What I Have Learned From Recovery From an Eating Disorder #NEDAwareness

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

What I have learned through recovery from an eating disorder…

I have learned, that it was never about food.

It was never about my body. The (lack of) food was the drug to numb the overwhelming emotions, to punish a little girl that never felt good enough. To keep her in line. To not let her live within the wiggly lines of real life.

Recovery has taught me:

How to be messy. How to live in the grey areas of uncertainty and not knowing.

How to allow myself to be human. To make mistakes. To forgive myself and others.

Recovery has brought me not only a softness around my skin (which I like), but a softness around my heart. A compassion for others, because when I was in the rigid rules of the eating disorder, I could not see anything beyond my own fear.

The more I take care of myself, and nourish my soul, the more I am able to love and care for others.

The more I am attuned to the world around me and the needs of those in my life.

Whereas, when I was in the eating disorder, my life was about protection, about people not getting too close, about keeping secrets and hiding.

It is lonely inside the cage of an eating disorder.


Recovery is a grand colorful room where friends and people who I let into my life are standing right beside me, walking with me, holding my hand.

But don’t be fooled, recovery is not a free fall into the whimsy of life. I have learned how to set clear boundaries and to have a voice in my world.

To love when it is appropriate and to use my voice and the word “No” when I need protection.

My voice. My life. My choices.

Recovery has brought me an ability to love deep and hard, without fear of being known. Because being known and loved despite myself is exactly how God loves me.

And how He loves you.

The world taught me otherwise and I had to re-learn love. Love, being loved and being able to love is one of the greatest gifts recovery has brought to me, and will bring to you.

And we can’t forget the body. The body that was my whipping tool, the form of my anger, sorrow, and shame.

This body in recovery offers me life and breath.

It birthed three amazing boys and tells me what it needs. As I grow older it needs more rest, and it doesn’t seem to bounce back like it used to, but I listen to it. I take care of it and we are friends. Finally, after so much loathing, we hold hands and walk through life together, me and my body.

I celebrate it.

I hold it.

I thank it.

And finally, what recovery has brought me more than anything is a passion and zest for life.

For living and being in the fullness of every day.

Once I lived in the darkness of my pit. Where I hung curtains, put a couch and some chairs and made a home there.

But life isn’t meant to be lived in the pit.

Life is meant to be lived in the fullness of everyday. Where there is great and horrible pain and ecstatic and soul filling joy. It is risky, to live in recovery because I can guarantee you…it is not a straight line of perfection or control. It is glorious. It is challenging. It is beautiful.

With God holding me and guiding me, life on the other side of an eating disorder is absolutey 100% worth it.

I promise. 




Where Have I Been… and Exciting News!

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

It doesn’t look like it, but I have been writing. Lots and lots of writing.

And change.

Lots and lots of change.


Please forgive me for not writing here, my precious space to share my thoughts, hopes, and encouragement to you…my faithful readers and friends.

In September I left my job after almost nine years at the Melrose Center. Thinking I needed a change and hoping God had something in mind, a few weeks into October, it was clear He did.

I started working at Beauterre Recovery Institute (and write content here) in marketing as I wanted to take a break from patient care to focus on my writing. I thought this job would allow me space to do so.

I just didn’t realize it would actually happen, but it did. I received a book contract in October!!! Wooohooo! 


To my amazement someone actually wants me to write a book again!

Table in the Darkness (hey if you read it and enjoyed it, would you write a review on Amazon? I would soo appreciate it!) was no blockbuster, so I really thought my writing career was done. I actually thought they had made a mistake when they contacted me with the contract!

But now it is real and the manuscript (which hasn’t yet been completed) is due at the end of February!! Yikes!

What does this mean? It means I could use your prayers. I could use your support. I am more scared than ever! It is one thing to write one book…but two? Book one I spent over nine years writing! I have lots of doubts and fears and I am hoping and praying and TRUSTING that God has a plan here.

While I was changing jobs and working on the proposal for book #2, I have had such a fun time freelance writing for some local magazines. I have met some of the coolest people through this writing adventure. Here are some of the things I have been busy writing:

Young Fencer

Boot Camp

Sports Bags

Smart Homes

Flip Flop Pilgram

(Plus a few more fun ones to come!)

In the mean time, I will not be writing here until I finish that manuscript! I hope you understand…but at the end of February I will be back to write here.

The book will be released in Spring of 2017 an more details to follow once I finish it. Thank you again for your prayers and support.






Do You Need a Cheering Section?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

“Who is cheering for me?” she said.

She was up all night asking this question with tears falling down her face. Her husband sleeping next to her while he rested for the marathon he would run the next day. Her family ready to cheer him on.

And she held this question in her hands wondering.

“Who is cheering for me?”

My heart ached when I heard her say this, because I wanted to reassure and fix her. I am cheering for you.

I wanted to tell her, “I think you are amazing. I think you are kind, tender-hearted and such a great mom. I admire the passion you put into your children and the way you live your life!”

I wanted to tell her these things.



I wanted to explain to her the impact just her being herself makes on this world.

I want to tell her that while she runs another carpool, or runs another load of laundry or dishes, we…the women who know and love her, are cheering for her.

That fighting through this crazy thing called life and motherhood and just being a woman itself, deserves a medal.

I posted a picture on Facebook on Sunday announcing my exciting news that I have another book coming out in 2017. I pondered posting it. Because I don’t want anyone seeing that news of mine and thinking, “What about me?”

Because I do that. You do that. And I know as women WE do that.

But, what you don’t see in this world of social media and highlight reels is that we desperately need each other. We need a cheering section. I need a cheering section. You don’t see the struggle behind the photo, the insane amount of doubt and fear I have. The constant question I toil over, “Who do I think I am that I can write a book!” The crazy way I can make my own good news, not good news.

I only am able to do any of life because of my cheering section.

My friends, family, and God who know the messy me and still say, “GO FOR IT! YOU CAN DO IT!”

Jealousy robs us of community and togetherness. It keeps us isolated. It keeps us alone. I can get caught up in it so often. Why can’t I do what she is doing? Why can’t I have what she has? Why can’t my life be as easy as hers?


It is a mirage. It isn’t real.

To imagine that any of us are without pain and suffering is to build a wall of denial about what it is like to truly live in this world.

As women, we can be the worst and meanest about it.

We need to drop the act. Drop the image that we all have it together.

Because we don’t. None of us do.

We are ALL merely stumbling along in this life trying to figure it out.


So can’t we be a cheering section for each other? Can’t we instead of saying, “Oh, I want what you have.” Say, “You go girl!” Let’s hold up signs for each other, let’s encourage each other, and when one of us is beaming with joy and happy news…. let us scream and cheer and bear hug each other.

Women, we are each other’s cheering section! Let’s BE that for each other.

xo - Lee

The Dangers of Referring to Anorexia as a Habit

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I recently finished reading a powerful and helpful book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

It is a GREAT book. He describes the habit loop like this:

Habits are powerful: They create neurological cravings. Most of the time these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning.” Says Duhigg

We have all been there with habits right? Why we continue some bad habits and are able to break others has a lot to do with our brain. I am not denying that.



A recent study came out identifying a part in an anorexic’s brain lighting up in the habit region.

Both the anorexic and the healthy women showed activation in an area known as the ventral striatum, part of the brain’s reward center. But the anorexic women showed more activity in the dorsal striatum, and area involved with habitual behavior, suggesting that rather than weighing the pros and cons of the foods in question, they were acting automatically based on past learning.” – NY Times

(Time magazine also wrote about it here.)

While I agree with this finding and that the brain most likely is activated this region, I find a great deal of difficulty and harm with creating theories from a study such as this.

Here are the five holes I find in this study:

1. Tiny study. Only 42 women were studied. You cannot just pick out 21 people with anorexia and categorize them all the same. That would be like taking 21 blondes and saying they are all the same. So much more goes into making someone an anorexic and I can assure you from experience, you can NOT simply narrow it down to habit.

2. Depression. It is quite unclear sometimes which arises first, depression or an eating disorder. For me, depression came first, which then led me not to eat. This study suggests, “The anorexic women were more likely than the healthy women to choose low-fat, low-calorie foods and they were less apt to rate high-fat, high-calorie foods as “tasty,” the study found.” – NY Times

For me, this was due to two factors: 1. Severe depression causing me to find NOTHING as tasty. 2. The onslaught of media telling me not to eat certain foods so my brain saw those foods as “bad”. Then when I ate those foods I felt “bad”.

3. Trauma. The article states that, “It helps to explain why treatments we expect to work like antidepressants and cognitive therapy, don’t work very well.”- NY Times 

No, these don’t work very well because so many with eating disorders have a history of trauma.

There have been several studies done to demonstrate a correlation between individuals who have had traumatic experiences who later develop eating disorders. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often a co-occurrence with persons who suffer from an eating disorder. Those who have experienced traumatic events may engage in an eating disorder to self- manage the feelings and experiences related to PTSD.” – National Eating Disorders Association

Until the trauma is dealt with patients need to be offered different modalities of therapy such as working with a trauma therapist, EMDR or other therapies, antidepressants and cognitive therapy will not help. This isn’t just do to this one thing as the researchers are saying.

4. Food. Eating disorders are not about food. Alcoholism is not about alcohol. It is about what is going on to need the lack of food, the abundance of food, or the alcohol. To simplify it to trying to change someone’s habit, is misinformed and continues to spread information to people that is not accurate. I am not denying habit might be involved, but simplifying it to one thing is quite dangerous.

5. Boot Straps. Do you know what happens when studies like this come out? People read them and think they found an answer. When I was deep in my eating disorder, many people told me to “just stop”. Or to, “pull myself up by the boot straps.” Do you know what that did to me? Filled me with enormous shame and sent me to wanting to die. Why couldn’t I eat? Why couldn’t I just stop? What was wrong with me while the rest of the world was able to go along their merry way eating and living? I described this in detail in my book, Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder.  Eating disorders are mental illnesses and extraordinarily complex.

Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.”  National Institute of Mental Health

I urge anyone who reads this study to take it with a massive grain of salt. There are many missing pieces here and if it were as simple as this researcher was saying, then this many people would be able to break the habit right?

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.” – NEDA

Instead, I believe it is a whole person approach. Dealing with the trauma, the cognitive thoughts, the habits, the lifestyle, the shame, and the values of the person. Plus soooo much more. These studies make something complex look so simple and I find dangerous to publish so freely.

Recovery IS possible, but it is not as simple as “breaking a habit.”

If it were this easy, this wouldn’t be so funny!








The Sacred Act Of Returning

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

The word returning was impressed into my mind after attending a fascinating workshop this weekend.

What does it mean to return? th-1

It can mean returning to an addictive behavior or a destructive person. It makes me think about this verse:

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” Proverbs 26:11 (NLT)

Well, that is one way to look at it.

This is SO TRUE in my own life, returning to the things that harm and hurt me. As if they somehow comfort me.

That our suffering and our pain feels as if it is our breath and our lot in life.

So we return.

I do it. We all do it.

Return to making poor decisions, and returning again and again to the parts we despise about ourselves. For those in early recovery, this is the most excruciating part of trying to overcome an eating disorder or substance abuse. The body and mind become so used to the abuse, so used to the negative coping skill the lines begin to blur. What is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. We fall into that deep pit of shame, feeling hopeless and unsalvageable, returning again and again.

But what if there is another returning that brings us life?

A returning of hope.

What if instead of returning yet again to the destruction and abusive patterns, we return to something different. Something deep in us that says, Today. Is new. Today I get another chance to try again.

The speaker at this workshop asked me, “Lee, how many chances would you give your children?”

“Five million!” I answered.

“I would never run out of chances for them. I would never NOT return. Because my love for them is deeper than anything I have ever known.”

So then, isn’t there a God above that does that for us?

My first answer, honestly, is no. Not for me. I am too messed up. Made too many mistakes. Said too many things. I need to be better and then He will return.


He is here now.

He doesn’t move. It is ME who needs to do the returning. Me who needs to accept the grace and trust. Me who needs to walk away from the shame and the guilt and return to this:


Return to GRACE. Return to Truth.

So instead today of returning to the old habits and old ways, instead of returning to the self-hatred and isolation, return to Him.

Come back. It doesn’t matter if you fall a million times or If you fail a trillion times.

What matters is that you return, return to the one that loves you.

I am working on this too.



Won’t you join me?

xo Lee

The Pathology of Silence and Patrick Kennedy’s Courage to Break It

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

There is a silent code within many families, and it is not in relation to one’s status or wealth.

I am referring to the pathology of silence that encompasses a family when mental illness or addiction is present.

Don’t tell. Don’t share. It makes us (the family) look bad.

Patrick Kennedy bravely broke through the conspiracy of silence by sharing his own struggle with mental illness and addiction in a profound and heartwarming segment on 60 minutes. Watch Here.  And he wrote about in his recently published book, A Common Struggle.


While my own family did not have the social pressure or peering eyes that the Kennedy’s have, I relate and applauded his story and his courage.

When I was struggling with my eating disorder and depression as I wrote about in my book, Table in the Darkness, I was adamant that no one know. My family adhered to my wishes, as I am pretty sure they didn’t want anyone to know either. Yet, the silence of keeping my struggles hidden was only reflective of a family system that on the outside was so well put together, but on the inside was full of dark tunnels, secret struggles, and happy smiles.

Don’t tell. Don’t share.

As I watched Patrick bravely share his story, 8 points that he highlighted to clearly combat the pathology of silence struck me.

These 8 truths are applicable to mental illness, addiction, and eating disorders. (Patrick’s quotes have been pulled from The CBS 60 Minutes script from “Patrick Kennedy” which aired on October 4, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.)

  1. Silence.

When people have these illness being silent about them is almost as bad as the disease.” Says Patrick.

Silence only perpetuates this idea that any of this is a moral failure, or something wrong with the person. Many debate this idea of “is it a choice” ? (FANTASTIC article debating this HERE.)

But, please remember…no one wants depression, an addiction, or an eating disorder. It is a tortuous way to live and despite returning to the abuse over and over (relapsing), many are desperate to break free. Creating a cloud of silence regarding the person struggling only perpetuates an already painful shame and stigma so present in our culture.

It’s a conspiracy of silence, not only for the person who is suffering, but for everyone else who’s forced to interact with that person. That’s why they call this a family disease.” Kennedy continues.

  1. My story.

This is my story. These experiences are embedded in me. They’re who I am.” Says Kennedy.

Often people who struggle are afraid to share their stories, as they don’t want to embarrass or shame family members. I struggled tremendously with this tension when I wrote mine. But, I tried to be true to my own story. What I knew to be true. I had to accept the fact that not everyone would be comfortable with me telling my story, but to me…helping someone struggling became more important than keeping the silence.

It is about taking care of all of us. Because these are Americans. They’re dying every day. And they’re our brothers and sisters.” He says.

  1. Unprocessed Trauma.

Many reoccurring relapses can be traced to unprocessed trauma.

Early-childhood trauma is strongly associated with developing mental health problems, including alcohol dependence, later in life. People with early-life trauma may use alcohol to help cope with trauma-related symptoms.” - National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol

“My father when on in silent desperation for much of his life, self-medicating and unwittingly passing his unprocessed trauma onto my sister, brother, and me.” – Patrick Kennedy says. 

  1. Shame.

Addicts will act as if they don’t care. They will often have extreme apparent competence (apparent competence refers to outwardly being able to cope and seeming in control, while inwardly being completely lost, or mentally unwell). But underneath is an ocean of shame. That shame is perpetuated when family members won’t talk about the illness, when people hide it, and when friends don’t want to talk about it.

Shame is a painful emotion responding to a sense of failure to attain some ideal state. Shame encompasses the entire self.”- Psychology Today

The shame just becomes…. you know, I just understood this was not something that you want anyone to see. I know so many of them who can’t talk about their own family’s illnesses. The pathology of silence infects you. And that is sickening to your soul.” – Patrick says tearfully.

  1. Stuff it under the rug.

Put on a smile, look pretty, and just act like ladies act was how we dealt with pain in my family. And it only fed the beast of my eating disorder and propelled me to hide my true self even more.


Pervasive in families with addiction and mental illness, when the pathology of silence is present, is this constant pushing under the rug.  Not talking about problems. Not discussing the elephant in the room. Which only perpetuates this problem.

We were living in limbo land where all of this chaos, this emotional turmoil, was happening. And we were just expected to live through it.” – Says Patrick

  1. Escape and relief.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this phrase, “Oh I wish I had an eating disorder!” Or “Wow, they (someone on a drinking or drug binge) must have had quite the party.” The truth is, it isn’t glamorous. It is used to numb out, escape, and find relief.

When someone is fully entrenched in the disease there is no more fun involved.

This is about relieving the pain. People have this mistaken notion that you get high. What you are really getting is relief from the low.” – Patrick explains

  1. Co-Occurring.

It was difficult for my treatment providers to asses. Which came first, the depression or the Anorexia? Instead of thinking of this as the chicken or the egg, instead imagine it like wack-a-mole. One rears it’s head and the other goes down. Both need to be treated. Sobriety also meant Patrick could metabolize his bi-polar medication better, he was more likely to take his meds, and treat his whole self better (including his mental health) when he was sober. A person with an eating disorder will potentially have less anxiety and depression when they are nourishing their bodies and/or refraining from using symptoms. (GREAT article HERE.)

  1. In Recovery.

“Are you recovered?” People always ask me. Yes. And I am IN recovery. I am always one step away from a relapse just as an alcoholic is one step away. Does this mean I will tomorrow? No. Yesterday I celebrated 20 years of freedom. I do whatever it takes for me to protect my recovery. I am vigilant about it. I am living IN recovery. (Oh the semantics of this word.) To me recovery encompasses many areas of my life, not just eating. It is physical, mental, psychological, social and spiritual.

 I am an addict. I will always be an addict. But I am an addict in recovery.” - Patrick finishes.

I say it like this; I am Lee. I struggled with an eating disorder and depression. The eating disorder no longer bangs on my door, depression rears its ugly head every so often, but I live IN recovery. I protect my recovery just as an addict does. I take care of my mental health. I do what I can to make sure I stay IN recovery.

So, may you be encouraged by Patrick Kennedy’s courage and begin to break your own pathology of silence.


Tell someone you are struggling. Tell a friend, tell your therapist. Reach out. You will be so glad you did. Or if a family member is, break the silence!



When We Box Each Other In

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Boxes are so tidy. You can see all sides. They are one-dimensional and really there isn’t much more to say about them. It is what it is.

The same is true when we do that with people, this putting people in boxes.


We tidy them up in our minds and slap a label on them. We all do it. It helps us organize our thoughts. People do it to me all the time and it makes me crazy!

Here are some examples of the boxes I get put in:
You are a Christian so you must vote for…. fill in the blank.
You live in that community so you must be rich.
You are peppy so you must always be happy.
You struggled with an eating disorder so you must still struggle with food.
You say Jesus so you must not be any fun.

None of these are true.

Recently I attended my 25-year high school reunion and felt the boxes. A great deal of this came from the fact that old classmates now see each other on Facebook. (Here is more about the Lie of Facebook.)

We see the highlight reel.

I did it too. We don’t really know the behind the scenes, so we create stories in our heads about each other. It almost felt like we didn’t even need to talk to each other, because everyone had crafted their own stories based off of social media. And then many of us kept saying, “Oh you look the same!”

25 years…none of us are the same! Goodness I hope not!

I found this to be a barrier to the normal process of conversation. It was as if we had to remove the walls of what people perceive us to be to show who we really are. I didn’t want to think I knew what was going on with someone based on their Facebook feed, but in my head it helped organize these ideas of each other.

And then I reminded myself, only through spending time with each other, with talking and looking each other in the eye do we find out what is really going on. How someone is changing and growing and living. You can’t quite do that by scrolling a news feed. What a joy it was to spend time really hearing what was going on with people and learning about their lives now!


Hey look, we all do it. I do and you do too.

But, what happens when we build these boxes and draw people in these lines is, we make them static.

We make them un-bendable and unchangeable.

I don’t know about y you, but every day I live, I am trying to not be static. I want to grow and change and be challenged. I want to fall on my face and make mistakes and try all over again. I want to try new things and meet new people.

Recently someone said to me, “Oh I didn’t want to say anything because I know you don’t like conflict.” Or another person said, “I didn’t think you liked to hug.”
Yes. Sometimes conflict is hard, and sometimes I don’t like to hug people or touch people I don’t know very well.

AND…sometimes I like to give big huge bear hugs. Sometimes I address conflict head on with no fear. Sometimes I cuss like a sailor (I am not proud of this, but hey…sometimes it happens). Sometimes I like big parties and other times I like to go on silent retreats.

I am not a static person and nor are you.

Every day I am changing and growing. Sometimes I am nice and sometimes I am mean. I am human and I am not a fixed thing. I don’t like it when people do this to me and so I am working hard to not do it to others.

Won’t you try too? When you stop labeling and categorizing people (including yourself), you can then be curious. Curious is really fun.

If you are curious about someone you will see they are growing and changing too. They are being shaped by life and molded by experience. Be curious about each other. Stop seeing people as static news feeds and be inquiring about them.


If we are all changing every day by rubbing up against life and experience, then don’t we all have a lot to learn from each other?

Crush the box and adopt curiosity and exploration about your friends, co-workers, and family.

I bet you will be surprised by what you learn when you dig a little deeper than the four walls of the box.

Happy Living!



Are You Afraid Of Change?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

In the middle of a frigid Minnesota winter it is not uncommon to see kids in shorts or at a bus stop without a coat, because they think it is somehow uncool to wear a coat.

My teenagers are notorious for this. I stand in the foyer and holler with my hands waving in the air, “Can’t you see it is WINTER outside? It is freezing! Put on your coat!” Before I know it they are out the door in only a sweatshirt and shorts, clueless and unwilling to accept the fact that it is winter and it is cold.

Have you ever been in a season of your life like this?

Where CLEARLY the season has changed, the leaves have fallen off, the snow is on the ground, and you refuse to admit it. You refuse to budge. You stay shivering in your shorts while the rest of the world realizes it is winter.


This is exactly what has been happening in my own life (which is also why I took a month off from writing as I wrote about here).

My season for the last year has been changing, and I dug my heels in and pretended it wasn’t. The season of my career.

I have been at Melrose for almost nine years, and the season has changed. The winds were moving and the leaves were falling. I was receiving messages from every direction. From wise counsel, dear friends, and mostly from my body were signaling, It is time to move on. I tried to ignore it. Tried to pretend that I could stay where I was and be comfortable in my discomfort.

I have never lived my life like that, so why now?

Because I was afraid. I was comfortable. I was on autopilot.

But, autopilot is not what patients need and I increasingly became unable to offer my best self at my job. The message was clear.

It was time to step out of the boat.


I was terrified. At the time, I wasn’t feeling God’s presence, I wasn’t feeling like he was with me.

So should I wait until I feel ready? No.

Everything was flashing a neon sign to step out of the boat. I trusted my body, I trusted my wise community and family telling me to step out, and I trusted…despite not feeling God, that as I stood on the water, Jesus would be there somewhere.

A sense of Jesus’ absence might be a sign of his presence – a sign that he is working already in your own life.” – Tim Keller 

So I tenderly and fearfully stepped out. And I felt scared. And I felt alone. And many nights in these past few months have been spent with me asking God this question, “Are you here?”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I couldn’t feel Him. I couldn’t see Him. But I trusted. And in other ways He made his presence known. Through music and people. I can’t even count the number of times Hillsong’s Ocean was suddenly playing out of seemingly nowhere.

I stepped out of the boat and with my knees shaking, I began walking.

It may seem like no big deal to leave a job, but this job has been my passion and my life. Walking in the trenches everyday with those struggling has been my calling.

My job is changing but my calling is not.

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Today is my last day at Melrose as a Mental Health Practitioner. For almost nine years I have been walking with patients struggling with eating disorders, and for the past four with those struggling with eating disorders and substance abuse.

And I will continue my passion to help people find freedom for the rest of my life.

More than anything, the patients have taught me. They have softened my heart. They have stretched and challenged me. They have made me a better person, a more vulnerable person, and a more tender person.

And it is with great and heavy sadness and excited anticipation that I close this chapter in my life and move on to another.

On Monday September 21st, I will begin a new chapter as a Business Develoment and Marketing Associate at a really cool new treatment center, Beauterre Institute. I will no longer be working in direct patient care.

It is my hope and prayer that it will allow me more time for speaking and writing as this is where I feel I want to devote more of my time and energy.

photo (19)

My heart is aching today and my hands are shaking. I am filled with doubt and worry. But, I trust in God’s plan for my life and I trust that he will guide me in moving forward.

What about you?

Do you need to step out of the boat? Is fear holding you back? 

Fear isn’t enough of a reason not to do something.

Are you wearing shorts when it is CLEARLY winter?

Don’t let it dear friends, life is precious and the water will not drown you. Yes, many times it felt like it would, but it didn’t.

Take that step.

And won’t you hold my hand with me too as I take my next step? 




When Adults Take Away A Child’s Fun…

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Wood chips and long silver slides.

These are the first things I recall when I fondly think of the recesses of my youth. There were days I wasn’t picked for kickball and days where someone made fun of my Michelin man snow suit.

There were even days when I felt alone and left out.

And, I learned many great lessons on the various playgrounds I spent time on. What I also know is that I was an extraordinary hyperactive child and recess and gym were my outlets.

It was my outlet and my creative space. I could push through those huge doors and run free at the sound of a bell.

It was the only time where someone wasn’t telling me what to do, or to slow down and be quiet.

My youngest son is in the fifth grade and this freedom has been taken from him. His school decided (without the help of the PTO) to fix what wasn’t broken.




Using an opportunity to gain media coverage and possibly money for piloting the program, they are restricting our children to the rules of THEIR recess. Now the kids stand in lines, and are told where to go and what to do. Because of this “structured play” there are no pick-up games of soccer or hockey.

In my opinion, there is no freedom.

There is a wellness committee at our school. This wasn’t their idea. There is a PTO, this wasn’t their idea. This was the idea of people in a room who thought controlling the children sounded like a swell idea.

These people don’t work in the field I do. These people don’t see the further lack of wellness this creates for our children. I see children who come into the hospital where I work with extraordinary anxiety issues and rigidity that could run a corporation. Play is the last thing they want to do, and often play feels too unstructured and uncontrolled. It is heartbreaking to watch.  Many children in therapy or who have trauma are led to return to play to heal.

Because at the heart of every person is a child that wants to play and run free. 

To climb a tree, to play a game of soccer, or to even have a clubhouse in the swing set.

“Play” and learning to “play” are a natural part of youth. To take that away from our children is in a sense stealing this from them.

The research is clear. Children need recess. It benefits every aspect of childhood development—physical development, of course, but also social, emotional and intellectual development as well. Following are seven reasons why, if we want our children to succeed, recess should not be denied.”Why Kids Need Recess 

As a working mom, I am so grateful for the moms who are going to battle on this issue for our kids. I shake my head though at all the time and energy we are having to spend on such an issue! The recess wasn’t broken, why not let the kids just play? Why does this have to be more complicated than it needs to be?

Here is the positive press (it appears the school is using this as an opportunity to sell a product) it has received so far. Hoping the other side can be told too! 

Because I am unable to attend the meetings and participate in this situation, I am choosing to use this platform to share this news, in hopes that it can further spur those in charge to stop the madness and bring out recess back for our children.

I love what one mom wrote about it:

I’ve taken a week to watch recess, talk to kids and staff, analyze data and studies, have discussions with anyone who will listen and talk and the conclusion that comes to me at the end of each day…..recess is too important to not get this right. Playworks is not right. Kids not feeling “right” about recess is not right. The District needs to look again….this time with more than a passing glance. Our kids deserve better. Our kids deserve the chance to play their way. This is THEIR elementary recess and we need to get it right for each and every single one of them.”

According to the United Nations, the opportunity for play and recreation is a fundamental human right of every child” – Fight for the right to recess 


 Do Kids Need Recess

If they need more evidence, I refer to a pioneer in research on play.

Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.” Watch his TED talk here

Dr. Peter Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the United States there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children’s freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents.” Click here to watch more

So if your child attends this school, I urge you to sign this petition and make your voice heard. Let’s not make recess a multiple choice question when it doesn’t have to be! If not, please share this so the message get’s out to ALLOW OUR CHILDREN THE FREEDOM OF UNSTRUCTURED PLAY! 


The End.









The Most Valuable Tool You Can Offer Your Child

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I am kneeling next to his bed, where he is submerged under two big soft blankets. My sweet 11 year-old boy.

I ask him, “Will you forgive me?”

Me, the mother who vowed she would never be like her mother, earlier in the night repeating patterns that broke me as a child. Repeating the fighting and the biting words to my husband, loud and boisterous for all the house to hear. And he ran to his room sobbing, his chest heaving in deep cries.

I stood in the doorway with my heart in pieces. I was disgusted with myself for my lack of restraint with my tongue. For my lack of respect for my children’s precious ears. Because next door in my mind is a room with similar memories of another 11 year-old who was curled up in a ball crying due to similar fighting. A resolution never came. Apologies never made. And a childhood was split into houses, moves and step-parents and child support.



I understand his fear. I understand it too well.

And I know in this moment I have a choice.

I can do what was taught to me, or I can do something different. I can change the pattern. I can’t change the fact that I make mistakes and hurt his little spirit, but I can teach him something different than I was taught.

I can ask him how he feels, teach him to express his emotions, and teach him about apologies. I can show him I am human and make mistakes too.

I ask him, “Will you forgive me? I am sorry.” He looks me in the eyes with those eyelashes I swear were sewn on by angels. “Yes, it’s ok.”

And I continue, “How does it make you feel when mommy and daddy fight?”

“It hurts me. It makes my stomach drop.” he says.

“Oh sweet boy. I am sorry. I love your Daddy and sometimes we fight like you and your brothers’ fight, but I love him. I will try not to yell like that again, ok?

“Ok.” he says. I kiss him on his cheek goodnight.

A simple conversation, a simple discussion, but one that I wasn’t offered and it changed the trajectory of my life. The conversation (which was never had) where I the child was allowed to have my own feelings, my own experiences, and my own emotions. It is so simple, yet you would be surprised how uncommon it is. And how crucial it is to the healthy path of a person.

This ability to express and have needs.

This ability to feel one’s own emotions and to have room to experience them.

The question I am asked most is this, “How can I prevent my son or daughter from developing an eating disorder and/or an addiction to drugs or alcohol?” Every time I speak or meet someone who finds out what I do, this is what they ask me.

My response is always-teach your child emotional intelligence.

This isn’t a lesson you teach over dinner one night, but a lesson in your home on an everyday basis. Asking my son how it made him feel, without me telling him HOW to feel, or how he is supposed to feel, is one simple way to do this.

Emotional Intelligence is not only an indicator of alcohol and other drug abuse, but is linked to emotional competence, social and emotional learning, the development of healthy and life promoting behavior, and has been proven to reduce some of the risk factors associated with alcohol and other drug abuse in adolescents and adults.” – Journal article

Allowing him the language he knows and the space to have a voice.

Of course, I am not guaranteeing that he won’t travel down the road I did, one marked with a need to disappear and hide and not exist in this world. But, I know from the years of working with hundreds of patients and from my own experience, that emotional intelligence is a powerful prevention tool.

I know this because I wasn’t offered this as a young child. I was told how to feel and told my emotions weren’t real, as I wrote about in my book Table in the Darkness, I wasn’t asked how things made me feel and was expected to walk in the lines drawn out for me. My emotional experience was sucked out of me, so I stayed numb, because numb was easier than never being what the world expected me to.

What if someone had asked me that question all those nights alone in my bedroom crying, “How does this make you feel?” Would that have prevented the road I went down? Yes. And what if there were apologies and an ability to see that my parents were human? Yes.

Dr-Ludwig-quote-meme-part-3-v2-300x300And…could I still have gone down that road if my parents had been emotionally savvy. But, I know it would have made it harder for me to want to numb out had I understood my own emotional landscape, made room to have needs, and a place to talk about how I was feeling.

I turn the light out, but before I do, I blow him a kiss. He grabs the imaginary kiss, closes his hands around it and places it in his heart.

I am not the perfect parent, in fact I most of the time feel like I am stumbling along in the dark. But, I know this to be true and I hope you will place it in your heart – Your children need room to have their own emotions.

5 Steps to Raise and Emotionally Intelligent Child

They need words (their own words) to express these emotions without mom and dad telling them how they are supposed to feel. They need to see us be human and to be valued for their own needs, wants, and experiences.

Emotional intelligence appears to be a key predictor of children’s ability to make suitable peer relationships, get along at home, develop a well-balanced outlook on life, and to reach their academic potential at school.” – Psychology Today

This, will be one of the most powerful ways you can provide an emotionally intelligent household and reduce the risk for your child to need to numb out of life.

photo (8)