready to make and eat the barbecue chicken.

I found this recipe for barbecue chicken “burgers” and was especially drawn to it because I could throw all the ingredients into the crockpot and not have to worry about it. The recipe suggested eating the “burgers” with guacamole and shredded cheese, so I did exactly that. I also made some roasted okra (P’s favorite) and bought sweet potato tortilla chips at Whole Foods (these were a BIG hit!).

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chicken burger, okra and sweet potato tortilla chips
Despite my nerves, everything turned out great and his reaction was priceless! I wish I could have gotten it on camera because he nearly cried. Yes, cried! He was so excited! And he LOVED the food as well. It couldn’t have gone any better.

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he was so surprised!
I felt totally fine after eating the barbecue chicken the first time, but when I tried eating some of the leftovers the next day, that didn’t sit as well. I think moderation is key, and I overdid it by trying to eat the two meals so close together.

Overall, I would say it was a very successful surprise! It was something that I know meant a lot to P, so I’m glad I did it.

But there were (and still are) some mixed emotions after, only because I feel like I have failed at being a vegetarian. This is completely irrational thinking, considering I was a vegetarian for 5 and a half years (and you can’t really “fail” at being a vegetarian), but I can’t get the thoughts out of my head.

So what does this mean moving forward? Am I a meat-eater? A part-time vegetarian? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been hard to label, and I frankly don’t want to put a label on it. I have a tendency to do things ALL or NOTHING, 0 or 100, so this type of restriction I don’t think is good for my personality type.

I like the idea of eating what makes sense in each situation. For me, I think this looks like still eating mostly vegetarian or pescatarian. I love eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains for my meals. But I think sometimes there will be moments where eating chicken or some type of meat is my only option and instead of eating nothing (which I have done), eating the meat is the better route to go.

I’ll update y’all as I go along because this is a journey, and I’m not sure where it’s taking me right now. In the meantime, thank you for your support, love and encouragement! It means the world to me.

The Year of the Chicken

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This past weekend I had chicken for the first time in five and a half years. Well, technically that’s only partially true because I first tried it a couple weeks ago, so that I could get my stomach ready for the “big reveal,” but you get the point.

I’ve been a vegetarian for five and a half years. And I love being a vegetarian. After all I had a Vegeversary Party to celebrate five years of it! I also cook lots of vegetarian dishes (several of which I have shared: here, here and here). Part of what defines me is being a vegetarian. So why change? Why eat chicken?

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was thinking about eating meat again, that I was calling this the “year of the chicken.” When I first became a vegetarian, I always knew that I would eventually start eating meat again. I never thought it would be a forever lifestyle, mostly because I didn’t think it would be sustainable with a husband and family. But having been single for most of my twenties (with a few short-term boyfriends here and there), I never saw a reason to start eating meat again since I was usually only cooking for myself. So five and a half years later, here I am.

When I started dating P, I told him all of this. And although being a vegetarian was (and I quote) “not his favorite thing about me,” he accepted it in hopes that someday I would eat meat again (someday being sooner rather than later). It wasn’t a big deal. He ate everything I made (vegetarian or not). He would almost always have me choose restaurants, so that I wouldn’t have issues finding something. And when in the rare occurrence, he would pick, he would look up the menus and find a few things for me just so I had some options (he’s the sweetest, right??).

Hear me when I say, I did not start eating meat again solely for my boyfriend. He definitely played a significant part in the decision, particularly in speeding up the timing of when I did it, but there’s so much more to it.

Another big contributing factor was the annoyance of it in social situations. (I talked a little bit about this in my Thanksgiving post.) Whenever you go to someone’s house for dinner or you go to a nice restaurant, there are times when being vegetarian is not feasible. I remember several instances where the only thing I could eat at a party was a dinner roll and some cheese or even restaurants that I had to make a meal out of random sides. And when we went to Colorado over New Year’s, there was literally nothing I could eat in the house for breakfast or dinner. Everything had meat in it.

And you don’t want to be the person that picks through their food or rudely rejects a dish that someone prepared. You don’t want to be difficult every time you go out to eat. You don’t want it to be a big deal, but sometimes it is. So when I stumbled across this TED talk a couple months ago, the speaker’s points sparked my interest. I had never thought about being a vegetarian part-time because for me, it was always all or nothing. But his argument made me think a little differently.

And that’s not all. Health-wise, I think I used being vegetarian as a crutch in a lot of instances. I used it as a way to be restrictive in my eating without being “suspicious” of having disordered eating patterns. There were many times where I wasn’t eating properly, not getting enough protein, not getting enough calories, and I justified it in my head because of the “diet” I was on.

Now, do I think that being a vegetarian for five and half years was a cover up for an eating disorder? Not all the time, no. I know I had pure intentions to start and continued to have pure intentions for most of the time I was a vegetarian. With that said though, if I’m being brutally honest, I know at least part of the reason I stayed a vegetarian for so long was because I feared eating meat again. I feared gaining weight.

Even typing this now, I feel so silly saying that. Who fears chicken because they think they will gain weight? I know how irrational I sound, but it’s how I felt, how I still feel as I venture into new territory.

So with all those reasons in hand, I decided this was the year. I knew it would please at least my mom and my boyfriend. I knew it would give me more flexibility in social situations. And I knew I needed to get over my irrational fear of gaining weight. It was time.

Next week I’ll share how I handled the transition (those first couple meals) and what I think my diet will look like moving forward.