Saturday, December 12, 2015

Starting at the very beginning- How to make Trim Healthy Mama a lifestyle in REAL LIFE

I started trim healthy mama for the wrong reasons. I did. And I failed miserably.

I wanted to lose weight. I said I had all these other reasons like "being healthy" (whatever that means), and feeling better, but really when I got down to it, I wanted to lose weight. That's not even a bad goal, But when it was my main motivation, I realize now that it may have been part of the reason I didn't succeed long term the first time.

1. If didn't lost the right amount of weight in the right amount of time I got discouraged and wanted to give up.

2. Because my main focus was weight loss, I did the bare minimum to get by and didn't really cook stuff. I ate cheese and lunch meat almost everyday for lunch, and wanted it to be as easy as possible. I didn't want to spend time cooking hard stuff. I wanted it to be easy and fast.

3. I did lose weight, almost 20 pounds in a month!!! But once I did motivation started to go down considerably. Since I had sort of reached my goal of loosing weight, I then plateaued and slowly started to eat whatever I wanted until I had basically gained all the weight back. Time and time again, not matter what plan people are on, it seems like if we are really honest and weight loss is the goal, when we reach it, that drive disappears. We did it. Case closed. And so it goes round and round gaining and loosing over and over until we die. I don't want to live that way. Eating in total freedom with no self-control until I start to blimp out and go crazy with some diet trying to get back to where I was. I want to thrive and KEEP thriving. But how?

I am almost 6 months pregnant, and let me tell you, "eating for two" is starting to take it's toll. Not just in the weight gain, but the way I feel. I get embarrassed when people talk about having heartburn in the last few months when I have it almost every other day. Tumbs is already my BFF, and my energy levels are unpredictable. I know that some of these are just how pregnancy goes for some, but to the extent that I can feed my growing baby good things and take care of my body, I want to do that. I want to have energy to enjoy being pregnant!

I am about to become a stay at home mom at 30, and for the first time in my life I will basically be "stuck" at home a lot of the time (which I couldn't be more excited about). Our budget will get tighter, and I will need to become even more economical with how we spend money on food. Soooooo...all those things put together along with conviction from the Holy Spirit to daily take care of my spiritual life and physical body, and you have my decision to try this thing again...for real. This time, it will be a little different though. Since I would like to do this thing long term and not view it as a diet at all but a way of life (which is the point I think), I will need to make some changes to make room for REAL LIFE.

This is what I plan to do differently this time (which may be counter to what the sisters would say they would suggest that you do, but from my life and experience so far, is what I think will ACTUALLY work for me. Throw the ball where I can hit it type-thing.

1. Be realistic

For everyone this looks different but for me it will look like alternating between home-cooked meals once or twice a week, and some leftovers plus easy go-to stuff the rest of the week that is "mainly" on plan. Since my goal is not just to lose weight, having few, small amounts of carbs every week is not going to kill me. In fact, Saying that I will never again have real spaghetti noodles is just least for me.
Example "REAL LIFE" day:
Breakfast: Eggs/ coffee(should have eaten more- note all the snacks I have to get me thorough the day)
Lunch: Dumplings (just ate insides) with regular sweet chili sauce and green beans (again not really enough food)
Snack: Apple
Snack: hunk of cheese
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Dinner: Store-bought garlic chicken w veggies and gasp....noodles.
Late night snack: Half of a full on omelet (result of not eating enough for meals)

So that is far from a perfect day, and yes, I ate regular noodles with my dinner and had an omelet with cheese and bacon right before bed. And for those of you who are asking the question in your head...I lost 1.5 pounds that day. I know bodies are different, but every time I was hungry...I ATE. Actually two of the three meals were things I bought from the store. I ate some real noodles and still lost weight. Not a ton of noodles, and I tried to mostly eat veggies and chicken, but I would have gone crazy trying to find something on plan. This was REAL LIFE THM day. I ate mostly on plan, and actually ate when I when I was hungry. Although this is especially important during pregnancy when you are feeding a growing baby, I think it is also extremely important to do all the time. If you feel like you are starving...whatever plan you are doing is doomed to fail. We were not meant to starve. 

2. ENJOY it!

What do I mean by this? You know how when you bake cookies and you really just have fun with the whole process? You turn on some music, throw some flour, and taste the batter?  There is joy in just making them and looking forward to the result. I have always really liked the IDEA of baking an cooking, but for various reasons have never really done them a whole lot (with exception of desserts...I am a boss at desserts). With our family growing and budget changing, I have new found motivation to not only save money by doing this, but turning it into a hobby that challenges my mind, and gives me new built in hobby for being a stay at home mom! I want to find my inner-chef and start to actually enjoy being in the kitchen and feeding my family instead of viewing it as a chore and hurdle to loosing weight. The goal is to ENJOY and look forward to doing something I already know I need to do. The only way I will enjoy it is I find recipes that look fun to make. Instead of feeling like I have nothing to eat and eventually giving up because I eat the same thing all the time, with a little planning and creativity, I can not only save money AND eat healthy, but I can have an amazing and fun way to spend my time and energy that has endless benefits. Notice I didn't mention the scale or my body as the goal here.

3. Prepare for potential discouragement traps

Inevitably, there will be things that come up that could be and have been in the past factors in falling off the wagon and giving up. My goal is to plan ahead for these to happen and have the solution already in place.  Some of those might be:

  • Not seeing the change in my body I want to see.  Do I have realistic expectations? Am I placing my worth on how I look or what Christ says about who I am- this is probably also directly related to how much time I am spending meditation on scripture and what influences I am letting influence my heart and mind. 
  • Not having anything to eat and reaching for the chips. Plan ahead and have meals thought out or at least go to snacks until a meal is prepared. When pregnant, HANGRY sets in pretty quickly, and if I can munch on a handful of nuts, that usually gives me enough sanity to think through the next meal. Ideally I would have already thought through dinner, but y' happens.
  • Not have healthy snacks on the go and not thinking ahead when I go out to eat. Put some snacks in the car to eat on the go or on the way to eating out. For me taking the edge off my hunger helps me to make a better menu choice and skipping the chips on the table. Depending on how often one goes out to eat, this can become VERY important. 
  • Getting bored with eating the same things all the time and feeling that my taste buds are slowly dying away never to see the light of day again. The first time I did THM, I kid you not I was depressed thinking about know how you look forward to a really good was the complete opposite of that. Eating had become a means to an end and I was letting all joy to be sucked from my plate. This got a little better as I stopped craving sugar and carbs, but I never really enjoyed eating unless it was THM pancakes or french toast (that should have clued me in right there). I needed to actually get off my butt and make something I like instead of accepting the zombie-like state of  eating yet another bowl of cottage cheese, and going through the motions of eating but never putting in the energy into actually finding and making things that I liked to eat and would keep eating forever. This especially applies to sweet things. Because we NEED sweet things. :)
  • Assuming that my husband has no interest in eating healthy or encouraging me. I'm not sure why I made this assumption, but I just thought that my husband would think everything I was eating was gross and to not even try to get him on board. Now we are still having a hard time with the sugar-free thing and I may never completely win that battle, but I will be darned if I don't at least try to find some things that he enjoys. Long term if I can't feed my family the same stuff I'm cooking, that is also doomed to fail. Making two meals for every one is just not going to happen. I think this has yet to happen because I have not yet actually cooked enough to find the recipes I like and get good at them. 
  • Experimental cooking FAILURES. Part of the discouragement came from the experiment phase when I would try things and they wouldn't be very good. What I failed to remind myself was that there would be just as many cooking failures regardless if I was cooking healthy or not! Finding the perfect recipes just takes TIME! And failure. Sometimes complete and total failure. Like when you buy all the fancy flours, and after tons of work end up with extremely expensive, unbelievably nasty, alien looking "muffins" that look like they belong in the toilet, it's not a surprise I wanted to give up. 
  • Getting back on track after I totally TOTALLY go off plan. This happened to me a lot. I would have a lapse in self-control and eat three donuts thinking that was freedom. The cool thing about this is that if I am viewing this as a lifelong thing, three donuts won't kill me every few months, and if I'm actually mostly of following the plan (especially with sugar), they will probably make me feel sick (i cheated the entire day I was at Disneyland, and upon ordering the LARGE powdered sugar- covered french donuts and attempting to eat them all, I did feel sick). If this is the exception and not the norm, it will feel out of place to eat tons of pizza or tons of donuts. The problem comes when I don't have enough self-control to let it be the exception. For me, that's why actually cutting out sugar for the most part was really hard but maybe the most important for me. More on this in a later post.
  • Trying to do this alone. Just like anything in our life, we kid ourselves if we think we can do anything on our own. First of all, it is God who supplies all our needs. He did not give us a spirit of fear (in the kitchen, on the scale, or otherwise). He gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (this deserves a post all on its own). Using the time I am cooking to pray and meditate on His word is a gift that I rarely open. I also need people! I think I often just think of the body of Christ as sharpening my in my walk with Him spiritually, but who better than to hold me accountable physically that people who are walking closely with God. Those people will be reminding me who I am in Christ, what my true motivation should be, help me when I fall. This is part of doing life together, and I really think there are so many people who just silently try to do this alone. No more. I am, back at the beginning again. This time around though, I think it really is a very good place to start.


Monday, May 25, 2015

La Madeleine

My goal for the dining room was to have a sort of La Madeleine feel to it. That is my very favorite place to eat not just because of the amazing food, but because of the place itself and the cozy french cottage feel it exudes. I have always wanted my house to feel a little bit like that but for a long time thought for whatever reason it would never work and I would fail miserably. I was wrong.

This past year I have been taking risks in our house and ignoring all the unspoken rules about the things you "can't" do. The book "The Nesting Place" given to me by a friend has really helped me change my mindset as I approach projects or a room in my house that I want to change. For instance,
Sanded and stained the top. Painted bottom and replaced
hardware. And easy half-day project (sorry no before picture).
you can't just slap paint on a piece of furniture without sanding the whole thing and going through a million step process because that will mess up a good piece of furniture right? Wrong. I did it. And I LOVE it .

The more I do projects, the more I realize that not only do things not have to be perfect, but in order to get something you really like, sometimes you just have to risk it and see. As long as I'm not spending tons of money, I really don't have anything to lose. So last night when we were arranging the furniture for a completely different room, we ended up needing to move this big cabinet into the dining room and I thought...maybe just maybe...I CAN do this.

This is the view from the living room. The large cabinet I found at Salvation Army. Because they were trying to get rid of big furniture, I got this beauty for $40. We store board games and books in it since our dining room is mainly used for game night in addition to entertaining dinner guests.

The smaller cabinet was once used for speakers. I re-upholstered this piece back in college, and have been moving it around the house ever since. Right now it holds fancy dishes I use for company that I don't want in the kitchen taking up space.

The plant was my big splurge for the room. I wanted a classy pot/plant combo, and wanted to add some white in the room since there is so much brown already. The wooden sign was a dime. A DIME. You can find really amazing stuff at the beginning of a church rummage sale.

The wreath was on another wall and I got it this last year during the Target Christmas clearance. Target Christmas clearance is great place to find nice stuff at a really good price (if you go towards the end of the sale and don't mind slim pickings).

I saved the table for last because it's my favorite. I've had a sisal rug rotatating around the house trying to find the perfect place for it. We placed the table right in front of the window to catch the morning light as we eat breakfast. I have never wanted to eat breakfast in the dining room...until now.

When I started re-decorating the room I cleared everything out and started with a blank slate. That way I could slowly add things purposefully instead of trying to cram a bunch of junk I don't like or use in the space. I ended up with a few little things that I will use and will add life to the room like my rummage sale cheese holder, fresh rosemary from my front yard in a mason jar, and a candle that is the perfect combination of sweet and woodsy.

La Madeleine, welcome home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Flickering lights

It's hard sharing something so close to your heart with strangers.

 It's hard enough sharing with people that love you. I remember so vividly seeing our baby's heartbeat this past April, and feeling so very much like Hannah after she poured out her heart to the Lord when she asked for a child. I just as vividly remember the moment when the ultrasound technician shifted uncomfortably as she looked for the heartbeat at our second appointment, and how short she was with the secretary when she asked for our doctor to immediately come down to our room.

 "Yes, I KNOW what I'm asking for", she said in almost a yell to the secretary, "tell the doctor to come NOW!"

The only way I can describe the feeling when we got the news was that it felt like I was in a dream and was going to wake up any moment. I was crying and I could feel tears streaming down my face, but somehow I felt like I was also very distant, hovering and watching it all happen from above.

 I also distinctly remember looking at Stephen the moment after we found our our baby had died.
We didn't speak a word, but I know we were both feeling as one. Indescribable pain, and a broken Amen.

It's truly only God's grace that can allow a person to fully feel the pain of a loss and at the same time be filled with a compete peace that passes understanding. I never understood that phrase until that moment.

I remember the doctor explaining my options and me knowing without a doubt that I wanted to let it happen naturally. Little did I know what would actually transpire and that my miscarriage would send me by ambulance to the Emergency Room.

I remember Stephen talking to me and reminding me, knowing I tend to shut down and hide when I'm in pain, to let God use me through even this season to be a light, even if a flickering light at times, to a broken world.

I had to get my blood taken right after we left the office at a little place down the street, and I remember just sitting there, silently letting the tears stream down my face as the lady took my blood. I remember thinking how cruel it was to send me in public to be forced to be with people when all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and sleep for a week. As the little lady took my blood, I could sense she wanted to ask me what was wrong, but I didn't want to share with her. She doesn't know me, how can she care about my baby? How can she even begin to understand my pain? She doesn't deserve the right to be invited into this sacred time of grief.

But then I remembered Stephen's words in the car. And I told her. For those of you who have had a miscarriage, telling people, saying those words makes it real. That was the first moment I spoke those words, and it took everything I had, as if I was ripping them out of my heart. At that point I just crumpled into a ball and lost it.

After what seemed like forever, I finally lifted my head. To my surprise, she was crying too. And then she just started talking. She told me of her infertility. She told me of the miracle that led her to having a baby girl. She told me of that baby girl growing into a beautiful thirteen year-old young lady. She wept as she told me how that thirteen year-old young lady, her precious daughter, was tragically killed.

At this point I didn't know if I was crying for me, for her, or for the world. In a blur of tears, snot,  and what can only be the power of the Holy Spirit, we were hugging and praying. And at that moment I knew that my light, though flickering, had been something of a lighthouse to her pain. And suddenly I found myself realizing that maybe me going to this clinic to get my blood drawn wasn't about my baby, but hers.

Maybe it's in our pain that our light shines the brightest. That His light shines the brightest...if we let it. To think I almost shut her out because of my pride and self-pity. The conversation that transpired that day was all God, because there wasn't much of me left. But maybe that's the point.

Maybe pain isn't always about us at all, but about how God can use us through our pain and brokenness to be a lighthouse to the world.

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 
~Matthew 5:13-16

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Kitchen Update

This is my kitchen. I love my kitchen. No really. It's the room in the house that when I walked into it for the first time, I just knew it was THE house. I have probably given this room more attention than any other room in my house not only because I spend most of my time in here, but because I want people to feel drawn to it.  I like to call my decor style modern country cottage. The modern mainly because we have some modern elements in our house that came with it and I sort of just rolled with it. I also like things to be very functional and accessible while still looking simple, uncluttered, and homey. This can prove to be hard at times since those things often conflict. Here are some of the latest updates if you want some relatively cheap ideas for updating and making your kitchen trendy AND functional. I'm of the mindset that the things you use most should be the easiest to access, and the time you will waste by making things just look good is not worth it. I want both. This is a picture of my kitchen. Some of my main problems are that I can't find anything because all my food is so disorganized and jumbled up that I don't know what I have and lots of things expire. Since we will be on a much tighter budget, I need that not to happen. At all. So that was sort of my driving force in organizing...well and for it to look cuter..of course. ;)

Ever since we moved in I have wanted a comfy nook in the corner of the kitchen for the breakfast table. Initially we got a glass table on Craigslist which I have loved (glass is super easy to clean). I know all you mamas out there are cringing and I may have to replace it once we have kids...however...for right now it's perfect...and wouldn't you know, just a few weeks ago, I found the perfect handmade nook on Craigslist. We are just using the table and two of the chairs we already had in the kitchen to go with it and I think it looks great! We had the red pillows already, and let me tell you, it is SUPER comfortable so sit/lay at (I'm laying with my feet up right now)! The blue and white pillows are built in, and they come up for tons of nice storage space. It's a little awkward to get them up, so I store stuff in there that I don't need to get out very often. Breakfast nook. Check.

My next area that I desperately needed to organize was the pantry. My pantry is super deep, so it basically serves as a black hole for all my pantry food. Seriously. Because of it's location, it's also really dark in there and has no lights, so we literally have to get out a flashlight to find anything. Yeah, I have found some slightly really expired stuff way in the back. All that to say, that is how I came up with idea for the canisters above my sink. I already had a row of them above the sink(more for the look than the function), but decided in order to make more room in the pantry I need to take my canisters to the next level. I got the idea to build a shelf so that I could have two rows on canisters. But I wanted it to look cute..and organized. I got two huge pieces of wood from Home Depot and had them cut in half to give me four pieces (make sure you get untreated wood as treated wood has chemicals and can be harmful to breathe in or touch). I then stained the three pieces I would need to use (we will use the forth piece for another project). You can get stain in the paint section of Home Depot.  Instead of screwing or nailing the pieces together, I simply placed them on top of each other since there would only be two stacked and that way I could use them sometime in the future for something else. What you are seeing here are three boards all the same size with one in the front and two stacked on each other in the back. These were wide enough to serve as the two shelves for my canisters.

The next step was to decide what foods to put in the canisters and label them. You can find the FREE  and EDITABLE labels I used here (big rectangle labels) and here (tag labels). I used these FREE fonts to make my labels. I laminated them and used twine to hang each label around the canister. I used some tape to make sure they hung just right on the canister. These are the canisters I used. I bought some at Wal-Mart and some at Target, but they are fairly common and inexpensive canisters. I used the 1.0 ounce size canisters. Once I had them all ready I put them up!! The only problem I ran into was that the second row of canisters weren't quite high enough to read the whole label. For some of you that wouldn't be a problem, but because I'm a little crazy when it comes to things looking right, it was driving me crazy. So I got some cork coasters from Target and put one below each canister. I also staggered the canisters so it's easier to see them.You can still see the stained wood shelves behind the canisters. Just make sure you get the correct color of stain to match your cabinets.

Another project that I did in the kitchen was to put out my spices in a way that encourages me to cook but also looks organized (I don't like clutter or lots of things on the counter). I ended up finding this idea to make a magnetic wall and put the spices in labeled tins. First I found a magnetic wall sheet on Amazon (something similar to this) and bought the tins from this wholesale company. You need to buy some kind of magnets for the back of the tins (unless you want to pay a huge amount for tins that already have magnets on the back). I bought little tiny circle ones that were super strong and just put two or three on the back of each tin. Because I didn't want my spice wall to be distracting or look gaudy, I got really minimal clear labels that have the different spices on them. They are a little hard to read, so you may want to get a different kind if you want to be able to see them easily.

Now that I had made quite a bit of space in my pantry using the canister shelf above my sink, I had room to play with. I decided that instead of stuffing it to the gills, I would try to make it really organized and keep it that way by eating what we have before buying tons more (only have two or three cereals instead of five partially eaten boxes)...If somebody outside of The U.S. is reading this they are probably shaking their head...really America...five cereals??? I know. It's terrible. But anyway the point is for us to be able to see what food we have and eat it before buying anything else (I'm trying here). I still had the problem of not being able to see in the pantry. So I decided to put our little clicky lights to good use. Here is a picture of the top shelf of the pantry with our little clicky light. It's actually kind of amazing, and makes my beans and corn look really glamorous, don't you think?

A few other things I added were some much needed cabinet organizers so I can see and access pans easily. I am still working on some of the drawers, but overall it's much better. Something I love in my kitchen that is very me is my apron wall. I'm a huge believer in using what I have and so my little collection of aprons is put to good use by having them very accessible and ready for baking parties and what not (which we have a lot). :) This is probably the most cluttered looking area of the kitchen, but since it's on the wall, it sort of serves as a decoration too, right? Anyway, I used these really cool hooks from Hobby Lobby that are actually three hook in one and they all swing from side to side. This maximizes how many aprons I can hold on the wall. My very last thing I love is my bread box. I found it for a few bucks at Goodwill. I love everything about it. That's about it! Nothing too fancy, but it has made a huge difference in the way I use and enjoy my kitchen. I hope some of these ideas inspire you to make your kitchen feel like you!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Study

The Coffee Room We have had a little room off one side of our kitchen set up as a "coffee room" since we moved into our house. From the moment I saw that room the very first time I walked in the house, I knew it was to be a coffee room for the youth at our church. We wanted a house that was good for entertaining and having the kids over in large quantities for gatherings, Bible studies etc. It served its purpose well. There were constantly kids going through and making unique combinations of coffee mixed with an array of creamers, and always a spill or two about on the counters and the "fixins cart". A handful of the kids would head straight to that room when they came through the door and spent quite a bit of time sitting, creating, laughing, spilling, and just being together.

Now that we are no longer youth leaders at the church and haven't been for half a year, it seems time to make a change. Every time I  look at the room I am reminded of all the memories that were had there and smile. But up until yesterday I haven't been able to bring myself to do anything else with the room except look at it. It's almost like I was avoiding it. It's in a very small way like when someone leaves a loved one's room exactly the same after they pass away because they don't want to really move on, and keep thinking that somehow everything will go back to the way it was if they just wait a while longer. The reality is that we are in a different season now, a beautiful season at that, and it's finally time to move on.

It's a ROOM, I know. It's not a person. Some of you are probably thinking that I'm talking about it like it were ACTUALLY a person. I tried putting a short little post about it on facebook and it just felt...empty. Like I was trying to sweep the significance under the rug and call it a day. It felt somehow worthy of pausing for a moment if only to drink in what it's like for things to change. For seasons to change. To mourn the loss of the change but also to look forward with joy and hope.  What once was the perfect little nook for gathering to make a hot beverage and talk about life now just seemed like an awful long way to walk to make a morning cup of coffee.

 I have always been a huge advocate for putting to good use every room in my house, and though I loved that coffee room, with its light up clock and cafe decor, we just are not using it. I'm not sure exactly what happened yesterday, but something clicked, and we completely changed the whole room in one evening. Maybe my "use what you have or give it away" mentality finally overrode my emotional attachment, or maybe I'm just really lazy and don't want to walk an extra fifteen steps in the morning.  Either way, in one afternoon a season changed for good. Goodbye old friend. You were well loved and we won't forget your memories.  

Grandpa's Chair Though I do feel a bit sad because changing the room makes our moving on more "final", I'm actually really excited about what it has become. We turned it into a study of sorts. I have a great red chair that I got at the church rummage sale a few years ago that's just my size (still looking for one to match it), and my favorite books to surround myself with.

My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and he had this amazing study where he kept many of his books. In the middle of tons of bookshelves was this chair. This was the kind of chair you knew without a doubt had been used...A LOT. When I picture my grandpa I either picture him working outside with his infamous hard hat, or sitting in a chair looking very serious and reading. So anyway my inspiration for the study came from him.

I have quite a few of his books, and some of them he really marked up. I decided to christen the room by reading his most marked up book of them all, The Handbook of Christian Apologetics. I started with a light read, I know. This is one of those books that I have to read VERY slowly. I got through a whole four pages this morning, and I felt like I had accomplished a lot. It's one of those books where you read a sentence, re-read it, and then cross your eyes and read it one more time just to be sure you didn't miss something. But I'm excited that I will have to read it slowly, not only to absorb the most I can, but to savor a book that my grandpa so clearly did.

On every single page there are sentences underlined and lots of scribbled notes in the margins. There are dog-eared pages everywhere as well as bookmarks, stains, and little inserted notes. As I sat down to read the first pages early this morning as the sun started to stream in through the window, it's as if I was sitting down with my grandpa to read. I could just imagine him smiling or furrowing his brow and bending down to scribble a note here or underline something there. With every page turn there were more little gifts left from him for me to find. I decided I would make marks of my own in a bright pink highlighter. My favorite is when I find myself highlighting over the same text he already underlined. Someday I hope to pass it to one of my children or grandchildren and just watch the look on their face when they open it up. I can say one thing with certainty. Every time I sit down in my new study in my comfy red chair and pop open my book to read, I will pause a moment and remember my grandpa. Who knows, maybe he is watching me from heaven and getting a good laugh every time I cross my eyes.

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