diet coke 12-pack: week of october 24, 2011

Happy Friday! I haven’t done one of these in a while. Have you missed them? I have! Pull up a chair and grab a snack — start your weekend off with some delightful Intertubes goodies.

Oh and hey! I have brown hair now! That’s fun.


Alright, friends! That’s it! Have a safe and spooky Halloween! See you next week, THE FIRST DAY OF NANOWRIMO! Bah!

things i love thursday! (october 27, 2011)

Hello, friends! Sorry for the lack of post on Wednesday — my body was trying desperately to fall ill, so I spent the majority of my day face down in a pillow covered in drool. Sexy. But! It’s Thursday now, which means it’s time for some love!

You ready?



  • Cheap pedicures with Lori! Even with slippery feet!
  • OPI nail polish.
  • A double date with Alex and Karen at Mockingbird. Yummy food, lots of good laughs!
  • Tetris.
  • Weighted keys.
  • Being able to borrow and play the Roland. Wow. What a difference.
  • Having a day with no plans.
  • A clean house.
  • Pumpkin spice pancrepes! (Yes, you read that right.)
  • Football.
  • Being productive.
  • Being able to attend an outdoor jazz festival last minute. So good!
  • Mark Russel.
  • British accents. Again.
  • “Mellow” hangouts.
  • Finishing books.
  • Loaning out books to friends.
  • Romeo and Hamlet, especially at bed time.
  • “They make me feel young.” Dan talking about our, um, significantly younger friends.
  • Music.
  • Student ministry.
  • The senior high volunteers.
  • Frozen yogurt with Emily and Madison.
  • “I don’t wanna be a Pharisee…”
  • Being able to help out some friends in need.
  • Being taken care of by good friends. Tea, Emergen-C, and some good old fashioned love are the cure for what ails ya.
  • My bible study small group.
  • Cuddling.
  • Piano.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Rage Faces.
  • New hair tonight! (Pictures later, I reckon.)
  • Maru blogs.
  • Obsessing over Maru blogs with the bestie.
  • Silly broken Japanese to English translation.
  • Life.

Alright, that’s it for me! Your turn — what do you love this week?

tuesday tip — one thing at a time.

For me, the fall is crazy. Our church does a yearly kick-off campaign, chock full of fun and exciting events, that is always great for community. (Seriously. Lives are changed. It’s rad.) However, as the volunteer event coordinator, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t drain me dry every year. Over the past month I’ve run myself ragged — with everything I need to get done with the kick-off plus my everyday responsibilities at work and home, I’ve found myself with little time to do anything else. Like sleep — I can’t remember the last time I slept past 7:00 AM. I’m dreadfully exhausted, mentally and physically.

But! Alas! An oasis! The only plans I had this past Saturday fell through, leaving me with an entire day to do whatever I wanted. So I chose to sleep in! Finally!

Friday night showed heaps of promise for a Saturday morning snooze fest: Dan and I went on a double date and ended up staying out entirely too late (for us, that is — we are, after all, senior citizens now) allowing us to finally crawl in into bed and doze off around 1:00AM. But something (a cat? my brain? something equally as annoying?) jolted me awake shortly thereafter. I rustled, grumbled, then squinted blearily at the glowing alarm clock in our pitch black bedroom. Without my glasses, I had to strain to make the green blur come into focus — 6:57AM.


I tried to go back to sleep, desperate to fulfill my only plans for my Saturday morning, but my brain refused to turn off. It just kept running through the list of a bazillion things I need to do/meetings I need to have in the next couple weeks or so. After tossing and turning for what seemed like forever, I got up, picked up Pretties with the hope that reading would tire my eyes, and set up camp in the guest room to avoid disturbing Dan while I tried to fall back asleep.

A little after 10, Dan finally roused and came into the guest room and found me still awake, blowing through my book. He sweetly snuggled up against me, but I did not respond warmly. My body stiffened up against his, irritated and bitter — I resented him for sleeping soundly when my over-active brain wouldn’t let me do the same on my only day off.

He asked me what was wrong. I didn’t respond audibly — I simply began to cry. (Isn’t being married to me awesome, you guys?! I rule.)

“I’m just so overwhelmed with everything I have to do,” I sighed as I started to sob. I continued on and rattled off a list of the things that were expected of me in the coming week. “So much planning, so many meetings and rehearsals, and the house is a mess. Everything I need to do is making me crazy. And I just wanted to sleep. But I can’t even do that.”

Without missing a beat, Dan gave me a squeeze and softly said, “Okay, well, I’m going to make us breakfast. Then, you and I will clean the house. After that, we’ll go to a coffee shop so you can get some work done. And then, after all that, we’ll go and relax at our friends’ house.”

I sniffled, wiped away the remaining tears from my cheeks, and squeaked out a meek, “Okay.”


Sometimes, all the work that goes into having a happy and healthy self-image can be daunting. As easy as it sounds to completely shift your entire lifestyle and paradigm (ha) it takes a lot of work. You have to be intentional every day. Avoiding triggers. Rewiring your brain. Encouraging others while you still aren’t so sure of yourself. Honestly, sometimes, it can be too much work to bear.

But that’s okay! Being on a quest for self-love doesn’t mean you have to be perfect at it. As a matter of fact, that’s the entire point! Just take one thing at a time.

  • On one day, “clean your house”: replace any negative thoughts you have with positive ones. Remove all of the “I’m Not Good Enoughs” and put “I Am Loveds” in their places.
  • Another day, sit and “work”: Write down what you’d love to see improve in yourself over the next few days/weeks/years. Make a plan of action on how you can get there.
  • Finally, relax: Know that a self-love journey isn’t completed in a day. Or a year. Or several years. It’s a journey that, honestly, you may never actually complete. But waking up everyday and choosing to keep walking in that direction allows you to, some days, just relax where you are.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, or exhausted, or like you just can’t be “put together” another day, just take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts and then take one step. Maybe it’s a step forward. But maybe it’s a step to the side. Maybe it’s just a step in place. But just take one. And then another. And then another.

friday disposition.

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
-Martha Washington

Have a great weekend. 🙂

things i love thursday! (october 20, 2011)

Hey loves! Happy Thursday! Not only is it Thursday, but it’s also the National Day on Writing! I hope you’re all having a fantastic week, and I hope you’ve all found time to write something today.  This week has been all kinds of crazy, but REALLY awesome, too. Here’s why!


  • Making music. That would be literally AND figuratively. Ha.
  • Hitting milestones in physical therapy!
  • The fun ice pack/muscle stimulator thing they do at the end.
  • The service project we did in our neighborhood. I got to make bracelets with little kids!
  • Talking like a high schooler.
  • Angie’s diaper shower!
  • That feeling when you finish a book.
  • Bonding over books.
  • A generous coworker gifting me The Hunger Games!
  • Enjoying lunch in the sunshine.
  • Cooler weather (gasp! I SAID IT!)
  • Being rebellious and driving two blocks.
  • Catching up with Ashley over coffee. Oh my GOODNESS, I adore her.
  • Gushing over Ashley’s baby girl! Who is, you know, ALMOST 2. (What? Time. Stop. Now.)
  • Cuddling on the couch.
  • Making dinner.
  • Being lazy.
  • Seeing my friends play awesome music for free.
  • The fact that ALL of my TILT lists have some sort of alcoholic beverage on them.
  • Playing in a cover band!
  • Emails from New York City.
  • Phone calls from New York City.
  • British accents.
  • Catie girl!
  • Being described as “passionate about everything.”
  • National Day on Writing (GO WRITE!)
  • Reading.
  • Adding more things to my BDF.
  • Happy text messages.
  • Encouragement from people I admire.
  • Finally, being a GROWN UP and finally buying my own domain! FUELEDBYDIETCOKE.COM is aliiiiive.

Alright, y’all. Since it is, of course, the Day on Writing, now is your chance to write down all the things you’re thankful for this week. Ready, set, write!

it’s my potty and i’ll take a picture of it if i want to.

Remember how Dan and I went to Chicago last month? While it was definitely an amazing week, getting to Chicago proved to be quite, um, trying. Because it costs roughly $23,497,324,234,876,234 (give or take) to fly out of Tallahassee, we had to fly out of Jacksonville. And, naturally, the cheapest flight was also the earliest (8AM) so we had to be at JAX around 6AM. Our options were: stay the previous night in Jacksonville or hop in our car at 4AM and drive two and a half hours to Jacksonville.

We chose the latter because we are super duper broke. And Dan was so excited to go back home (he’s from there — have I told you this already? I married a Chicagoan, which I think is impossibly cool…) that he woke up at 2AM. Of course, this means that I also woke up at 2AM. (The never ending curse of a light sleeper.) We danced around our house until our alarms sounded at 3:30, then packed up our Camry, and headed east.

And we traveled. A lot. After all was said and done, we finally landed in Chicago around 12:30PM local time, 1:30PM “our” time.

All that to say, the goings-on of our first day are rather fuzzy, I’m afraid. But. When I went to the bathroom at the Jacksonville airport (at around 6AM after already being “up” for four hours) I had to take a picture of it. Not because I was deliriously tired (though I most certainly was) but because of how the entrance was decorated:

Isn’t that incredible? It’s all different kinds of women, all shapes and all sizes! Though some are a bit ridiculous (is that a banana-shaped woman I see?) I love the message! That we’re all different, but we’re still women, no matter what we look like.

And just so you know, the men’s bathroom was done the same way. But I already looked really stupid taking a picture of the outside of ONE bathroom let alone TWO. So. There you go.

tuesday tip — bad day file.

Over the weekend, my mentee (I have a mentee, y’all! And I should probably just call her by name from now on: Erica) referred to me as “wise.” It was undeniably flattering, but definitely a first for me. Me? Wise? I’ve never been wise. I’ve always been a hot mess, you know? Being a walking disaster carrying heavy suitcases of failure has always been kind of my thing. (Check out my biceps!) To me, being “wise” just doesn’t seem plausible! (Why can’t “being a hot mess” be a fruit of the spirit?) If you ask me, I’m not so much “wise” as I am a good actress. I’ve gotten really good at stealing wisdom from people who are actually wise and playing it off like it is my own.


Since the jig is up and you all now know I’m far from wise (albeit JACKED from constantly lugging around failure baggage) I’m not even going to pretend I came up with today’s tip. I fully disclose that I stole it from someone definitely “wise”: my good friend/mentor/pastor Eric.


We all have bad days — days we feel inadequate, unattractive, unloved, worthless. I’m no stranger to these days. And these days span all “bad” feelings. Some bad days are bad because I can’t look at myself in the mirror without gagging. Some bad days are so because I don’t feel valued in my work. Some bad days suck because my husband or a friend of mine is angry with me. Whatever the reason the day is bad, all I want to do is to crawl into bed with the lights off, listen to “Everybody Hurts,” and sob noisily until I pass out.

The (obvious) problem with that desire, though, is that most of my bad days aren’t on Saturdays when I have little to no responsibility. Nine times out of ten, my spirit chooses to be crushed on days I’m expected to be somewhere and do something. (For instance, Mondays and Thursdays, for some reason, tend to be prone to turning “bad.” Not sure what’s so bad about those days, but it’s dreadfully inconvenient, as those days typically fall during the work week.)

Since I can’t hole up in my room for an all out sulk fest, I turn to my Bad Day File, something Eric encouraged me to create. A bad day file, by definition, is a file of things (letters, pictures, emails, etc.) you look at when you’re sad that remind you that you are valued. In your file could be a collection of anything — for example, here are some items in my bad day file (or, BDF, if you will):

  • An email from Jon Acuff about my blog. (Holy crap, did this really happen? Yes. Yes it did. Thanks, BDF!)
  • The email from Erica asking me to be her mentor.
  • A random note from a friend telling me they prayed for me at the start of their day.
  • A list of recommended reading from my husband (in file because it reminds me that not only am I a reader but I married one, too. Darn it, that’s cool.)
  • Thank you cards from pastors.
  • Stickers sent to me after my surgery by an old (but GREAT) friend Cameron.

I encourage you to start collecting things to put in your BDF. Letters. Pictures. Emails. Text messages. Anything that, when you were first exposed to it, gave you that fluttery feeling in your gut that signifies love. Technology helps, too. You can create a digital BDF as well as a tangible one. (I’ve got a “Bad Day File” Label in my Google inbox that allows for easy filing.)

Once you’ve collected at least one item to be filed, you’re prepared for your next bad day. The next day you’re feeling down, refer to that file. Read through every word. Pore over every picture. Let the memories of the first time you saw those items flood your spirit, leaving no room for the negative feelings.

The thing about the BDF is that everything within it will be true. The negative things you think on a bad day are false. You are always worthy of love, whether you “think” you are or not. By re-reading expressions of love from your community, you allow yourself to be loved. At first, by the folks you’ve collected in your file. And at last, by yourself.