Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2 years down

     Exercise.  That word alone can bring on a wide range of emotions from dread to excitement. For me exercise started out as a means to an end. I wanted to run a 5K with my son and  I simply wanted to not be overweight anymore. I also wanted to my Wii fit lady to not get all short and squaty, frown, and tell me I was in the obese category. I wanted to wear cute clothes and not be the fat twin anymore. I wanted to be skinny. On June 18, 2012 I did my first day of Couch to 5k. Run for 60 seconds it says, sure no problem I got this!! Turns out I did not have this, not even by a little bit. Those 60 seconds were some of the most miserable moments of my life! Was I really this out of shape that 60 seconds was going to put me out?? Apparently I was because I feel like I barely survived that first day. There were some definite touch and go moments that first day. I surprisingly did survive and I went back two more times that week. I was so proud  that I basically was high fiving myself as I went down the sidewalk.
     My starting weight was 176. No bueno is all I can say about that. My goals that  week were to survive first and foremost then to stick with it and lose 40lbs. I had seen enough Biggest Loser seasons to know that by Christmas I should be slim and trim and at my 135 goal. I also knew to not get my hopes up since I wasn't actually on the Biggest Loser and my results would be no where near as astronomical as the contestants were. Week two I weigh myself and drum roll........ I weighed in at 176! What?? Nothing changed! How did that happen!? I worked out three days and I changed my eating habits! Ok no worries I got this! I continued to weigh myself and for 8 weeks that scale never budged. Thank God I wasn't a BL contestant because I would have been kicked off weeks ago!
After a month or so I realized that I was actually enjoying working out! Gasp! I know I was shocked as well when I had this little epiphany. I had a desire to go to the gym and I loved the feeling of accomplishment I felt when leaving that place.
      I had read a thing on pinterest that said "Six months from now will you regret not starting today?" That little quote was my motivation to give it a try. I mean what did I have to lose? Weight? Perfect! As I said before the weight didn't just come off and in fact it still hasn't. Today marks two years since my first day to of Couch to 5k. I have been working out faithfully for two solid years and I have only lost 14lbs. My body seems to be stuck at 162. I have gotten down to 157 for about 3 seconds, but I am consistently at 162. It is pretty common to gain weight during the winter season and I feel it is directly related to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the fact that we don't have to be seen in a swimsuit. Even though I was still working out it had slowed down to 1 or 2x's a week I gained about 10lbs. I should also point out that I stopped weighing myself. I did so because I was focusing more on what those stinking numbers said or in my case didn't say and not focusing on the positive changes I was making. 
     For me and so many others I have some health issues that have kept my body from working like a "normal" body. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 5 years ago and my thyroid is non working. The thyroid is the brain of the body kind of and it is in control of basically every part of how your body works. Without it your body is driving with its eyes closed and eventually it will crash. Once it crashes it takes a lot of work to get it back up and running and unfortunately it is never as good as it was before. This past April I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease that effects the skin. It was after this that I decided to cut out Gluten. All of the research I was doing kept pointing to the fact that my body was attacking itself and gluten was the culprit. After my diagnosis I started on a gluten free diet the next day. Lots of tough choices there, but that is a whole different post! I went back to the doctor after 40 days for a check up and low and behold I had lost 7lbs!! This had never happened that fast in the entire time I had worked out!! Bad news though is I was back and stuck at that 162 number that I just could not get rid of. 
     I post this blog book to mark my two year anniversary, but to also maybe encourage others who are working hard and not achieving those Biggest Loser results. So what have I learned in 2 years? I have learned that I really enjoying working out! I love that my kids see me and work out with me and I am creating good habits for them to continue when they have moved out. Once you start to workout your body craves it! My kids do and will continue to crave movement and exercise when they have flown the coop ( moved out for those non country people).  When you exercise and even more so since we have cut Gluten out of our diets you make better choices when it comes to eating.  I can not even begin to describe the sense of accomplishment that comes from feeding myself and my family healthy food! It is like non other! I have learned how to actually work out on my own! Thanks for the help of my friend Bethany who meet me at the gym and kicked my booty and Reggie Parker who did a boot camp they both taught me so much when it comes to working out and using my own body weight as the tools to get fit! I have found that I prefer to go to the local track and workout more than I do the gym. And yes my body has changed even though the scale has not moved much. I have lost over 10 inches in my waist and gone down two pants sizes! I can do a sit up now!! With three csections I didn't think this was ever going to be possible! I can feel and see muscles in my body. I went from doing one push up to being able to do at least 20 real pushups in a row. I am more confident in everything I do now because I know I am healthier. My goal is not just be skinny now, my goal is to be fit and teach my kids a life style that will  last them forever. I want to a be a mom with muscles, a mom who can run with her kids, swing at the park with them, play with them, ride bikes with them, and enjoy so many other activities I could not enjoy two years ago. 
     I know for so many people they say they simply do not have the time, but when there is a will there is a way. Pinterest and you trusty google  search option are great places for finding exercise you can do in the privacy of your own home. You do not need a pricey gym membership to get in shape. Find a group of like minded people and set up times to meet and do things! Sherry and I meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 7 people with an open invite to other families who want to be active. If you are local to us we would love for you to join us!! We bring our kids with us and we workout about an hour. I work three part time jobs and I  have three kids who are very active in sports so I very much understand busy schedules, but when you want it bad enough you make the time even if it is a doing walking lunges down your hall as you head to the bathroom. Here are a few before and after pictures to share to show that even though my scale didn't move much, but body did change. The black outfits are from Nov. 2013, Jan. 2014 and June 2014. The face pics are from May 2012, May 2013 and June 2014.  The green dress and black workout are June 2012 and June 2014. The workout picture is Bethany and myself after an awesome workout at the track.  The green dress picture is the one that made me decide I need to do something because I didn't like what I saw. Good luck on your health life style! Two years down and hopefully 50 more! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer is here!!

     I love summer! I love the heat, sitting by the pool, shorts and tank tops,  and no alarm clocks that require getting kids out the door ready for school in approximately 17.5 minutes from the time they woke up. I love every little detail!
    Are you like me a lover of the season  or are you already counting down the days until summer is over?  Two months and some odd days until the first day of school in case you are counting. I wonder if it depends on what stage of life you are in that makes a difference with being ready or not  for summer. For my family, we do college ministry and so when the schools are off so are we! We get to rest and catch our breath and  take longer family moments together. For my sister who works as a Reading Assistant teacher she has the same schedule as her kids and together they get to enjoy every minute of those 2 1/2 months. I have several working mom friends  who find summers a challenge because it  brings the desire  to be home with their children, but still needing that paycheck. They start in the spring time looking for camps, child care, VBS,  and other activities their kids can do to keep busy. Stay at home moms have the same challenges in trying to find things to occupy their kids time and avoid the dreaded "Mom I am bored! What can we do!!" spill the kids give.  What about you? Do you love summer or find it a challenge? Maybe you are on the fence and have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. What do you do during this "free" time? How do you keep your self and your kids sane during the endless summer days?
   As a mother of 5 let me be the first to say that having a plan is essential to my sanity. Without one you will find me banging my head against a wall in the corner with a blank stare in my eyes. Here are some things we have planned  for  this summer. My husband found this water balloon kit for about $5 at Walmart. We bought two sets and plan on having a huge water balloon fight. Before we start the rules are as follows.........the baby wins :) And by baby I mean she is 5, but seeing that she is the last of the five kids, she will always be my baby. She is allowed to  throw water balloons at everyone, but they can't  hit her.  This may be a bad parenting tactic, but we will deal with that later and in another blog.
    Painting is a must, which of course will be fun for me because I love to paint, but having ways to keep it stress free make it easier no matter if you love to paint or not. We have an old sheet, coloring books, paper, different size paint brushes, old and new water color kits, and plastic cups for water, all  which are stored together in a plastic storage container. You could even add in some old shirts or paint aprons to keep with the gear. This makes is super convenient for kids to grab on their own and get started with out us having to spend hours hunting down those darn paint brushes. I don't even have to help with clean up because  my kids range in ages 16-5, but if you have younger kids, you can set the number of pages they do so they don't go crazy and paint one stripe on all 400 pages on that Giant coloring book you just bought. Also you  MUST use water colors because it wipes off easily and dries fast. Using coloring books give them another option besides crayons and added bonus if you  get a coloring book of letters  it is great summer practice for little ones and helps the bigger ones not forget everything they learned in school!
    Egg hunts is always fun to do and it doesn't have to be something that is only done during Easter. You can do some many things with them like hide money, candy, riddles, or even clues to a fun adventure you are having later that week. For example you can hide a letter in each egg and once they find them all they have to unscramble  the word to see where they are going. Maybe it is the pool, the park, a visit to the grandparents, or maybe even going to get ice cream.

    A few other quick ideas are:
1. Turn off the electronics! Hold on mommas hear me out before you start running in circles screaming at the mere thought of taking away your "quiet time".  I have found time and time again that when I make my kids turn off the tv, ipod, or anything else that involves electricity they will start using their imagination!! Ok let me honest first they will probably fall to the floor and cry and maybe stomp their feet, but if you stick to your guns ( don't actually bring out the guns) they will see that you are not going to budge and they will find something to do!! At the very least they are giving their brains and eyes a break.
2. Find local parks and use them! We have at least 5 that are fairly close to our house and we will be going! I usually try to post on Facebook letting my friends know that we will be here at such and such time and have them join us! Pack a lunch and make a day of it!
3. Pool!! What fun would the summer be if you didn't get into some sort of water! We will be visiting our YMCA pool, but most areas have public pools that you can use and they only cost a small fee.
4. BMX- this is a great sport without a huge commitment. You can go when you can and if you can't no problem because there is not penalty. It runs all summer into November. Check your area to see if you have a track.
    We are also going to be doing some traveling this summer and our first challenge is always who sits where.  With  7 of us we take up every inch of space. If you have any suggestions to make this time in the car less stressful and "fair" for all involved so someone doesn't have to sit in the middle the whole way or next to someone that would be awesome. Prayers are always appreciated as we embark on a vogue with our slew of kids and keep our sanity intact!
    Melinda and I have 8 kids between the two of us so we would love to hear how you keep summer a fun time  and make awesome memories and avoid your children counting down the days till school starts simply to escape the boredom! Have a blessed and eventful summer!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Going Gluten free

      I am on day 39 of going gluten free. Thirty nine days saying no to the donuts at school and the delicious cup cakes parents bring. Thirty nine days of saying no to Starbucks and birthday cake and 39 days of saying no to Marco's pizza. Deciding to go gluten free was not an easy choice in fact I have done it twice before.......for about 13 seconds. Four years ago when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's ( an autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid) I researched and found many studies informing me that taking gluten out of my diet was the way to go. I decided to do it then was immediately overwhelmed at all I had to take out and all I had to do.  This time was different though, this time I was going to do it!! 40 days ago I went in for a regular check up and was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease. I knew this was a possibility as it has been said that once you have one you are more susceptible to more. This one took me by surprise though because it involved a part of my body I use daily. As I did research on it I was again seeing that a gluten free diet could help. I decided then and there that if this can happen to something I use everyday imagine what may be happening to the inside of my body that I can't see. I didn't want to wait till it was to late to see the damage. I decided to be proactive and try to stop this attack my own body was fighting with it's self. 

Day 1- I am probably going to die of starvation. No worries about an autoimmune getting the best of me because starvation will be what does me in. 
Day 2- My sister and friend Tara both gave me awesome advice, they said to not focus on what I can't eat, but on what I CAN eat. Such a small little sentence, but so powerful to me! Instead of saying I can't eat bread, bagels, crackers, ice cream, Marcos, and so much more I needed to say I can eat all meats, all veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, and salads!! My prognosis of starving to death is looking slimmer and slimmer.
Day 3- 39 I have become this person when I see someone eating something containing gluten.

      I don't want to be this crazed lady who slaps bagels out of strangers hands, but with all the research I have done it just makes sense!! I will spare you the sciencey ( made up word) stuff regarding gluten, but let me just say that there is so much information telling us how it is not good for us. 
Autoimmune, headaches, skin disorders, ADHD, Alzheimers, inflamation  and about a million other things are linked to a sensitivity to gluten. I highly recommend in my non medical license sort of way that everyone research gluten and decide for themselves if it is the right choice for them to remove it from their diets.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's just like a riding a bike....

Whoever came up with the phrase "It's just like riding a bike" has obviously never waited 23 years to ride a bike again. Close to 2  1/2 years ago my husband went on a mission to buy us all bikes. He searched Craig's list far and wide and found us the best deals on some new wheels. In March 2013 our middle son started racing at the local BMX track and ever since then we have been a bike riding family. Let me clarify when I say we I mean they. They my wonderful family has been riding bikes Our daughter also started racing at the BMX track so every week we are around bikes and I am on the side lines. This year my husband started taking the kids to the greenway in hopes of building muscle, soaking in some sun, and enjoying the great outdoors. I imagine he would go to sleep at night and dream of us all  riding our bikes in  sashaying movements down the 8-9 mile trail. He has yet to give up on that dream.

Let me give you a little background on myself and bikes. I grew up riding them all the time. My sister and I had matching Pink Huffy bikes with baskets and tassel things which hung from the handlebars. We woke up on Christmas morning one year and found them in front of the tree. We were beyond giddy at what Santa at left us and we rode those bikes around the kitchen all morning!! I don't remember having any bikes after those so I feel confident that at the latest of age I was 15 the last time I rode a bike. Fast forward 23 years and that brings you to this year. With this exception of the several yards I rode last year I have not even sat on a bike in over 2 decades.

This brings you up to date to my current bike riding experience. I am in much better shape than I was two years ago so when my husband ask if I want to go ride bikes with them on the greenway I say heck yea!! I mean really how hard can it be!! It's just like riding a bike had to come from somewhere right? Obviously that means I will hope back on and it will be just like I was a kid again with my hair blowing in the wind, feet sticking out in the front, and me gliding down the sidewalk! Since I knew I needed to warm up a little my husband took me to a deserted parking lot and I drove around approximately 5 minutes. After this time my husband said "Alright your ready! Let's go!"  I reluctantly say ok and head to the greenway to help my husband's dreams come true.

We pull up and park and get our bikes out and the kids are excited that we are all there together! Within mere seconds the boys are out of sight and it is just my husband, myself, and our daughter. Everything is going great!! I am totally doing this! I can feel the wind blowing in my face!! I am holing my balance!! This is so great and I am so glad my husband wanted to do this!! I loveeee him!!!!! 
Then we get to the "Haunted Forest" which is the area between Tinsley Park and Cleveland High School. Upon approaching the entrance my daughter informs me of it's name and tells me that we do not stop for ANYTHING!! We come to the entrance and I know that we have to ride like the wind!! My daughter is leading the way with me in the middle and my husband as the caboose. Well clearly my "ride like the wind" and Elizabeth's "ride like the wind" are two entirely different things because she is flying!! I can't keep up and be expected to not run over and kill every pedestrian on the path!! I tell my husband to keep up with her and that I will be fine because after all " it's just like riding a bike" and I have done this a hundred times in my life. Famous last words.....I'll be fine...... I am coming up behind a group of 4 people. I slow down and I tell them I am coming up on their left. The scootch over the tiniest of bits which sends me into a slight panic. Don't they know I am a newby? Can't that tell by the way I yell out "Left" that I might not really know what I am doing yet? When I want you to scoot over I mean over as in the grass...on the other side. I am going to need about 6 feet of space to possible be able to make it through. Well they clearly did not get that memo and they gave me about a foot and a half. That foot and a half might as well have been 3 inches because there was no way I was fitting my bike through that unrealistically small space. The edge of course was a drop off and by drop off I mean death defying cliff. I tried I really did, but I failed. I went off the "cliff" all 2 inches of it and flew off my bike in the what I am sure was a batch of poison ivy. The four people I unsuccessfully tried to pass came rushing over to see if I was ok. A woman on the phone kept walking like she didn't just see the most humiliating scene in my life happen. I don't them I was fine ( I wasn't) as I dusted the dirt and leaves off of myself. I started to get back on my bike and the stranger showed me that my handlebars were completely backwards which of course would hinder my ride of shame I was about to embark on. After I was good to go I said thank you and reassured them I was fine even when I actually wasn't. I rode my bike about 13 feet when I came to where Paul and Elizabeth were waiting on me. I told him what had just happened and we laughed and chatted for  a second as the people who witnessed my greenway dimiss walked by. Then it happened. I couldn't help it. I cried. I cried because I was humiliated. I cried because I was mad Paul had left me alone even though I told him to. I cried because now I hated him just a little for throwing me out on the "interstate" with only one test drive, and I cried because quite frankly my behind hurt where I fell on a stick or rocks or something hard in the ditch. I decided I was going to head back to the van, but that there was no way I was riding that bike back so I pushed the bike which was perfectly fine back 2 miles.

The good news is I am not giving up because the 2.1 miles before the crash were great and I loved it. Plus my husband really wants us to do this. So I have gone a few more times in the parking lot and practiced some more and only had one almost crash. Which that in it's self is sad because I was a parking lot.... and I almost crashed. Today for Mother's day my husband took me alone with no kids to distract me  or ride faster than I could, he took me alone on the greenway. He stayed behind me and went as slow as I needed. We only did half of  the trail and he stopped and walked every time I needed him to. I didn't crash and I am getting better. I will do it again and it will be awesome and we will be that family all together on the greenway. In the meantime if you hear me coming up from behind and I yell "to your left!!" I am gonna need you to get off the path for me. Ok? Thank for understanding.

Melinda Nicodemus

Thursday, May 8, 2014


So you have decided today is the day!! You are going to lose weight and get healthy! You already have a membership to your local gym that has been going to waste for months or maybe even years like mine had. First week goes by and you are doing awesome! No ice cream after dinner and the water intake has doubled. Weight in day comes and you are envisioning big weight loss numbers!! You step on to see how much your hard work has paid off and the numbers are the EXACT SAME as day one!! Ok Ok no worries you think to yourself I got this and you start week 2. At the end of your second week you step on the scale again only to see the same stinking number as day one. Week's 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are the same. No weight loss. Frustrating right? You want to quit and eat cake right? Well this is exactly what happened to me.      I have been overweight for 14 years since the birth of my first son and I have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight several times. I have always failed and that my friend can be hard on the self esteem. In June 2012 I changed my goals so instead of being obsessed with losing weight I wanted to be able to run a 5k with my oldest son. If I lost weight great, but if I didn't that would be ok because I knew every day I was off the couch was a step in the right direction. As I mentioned previously I went 7 weeks with no weight loss. I worked out at a minimum of 3 days a week and drastically changed my eating habits ( good bye taco bell drive thru- moment of silence for that.....) and I expected the 40 lbs I needed to lose to get to my goal weight would basically slide right off my body. I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that damaged my thyroid so I knew it would be harder for me to lose weight than your average gal, but now that I was putting the effort in surely it would work!  In those 7 weeks that scale did not move, but I could tell I was getting stronger and that my endurance was increasing. I could also tell that I was in fact getting smaller.
        June 18, 2013 was my one year anniversary of day 1 of couch to 5 k and my scale is only 16 lbs lighter. If I were on a weight loss show I would have been kicked off a long time ago for that tiny number! Those shows are great for motivation and tips, but when we compare ourselves to their drastic numbers it can be very discouraging. Many times I have literally cried to God asking him "why can't I lose this weight!? Why do I have to be the fat twin ( a position no one wants)? Why do I have to work so flipping hard when others are already at their goals in half the time!?? Why is that scale not moving!? " I know that God does not desire to see us unhappy, or unhealthy, or overweight just as we parents do not desire to see our children hurting. I know he has plans for me and maybe that is to help motivate those who are struggling to lose the weight and it is not falling off of them, or maybe it is for me to take this entire year to really make sure I have my act together and I won't fall off the "bandwagon" when things get tough. I know the numbers on my scale do not define me.  I know I have to earn my body and take it one day at a time. I know I am stronger, healthier, more confident, more able to keep up with my children, adding years to my life, setting good examples for my kids, encouraging others, down 2 pants sizes and 10 inches off my waist and I know that I worked so hard for those 16 lbs!! It did not take a day, week, or probably even  a year for your body to get in the shape it is in so it will take some time to get it in the shape you want. If you fail today and give into that cake that is ok just start fresh tomorrow. Don't beat yourself up on the times you fail. Each day is a new day and just as God forgives us each time we fail we have to forgive ourselves each time as well. If you are deciding to start today then I am already so proud of you and your decision! Be proud of yourself!! You are taking that first step which is always the hardest! Be sure to take measurements and do not weigh yourself everyday! Find friends to help keep you on the right track and ones that will not bring you the cake I mentioned. I read a thing once that said "six months from now will you regret not starting today?" Make today the start of your journey and keep pushing forward.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Melinda Nicodemus 

What's in your book?

I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and woman. Each of these come with their own emotions and responsibilities. Each with their own stories. Most of us like to talk and share these stories, but do we really tell everything? We all have heard the saying " You can't judge a book by it's cover" well this is especially true of women. We all have our cover photo that represents us; we are smiling, happy, clean, and perfect. Our back cover tells a little about ourselves; how long we have been married, how many kids, hobbies, where we attend church etc. This is what we share the people.....the exterior of our "books". Rarely do we take the time to read/listen to the pages of someone's book. It usually goes like this
"How are you today?
"I am great!" "You?"
" We are doing wonderful! Great to see you! Let's get together soon!!"
"Call me!"
Inside you are screaming "I not great!! I am sad,I am lonely, my marriage is struggling, I need a break, I need advice, I need a friend.'
We as a whole do not take the time to get to the nitty gritty of the book.....our lives. We have all been there and we have all needed that someone we can call and really talk to and know that  they will not judge and they will  listen. Be that someone. If you see a mom struggling with her child go over and offer your help instead of thinking " gosh that child is a brat!! The parent must be doing something wrong. Mine would never......" It is so easy to forget the struggles you once faced yourself when they are behind you. We you say "Let's do lunch!" make the effort to actual go to lunch with them. Take the time to listen and "read the pages" of their books. Pursue friendships and show that person that you care and they are important. It can mean the world to someone. It can change their life.
Each part of us has it's own unique story, but we can all find common ground when we are  honest and share our stories. Do not let your attitude rob  you of one of   God's greatest blessings. Friendship

Melinda Nicodemus

Facebook and marriages

  It's Friday night and your are doing your usual super exciting routine of browsing Facebook. You mindlessly scroll through reading about everyone's day ( the good, the bad, and the boring). " Oh look" you think to yourself  "Jim and Barb are celebrating  15 years today and she loves him more today than the day they got married. Really?? Is that even possible?? Michelle and Jason remind everyone they are going out on their weekly date complete with a ooey, gooey, snuggly picture of the two of them. Caption saying how essential it is to have one on one time if you want  a happy marriage. You continue to scroll and continue to read all the while you don't realize you are setting yourself up for failure. It may not happen the first time, but slowly and surely you start to compare yourself/your marriage to these fairy tale marriages that only exists on Facebook.

     Sure parts of it are true, but so much is left out.  Jim and Barb are in fact celebrating 15 years today and yes Barb is hopelessly in love with Jim, but what she didn't post is last year she and Jim felt they had no other option and were headed for divorce. And yes Michelle and Jason make it a priority to go out each week because they both came from divorced families and they know the devastation it can cause to a child. Social media is awesome and I for one love it and no I do not think you should share every fight you and your spouse have. But I think we as a society need to be mindful of what we post and more importantly what we read.

    Over the years I have personally talked to two women who called to vent ( venting is good for the soul). Both felt their marriages were doomed and headed for divorce. Less than 24 hours after speaking on the phone with these ladies they posted a status saying how in love they were with their husbands and how awesome their spouses were. Instead of happiness I felt sadness because I knew that some other wife was struggling right now in her marriage and she needed someone she could talk to who could support her, pray with her, listen to her, sympathize and understand her. What she found on Facebook was another woman who has the best husband and is so very much in love. I imagine her walking away from her computer feeling lonely, hopeless, sad, and defeated. All of her friends have these "perfect" husbands, and "perfect" marriages, and they are "perfectly" in love. They could never understand what it feels like to be married to  a stranger. To go to bed each night with your spouse with in arms reach, but feeling absolutely alone. They have no idea what you are going through. Social media is a flip book of our lives and we are the author and publishers and  usually only allow the good to be published.

      For me personally  I have been married almost 17 years and we have had our ups and downs. I have wanted a divorce more than that I care to admit, I have loved him more than the day we got married over and over again. We have fought and yelled and kissed and made up. We have gone to bed angry and  we have held grudges for more than a day. We have forgiven and moved on and grown up together. We will do all these over again in the next 17 years and if I am being honest probably in the next 6 months.
We can not compare ourselves to  Jim and Barb or Michelle and Jason ( fake people by the way) for the simple reason we are not them. Imagine going to  the library and all the books had a different family on the cover, but the stories inside were the same. We would never go to the library! God created us all as individuals and our marriages should be our own unique love stories. When you read someone's status update keep in mind that is one sentence in the book of their lives.

Melinda Nicodemus

Fairy Tale Marriages

Do they really exists? From the days of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty the idea of a Prince coming and sweeping of off our feet has been a magical dream. These stories always end with "And they lived happily ever after..." I think today's versions of a "Fairy Tale" marriage may be a little different.

    In my opinion it is unrealistic to think your marriage will never involve arguments or disagreements. Your marriage will be different from everyone's because  you are marrying your soul mate and you love him/her with every fiber in your body.

    So the question remains do they really exists? Sure they do, but it is not as simple as "and they lived happily ever after". A fairy tale marriage involves first and foremost commitment. The desire to be committed to each other no matter what from day one till death do us part. They also involve being submissive. If women submit to their husbands and the husbands love their wives  as Christ loved the church  as the bible states in Ephesians 5: 22-33 then we will be striving to please each other. Another important aspect of a fairy tale marriage is compromise. Compromising your wants, needs, and desires for your spouses. Fairy tale marriages also have couples who are willing to work hard at it. Marriages are not easy and as humans we have the tendency to be selfish which doesn't work in a marriage. We have probably all heard the expression "rose colored glasses" which simply means you are looking at the world  with a "distorted" view making everything amazing. You look at your spouse  like they are the most amazing, beautiful, sexiest thing you have ever laid eyes on. The 3 D's are a part of this marital equation as well and they are devotion, dedication, and desire. You are devoted to your spouse and only your spouse. You have their back in every situation. They have your dedication to be there through the good times and bad and through sickness and in health. You have the desire to be together and you enjoy each others company. You choose to hang out together in your free time. Last and certainly not least fairy tale marriages involve patience. Patience to deal with the husbands when they have the common cold, yet act like they are dying. Patience for the wives when they are PMSing and cry over everything. Patience to love, learn, and grow old together.

   Love in patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Fairy Tale Marriages don't just happen they are earned.

Melinda Nicodemus

The Power of Words

There are only 26 letters in the English language. These letters put together can do amazing things! They also have the ability to break a person. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me isn't necessarily true. Ask any child who has ever been told they won't amount to anything or that they are stupid and they can tell you about the emotional scars left by words. Words can lift you up or tear you down. Words can make you feel beautiful or ugly. Words can make or break you.

In elementary school Becky Russell told me I had pointy elbows and trust me when I say it was not a compliment. I am now 37 and I am still very aware of   my pointy elbows. Not one other person in all those years has ever said anything good or bad about my elbows, yet the scars and embarrassment Becky caused me that day in the lunch room has stuck with me for years. If I were to see her today she more than likely would have no idea who I even was.

This weekend I went to the Encounter with my church which is a ladies weekend retreat. One of the speakers said "If the words you have spoken this weekend were to pop up above your head in a little box would they be words that speak life or filled with poison? Such a great analogy! We  all say things we don't mean sometimes or at least I  hope I am not the only one who has spoken in anger before. Do I wish I could say I have been perfect and I have never raised my voice and spoken to my kids or husband with harsh words? Heck yea I do! I am human and I make mistakes. Let's take a look at the power words actually have when we use them.

Words have the power to bring unmeasurable joy! The first time your baby says momma or dada! Need I say more? Such happiness over such tiny words. The first time you hear I love you from your significant other or when they whisper sweet nothings in your ear. The compliments from a friend or even better a stranger! The news of a baby, or that you got the job you wanted, the words "Will you marry me?" All of these bring joy beyond belief!

Words have the power to bring sadness and hurt. Words like cancer, death, and  miscarriage can bring on a crippling  amount of sorrow. The moment when your child says "I don't want to hold your hand anymore" or " please drop me off here so my friends don't see me with you." Phrases like "You did not get accepted" or "you have not been approved". Unimaginable hurt can come from the words "I don't love you anymore", "I hate you", "I want a divorce", or " I have met someone else".

Words can bring on love and confidence. When you hear "I love you! You are awesome!" Things like "I am so proud of you!" "You are beautiful and funny and wonderful!" "I can't wait to see you!" "I have missed your face!" " You are a great mother, friend, person, wife, husband, or child." Words like "I love you no matter what."

Words can bring on anger and self doubt. "You will never amount to anything", You're just like your father/mother and he/she was good for nothing!",  "I wish you were more like your sister/brother", "You must be stupid to not have known that", or  "What's the matter with you!". Words like hate, idiot, loser, ugly, pathetic, stupid, fat, wimp, are just a few of the words people say on a daily basis that can cause everlasting emotional scars.

Words have to power to forgive and be forgiven  by saying " I am sorry" and "please forgive me". Words can teach children to talk and preach the word of God.

I for one am going to be more mindful of the words I say. I want to speak life into my children. I want to speak always in love to my husband. I want my friends, family, children, and spouse to know I adore them. I want my children to be confident that as they fall asleep they are loved and cared for. I want them to never doubt how I feel for them and I want them to never regret anything I have ever said to them. I want my husband to know my love for him runs deep. I want my words to express respect and love to my parents for raising me. I want my words to express gratitude to God for sending his son to die on the cross for me. I want my words to speak like and not poison. What do your words say? What do you want them to say?

Melinda Nicodemus


Where to start....We want to do so much and we have so much to say. Random life crap between two twins and a total of 8 kids. Check back as we are thinking.......