GIFTS FROM A GENEROUS GIVER

We have an amazing opportunity today, to not only buy gifts for the people we love, but to also give back to the community. It’s available to us, because some companies are letting us do so, with our purchases.

Whether you’re getting a gift for some awesome person who helps you watch the kids, or for dear old dad, there’s sure to be something that’ll tickle their fancy! And these things are completely usable.

DISCLOSURE***This post has affiliate links in it, and I’ll receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking them.


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I’ll just assume you don’t want to waste your time, the same as me, and that you have better things to do than spend money on unused things. Consequently, due to the gifts I’m going to tell you about, you have no reason to fear, friends.

Therefore I won’t waste my time and buy anymore pointless gifts! However I can’t not get anything, but I can at least get them something that hopefully they’ll find some value in. I mean, let’s face it, there’s no one who doesn’t love some spoiling in their lives! In conclusion, I believe we’ve got ourselves a winning list of gifts, but I’ll let y’all be the judge of that.

As I mentioned, companies are selling these gifts and giving some of the proceeds back to deserving organizations. Whether they give their proceeds, or are supporting employment, for those who are most in need of it, they’re doing a great service for our community. So now I’m asking for your contribution – look the gifts over, see if anything inspires you, use the links given, and ultimately, while you’re purchasing you’ll also end up donating! FTW!

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Mega Gemstone Mine – Dig Up 15 Real Gems with NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Discover Crystal Treasures

You can give children the thrill of digging through, what’ll feel like, a real gem mine. They’ll find fifteen different gemstones, including: pyrite, amethyst, tiger’s eye, fluorite, quartz, obsidian, aventurine and more. We’re all quite aware of how fascinating National Geographic is about providing a fun and educational experience – I mean, they’ve been doing it for about 100 years! A simple gemstone activity kit might make these kids aspire to become great scientists some day.

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Warby Parker Louise Glasses, Violet/Magnolia

These glasses are well-known for having a wide and narrow frame, which is helpful for people to find a comfortable pair for their face structure. The overall width of the pair is in the lens, and the bridge size, which they’ll do using its millimeters. Measurements for these glasses are on their inside arm, which is the spot most other eyewear brands will have it also. Because they might already own a pair they like, so now they’ve got a way to compare the two together. They’ll have a better idea of the way they’re going to fit.

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Krochet Kids Abby Jr – Kids Beanie

The beanies are all made up in Peru and they’re going to be 100% acrylic. A beanies fit can end up being slouchy, so keep this in mind while you’re shopping. Oh, I also need you to remember: simple, solid colors, always make for great cold weather accessories!

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Pura Vida Bracelets – Beads with Charms; Handmade & 100% Waterproof Accessories

These are the most comfortable fitting bracelets you’ll ever wear, allowing you to enjoy them as much as you want! AND it’s 100% waterproof. So, no worries when heading to the beach! They’ve all been handcrafted by skilled workers in Costa Ric who are passionate about their craft, using the utmost care to bring the product to completion. Your regular, everyday style, is sure to be taken up a notch, when you’re wearing these bracelets!

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Woven ‘Sky Flight Basket’

A ‘sky flight basket’ is an authentic fair trade product, that’s ethically supplied. In addition, they’re 100% handmade! So with this being the case, the shades of color might vary. All the baskets are made in Uganda.

Metal Tree Wall Decor

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Metal Tree Wall Decor

A metal tree piece stands at 92″, and is current, yet traditional. Plus..it’s one of my favorite gifts!

. The wall sculpture has three-dimensional rustic hues on the leaves, and the iron has a brown patina texture to it, outspread over the trunk. Houzz is a one-stop platform for remodeling and designing homes and brings both homeowners, and professionals, together within a uniquely visual community.

Tactical Hydration Pack Backpacks with 2.5L Bladder Black

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Hydration Backpacks with a 2.5L Bladder Black

A Unigear backpack is ideal for people into hiking, biking, running, walking and climbing.

The company was founded in 2014, and has provided customers all around the world, with backpacks that are considerably reliable and affordable. They also have other camping gear.

BESTGIFT15 Sock Panda

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Sock Panda

You’ll save 15% on a monthly subscription of Sock Panda in the entire month of December, by the personal promotional code given to me: BESTGIFT15. Sock Panda is a company that offers high quality socks and a design that’s unique, which isn’t able to be found in stores.

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Bedsure Blankets

Bedsure Designs believes the excellent quality of bedding solutions shouldn’t require over-the-top prices, which is the typical standard. This company has had a high level of material, and affordable prices, since the 90’s.

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Little Loving Hands – Kids Crafts for a Cause.

Little Loving Hands provides pre-packaged crafts for children with an end product contributing to supporting philanthropic causes. Parents, and grandparents, are falling in love with this concept after they learn about it.

Here’s a list of gifts that you can get, to show you’re a generous giver! In addition, you’re loved ones end up with gifts they’ll love! I hope you’ll consider who you can give these items to. But maybe you have a couple of people who want something a little more traditional, so if this is one of your dilemmas, don’t worry because I’ve got you covered. I’ve discovered a ton of gifts under $200 here!

How about you? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know if you’re leaning towards anything in particular. Either that, or just let me know what I missed. It’d be awesome if you put your thoughts in the comments for me! I’ll be getting back to y’all soon enough, to give my suggestions on what to get the brewmasters on your list.

I also want to remind you all, subscribe for the future posts! As a result, I’ll make sure they get sent directly to your email! Merry Christmas, everyone. God bless! Xoxoxo

A Love/Hate Relationship With An Eating Disorder

To clarify what an eating disorder is, in reference to this post…
Definition (ED) – An eating disorder is a mental disorder, defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health. Including anorexia nervosa, where people eat very little and thus have a low body weight.

There’s No Question Now

I have no doubts. There never should’ve been a question, really…Not about this – because perfection is never going to come.

DISCLOSURE***This post has affiliate links in it, and I’ll receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking them.

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Coming to Terms

I’m so happy that I finally can understand how unrealistic this is! Being perfect, I mean.

I no longer question whether things will be “just perfectly so” anymore, and it’s actually freeing. It doesn’t exist! Not for me..not for my dreams.

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You see, I thought, for a long time, that I’d somehow be able to achieve it. Specifically in how I felt about myself.

My Normal

I went through the majority of my life putting myself down: for eating too much sugar, drinking too much soda, my appearance being less than it should be, too this, too that. It was exhausting. So I find myself coming here, to this new understanding, and constantly feel like it’s brand new territory.

Perfect
Me, my mom and my brother. A year after my son was born. 2003

You know how sometimes, you get this flashback, of how you once saw yourself? And then the realization hits, how off base you were?! You might even wonder how your eyes were able to play such unbelievable tricks on your imagination.

I’m Right There With You

These realizations are all too familiar for me. It’s easy to do though, you know? Particularly if you’re uncertain about who you are, always searching for your identity…

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Like many young girls (I guess?), I felt shame about my appearance. This didn’t come from anything my family did, or said. Quite the opposite, actually. My mom was always affirming me.

One day, it was just there.

Eating Disorder
It was hard finding joy in things, because of my lack in energy, always thinking ahead to the next time I’d be eating, or able to workout again. Heck, even now I plan ahead for things I want to make.

This all must’ve started, in about eighth grade, when I was filling out..in a pretty major way! Let me put it this way, the year prior I remember a boy calling me “goosebumps”. He was referring to my chest size, which I mean, it was middle school..there wasn’t exactly any Pam Anderson’s running around! Still, it must’ve been significant enough to remember it today.

Going into this new school year, a couple of boys I knew, made it abundantly clear they saw the change in my physical shape. I had always been kinda tall for my age and maybe a little lanky.

Those Terms of Endearment

My family often made reference to those traits, by calling me “Skinny Jenny”, “Bony Butt” or “Jenny Long Legs” – you know, all the typical things families come up with. So to be developing like I was, I took it to mean, that I must not be “thin as a board” anymore. I was becoming..shapely.

To clarify, I was my current height by the time I went into high school – 5’6, roughly 100 lbs. or so, and beginning to fill out bra after bra. People assumed I’d be an Amazon or something, and I frequently got told that I should consider modeling or playing basketball. I eventually got into some classes to go that direction, but unfortunately – or not, depending on how you look at it – I had already reached teenage rebellion, leaving no room for other activities.

Introducing The Eating Disorder

My physical appearance got me lots of attention, making me self-conscious along with it. Maybe that sounds silly, but I’ve never liked being the focus of attention! For instance I’d go to the pool to tan, but I’d only do it if no one else was there.

God forbid if a group of boys were playing basketball by the pool. If I felt them staring, or hear them whispering, I’d immediately wrap my towel right back around me, and go inside – whether I was there an hour or five minutes. There was just a lot of insecurity and discomfort, about the attention I’d receive.

Cursed
Super happy, huh?

Oh How Things Would Change

New habits would get formed from one of the times I ran away. There I was, with my “boyfriend” at the time, plus his best friend, and his best friend’s girlfriend, who also happened to be my best friend. We swiped the keys to one of their parents cars, and took off for places unknown. We had very little money, so when it was time to figure out what we’d do for eating, I said not to worry about me.

I look back now, and find it to be a little disgusting. Seeing how this “boyfriend” didn’t bat an eye over me not eating anything for days, even though I’m positive they have to have heard my stomach growling from a mile away. A dog eat dog world, I guess. In reality, it was simply par for the course, since I clearly believed my worth was so little also.

Understanding the Struggle with Eating

It was the first time I was seeing the results that come in not eating, and – oddly enough – I felt proud of myself! My mom eventually brought me home, and I noticed my clothes were fitting looser, and instead of a chest, and hips that made me feel awkward, I actually felt like I had a cute little figure.

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Simply losing a few pounds made things appear more proportionate to me. Huh, go figure. I just had to use a little self-control, and say no? Interesting.

Do You Think I’m Pretty?

I obviously wanted guys to find me attractive. Please don’t get me wrong! What teenage girl do you know that doesn’t? I felt so much less, than all the other girls, though. And I perceived them to be everything I wasn’t.

It didn’t take very long to begin finding my worth, and eventually my power, in the attention I’d get from the boys. And it showed in my “dating” habits – or lack of, I suppose.

“My Milkshake Brings All the Boys To the Yard”

In the last days of high school, there were plenty of boys who liked me, and yeah I’d give them a little attention, but never enough to give an impression of us being exclusive. The reality was, I didn’t want to lose anyone else’s attention, like I was desperate for it. That actually followed me all the way into the beginning of my relationship with my husband. I didn’t want to let any of our mutual guy friends, know we were seeing each other, if they had also expressed interest before.

ED
My second daughter and I. Just after me and Chris separated. Summer, 2005

Years later, after having a baby, breaking up with her father, and getting into college, I attempted “finding myself”, without being clear what exactly I was seeking. I only knew that I was feeling lost.

Casual Acquaintances

I went out with a couple of guys, and also had a lot of male friends, and I’d always notice their obsession over these “men’s” magazines, or porn and strip clubs. It’d disgust me, too, because it seemed like all this was absolutely ok – and accepted?!

As much as it pissed me off, it also just reinforced my beliefs – of how, having a “perfect” figure was a necessity. In fact, it was always when I’d be on a rampage, or be unhappy about my looks, or how I was feeling, that the reminder of what I could control, would sneak in. Eating was a choice, in my opinion but..did I have enough willpower? Sounds like a challenge!

Sleeper Condition

It hadn’t been much of an issue, since I had become a mother. Life was a little busy, after all.

Especially, considering the fact I now had two daughters and was a single parent, who also was attending college! Yep. Psst..this is the part my now husband walks in.

My Happily Ever After

Obviously, in the 17 years we’ve been in a relationship, we’ve had ups and downs. I hadn’t had any of my “issues”, so to speak, in a while – because my focus was on many other things I was dealing with.

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After a couple years together, I got pregnant again. I loved this man, and we were already dealing with a slew of other stressors, so I didn’t want to add my insecurities about weight on top of that.

Giving My Word

My vow to myself, was I’d refuse to allow my pregnancy to make me “fat”. Smoothies, and salads, were pretty much what I lived on..and it worked! I gained just enough, to make sure my baby got good amounts of nutrition but nothing more.

These demons would come and go over the next few years, and I also had begun to pull at my eyebrows, and my lashes when I was stressed. It hit its breaking point though, in the summer of 2005.

Poppin’ Pillies

The prior year, I had been introduced to some pain medication. Though I actually required it at that time, I also realized they helped me get through long, stressful days. But not only that, they suppressed my appetite, too! FTW

By the time my husband and I had hit the climax of all of our issues, I was living an all-around, unhealthy existence. We separated, and I experienced my first full-on, “I’m fairly certain I’m dying” panic attack.

Friend
My nephew and I, while I was staying at my mom’s. Though it looks like I’m on something, I was just so frail and exhausted at this time. 2005

Wasting Away

When all of this was taking place, I think my body was at just about 32 days, from having next to no solid foods. By “next to none”, I mean I’d occasionally allow myself ONE bite of my kids food.

But I’d then force myself to do around 50-100 sit-ups, after. Towards the end of that starvation period, I didn’t even want this bite, and if I decided to go ahead and have it, I’d chew it up for the flavor, and spit it out.

From Bad to Worse

If that wasn’t enough, I also had determined there was a reason why there was a term about “water weight”, so I went ahead, and cut the H2O out, also. The only calories I’d allow myself to have – and trust me, I beat myself up, for not having enough self-control – was those nauseating bottled, Starbucks Frappuccinos. I still can’t drink them today because the thought makes me cringe.

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So, let’s sum it all up…

    – 32 days of not eating;
    – antidepressants;
    – 8-10 pain meds a day;
    – sleeping pills;
    – no water.

Just..bottled Starbucks Frappucinos.

Still Surviving

Yet, I’m here. I’d say God has a purpose for me..despite all of my imperfections. Wouldn’t you?

ED
Me and my sister-in-law. I’d wear a lot of double clothes when I felt like people were going to ask about my eating or be watching me. 2005

So the day I had a panic attack – I went outside, while the kids were watching a movie, and my body just started shaking. I must’ve called my mom, or her husband at the time, who I had a good relationship with.

Mom Of the Year

They told me to grab the attention of my oldest daughter, despite my not wanting to frighten her. She sat with me and squeezed my hand, calming me, until they arrived.

We ended up moving in with them for a few months. One of their friends, who was a doctor, came by, to give me the 411 on my health.

Do or Die

He basically told me that I was needing to get some nourishment. Well, duh, right? He also said I needed to begin with just broth and then, he said I wouldn’t be able to keep going this way, or they’d have to discuss forcing me into a hospital for them to get an IV in me.

I cried a lot and yes, some of it was about the fear of not being around for my kids, however, I knew that they’d be taken care of.

A Fear Of Letting Go

Just so you can understand how sick I was, I’ll admit..my tears, were more about me giving up my “good friend”. It was a part of me now.

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If this was a Made-for-TV movie, that’d be the end – aaaaand cut! Happily ever after, yada yada yada.

Lurking in the Shadows

Unfortunately, it never ends. Not back then, and not even now.

After that whole IV talk, it still didn’t stop. Not right away.

Hanging On for Dear Life

It didn’t stop, as my constantly dry mouth stuck together, because of the dehydration. Certainly not by me being at barely 100 pounds, where I could squeeze into an older child’s pair of jeans.

It didn’t stop, as I sat with my family through Thanksgiving without eating a thing. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite holidays ever!

ED
One of the pictures I hate the most of myself. I had picked off most of my brows and lashes, and was probably around 20-25 days in with no food. There’d also be spurts of acne I’d have at times, from starving myself.

Self Guilt Trip

Actually…I remember walking past the kitchen as the day was drawing to an end, and SNEAKING a shred of turkey. I was ashamed to cave, and not maintain the control I took so much pride in. Never mind the fact that everyone else was desperate to get me to eat, and would’ve loved it, if I took a bite!

I slowly got my life back together. Even attempted counseling but I had been around counselors before, and I knew how to say what I “should”.

Thanks, But No Thanks

Except, I sat in there, with this woman for less than 10 minutes. She stated that I was “proud” of my illness, from the sound of things, and she didn’t think she’d be of any help to me. Maybe I did take a little bit of pride in it but, this counselor reinforced to me: I was on my own – or, so I saw it.

I became stronger, with lots of love and encouragement from some of the people who cared most about me. Chris and I inevitably made our way back together, and immediately became involved in our church. Which was a new experience for me.

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No Lie

I’m not going to sit here and b.s. you. Like I said, it’s probably never going to completely go away.

When I’ve felt particularly low, or upset about something, I immediately want to fall back on old reliable..I start searching for what I can control. I still tie shirts around my waist or always have a sweater, blanket or pillow to cover up with. And I still manage to place myself behind others in group photos.

Born Again

But…I’m different now. I just am.

Still very much imperfect – however, I embrace it. I’ll always require God’s mercy, in the times I eventually fail.

Like An Old Friend

Though it’s always present – with time, it weakens. And when the lies begin attempting to slide their way through, now I’ve got truth standing guard, to help me claim victory.

It’s who I am..my identity. “There you are.”

“Sir, there’s nothing we can say. There’s no way to explain. Or no way to show that we’re not guilty. God has judged us guilty for something else we’ve done.” Genesis‬ ‭44:16‬

So..why am I sharing this now? Because, to me, it’s one of the most significant parts of my story. A couple of people who I’m close to, have questioned why I haven’t written about it yet.

I’ve actually began to write about it a few times though, then ended up deleting it all. What I told them, and myself, is that I’d know when it was time.

Excuses

There’s also people who I’ve known my whole life, or that I’ve known their whole lives, who have very little details, if any, on all of this. Know something? These reasons are all a crock. What others like myself may or may not realize, is that just like we think of this as an old friend, we also guard and protect it, in case we quietly want to revisit it.

That’s not why God brought me out of darkness, however! I’m called to a higher purpose – to spread truth and shine light, all to His glory. So, here I am. Where are you?

Cursed
My son and I, when I was probably at my lowest weight since being an adult.

A Hundred Ways to Weigh Yourself Down

It was painful putting together this video. Because I know every single second of what I was battling in most moments.

I see it in my eyes, the skeletal appearance of my jaw and teeth. Or the half-dazed expressions from popping a few pills.

God, Please

I pray my daughters will never struggle with this. And I pray your daughters never do, either. Thanks for sharing in on my story. God bless. Xoxo

Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara
More Beautiful You – Jonny Diaz
Titanium (feat. Sia) – David Guetta