Bodacious Blog of the Week: Simple Mom

Got chaos? I snagged a great book from my pal Beth and had a hard time returning it. It was called "Organized Simplicity" by Tsh Oxenreider and it spoke to things I already know but put them into context in a very useable way. LOVE IT. Of course like any good book there is a FANTASTIC web site to accompany it.


http://www.simplemom.com

"Life Hacks for Home Managers"

Oh it is FANTASTASTIC! Just look it over and tell me what you think. And let me know when you are going to purge YOUR clutter! (Yeah, I know all about it.)

"Want" (How a New Front Load Washing Machine Made Me GREEDY) NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles

NOTE: You can listen to the MP3 HERE.

"Want"
By Heather Curlee Novak



I have a confession to make. Before marriage, my checkbook balance was, shall we say thin. Ok, Ok, I admit, hopefully to free up others, that I was often overdrawn. I cannot even blame low income because I had a good job that paid well. I owned my own home and sure wasn’t overextending myself taking care of it. I hadn't heard about Dave Ramsey and debt free living. I didn’t have a lot of debt, just a few credit cards and car and house payments. So what was the problem? The problem was Want and the Devil of Immediate Gratification. I wanted things, stuff, newness.

I would shop for what I considered to be inexpensive things and come out of a place with an expensive amount of inexpensive things. I figured that since I was buying little things that I would actually use and enjoy I wasn’t a shopaholic or anything. My credit cards were low limit and usually maxed out so it wasn’t like I was buying stuff on credit.

And yet there was never enough money. Ever. And it was a vicious cycle of WHOOO! Payday! Let’s treat ourselves a bit at Target-these shoes are only twenty bucks! Let’s get a latte at Starbucks and throw in a scone too! Oh wow that is on sale now...lucky me!

I could blame sensational media, skilled marketing or vicious advertisers but I won’t. The problem was with me.

I wonder if you will relate.

 I just...

I just WANT.

I see the possibilities of a thing, an event, a food and I want. I buy it and enjoy it but then Want More. It seems an endless cycle and I wasn’t aware of it being the main problem with my checking account balance until I got married.

Don’t you just love the blessing of marriage in that your joys are doubled and your flaws are quadrupled?

My husband John isn’t much of a spender. When we were getting married we began to talk about finances. I was floored by the high balance of his savings account and started to feel more than a little embarrassed over mine. We had some hard conversations and we began to work out a budget. They say most big fights happen over money and they are right!

And that was just the beginning.

When we started planning for and having our kidlets, we decided to be more radical about how we handle our money. We read some books by Dave Ramsey about debt free living and felt he was really on the right track. We began budgeting more specifically which left little room for buying extras at my favorite places. We started saving for things in advance even though we truly could afford to pay for them now. We started paying off his car, our credit card and my student loan with a fervor. It felt great at the end of the month when we sent all of our old payment amounts to one place in this case my student loan, in really large chunks. It is hard during the month when I really want this or that, but I am much more aware of my desire, my WANT, and I look to fill it in other healthier places like friendships, quiet time or the library.

Then our washing machine broke. And I don’t mean a tiny break, I mean pouring water on the floor. John spent several weekends working on it and I spent several weeks at the laundromat. I was so proud of his creative and valiant attempts to resuscitate the machine, but at last he threw in the towel and began to research an new washer. I really had no preferences other than it wasn’t the cheapest or really expensive. He opted for an energy efficient and environmentally friendly front loader. Because of Dave Ramsey and debt free living we paid it off almost immediately from emergency reserves.  When that baby got installed I felt like I was reading for a college course to operate it. But it was sexy! It was sleek and new and did all sorts of cool things. I literally sat in front of it like a dweeb and watched the first load spin.

Then my eyes wandered to our old dryer. Our very, very old dryer. Our rust spot covered, simple as they come worked perfectly fine the day before but now isn’t it just about hideous dryer. I wondered about getting a new dryer to match the new washer and caught myself. 

THIS is how the unrest starts! 

When we hold the new up against the old, the old pales in comparison.

This is why shopping is so appealing; the unfettered, unsullied newness of a thing makes us want it even when we have sixty-four of them at home still in good shape. Since we would have to pay cash ala Dave Ramsey and debt free living, it wasn't quite as attractive to run out and buy a new dryer.  I was pleased and troubled to wander through my thoughts as I sat in the laundry room pondering wants vs. needs. I decided that the old dryer and new washer could be a weekly reminder of the positive changes I was making with money and Want. I told the Red Horned Gentleman of Immediate Gratification to get lost, that I had laundry, and more life to do.

Haiku Challenge Thursday



OOH! OOH! A group of friends and I did this many years ago when I was toiling away at a desk. We called it Haiku Challenge and someone would start with three words and we would all Haiku our hearts out using those three words in our haiku. It was tricky, consuming and TRES hilarious.

A Haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables the first line, 7 syllables the second line and 5 again for the last line. My Dad is a BIG Haiku guy, he loves them and many of us have encouraged him to publish them in a book. I do it randomly and rarely but always enjoy the process. It usually starts with an idea or a moment in life I want to capture.

Haiku Challenge participants...just write your haiku in the comments of the relevant post!

Please email me a Haiku Challenge if you would like to be a Guest Challenger. Include the three words and your starting Haiku poem.

Here is the FIRST ONE:

Dinner is unmade
I would rather toil online
can we eat this post?

8-22-2011

Your Three Words are: unmade, rather and eat.


GOOD LUCK AND GREAT FUN!

NEW! Bodacious Blog of the Week


QUICK! Hide from the piles of laundry and paper work and real life!

I will share ONE MARVELOUSLY BODACIOUS BLOG I uncover every week. Ummmm....Mebbe on Mondays? I can rabbit trail and get delightfully lost going from bloggity to bloggity and I bet you can too so only one per customer, kids.

Please share in the comments what you liked or otherwise in the blogs so I know what you are most interested in. Consider it my pleasure to find fun ways to spend your time.

THIS WEEK's BLOG: http://www.bravegirlsclub.com
"Life changing fun for women and girls"

Be sure to include CLUB at the end or else you will end up at a site I am NOT recommending. *ugh*
"Brave Girls Club is a worldwide community of women who want to live the best, happiest, most productive and fabulously brave life they can possibly live…and that means something different to every single one of us."

I LOVE their email option for "The Daily Truth". The posts remind me of my wild and free girlhood. The language they use has helped me to remember to bring that wildness into my adulthood, my mamahood and daily life. My blog "Live Your Love Out Loud" started because I wanted to encourage others to LIVE their lives well, thouroughly and with wildness. Brave Girls Club does that for me, so I am sharing it with you.

Tell me how (or if) it inspires YOU!

"Complaint Department" NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles

You can listen to the NPR audio for this post HERE.

Complaint Department
By Heather Curlee Novak

Sometimes I think I am pretty important. I spend my days with two Tiny Girls who think THEY are pretty important. At times this causes a bit of a conflict and I'm not sure who whines the loudest about it. If you want to see just how messed up you are and how out of control of life you can be, have a few kids. Every flaw is exposed as you try to raise them to be good folks: "Don't talk with your mouth full" quickly proved to me that I myself need to be taught this lesson. FAST. Do you know how hard it is to tell your toddler not to talk with their mouth full when your mouth is in fact full of food??? Selfish power struggles with a toddler while an infant cries can drive the strongest Mama straight into the potato chip bag headfirst. Stay at home mamas don't get overweight from having children, it is from trying to raise their children!

I have struggled to maintain the peace and raise my girls well, but the stress of my days often means by the end of each one I am not the sweetest woman to be around. I often hurl the myriad challenges of my day at my husband as soon as he walks through the door. Sometimes dinner isn't made and the house looks like a toy bomb went off and I feel guilty about it. When I try to explain how the day went down I think it is a lot more like complaining than anything helpful.


I started reading a fabulous book by Gretchen Rubin called “The Happiness Project”. In it she accounts for all the sources of happiness available to us and she attempts to try her version of them during her year long project. The book and her blog have been helpful to me. I am trying to find new sources of happiness and pleasure as my life changes via having children. Gone are cocktails out on the town(I can barely finish a glass of wine nowadays!), hello collapsing on the couch in front of the boob tube after kids are in bed. There has to be more to my life and complaining about it is not improving the situation.

A recent church service I attended had one point I have carried with me through the week; Meet others needs even when mine aren't met. Our natural inclination is to under serve others if our needs aren't met. To not bother helping someone else when we are so tired, worn out and used up from daily life. Instead, we should look to serve someone who needs a little help. This will get the focus off of ourselves and onto the good we create for someone else. I really like this idea and it has helped me many times to gain a healthier perspective on my current tiny woes.

This is not to say we don't need to take care of ourselves. We do. But maybe instead of focusing on where our life is lacking, instead of complaining about all the little deaths within our days, we can fill ourselves up by serving someone else. Complaining is an energy drain for both the complainer and the complainee. The satisfaction from doing it is short lived and nothing ever changes because of it.


If you hear me (or yourself) whining beyond what is tolerable, do as my husband did just this morning: put us in a time out until we have a change of attitude. Sitting on the hall bench next to my daughter’s timeout chair is a fast reminder that while my needs are important, my Complaint Department needs to be closed. Is your Complaint Department open? To complain simply proves how ungrateful I am. This is not what I want to teach my girls, or how I want to live my daily life. How about you?

Meals Matter (...and a God Nod!)

You can listen to the NPR audio of this post HERE.


If you cannot tell by the size of my...uh, "personality"; meals matter around my house. We LOVE FOOD. We are at times both snobby (good beer) and sleazy (Cheese Pringles). My husband and I both have grown up with family dinner being a fact of life and so we bring that into our parenting mindset. Many a friend has complimented my two and a half year old daughter Portia on her table manners. While it is tempting to feel proud, I want neither all the praise nor all the blame for anything parenting oriented! That said, I believe part of Portia's table manners are due to the fact she doesn't know any better (or in this case, any worse)!

Since she was born she has eaten most meals at the table with John and I. True, in the beginning she was actually on the table in a bouncy seat, but she was there. From first dribbled baby cereal meals in her pink Bumbo, to reclined in a chair top baby seat, to fully upright and no tray (and I will do it all myself thank you) and finally just a booster seat she has eaten meals with us. I know lots of parents feed the baby first which is probably a lot easier but I was never smart enough to do that. Instead we trooped to and from the table to set everyone's food and drinks and cutlery and what not on the table. We waited for everyone to sit, gave thanks to God for our meal and maybe other random concerns, and dove in.

Portia never got a chance to throw food. She never did anything during mealtime other than sit with us and eat. She didn't know any better because she always ate with adults who don't throw food (usually!) or get up and down from the table or play with toys or whatever little kids should be doing at a meal. She rarely got a substitute food or drink item if she didn't care for the current offering. (Partly because I am lazy and really want to enjoy my food, partly because I wanted to avoid the parental short order cook role.) She only saw my husband and I eating fairly politely, if you overlook belching. (Ok flatulence. There may occasionally be flatulence but we excuse ourselves right away. She can tell her therapist about it later.) She saw us talking over our day, looking each other in the eye and eating together as a pleasure and an investment in relationship. So that is what Portia does. She may get a little wild or spill her drink, but in general she behaves very nicely at our table. She doesn't know any better.


So now it is Baby Libby at the table in the baby chair. It can feel like a full on circus trying to get everybody what they need before someone dies of starvation. I think at least every day my husband or I are chanting, "Please wait Portia, Mama/Daddy will be here in a minute and then we get to pray." She does her best, but even I often grab a crunch or a sip before we are all completely settled in for a meal. While we eat, we have learned to direct our conversation to the girls to avoid them acting up for attention. Even if the words are only for adults, some eye contact goes a long way to help the kids feel included in the conversation.

At breakfast, however, I ignore my children. Mostly. I read the paper and feed myself with my right hand, feed the baby with my left, and sip coffee with whatever is available. Libby will not be ignored at a meal and that girl has her folk's appetite. I do not want to hear constant murmuring so I need to keep shoveling in the grub fast. I read the paper though. I always feel it is a little rude. I don't do it when John is at the table, just me and the girls. Last night when I was doing devotions and considering how much negative news there is in the paper, an idea came to me. What if I did devotions with my girls instead of wasting prime family time reading a newspaper I only skim anyway? I know they are little, but some positive focus to our morning would keep me in line even if it was lost on them.

Here is where the God Nod comes in. I ignored the great idea of devotions this morning. I cracked open the newspaper and for the most part ignored the girls. I ignored them until Portia said "I want to do that." We often discuss cartoons or pictures in the newspaper that she notices, so I was trying to see what caught her eye. "What Portia?" I said.
"I want to do that while I eat." she said sweetly, gesturing to the newspaper spread out on the table. She wanted to read the paper while eating breakfast. Oh. No.

I'm pretty sure God was chuckling as I realized just how important what we model to our children is. And maybe you are not a Jesus girl, so make it a current event, or people in your lives you could help or encourage or just a conversation about where the day should take you, but meals matter! Have meaningful conversation with your little ones(heck have it with your big ones too). Actively engaging with all the folks around your table, actually sitting around your table, has been proven to help in many ways. Regular meals together as a family can improve diet, blood pressure, grades in school and minimize negative social influences on your kids. Model strong family interaction during meals so your family doesn't know any better: meals matter!

In Love With a City: Valparaiso, Indiana

I know people love things, places, other people. I myself love the Colorado mountains and my rare visits to our cabin there. I love big bodies of water be it the ocean on either side of The States or nearby Lake Michigan. Many of you know I love food, my husband, my little Cupcake Girls. It wasn't until sometime in the afternoon yesterday that I realized I am in love with a city; Valparaiso, Indiana.

My husband John and I moved here just over a year ago to be closer to his awesome new job at Indiana University Northwest in Gary. We moved from South Bend, Indiana- a place where I had a strong network of friends, colleagues and history. I was sad to move and leave all of that, the year round Farmer's Market, running along the St. Joseph river, and the Down Town South Bend (DTSB) lively action and entertainment. I knew Valpo had a cute downtown and was closer to Chicago, but...I wasn't eager to leave South Bend even thought I did want a change of venue for all of us.

My main house hunting criteria was a location within one mile of downtown Valparaiso. After living for a few years out of town and in an area where I couldn't safely bike or walk anywhere, this was crucial to me. I knew we were going to have a small family, having already started with one babe. I wanted to stroller my heart out with them and be environmentally thoughtful too. We found a marvelous old house half a mile from downtown and (get this!) one block from Jesse Pifer Park (JP Park as I call it). I was pleased.



We found out we were expecting our second child the week before we moved. I panicked lightly as I got sick and was on bedrest with our first daughter. What would happen if that was the situation again and we were in this new town where we didn't know anyone but our fabulous Realtor Mitch Harris? I figured it was a little too late to worry about it then. We moved in and began hammering out the kinks of our house, location, new job, and family matters.

It has now been over a year and I am deeply in love with our town. I didn't know you could really fall in love with a town. One year I wrote a long list to my husband of all the things I loved and appreciated about him. I cut the list into strips and put them in a jar.

Consider this my love jar list to Valparaiso.

Central Park Plaza. I love the new Central Park Plaza, that it cost over three million dollars and they paid for it in cash to avoid burdening our children with debt. As a debt free family this really resonated with us. My heart swelled with joy yesterday at the opening of the splash pad as I watched my daughter delirious with happiness and soaked head to foot. I laughed as my husband tried to videotape any of it...she moved too fast.

Jesse Park-Memorial-Chataqua- Neighborhood. I love walking with the girls or running solo and as a family through my neighborhood. The older homes, creative front yards, friendly neighbors and web of quiet streets where I can run safely in the middle of the street, on the "crown" where my Dad swears running feels better. I love the neighborhood schools I can walk my girls to when they are old enough. Knowing the schools get such high marks and they are tucked right into my little part of town is awesome! We are also participating in a groundwater program through the city and won bids for nicer (installed!) rain barrels we couldn't have afforded otherwise.

Public Library. I love walking with the girls through snow, sun and rain to the library. (Or to the 'train table' as my daughter calls it. She goes for books too, but playing with their train table is the highlight for her.) Their creative themes in the children area, the interactive displays, summer book reading even for the "Read to Me" crowd....I just love it.

Pikk's Tavern. Oh! MY! Hands down my favorite restaurant. This is the first place in town we munched at when house hunting. We go on Wednesdays for Mexican Night's guacamole and margarita's, anytime for the steak sandwich, unique burgers, the potato skins with STEAK on them instead of bacon! All of it is amazing and I always feel prettier, cooler and fatter when I am there. I looove you Pikk's!

Blackbird Cafe. (Hey I said I was a foodie, and the way to anyone's heart is food. Is it my fault Valpo seduces me with food like this, walking distance from my house?) I blogged about Blackbird Cafe here but let me also say here the owner Mary runs a great place for foodies. Their scones and cookies and pot pie and salads and veggie sandwich and...oh let me just stop now. Then again, I could keep going, work up a good appetite, and call them for FREE DELIVERY DOWNTOWN 11-2pm M-F NO MINIMUM REQUIRED! I could just order a cookie and they would come to me. Of course, the last time I ordered for delivery I did order SIX cookies. I did it for them. I fell on the sword of too many cookies just to support the delivery folks. It was hell, snarfing those suckers down, lemme tell you. And daughter Portia had the audacity to want some! (Can you imagine?)

Farmer's Market. I love the cheese folks at Chesterton's European Market, and yes I do feel like I am cheating on Valpo's downtown market but it is so TINY. We shopped Valpo's farmer's market just this weekend and it felt so good to buy blueberries, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes and tomatillos directly from the folks who farmed 'em. I know it cannot grow bigger unless more people go to it. I wonder if it was Tuesday only if that wouldn't help, less competition with Chesterton's? I look forward to the growth there either way. I'll be buying!

PARKS! Gosh there are so many. Within about one mile I can get to JP Park, Tower Park, Will Park, Ogden Gardens, and maybe Kirchoff Park too. How great is that? There are often events and festivals and fairs and all sorts of good fun. My hubs and I are healthier from Sunset Hill Farm Park's running program, Couch to 5K RULED!



Mothers and More. At first I resisted a moms group I had to pay to join. I have never had trouble making friends. My husband calls me the five year old because I chat up everyone in site. Even after I ended up accidentally starting a moms group of my own, I wanted more. I visited a few events through Mothers and More and wanted to join. I have enjoyed Book club, informative member meetings on Mother Greening, Toddler Behavior etc. My playgroup is super fun and I really enjoy everyone in it. (Champagne Playgroup!) I am especially grateful to all the busy mamas who made time to cook meals for us when our baby Libby was born; TWELVE to be exact! These women who (as I know from my own adventures) are so busy and could easily not do a thing, they all brought dinner for my family three times a week for a month! Even my church group only brought one meal. (It was great and I didn't expect it!) I sometimes struggle to get meals myself to the new mamas, but I do it with love because I know how much it meant to me.

Memorial Opera House. My first visit there was during the production of the "Listen To Your Mother" show I got to be in. What a charming little place! We also have enjoyed the Memorial Day concert there and look forward to more events.

The potential. There are so many other things that make me love Valparaiso; www.valpolife.com's positive information and news, Horse's Landscaping for style, humor and service. I love Uptown Cafe's cool blue atmosphere (it was the first place I had breakfast out!), Wiseway Grocery Store on US 30's huge ethnic and natural food's aisles, Locks of Fun for Portia's haircuts (I don't know who has more fun, them, me or my daughter!) Target Store (not unique to Valpo, but I couldn't help myself) There are so many eateries coming and shops unvisited and events unattended...I am stoked to see a future with years exploring the depth and fun of this little Indiana town.

I love you, Valparaiso!

Warmly,

Heather Curlee Novak

"Death and Guacamole" NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles

NOTE: Audio for this is HERE.

Guacamole
By Heather Curlee Novak

I made guacamole today.

I made guacamole today to celebrate life. I made guacamole as a ritual with which to honor a death. A young woman I have never met died yesterday. I learned this when I dropped off some books at my friend Stephanie’s house. I found her beautiful that morning in the unmade up way of the stay at home, work at home mama. Radiant skin, long brunette hair falling in waves loose and beautiful around her shoulders, full skirt and tired smile on her face.

I didn’t know until later she might have been crying. She had just found out her good friend Samantha lost a battle with cancer at twenty-eight years old. Samantha helped her set up the “Listen To Your Mother” show I got to be in and Stephanie directed. Listen to Your Mother was how Stephanie and I had first met.

So we stood at her front door talking about life and death and naked Saturday (which you would understand if you have small children, or if you watched our “Listen to Your Mother” Show on You Tube.) We exchanged some books. We talked about faith and churches and open-mindedness. We admired her daughter, spinning to show off her princess skirt. I stayed on the front porch step, eyeing my two daughters dozing in the car.

I didn’t try to soothe what I imagine was a very heavy heart. I felt embarrassed because I wasn’t sure if I got to meet Samantha. I was uncomfortable not knowing how to react to the death of someone I might or might not know who was younger than I was and left many people without enough time with her. So I made guacamole.

I was inspired to hit the kitchen after I looked at Stephanie’s blog www.adventuresinbabywearing.com to see what she might have written about this loss. She simply wrote that she laid on the grass in her yard and felt the sun on her face. That when she got hungry she went in and made guacamole and ate it straight out of the mixing bowl. This is all she wrote that day. I knew she was writing about grief. She was writing about how precious little moments are. She was missing a friend’s future and what their relationship might have become if years lost could have progressed. She wasn’t making guacamole; she was celebrating life and revering death.

I had an avocado in my vegetable drawer. I had tortilla chips in the pantry. I had an onion, a lime, garlic cloves, cumin, tomatoes and sea salt. I too made guacamole. I celebrated life and revered death and missed a woman I may have never met.

The Ten Minute Island of Pleasure: Emotional Eating

I loved my Mom but I never want to live like she did in regards to food. My Mom died suddenly of brain cancer when I was only thirteen years old. Katherine Teller (Lutes) Curlee was a upbeat woman who made everyone laugh and spent her life helping people as a social worker. She could cook without a recipe (as do I!) and laid out fantastic meals for friends and family. My Mom was also manic depressive and alcoholic and definitely ate for comfort.



There is a picture of us when I was about eight years old and she is holding me, my skinny kid legs wrapped around her vast belly. I'm not sure how she could really even hold me up. I remember sitting with her in our orange Ford Fiesta gorging on a 'treat' of potato chips AND Hostess Suzy Q's or twinkies many, many times. I soaked up the camaraderie, the fun, the yumminess of it. Me and my Mom, having a treat together. I often flash back to those moments when as an adult I often pick up a treat and eat it alone in the car. It is usually after grocery shopping, or after a trip to Target. M&Ms and Cheese Pringles. A Slim Jim and a Heath bar. Cheese popcorn and ice cream. French fries and a sugar Coke. A ten minute island of pleasure and joy in the middle of whatever kind of day I might be having.

Yesterday I watched a very large woman in a car drive away from Coldstone Creamery shoveling ice cream into her mouth and I knew how pleased and sad she felt. Eating her 'treat' that tastes sooooo delicious and sweet and soul satisfying for five minutes, maybe not even that long. How at the same time she got the sweet pleasure of emotional eating she also felt shame . She was probably unhappy that she didn't look better, live better or choose better.

Like her, I got my treat that night too, even after seeing her, thinking of her, my mom, and me. I did it anyway. I got my frosted sugar cookie from Panera and a coffee with cream, lots of it. I sunk my teeth into the first thrilling-salty-sugary-lemony bite. Ah, how the crumbs fell apart in my mouth and how the sugar frosting melted across my tongue filling my mouth with explosive delight!

I thought about how "They Say" only the first three bites are satisfying, and you could push away the food after that. I didn't though. Even though I am changing my eating habits, exercising almost daily now, and was almost over my calories for the day already even before dinner. I ate it all and wished there were three more of them right there in the car with me.

I am not obese, and I rest too heavily on my laurels because of it. I am only about thirty pounds shy of my high school weight. I have been able to drop baby weight (about fifty pounds each time) quickly through breastfeeding. Our most recent baby is now eight months old. I am only twenty pounds from the weight I was (with appetite suppressant pills) when I got married almost five years ago. I think in some ways it is harder to be disciplined when the goal is smaller. Shouldn't it be easier and more inspiring since it is 'easier' to accomplish?

This year I have been running and exercising and enjoying it for the first time in my life. (I guess as a parent it is such a thoroughly effective form of stress relief and that is my main motivation!) I have set up my www.sparkpeople.com account and updated it and restarted it at least twenty times since I first joined it. I start off like everyone else on fire and ready for change for the first few days, then drift back into complacency.

What is with the emotional eating? What is this siren song of immediate gratification food offers those of us who eat for comforting pleasure despite our varying resolve not to? I am a smart woman and I read a lot, talk a lot, and pray a lot. And yet, one week into my renewed efforts I am literally in the car devouring....what? Just a cookie? OR is it more? What exactly am I devouring?