Submitted: My Limerence and Advice

*All submitted stories are shared anonymously.

This is an overview of my limerence experience and the steps I took to overcome it.

My story, like everyone’s I guess, is long and complicated. The short version is I’m a 50+ executive and I became limerent for a female intern that came to work for us right out of a nearby Christian college. I’m also a Christian. I was her mentor and something clicked between us. I didn’t let it become physical or even romantic, but I became hopelessly infatuated before I realized what was happening. I certainly thought about a physical relationship and had she offered, I think I might have given in. It’s scary to think about how my life would have fallen apart had I given in. The infatuation got worse and worse over six months till I thought I was going to lose my mind. I was in hell and thought I had no way out.

I finally worked up the nerve to confide in a very close female friend, who is also a minister to the aged at a local church. I’ve known her for 30 years in a purely platonic way and she is a long-time friend of my wife and me, so I trust her completely. She listened and then kindly gave me the swift kick in the @ss that I needed to do something. Even then, I dilly-dallied for another three weeks while I worked up the nerve to talk to my wife. We took a long walk and after a lot of talking around the subject (I was terrified) I disclosed to my wife of 26 years. To my shock, she simply accepted it as a problem we needed to solve and took that attitude that, if I was coming to her with it, then I valued her more than the LO. I’m still amazed at her acceptance and forgiveness. I love her more every day as a result.

With the support of my lovely wife, I began to dig my way out of limerence. It took more than ten months to finally get to a point that I felt it was no longer controlling my life. Now, more than two years from when it began, I’m about 99.9% over it and much, much happier. As you might imagine, there are many more details to the story, but I won’t bore you with them now.
Some Observations
Much of the limerence experience is the same from person to person, but each of us comes from a different starting point (personality, existing relationships, preferences, life history, etc), so the recovery process is little different for each person. Overcoming it is definitely a process–almost an evolving process with stages along the way, at least for me. I had little insights and epiphanies about limerence, my desires, my preferences, contributing factors, habits, etc as I dealt with my limerence. Those were pretty important milestones because they suggested I was making progress, but they also gave me a new platform for recognizing the next step. What worked for me may not be the perfect solution for someone else, but nearly everything I did came from an idea or feedback from some other person.

From what I can tell, there doesn’t seem to be a one-time fix. It’s more like a long process of healing–at least it was for me. Oftentimes, the steps of the “cure” you are trying feels as painful as the limerence and it seems like you aren’t making any progress much of the time when in fact you are healing inside. It’s kind of like dieting–part of the time you see results on the scale and part of the time you don’t, but if you stick with it, the results come. Fighting limerence reveals a lot about your deepest weaknesses and underlying issues. Ultimately, that’s a good thing I suppose, but it often feels like you’ve had open heart surgery without anesthesia.

One key point is that, you don’t have to do everything at once. You are fighting a war of attrition that has many battles. Start with what you can do now and phase in other steps along the way. Try to step outside your emotions and observe how you react to various situations and actions. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here and let you dive in.

My Suggestions, Advice to Overcome Limerence
1. Cut off contact with your LO as much as possible. It’s hard, but it’s really important. Why? The main reason is that contact with LO stimulates your limerence. Contact with LO just re-energizes your emotional ties. By the way, if you slip up, just dust yourself off, forgive yourself and go back to your plan. Contact means every kind of contact. You’ll do well to cut off all social media contact, too. No texting, no searching for pictures, etc. I often say that, for a limerent person, Facebook is of the devil. It’s just too easy to get a quick fix of LO and find yourself back on the emotional roller coaster.

2. You need to work to break the habit of thinking/obsessing/fantasizing about LO. I’ll hit the high points here, but this is a MAJOR part of dealing with limerence, so don’t skip over it. Habits are all about triggers that stimulate an action which leads to a reward. In the case of limerence, something (a trigger) will cause you to think of LO (the action) which will bring you pleasure (the reward). First, identify as many as possible of the triggers that stimulate your obsessive thinking about LO. There will probably be a lot of them if you’ve been limerent for very long. For example, you may associate LO with a particular song. You need to stop listening to that song while you are limerent. The key is to take a way as many things that trigger your limerent thoughts. You may have to change some of your routines. For those triggers that you can’t take away, you need to work at substituting another action to break the habit. I found that substituting another pleasurable thought or fantasy in place of thinking about LO sometimes worked. Breaking these habits is a long-term effort. It’s not about being perfect, but just breaking down your habitual thinking about LO. There are two good books that I read that might help: “The Power of Habits” and “The Willpower Instinct.” As I said, this was a critical step for me and I could write a whole book about it.

3. It helped me to think of limerence as a creature – sometimes called the limerbeast – that you are battling for control of your mind and emotions. The limerbeast is big and strong and living comfortably in your brain like a hookworm (I envisioned a dragon for what it’s worth), so it’s virtually impossible to fight it head-on. I found that the best way to fight it was by small acts of defiance, such as: distracting myself from thinking about LO for a few minutes, resisting the urge to text LO, not looking at her, etc–kind of mental guerilla warfare. I envisioned each little act of defiance putting a dart into the beast. You’ll know when the dart goes in because the beast will react badly to the defiance. Over time those little darts take a toll on the beast and you can fight harder. It also makes fighting limerence a little more fun because you have a tangible enemy to target.

4. You need some common sense rules to guide you when your limerent desire is really heated up. One rule of thumb for me was: If I want to do something related to LO, it is usually a bad idea. If I don’t want to do something related to LO, it is usually a good idea to do it. It’s nice to have rules like that to fall back on when limerence skews your thinking and feelings. Limerence causes very, very strong emotions and your desires seem totally justified because they come from within and are so intense. But, those emotions really aren’t based on reality–they are based on a lie (that LO is the perfect fit for you and will meet all your needs). At the height of my limerence, my emotions pushed me to want to give up my wife for LO, even though my LO (like yours) doesn’t hold a candle to my lovely wife. I knew that, no matter how I felt, that was wrong and, because I had some non-emotional principles to fall back on, I was able to resist the urge to throw my wife away for LO. Having some good things to calibrate to helps you from doing crazy things.

5. Your limerbrain probably sees LO as perfect, idealized, even godlike. Your rational brain knows LO is not perfect, but your rational brain is pushed into a corner by all your intense emotions. One way to visualize it is to imagine the limerbeast has taken over your brain and pushed your rational brain and normal emotions into a corner where they are cowering. Give your rational brain a fighting chance to bring common sense back into play. Make a list of LO’s flaws. Look at it every now and then to remind yourself that LO is not a god. It may take time for it to sink in, but it will eventually.

6. It seems like limerence often feeds on low self-esteem and past hurts. There are lots of ways to work on that. One simple and free way is to make a list of all the things that are good about yourself. Don’t hold back. You a good person, made in the image of God. You really are. Make the list and take joy in your good attributes. Read it daily and add to it. No one else has to see it but you.

7. Pray fervently. I’m a Christian. The fact is, God exists and he cares about you whether you believe in him or not. Even if you don’t believe in God, just humor me and tell God about your limerence in detail. It’s okay to cry, scream, pound the table, etc. There is nothing you can say that God hasn’t heard–he created the universe for goodness’ sake. He understands and wants nothing more than to have an intimate relationship with you. If you want a good book, get “Jesus Calling” and read the short daily message each day. God will help you, but understand that he helps on his schedule for reasons that you and I can’t understand, but that are ultimately right. I look back now and see that God did indeed help me, but he did it very slowly and deliberately mainly because I was so stubborn and such a blockhead. I don’t believe God made me limerent, but I do believe he allowed it to happen because of my foolishness. If nothing else, I needed to really hit rock bottom before I would put the work in to get my marriage on track. The thing is, my marriage was pretty good, but I had been lazy and sloppy as a husband. Fighting and overcoming limerence helped me become much better as a husband and father.

8. Use the wonderful people on The Limerence Experience Tribe for advice, comfort, insight, etc. I’ve found that reading and commenting on other people’s limerence has given me much greater insight into my own limerence. You might also want to keep a journal of your feelings and experiences along the journey. It helps to note what works, what is hard, what you learn, etc.

9. Ultimately, limerence is about you, not LO. That may seem crazy at first, but I can assure you that it is true. Limerence is your psychological response to an unmet emotional need or hurt. You very likely have more than one needs or hurt that is creating a gap in you and feeding your limerence. Those things may go back years in the past, even to childhood, and you may not even recognize them. It’s often hard to see what our personal gaps are because they have become so integral to our thought patterns and life assumptions. You may also have some habits or other behaviors that make you more susceptible to limerence. I certainly did. Some people on Tribe feel it is best to address those gaps and needs from the very beginning. I found it difficult personally to delve too deeply into those things until I had made some progress dealing with the emotional symptoms and habits I had. That may have been the slow way, but it felt right to me, so I focused on the immediate issue of limerence and waited to delve into my past hurts. It took me ten months to get the emotions under control to the point I felt I was no longer limerent. I did learn some things about my emotional hurts along the way, but I didn’t make that my primary emphasis. During that time I saw a psychologist for a while (for CBT) and then a Christian marriage counselor (who I found to have a better perspective on relationship issues). Eventually, as I got my limerence emotions under control I began to see where my limerence was coming from and how to deal with it. It isn’t easy even now to peel back the scabs, but I’m no longer helpless or an emotional basket case. Others here will tell you to dig into your psyche to figure out where your limerence comes from. Nothing wrong with that approach if you can do it. If you feel you are spinning your wheels, I’d suggest dropping that for a while and dealing with the limerence symptoms again.

10. Counseling and therapy can help. The right therapist is important as previously note. As mentioned, I had a wonderful female psychologist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (if you are interested, read the book “Feeling Good” by Dr. David Burns) and that helped for a while with my depression, but eventually I concluded that I wasn’t making any more improvement when it came to limerence. I then switched to a Christian marriage counselor on the basis that she would probably know more about dealing with infatuation and romantic relationships. She was and is terrific, although she came at the problem from a different angle than I expected. As it turned out, it worked. I’m seeing her now to work on the underlying issues that feed my depression and set me up for limerence.

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Cathartic Apologizing

Sometimes things go wrong in limerence. Maybe a disclosure led to no contact or your nervous behavior was off-putting to your LO. Even more likely, your limerbrain has convinced you that LO is mad about something, anything. You don’t know what, but you must have done or said something. (Damn it! I used too many exclamation marks in that last text! I knew it!) This leads to the urge to apologize.

Apologizing to your LO for an unknown cause is not good. It is odd. I have done it and I promise you, you will feel worse after apologizing and finding out they were never upset to begin with. I imagine it made me seem overly sensitive or overly emotional.

Apologizing to end NC is not a good way to get over your limerence. If the urge seems overwhelming, I recommend writing out the apology, but do not send it to them. If it helps, post it online, but where they won’t see is. Share it in a limerence group. Post it in Craigslist “Missed Connections” section. Getting the feelings out there is very cathartic.

My experience revolves around one of my first limerent objects. All contact had to be stopped. My life went from seeing LO during the day and talking to him every single night until I went to bed to absolute zero. I still saw him during the day, but I could not talk to him. It was an absolutely miserable time for me. I felt the need to apologize, but how when I couldn’t talk to him?

I ended up writing it out and posting it as “Note” on Myspace (yeah, it was way back in the day).  I am sharing it here now in case it can help anyone with a similar issue.

If I had known to begin with that I was going to lose you completely, friendship and all, I never would have asked you your name. I would not have said a thing to you, not looked at you, not given you a second thought. But I did not know. And now that is how you are treating me. I’m sorry she got upset. I never wanted to mess up anything between you two. You know that. I said it before.

You’re so damn smart and I felt like I could ask you anything and you would know the answer. I don’t know who to go to now.

You were having issues and I tried to help. I worried about you (still do) and was willing to brain storm with you to better things.

I loved just talking to you and not just about stupid stuff, but about your work, your day, my day, my work, science, religion, lifestyles, whatever! It didn’t matter. I could carry on an intelligent conversation with you.

Now you won’t speak to me. You probably won’t even look at me.

I’m sorry. I cannot say it enough. I’m sorry I can’t change time. Sorry I kept you awake last night when you were tired. Sorry that I even care this damn much. Sorry that it ever started. Sorry that we got so close. But more then anything, I’m sorry that now I don’t have my friend.

(klyb)

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What Causes Limerence?

What causes limerence? There is actually a simple answer. Could it help you learn how to look for the signs of a potential LO, learn to avoid situations that could lead to limerence? No, it is not that simple of an answer. More often than not, a person learns about limerence when it’s too late…when they are in the throes of the whirlwind.

Are certain people more prone to experience limerence?

There are a few characteristics that seem to come up more often than others. Having one or more of these characteristics may mean you are more prone to limerence, but it is not a for sure thing. Likewise, not having any of these does not mean you will not experience it.

General Characteristics

  • Introvert
  • Unstable/Dysfunctional Early Family Life
  • Depression
  • Personality Disorder
  • Creative
  • Active Imagination
  • Low Self-Esteem

These are just a few qualities that seem to be brought up often among limerence sufferers

Knowing what might cause a person to be more prone to limerence gives us some insight into what causes limerence to develop. Despite the person a limerent is interested in being called the limerent “object”, the limerence itself has little to nothing to do with that person.

A limerent person craves validation. This is why the episode is not about the LO. No matter how much we want it, validation has to come from within ourselves. For the majority of people, that is a constant life struggle. It’s one of the reasons limerence affects so many. It would be so much easier if this person who walked into our lives could just say, “Hey. You’re awesome. In fact, you are so awesome that we should be together,” and magically your life is better.

That is not how life works.

The desire for that self-validation can be seen in the LOs we choose. LOs are usually self-confident, vibrant people. They are successful in life. They are comfortable with themselves.

My belief is that when these types of people give us personal attention, that is when limerence starts to take seed. The things that we wish about ourselves is right there in front of us in that person, that person who {gasp} perhaps even likes us. Could it be?

I won’t go too much into how we view the LOs since that will be a different article, but suffice it to say we put them on a pedestal at a height that they could never truly reach.

Even people who aren’t in limerence can be struggling for validation, in their job, their marriage, as a parent, as a human. Limerence is merely one form of dealing with that.

What you need to do is find out how you will deal with your limerence. Some people just live with it. Some struggle to get out of it. Some actually seem to enjoy it (though this is usually only in the beginning). Still others choose to focus on themselves and make themselves emotionally stronger so they do not need their LO. None of these options are wrong or right. Whatever helps you through is what you need to do. Do what feel right for you and makes you feel better regarding the situation.

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The Sudden LO

I mentioned in the explanation, “What Is Limerence?” that it can develop over time or come on suddenly. This is my experience with the latter.

I had a situation that I needed to hire someone to deal with and to teach me along the way how to continue with the situation. (Yeah, it’s vague, but I would be so embarrassed if he ever actually knew.) The search began for someone with the expertise to do those things. That is when I met Kyle*.

Before I actually met him, I got to see Kyle work and see how he handled clients and how they reacted to him. He was good at his job and the clients seemed to adore him. That was a good start. I usually don’t like meeting new people, but he made me feel very at ease and welcome. He walked me around his place of business, explaining how he worked and what he did, asking me questions about my own situation.

As I was walking around with him, a thought floated into my head. I noticed that he was fairly attractive. I immediately tamped down the thought though because his looks had absolutely nothing to do with the skills I was needing him to have. Kyle was definitely qualified and I liked his demeanor so he was hired.

For about a month, everything was fine. He was someone helping with a situation and imparting knowledge unto me. He was friendly, nice, and fun to banter with. It was a good experience.

Then…it happened.

Kyle and I were standing in a walkway, talking about the progress made. Something about the way he was standing or the way his head was titled or just the tone of his voice…something prompted the thought in my head, could he be attracted to me?

Limerence thrives on two things – hope and doubt. That was the spark of hope right there.

Now, looking back on it, he was probably standing that way because it was comfortable, his head was tilted because he is tall and tilting his head allowed him to see who he was talking to, and his tone was probably just the way he normally talked in that setting.

Add to that mess that he was in a serious relationship with a girl who I adored. She was absolutely kind and beautiful and they made a great couple. I didn’t want to steal him away. I just wanted to have some fun. {wink, wink, nudge, nudge} However, I would never have done anything to upset their life together and honestly, I couldn’t have anyway. They were solid.

That was when the obsessive thoughts started. It is actually what reminded me about limerence. I knew about it and had experienced it before, but it had been long ago. After a few days of my mind being filled with thoughts and fantasies of Kyle, I knew something was not right. I was obsessing. I decided to google “obsessed with someone” and I was reintroduced to limerence.

I didn’t want to feel that way. I mean, it seems fun at first, but you eventually learn that no, it isn’t.

There are three ways to end limerence:

  1. Transference (shifting your limerence to someone else; this is usually not voluntary)
  2. Reciprocation (disclosure (admitting your feelings to LO) and finding they feel the same way)
  3. Starvation (the onslaught of evidence that LO does not return the limerence)

A note about starvation, some take it to mean “no contact” (NC) with the LO (i.e. starving yourself of their presence). However, starvation is about the loss of hope. Without hope, limerence dies. It is possible to experience starvation though NC though. If you decided to completely cut off contact with a person and they make no effort to contact you, that can be considered evidence that they do not feel the same as you. Often times though, this is not enough. Many a person has talked about seeing a former LO years later and the resurgence of feelings is almost overwhelming, knocking them right back to the way they felt at the height of their limerent episode.

Back to Kyle. Disclosure was not an option so reciprocation was off the table. Like I said, I wouldn’t rock that boat even if I thought I could. Transference is not easily forced and there was no one around to transfer to anyway. Starvation through NC couldn’t happen because I hired him to do a job and he was damn good at it. I could have hired someone else, but I truly felt Kyle was best suited for the job. I knew our time would eventually be up anyway and then NC would start.

Starvation through the “onslaught of evidence” that LO does not feel the same way is hard to get without disclosure. There is so much an LO does that can give a limerent hope without even meaning to.

I decided one day that I was just not going to look directly at him. If I didn’t see him then I couldn’t misconstrue his body language or the looks on his face. He wouldn’t notice that I didn’t look at him because he was not interested. Seriously, at the time I thought this was a brilliant plan.

I show up and say hi, but it was a general hi to the small group of people that was there which Kyle was part of. I go near him and start petting the dog that was there. He talks to me and “in return” I more or less respond by talking to the dog. After that, I went and sat down in a chair. I was so pleased with myself that I had not given in and looked at him.

If you go out of your way to not look at someone, they will notice. They will especially notice if they have narcissistic tendencies. That is just the way it is. I know this now.

As I sat in the chair, Kyle came over and sat in the chair next to me. I kept firm and stared straight ahead. He leaned forward and looked over at me, tilting his head. It was obvious that he was attempting to get me to look at him and to ignore it would have been way too obvious. I looked over at him.

Once I looked at him, Kyle smiled his gorgeous, heart-melting smile and said, “Hi,” in a soft-voice. Seriously? I melted. I said, “Hi,” back and smiled and then things went on just like they had been every day before then. It was really a terrible plan that ended up making the limerence even worse.

It has been years since then. I saw Kyle once since the time I spent there and it was just going down the road. He pulled up next to me and waved. I spent the rest of the day reliving limerent feelings.

We keep connected through social media. It’s good in case I have a question he can answer or in case I need his services again. I also suggest his service to other friends in the industry on social media. It’s rare that any of his posts causes a limerence echo. It has happened a few times, but it passes quickly.

I know that if I were to see him in person again, I would feel those feelings again. That use to keep me from wanting to see him. However, I now know and recognize the feelings. I am much more in touch with that than I used to be. I know that it is not “true” feelings and I can compartmentalize them when I interact with him until I go without seeing him again and they dwindle back away.

I had a lot of practice with another LO, but that is a much longer story for a different day.

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Limerence Abbreviations and Vocabulary

There is a lot of abbreviations used when talking about limerence. This is a list of common ones that you may come across.

Abbreviations

LE – Limerence Experience (can refer to the Tribe or to the experience itself)

LO – Limerent Object (the person for which one is limerent)

XLO – Ex-Limerent Object (an LO that the limerent person is no longer limerent for)

SO – Significant Other (the person one is in a relationship with, usually a spouse)

LC – Limited Contact (limiting contact with LO from the usual amount spent)

NC – No Contact (all contact with LO is stopped)

T – Therapist

Words

Limerbrain – The brain on limerence, which often makes poor decisions that prolong limerence.

Limerbeast – A personification of limerence as a beast within a person that must be fought

Starvation – The onslaught of evidence that LO does not reciprocate the limerent person’s feelings

Transference – A limerent person loses interest in one LO and becomes limerent for another

Disclosure – Admitting one’s limerent feelings to the LO

Reciprocation – When the LO also has feelings for the limerent person

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What Is Limerence?

The most common question asked when limerence is mentioned is “what is limerence?” It’s still a fairly uncommon word, but many people have experienced the phenomenon at least once in their life; they just didn’t know it.

I find the easiest and most accurate description is that limerence is an obsessive-compulsive feeling of love. I use to say it was an obsessive-compulsive type of love, but that is incorrect. While I am not a religious person by any means, I do agree with what the Bible says about love in 1 Corinthians, verses 4-7:

 Love is 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 trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

These qualities are not seen in limerence.

The reason many people have experienced limerence and not known it is because they have confused it with a crush, or puppy love, or even actual love. These term are not interchangeable with limerence though some characteristics are similar.

Here are some key characteristics of limerence:

  • Constant thoughts/fantasies involving the person you’re limerent for (known as the limerent object or LO) to the exclusion of almost all other thoughts
  • Analyzing inconsequential interactions with the LO
  • Imagining more to interactions with LO than there actually was
  • Bouncing between feelings of elation and feelings of despair
  • Feelings do not subside over time (a limerent episode is normally ongoing for a few months at the very least. For many, it takes years.)
  • The LO is often someone who is narcissistic or has narcissistic tendencies (This is not a constant, but it has been seen a lot.)
  • Changing your own behaviors or habits to match LOs
  • Changing your own routines to “just happen” to run into your LO or to purposely allow time/more time with your LO

Limerence can happen to anyone at any time and in any place. It doesn’t matter what your relationship status is or your sexual orientation. You may only have it happen once in life or twice or end up being a “serial limerent.” It can happen over time or come on suddenly.

The thing to remember is that being limerent is not the end of the world. It is not the worst thing in the world. It is hard, but there is a world of support out there and more articles will be forthcoming that will examine different aspects of limerence and explore some real life situations.

Have you ever heard of limerence? Have you experienced it?

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Feeding Many With Little

With 3 teenage boys in the house, along with 5 more of us, many ask me how I manage to keep everyone fed. Many assume we must get some sort of assistance or something, because how can anyone possibly feed that many people on a reasonable budget. Let me show you how.

Our weekly grocery budget is about $100-150 a week. It varies weekly, depending on overtime, and other expenses. With that, I manage to keep us all healthy and full.

STEP ONE:

Just like with the house extras, cut out the food extras. We only eat out maybe 1-3 times a month. Cut out the junk. Chips, candy, ice cream, soda and cookies are NOT a necessary part of your daily diet. Reducing your processed sugars will have a massive impact on your grocery bill, as well as improve your over all health. If you MUST have these things, I suggest strict moderation, or making them yourselves. It is healthier, and more cost effective, to make things from scratch.

STEP TWO:

Cut out the garbage at breakfast. Boxed cereal, even the “healthy” ones, are not super awesome for you. When you have teenagers, the kids can go Fat Cereal Mascotsthrough 1-3 boxes in a single meal between them. This also goes for those frozen waffles, pancake coated sausages, and pre-made breakfast sandwiches. Clear out your freezer space for meats, fruits and veggies. We keep Hungry Jack pancake mix, because it only requires water, and a box costs $2 or less. Oatmeal, grits, eggs, fresh or frozen fruit, milkshakes, bacon and sausage are our breakfast staples. Go with the larger packages of grits and oatmeal, not the individual packets. It will save money and is easier when making for several people at a time. Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. Don’t start your day with fast burn sugary garbage. It is not healthy and will eat your grocery money faster than you can eat it!

STEP THREE:

Plan your meals. Many of you work and think you do not have “time” to plan a meal. I assure you, you do. It takes moments to lay something out before work, if you plan ahead when you shop. Start by buying your meats in bulk, and separating them out into meal size portions, and putting them in baggies. This will save freezer space, thawing time, and reduce your over all meal costs. I keep a few baggies with 2-3 extra portions in the freezer too, for when guests join us for dinner.

STEP FOUR:

PortionPortion out your meals. Many people start freaking out at this notion. “OH MY, you want me to portion out our FOOD?!” Umm, yes, I do. This will keep you from over eating, which is not healthy for you, and will allow you to control your food budget a bit better. Keep the portions reasonable. You do not want people walking away hungry, but you also do not want to waste any food either. America is one of the leading countries of wasted food. We throw away more food in a single week than many other countries have to eat in a month! It really is rather damaging to ones budget.
Many are under the impression that all you can afford for $100-150 a week is simply potatoes and rice. That is simply not true. You just need to learn how to shop a little differently.

Breakfast Dinner Soup

Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken leg quarters come in a 10 lb bag at Walmart for about $5. You can cut those quarters in half, and make several portioned out meals out of that $5 bag of chicken. Ground beef is rather expensive most places, but you can get it for about $2.29/lb at Aldi, when you buy the larger packages. I suggest having a meat scale at home, so that you can portion out 1-2 lb baggies (depending on your family size). When you get them in the baggie, flatten them out. This will save space in the freezer, and they will thaw faster. Also, Watch the “reduced” section. You can find awesome deals in the reduced priced meats section. If you have a butcher, or meat market near you, they often do package deals. Watch your prices though. Some meat markets like to throw things like potatoes into their packages to make it look like you are getting an awesome deal.
TomatoesI am not overly fond of feeding us canned veggies. Green BeansThey are not the most healthy. If you are somewhere that you can grow a garden, even a small container garden, it is something I HIGHLY recommend. You do not need a large space, to grow a large amount of food. Many people think that since they do not have space for a huge elaborate farm style garden that they can’t grow their own food. This is simply not true. Start with the basics: potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and beans. Get GOOD soil, and compost, and add that to your plot/planters BEFORE you start your planting. Trust me. You will thank me later.

If gardening is indeed something you are incapable of, I suggest Aldi or Save-A-Lot for your canned veggies. There is no need to pay $2 a can, when you can get them for $0.59 or less a can. If you have a bents and dents store, all the better. Again, just watch your prices.
Fruit and veggie standsfarmers-market-17 can be nice, but try hitting that early morning farmers market instead. You will be supporting a local farmer, and getting nicer fruits and veggies than you will in a grocery store. You will also find a larger and healthier variety of fruits and veggies at a farmers market than you will in an average grocery store. If you can’t grow your own, this is the next best way to go. Aldi also has good prices on their fresh fruits and veggies if you have one near you.
We do not buy a bunch of processed foods. I have found that by the time I get them in large enough quantities to feed us all, it actually costs less to make a meal that is 1 meat, 1-2 veggies and a starch. The only exception to this would be the occasional lasagna, taco kits, and pasta sauces. While I prefer to cook most of my meals fresh, sometimes a Momma just needs a night off.

We found that with cutting out a large portion of the processed junk food, we where able to feed the kids more food, at a much lower price. Reducing the amount of sugars, junk, and processed garbage has also had great health benefits. Our energy levels have come up, and our weight is coming down. We are more healthy, and energetic than we where before. The kids are not complaining about being hungry ALL THE TIME, like they where before, because the meals are more satisfying for longer.

Sylar Fast

So if you want to eat more for less, this is how you do it. You reduce or cut out your junk food, plan and pre-portion out your meals, and eat things that are more satisfying for longer periods of time. You will see your grocery expenses go down and your money savings go up! This is how we feed many with little.

 

Fat cereal mascot photo from Brian Altano’s Twitter.

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Enough Room?

With the upcoming blending of our families, I find that I am asked questions like “Are you SURE you have enough room for that? Where are you going to PUT everyone? How do you have enough space for EIGHT people?” Many seem to be under the impression that to have a family of 8, you must live in a mansion, or at the very least a 6+ bedroom house.

Ribbon Drawer

We have a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house with living room, large library/office, dining room, kitchen, garage, and laundry space. It is “only” about 2,000 square feet. It is no mansion in the hills, but it is not a tiny house either. Two of the kids rooms will have bunk beds, and one has a queen size bed, because he is too tall for a regular twin size bed. The master bedroom is large enough for two queen beds, which is much larger than most master bedrooms we have had.

House1 House4

House3 House2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a hard time understanding the way newer generations think. Many people seem to be under the impression that every child must have their own bedroom, and a large one at that. Sharing bedroom space, much less a common bed, seems to be becoming a thing of the past.
If you go back 2 or 3 generations, life was very differnet. My grandparents each came from large families. They had between 9-11 (living) siblings. While I do not know the size of the homes two of them where raised in, I have visited the homes of the other two. They each grew up in 1 and 2 bedroom homes.
I find it hard to imagine having 11-13 people in a 2 bedroom house. These where not large 2 bedoom homes either. We are talking your average small to moderate apartment size.
Now think about that for a minute. Think about the closet space that would be required of that many children in todays world. Think about how much space they would need for their “stuff”. Think about the clutter of “toys” that 9+ kids would have, based on the amount of toys most 2-3 children families have.

HomesteadWe think about having 9+ kids in the house, and most think pure and utter chaos. Only 3 generations ago though, that was the very normal family make up though. It was normal to have several children sleeping on a single bed. It was very normal to have children sleeping in the floor on pallets, or even having a large “family bed” with the younger children. Though for some reason the thought of having a home like that today, makes one think of extreme poverty.
I want you to think for a moment about your childs room. Think about the amount of “stuff” your child has in their room right Toys2now. How much of that stuff do they really “need”? How much of it is neccesary, and how much of it is over abundance? Do they really Need 50 hot wheels, a book case full of books, 25 barbies, 4 remote controlled cars, 3 different game consoles, 40 different game discs, a tv, 15 different board games, and a whole slew of other toys and accessories? Does having mountains of material possessions help them develop more mentally? Does it help teach them anything, other than how to constantly clean their room?
We have enough room for 8 people in a smaller space, because we have cut out a large portion of our abundance of “stuff” and are working daily toward a greater abundance of life. Our children are FAR from deprived in any way. They DO have games, and game consoles. They have a box of blocks, and a box of cars. We have just cut down on the over abundance of said items.
Clothing is one place we struggle to control the masses. I have to admit, I DO love my clothes. In the last 2 years, I have given away over 30 garbage bags of clothing out of our combined closets. WOW! That is a ton of clothes. You know what, not a single one of us are going naked for it either. Having less clothing has forced us to wash our laundry more often, because the option to simply grab another clean pair out of the drawer/closet is not there. We can’t let the laundry pile up for 1-2-3 weeks at a time, because we simply do not keep that much clothing on hand, and someone is going to run out of underwear.
Living more, with less, has become a motto that many are re-adopting. America is one of the highest consumer driven societies in the world! Our kids have more “toys and stuff” than children in other countries. Many are beginning to wake up and realize that when you have more stuff, that stuff is not always a blessing. In fact, after a while, it becomes quite the burden. Instead of having time to go on that walk, or play a board game with the kids, you find yourself endlessly cleaning and cleaning.

Possession
So instead of asking me if I have enough space for 8 people, Ask yourself, why DON’T I have “enough space”? What is taking up the space in your house? What is your house filled with, that consumes your time, effort and money? What is your house so full of, that you question if a 4 bedroom 2 bath house is “large enough” for a family of 8? What can you get rid of, to give yourself more space? What material possession can you go without, to buy yourself another few moments in the day to do something other than clean? What dust collector, and space hog are you holding onto, that you can let go of?

Decumulating
Having enough space in your home, is as simple as clearing out the excess. De-clutter your home, and you will notice that not only to you have more space, but you have more time too. You will find yourself stressing less, and smiling more. Life is better when you fill your home with memories, and get rid of the excess space hogs. Soon you too, will find that, yes, you have enough space for more.

 

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Inside The Actors Studio Questions

I like to go through and do these questions from Inside The Actors Studio about once a year or so since I find my answers do change as I get older. What would your answers be?

1. What is your favorite word?
Moutarde. It’s French for mustard and I just think it’s funny since it always makes me think of a mentally challenged cow.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Colonel. What the eff? There is no letter in that word that would even come close to making an “r” sound! Someone decided to throw the alphabet out the window on this one. Always reminds me of this epic Monty Python line- “It’s spelled ‘Raymond Luxury Yacht,’ but it’s pronounced “Throat Warbler Mangrove.'”

3. What turns you on?
Talent, passion, and honesty. Find me a man who has all three of those and I will be set.

4. What turns you off?
Dishonesty. I cannot stand it.

5. What sound do you love?
My son’s voice. He is so my light. Second to that is felines purring. It’s the literal sound of contentment. It’s relaxing to hear.

6. What sound do you hate?
The sound of an animal or child in pain. It brings tears to my eyes instantaneously.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
I say “son of a bitch” and “fuck” a lot. Not sure I have one I consider a favorite.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Dancing. I love to dance, but I am not very good at it.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Spelunker. I cannot do small, dark places, especially if there is water involved. I will freak out.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Finally! Skye has not stopped talking about you since she got here. The Rainbow Bridge is over there and she is waiting for you.”

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Parenting Teens In The New World

Our kids are growing up in a completely different world than we did. Doesn’t matter whether you have a toddler or a teen, it’s not the same anymore.

I realized this as I was talking to my friend about her 18 year old son’s complete lack of desire to get a job and contribute to their living expenses. Many other people the country over are experiencing the same thing. It confused me because I was psyched when I turned 14 and could finally get a job. That first paycheck…oh  my gosh, what a feeling! I wondered what it was that made me want to go to work at 14 that a legal adult nowadays would not have.

The things teens should be saving up for are handed over to them. Computer, X-box, Playstation, cell phone, clothes, games, DVDsboys-electronics-night-bed (1), etc., are just given to them with absolutely no responsibility. Imagine for a second that you could live that way. You get what you want. You do what you want. You don’t have to work. You don’t have to pay for food, shelter, utilities, clothing,…you pay for nothing.  You just traipse through life with no responsibilities.

It may seem nice (personally, I think it seems boring), but the fact is to live like that you have to be putting a strain on other people. Stuff does not materialize before you. The electricity that goes to the games isn’t a free service because the city thinks you’re so nice.

What did I have then, that kids do not have now? Respect for other people, specifically your own parents.

That is not all though. Getting a job was an awesome way to socialize. I worked with my best friend. That was awesome. I also got to work with some attractive people. That’s a bonus. I made even more friends through working with people. I met a bunch of people in the community and got to know them. Going to work was the only way that happened.

TheOneSpy_Teen_socialTeens don’t have that problem anymore thanks to the internet and cell phones. They are always connected, all the time, to everyone. Want to ask your friend for advice? You don’t have to wait until you see them. Grab your cell and shoot them a text or hop online and instant message them.

Parents are enabling their teens behavior and what is worse is that they feel bad if they don’t enable them. I have seen it a thousand times. Parents say, “I don’t want to hurt her feelings!” or “I’m scared he will hate me!” and lastly, “What if they stop loving me?” It has even been questioned, “How will my child survive?”

Here’s the scoop: The child is going to have hurt feelings. He or she is going to hate you. He or she is not going to stop loving you (yes, it is possible to love and hate someone at the same time). For the last question, did you survive without the frills? Then your child will, too.

I tend to coddle, but parenting teens requires tough love sometimes. I told my friend that she needed to block her wifi withWifiPassword a password and when dinner time came to feed her eldest a PB&J sandwich while the rest ate whatever she cooked. I told her to tell him that he could dine with them when he started contributing. Until then, she would allow him all the peanut butter, jelly, and bread that he could want. She asked if I would do that to my son.

Hell yes! If he was an adult without a job, living under my roof, using my stuff, absolutely. I will admit that it is hard for me to imagine. Sylar’s dad and I agreed on things long ago. We will spoil him, but only to an extant. I know most of his friends will be going to work so I am sure he will want to, as well. At a certain age, he will be expected to pay for at least part of his cell phone bill, any games he wants, and any gas he uses. As he grows, his responsibility increases.

GroundingNo money for cell? It gets shut off. Didn’t do Wifi chores? No internet today. No gas money? Car stays here.

Lastly, if the adult child refuses to get a job, they get nothing. They do not get to use any computer, television, or phone in the house. They will have to wash their own clothes, but don’t let them use the detergent. If they want detergent, they will have to buy it. Out of toothpaste? Shampoo? They can buy it themselves. They can feast on ramen and PB&Js. If they want something with more sustenance, they can pay for the meal. They only places they can go are to stores where they are applying.

For most children, that is enough of an incentive. Who wants to be stuck with their family, with nothing to do, nothing to eat, and smelling bad?

Remember, you are not being a bad parent by doing these things. Without teaching your child how to live on theirTeach Your Children To Do For Themselves own, how they will survive if something happens to you? Some birds leap out of the nest on their own, but others need some help. The mama bird is not going to just let it sit there because she knows that is not in the best interest of her baby. It is important that he learn to fly so he can find food and escape predators. Do the same. Teach your child to live.

 

Found this book which some of you may find helpful – How to Raise Your Adult Children: Real Life Advice For When Your Kids Don’t Want to Grow Up.

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