Wednesday, February 27, 2013

my "why's"



Why get healthy?

Why learn, and change, and be kind to your body?

Your "Weak and Lovely" challenge this week was to remind yourself why.  And I'll share my list with you in a moment. But first, I want to get out the why-nots. Change is hard, and we can acknowledge that.

Why I don't want to make healthy choices

  • It's easier to just keep doing what is easiest.
  • Change requires more thought and planning. 
  • I risk cooking a meal that my family will not like. I'll have to listen to complaints while knowing I have wasted money.
  • I really like cheese. And coffee. (not together.)
  • I don't want to learn moderation.
  • I like handing my kids a bag of treats, hearing their gratitude, and knowing they will be cheerfully eating their treats for ten happy minutes (even if the treats are a bag of sugar coated chemical puffs.)
  • The more I learn, the more I want to avoid processed foods- but then I wonder, when is this going to end? Must I really raise my own meat or figure out a way to live on wheatgrass?
  • Self control is exhausting. 
  • Again, it is SO much easier to keep doing what is easiest.


Ok, now here's the other list, for me.

Why Bother?

My body is a gift from God and a temple of the Holy Spirit.  This means that I ought to treat it with special care. It also means that, by grace, God is in me and will help me. (God help me be kind to my body today!  Make me want to, and help me remember why!)


  • When I am kind to my body, I am more likely to be a fun and energetic mommy.
  • When I make healthy choices, I am more cheerful, and I feel good.
  • When I feel good, I have more patience and a better relationship with my dear children.
  • When I exercise, I sleep better. When I am full of sleep, the whole world looks better.
  • When I serve my family a healthy meal, the food actually nourishes those precious bodies that I love. I like knowing that I have a hand in that.
  • When I fill the fridge with fruit and veggies, the kids eat them! (They really do! I am shocked!)
  • When I exercise, my head is clearer and I am less vulnerable to depression.
  • When I exercise, my thoughts are more organized.  I can think and write more effectively.
  • When I make healthy choices, I get more done in a day.
  • When I make healthy choices, I set a good example for my children.
  • When I make healthy choices, I am less prone to sickness and diabetes.
  • When I make healthy choices, I have more clothes to wear and I look better and feel better about my looks.
  • When I make healthy choices, I am a better wife.
  • When my body is cared-for, I can serve others better. I am able to be more faithful to my vocations.
  • When I exercise, I burn off stress in a healthy way. This is good for me and for my family!
  • When I care for my body, it works better and allows me to enjoy life more.

Lord, thank you for the gift of health and this amazing body.  Thank you for using it to bear six children, for sustaining it through these past thirty years, for all the things it has allowed me to do.  Teach me to be a good steward of this body.  Help me to tenderly care for it even as you have taught me to care for my children.  Help me to make good choices that will keep my body working well, as much as it is in my ability.  Teach me to love the foods that give me health and energy, and help me use self control in eating.  Thank you for making me a wife and a mother, and for equipping me for my daily tasks.  Continue to use me to love and serve Your children as long as you desire, only sustain me in body and spirit throughout my days on earth.  Amen.

P.S. Writing this post made me really hungry.
God help me be kind to my body today!  Help me to make my next choice a healthy one!



What is on your lists?

What's hardest for you about healthy change?
Why do you bother?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Loaded Baked Potatoes


Loaded Baked Potatoes
Another simple meal I make that my family loves is loaded baked potatoes.

I use medium sized potatoes, not the giant Russet bakers you'd get at a steakhouse.

Wash the potatoes, poke holes with a fork, and wrap in aluminum foil if you're using the oven, or put as is in the microwave. 

They'll take about 40-50 minutes in an oven set at 350 depending on size. (I like to throw them in with something else I am making such as bread or an apple crisp so I'm not just running the oven for 6 potatoes). 

Microwaves can vary greatly, but 4-6 minutes for one potato is a decent guide, adding approximately 2 minutes for each additional potato. 

Test their doneness by squeezing them (wearing an oven mitt). If they're tender and squishable, they should be ready. 

Meanwhile, steam frozen (or fresh) broccoli, and if you have a bunch of carnivores (i.e.- men), cook up some bacon. 

I top mine with 1 tsp. butter, 1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, and 2 crumbled bacon slices. Using the my fitness pal calculator, it runs about 300 calories, with 33 carbs, 14 fat, 14 protein, 15 calcium, and 13 iron. You can adjust it to what your body needs by using turkey bacon, or using different toppings.

Come back next Tuesday for another great recipe!

Join our facebook group for extra support!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekly Challenge: Remind yourself WHY

Are you still trying to make healthy changes?

So am I.  A few of the changes have been fun and rewarding, like finding new recipes the family loves, and starting to see the benefits of exercise.

But sometimes, it is hard to remember why I'm doing this-- like when we all get sick, or when I feel too tired to cook something that requires my brain and attention.  I'm still learning, and because I am still learning, cooking real food and healthy food does not seem easy or natural.

My kitchen is not running on auto-pilot.

After a period of learning and planning, it will get easier, I know it will. I will have a stockpile of healthy convenience foods in my freezer for our difficult weeks. I will know what staples I need, and prepare them regularly without thinking about it.  I will feel like we've been eating this way forever.

But I'm not there yet.
And some days, I want to forget the whole thing.

Personally, I think occasional fast food, processed foods, or treats are really not a big deal. We live in America, after all. We would have to check out of our culture completely to avoid these things in our diet, and I'm simply not willing to do that.

As the Queen of my Kitchen, I am allowed to bend my own rules, and I think that, too, is healthy.  But bending the rules often leads to a flood of cravings or temptation for convenience, in my children and in me as well. But as Queen, it is my job to keep our family on course, even after a holiday.

And I will be incapable of doing just that, if I cannot remember why I should.

This week's challenge:

Remind yourself why


Have you ever stopped at the grocery store in front of something delicious, thinking,

Why did I stop buying this or eating that? 
It looks so good, I just can't remember!

I need help remembering, lots of help, especially when I am tired or hungry.  I need God's help, and I need to be retold what He's already taught me.

So my challenge to you this week, as we continue to learn to be kind to our bodies, is to remind yourself why. Sit down for ten minutes and make a nice long list.

I'll post mine on Wednesday.

Why are you trying to be kind to your body?

If you are stuck, here are some prompts that might inspire you.

God, help me be kind to my body.  And help me to want to. And help me to remember why.

When I am kind to my body, I  ...
When I make healthy choices, I....
When I exercise, I ...
When I have extra energy, I ...




Weak and Lovely- Read the series here
Join our facebook group for extra support!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Healthy Beauty, for little girls


Welcome to today's guest blogger, Gina Gallutia!
She is contributing today as part of the series on Growing up with my 'tween.

Today's topic: Modesty

Modesty is relative.
Now before you stop reading because you think I’m a crazy, liberal hippy, give me a sentence or two more.

In Jane Austen’s day, low, low, low cut dresses were the norm, totally modest. Today, not so much. There was a time when guys would get excited to see the flash of an ankle from underneath layers of petticoat and skirt. Today, not so much. And well, there’s those ladies in Africa who, well, it’s hot there. So yes, modesty is culturally relative. What’s not is an immodest or modest mindset.

There were probably girls who took the ankle-flashing too far. And there were Elizabeth Bennetts who had no intention other than looking nice when they wore dresses that seem to us as though a “wardrobe malfunction” could happen at any moment. Which brings us to the question of the day:

What is your intention when you get dressed? What’s your mindset?

We are the primary models of healthy or unhealthy modesty to our children. Remember back to your childhood and the influence of how your mother looked or how she spoke to you about modesty had on your clothing choices. Many of us dress in response to a notion we picked up as children or beyond. And many of those weren’t healthy ones. Sadly, I’ve known great deal of women who dress “modestly” (aka dowdily) because of a moment or more of molestation in their past, and women who flaunt every inch of their bodies for the same reason. So before we can impart a healthy idea of dress to our young ones, we need to examine our reasons and possibly come to healthier conclusions.

 And as we contemplate deeply the idea of dress, one thought should remain at the forefront:
God made our bodies and He made us in His image.

Beauty and Beauty

 He is Beauty, which means that we are beautiful and should reflect that to the world.

We should reflect Him. Especially as women, we are called to bring beauty, to bring life, to our particular area of influence through our thoughts, expressions, actions, and adornments.

Once we have this clear, then we can prayerfully pass on a healthy concept of modesty to our dearest of dear daughters. But as you do, remember, that God made her her and you you. So she may not dress in kindred ways, but as long as she is glorifying Him and dressing for the right reasons, then you are blessed indeed.


---------
Comments from Emily:
Gina, girl, you make me think, and I'm not sure I like it! 
What's my intention when I get dressed? What's my mindset?  It is usually something like this:

What is nearby that I can throw on so I can get to the coffee pot faster?

Beauty seems like an indulgence that busy mothers just can't afford!  But wait, let me be a little more honest and say it this way: beauty is simply not something I care to think about these days, and I have a wonderful house full of good excuses to make that seem ok.

And I think this mindset of mine has consequences.
This topic is worth exploring more fully.

Expect some follow up Q and A between Gina and Queen Frumpy (me.) 

What questions or comments do you have  on the topic of modesty and beauty?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Childlike Gifts




 
When I was a child, and the offering plate was making its way towards us, my mom would hand me a dollar from her purse, and I would put it in.  I'm sure, when I was young, I was quite proud to do this.

As I grew, it became a little awkward. “Was it really a gift for God if it wasn't at my own expense?” I wondered. I knew that God loved a cheerful giver, but shouldn't the giver have to make some sort of sacrifice for the gift to count?

Soon I grew big enough to have my own job and my own money. I could put my own dollar in the plate, and I felt better about it, knowing it was the fruits of my labor that I had given to the Lord.

As I joined the workforce, I became responsible, competent, and proud.  I received wages as my due, not a mere handout from my ever-giving mother.  The list of things that I understood to be mine, by right, grew longer.  And I shared my wealth with God, a dollar here and a dollar there, and with good cheer. I was such a big girl.

Then, I became a mother. And I felt small again.  Surrounded by needs, and feeling only my lack, I saw myself as unable to fill all the holes around me. I could not imagine ever finishing this “job,” or doing it so well that I had a credit in my account at the end of the day. On top of this, was I expected to have something left over for God, too? Impossible.
           
            And yet, as I tearfully questioned him in the rocking chair, he gently asked me, “Daughter, what do you have that you did not receive?”  And I began to see. It was all grace: the energy to work, and the wages collected; the gift of marriage and children; the gift of service where I am right now. My hands doing dishes—even the dishes are grace.

Again, I am that child, whose empty hands receive what she needs.  He provides for myself and my family until we are full and running over. He is the cheerful giver.  He gives to me, and I turn around and give back to Him what he has given.

As the years pass, I feel less like a big girl.  My sacrifices, my efforts, my pride, my rights- these are nothing compared to the love of God in Christ. I receive what He gives, and He gives generously.  Though my muddy fingers stain His perfect gifts, He washes the stains with the blood of Christ, and He covers me in His righteousness.  He receives my feeble offerings of His gifts back to Him, and He calls me good.

Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15




We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our firstfruits give.

O hearts are bruised and dead,
And homes are bare and cold,
And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled
Are straying from the fold.

To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angels’ work below.

The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace—
It is a Christ-like thing.

And we believe Thy Word,
Though dim our faith may be;
Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
We do it unto Thee.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turkey (or Venison) meatloaf


Turkey Meatloaf

A staple since it's a quick prep and can be made as big as needed!

1lb ground turkey (as lean as possible)
1 cup oats
1/2 small onion (i use the whole thing)
1 egg white (or whole if u want)
Garlic (chopped or garlic salt)
Salt & Pepper as needed
Light bbq sauce on top.

Mix and bake like usual.

(350 degrees for approximately one hour)

(Emily here- This should also work with ground venison!)


Come back next Tuesday for another great recipe!

Join our facebook group for extra support!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Challenge: Chill




Woah, has this house been ransacked by bad guys looking for launch codes?

Nope. Mom just made dinner.

I tend to do things in a hurry. Everything.
If a have a moment to get something done, I need to do it in a hurry, before I get interrupted by the needs of a child. And so, I hurry. I hurry through everything.

This picture above is no joke. I really do serve dinner with the kitchen looking like this. (Drives my OCD husband and kids nuts, by the way. So they close the doors for me, eventually. In this way, their quirks enable my quirks to continue. It's a nice setup, really.)

Is this a picture of my mental state?
Is this a clue that I'm a little frazzled? A little rushed?

At the table, I'm out of breath.  And then, finally, finally everyone has what they need, prayers are said, and we eat. And I eat. In a hurry.

I really didn't know how bad I was about this until I noticed myself doing it one night when I was on a date with my husband. We were at Olive Garden, enjoying a relaxed evening together, but as soon as the food came, I started to hurry my way through it.

I was practically out of breath from eating so fast.
When I realized I was almost done and he had only had a few bites, I stopped myself.
Nobody is going to steal this food from you, self! Nobody is going to interrupt you needing a nose wiped or a diaper changed! Seriously, you need to just chill out!

Why is this so hard for me?
But it is!

A few weeks ago, someone in the Weak and Lovely facebook group mentioned that her goal for the week was to finish her meal after her daughter. (and this is quite a challenge, she said, as her daughter practically chews her milk!)

What a great idea! I thought.
How impossible! I thought.

So this brings me to your weekly challenge (and mine:)




Turns out this is important.
Here are just a couple reasons:


  •  It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.


(In fact, wolfing down meals could be enough to nearly double your risk of being overweight, according to a previous Japanese study.)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2064544/Why-eating-quickly-fast-track-early-grave.html#ixzz2KQvbFWXT
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook)


  • If you eat slow, you might notice the other people eating with you, and have a conversation, even before your plate is empty! (How weird, I think!)



Read more:
Livestrong: Benefits of eating slow
Slow down you eat too fast

Weak and Lovely- Read the series here
Join our facebook group for extra support!


Do you find it hard to eat slowly like I do?



photo credit minimalWall

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A refuge or a place for junk?


This makes me think twice about making our bedroom the place where I throw all the stuff I don't feel like putting away right now:

The bed is the heart of the home, the arena of love, the seedbed of life, and the one constant point of meeting. It is the place where, night-by-night, forgiveness and fair speech return that the sun may not go down on our wrath; where the perfunctory kiss and the entirely ceremonial pat on the backside become unction and grace. It is the oldest, friendliest thing in anybody’s marriage, the first used and the last left, and no one can praise it enough.

(Capon, as quoted in Feminine Appeal, Mahoney, p 97)


No, this is not our bedroom. It's hers. But I am inspired.

I think I'll put this quote on my flylady cleaning list!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Surround them with Truth. A guest post. (Growing up with my 'tween)

Loved and lovely. Our little girls are loved and lovely, indeed.
But do they know it?


We can help them know it.

Today I welcome my friend Angie, who gives us an easy and wonderful way to help ground our little girls in God's word and God's love.

(and ourselves, too.)


Surround them with Truth
Guest post by Angie Durnil

Why did I write these verses and phrases down for my little girls and post them above their mirror?

I want them to see the words in front of them, as they get ready for the day.  I want them to read the words and commit them to memory and to heart.  I want them to recite them every time they look in the mirror.  I want them to believe the words as their own truth, because that is what they are.  The truth.    Their truth.  Our truth.

I want their habit to be a good one.  Not a bad one, like mine.  I want their self esteem to be lifted and not fallen like the heavy snow.    I know what that is like and I want more for them.   

This is especially important to me right now, because I have a tween growing in beauty and intelligence every day.    I want this lovely tween to know that true beauty comes from within and not from the cosmetic counter.  I want both of my girls to know that they were loved before they were even born.  I want them to feel it too.   I want them to know that the Lord has a plan for them and that He will continue to love them, no matter what. 

And maybe, when I have them convinced, I might even start to believe it myself.  But, when this happens; when I become weak and start to believe the lies that fill my head, I know that I am still loved.



Would you like some truth for your mirror? Help yourself to the images below!




Do you have a favorite Scripture you would add?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Growth Unseen. And so we wait.



...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. 
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.


2 Corinthians 4:17-18



There are few things so satisfying as a messy room turned clean. I often enjoy the finished product so much I light a candle to celebrate. When things look, smell, and feel clean, I feel accomplished. My work here is done.


How often does that happen in my job as a mother? How often do I see a heart messy, or emotions tangled? Often. But do I get to be the one to clean, untangle, perfect, and celebrate? Rarely.


Yet those unseen things are important, more important than the earthly part of my job. And as I do them in God's strength, He will surely bless the sowing of His Word. 


I just wish I could see it sometime, don't you?
But we can imagine it.  



Consider this:


When Jesus sat in the boat teaching, the power of what he spoke was invisible. Who could see that the mountains of ignorance were removed, that the flinty hearts were made like butter by contrition, that the new, immortal spiritual life of faith was coming into existence, that the frightful, crushing guilt and sin were blown away as far as the east is from the west? Spiritual things are invisible, nobody’s eyes see that they are wrought.  Therefore even preachers often think that their work is in vain. And how could Peter and the apostles face Judaism and paganism with absolute assurance of victory when they had only the Word? Here was the visible answer: the nets full of fish caught at Jesus’ word, and at that word alone.  (Lenski commentary on Luke, p.281)


You may see nothing but rotting vegetables, but be assured that God is growing fruit through His Word as you share it with others.

Just wait and see.



Isaiah 55:10-11
 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday: Death on the Face


And so, Lent begins, with the unusual Christian ritual of looking death in the face, and wearing it on our faces.  I find it hard, but necessary and good. It is a reminder to me, that life will not always be this way.



Death is real. But God is good. 

God's children turn their eyes to Him during this Lenten season. We remember the unseen things, the eternal things, and their importance over that  which is earthly.

We remember our lost condition, we feel the reality of our sin, and we ache with the need for a Savior. 

Darkness gathers, around us and within us. We strain our eyes to see the light, and that Light is the Life of the World.

We look to Him, our Jesus, who suffered for us.  We crawl up into Him, and we hide in Him, and we abide in Him.  And He who overcame the grave holds us fast in His grip.


I shall lie down and sleep in peace, 
for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8




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Monday, February 11, 2013

Love. Young.

Elementary school.

I’d go off into the woods all by myself with a journal.
I was young, yes, but there was always a boy with his initials on my heart. There was always someone to whom my thoughts would drift on the long car ride to the cabin or in the evenings, watching campfire smoke float into the starry sky. When my little body rested, my little heart dreamed dreams, and dreams always contained a smile of some little boy.

I’d go in the woods to write and dream alone. I wanted to hide, but I wanted to get it out of my heart too, and so I shared my hearts dreams with the paper and the trees. I wrote his initials on the log on which I sat. Then I worried that mom would see them, so I put leaves on the branch.
His cute smile or flippy hair took many of my thoughts.

The next month when I returned to the cabin, I returned to the tree to see if my secret was still there. It was, and it was not hidden by leaves. But the tree no longer held the truth, no longer displayed the initials on my heart. I peeled the bark from the tree, and I updated my secret with a new set of initials.

Do you remember the wonderful agony of childhood love? 

Do you remember longing to be chosen? 

Do you remember wanting to be loved and to feel lovely?

I have two daughters, and as I watch them I remember the flutters and aches of a young girls heart. It is terrifying and beautiful all at once, and it moves me to prayer.

In this house, as often as we can, we color the word “love.” It includes the colors of a marriage full of love and grace. The heart of Love is bright red with the love of our Savior for us.

Valentine’s Day is here again, and again we will sit down with our elementary school children who look lovely and remind them that they are lovely, that they are loved. 


Read more about our tradition here:

Coloring Love: Valentine's Day Tradition

and check out our dinner-time conversation starters:


  • Does mom love dad? How do you know?
  • Does dad love mom? How do you know?
  • Look at the brother or sister sitting to your left. Name something about that person that you think their future spouse will like.
  • If Jesus would tell you who you are going to marry some day, would you want to know? What would you ask him about that person?
  • If God would answer one request about your family in the future- what would you ask him?
  • Do you hope your future spouse has lots of money?  Why or why not? Would you marry someone that was rich but unkind?
  • Do you want your future spouse to be kind?  How will you know if he/she is?
  • Would you marry someone that was kind but refused to do any work?  Would you marry someone that was kind but simply could not do work?
  • If God doesn’t send you a spouse, what else might you do when you grow up?
  • Would you marry someone who was kind and smart but always smelled like bacon? Or green beans?
  • Would you marry someone who wants to have 20 children? Would you marry someone who hates children?
  • What would you do if God sends you a spouse that works in another country?
  • What do mom and dad do for fun? What do you think you will do for fun with your spouse?
  • When you are old enough to have a house, what kind of house do you want?
  • Do any of the kids in your class have girlfriends or boyfriends? What do you think about this?
  • Has anyone ever told you that you are pretty or handsome? Do you like when people say this?
  • Do you think your family will be like ours if you have children? How might it be different?
  • Name a gift that mom has that makes her a good mom.
  • Name a gift that day has that makes him a good father.
  • Name a gift that dad has that makes him a good husband.
  • Name a gift that mom has that makes her a good wife.
  • What will you do when you meet someone and you are not sure if they are the one for you?

Do you have any fun Valentine's Day traditions?
Other questions to suggest?






Monday's Challenge: Be the Queen of Your Kitchen


Meet my lovely friend, Jenny.
She is a fellow writer and mother who blogs at Coffee on the Porch at jennysollberger.wordpress.com.

Isn't she lovely? (And her family is, too.)


Today, Jenny is going to make our home-cookin' lives a whole lot easier, if we only will heed her advice.  

Why You Should Have a Menu Plan
by Jenny Sollberger

Oh I hated the idea of having to cook supper.  Why?  Did I hate to cook?  No.  Did I not know how to cook?  No.  Did I hate to eat?  Definitely no.  So what was the problem?  I wasn’t prepared.  I didn’t plan ahead and then when it came time to make the meal, I was a panicky, stressed, cranky mom.  Ick.  So I thought I’d try what it seemed everyone else was already doing: menu planning.  And you know what I found out?  I love it!  And I’ll tell you why:
  1. It saves me from the 4:00 headache of “Oh no!  What am I making for supper?!?”
  2. It saves money on my grocery bill.  I (usually!) buy only what I need for the meals I am making.
  3. It’s easier to control what my family eats.
  4. It’s easier to prepare things in advance.  When I have some time I cook rice ahead of time, make tortillas, bake…whatever might need to be done.
  5. It just feels good knowing when I’m having my morning coffee that my meals for that day are already decided.


Here is how I did mine, step by step.
  1. This is the fun part, I think.  Create your menu board!  There are so many ways to make one and Pinterest has tons of ideas.  You can simply use a sheet of paper, or note cards stuck on the fridge or you can get a little more creative.  Here’s mine:






    It’s not beautiful like some I see on Pinterest, but I like it and it works for me.  I picked up this frame at Goodwill for about $5.  It’s perfectly square which is great because I can just slip in new scrapbook paper whenever I want to change it up.  The sticker letters I had on hand and just pieced together what I needed from the sizes I had left.  As you can see, some are lower case and some are upper case.  Still cute though, right?  And the “t’s” were made by trimming other letters because I had run out of the letter “t”!  Let your creativity shine through!  I use a white board marker to write directly on the glass. It wipes off so easily that I wish I had used this method sooner.
  2. Now we work.  Make a list of meals your family will eat.  I would suggest making a list for every meal your family will eat together.  For example, my board has breakfasts and suppers on it because my boys are in school five days a week.  On the weekends, I feel I can wing it for lunches just fine.  If you homeschool or have little ones at home, you might want to include lunches on your menu.  When I first started a menu board, I planned only suppers.  That time of the day was hardest for me to concentrate because the boys were coming home from school and everything was chaotic.  But then I started noticing our breakfasts were consisting mostly of cold cereal and I wanted to change that.  The best way I knew how to do that was with a menu board.
  3. Keep that list somewhere handy. I keep mine in my family binder.  That way I know where it is every week when I sit down to plan my meals.
  4. Take stock of your freezer inventory.  Use that, and the grocery ads, to plan your week’s menu. 


    This white board used to be my menu board.  I had grand plans once upon a time.  They never happened!  So now this white board sits above my freezer chest and tells me what’s inside.  Very helpful.
  5. Now just plug in the meals where you want them to go.  Make use of a crockpot meal on a busy night.  Plan something extra special for Friday. Cook the roast one night and have beef sandwiches later in the week.  But remember to be flexible.  Just because it’s written on the board, doesn’t mean it needs to stay there.  If something unexpected comes up, just change things around. 


Be the Queen of your Kitchen and rule confidently over your domain!  Don’t be a slave to kitchen confusion!  Try a menu plan for just two weeks and see what happens.  I bet you’ll love it, too.


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Your challenge this week:
PLAN!
If you never plan, make it a goal to plan SOMEthing- just dinners, or just your own snacks, keeping in mind your healthy-living goals.

If you already plan dinners (like I do), let's take it up a notch! Plan breakfasts or snacks, and try it out for a week. See if it doesn't make your life easier. And see if you don't enjoy being the Queen of your kitchen!


Do you plan the meals for your family? 
Any tips to share?




Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

at me.


My son found something that was lost, and declared, “Now daddy will be happy at me!”
Happy at me.
As opposed to mad at me.

I know what he means. Anger can feel like an attack.

How interesting to think of happiness as having the opposite effect.
If to be angry at someone can injure them, to be “happy at” someone can heal?
Reconcile?
Redeem?


In Christ, we can be comforted. 

Our God is happy at us.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nutrition-love

It's a new week!
Is it time to re-re-re-re start that healthy eating plan?

I admit, I had a "planned cheat" this weekend during our superbowl party.  And it probably went a little overboard, but today is a new day.  I'm starting this week motivated, but not because I have to.

Last week, I finally got a taste of what it's like to live in a body that is treated kindly. 
And I'm hooked.

Let me tell you how it went.
First, I cut out sugar completely. This is something my body has been begging me to do for a long time, but I have been ignoring it. The first  three four five days were rough, but after that I honestly lost the cravings for the sweet stuff. It was wonderful. (Please note, I do not think sugar is evil, or that a diet of organic kale and spinach is the diet of the saints.  I'm just trying to listen to my own body.)

More importantly, however, I focused on getting my fruits and veggies. Lots of them, every single day. In all the reading and researching I've been doing, this one thing seems non-controversial: We need more fruits and veggies. I've heard it before, and I'm sick of hearing it, but I thought I'd try following that advice to see what happened.

An aside:
I have a very supportive husband. He consented to watch one documentary with me ("I'd really like to see what you think of this whole foods/natural eating stuff and how much better it is for us than processed foods. It seems plausible to me. Do you think I'm nuts?")  He watched it with me, did an hour or so of research, then went out and bought me a juicer.

We don't do things small in this house.

While we don't necessarily believe everything we heard in the documentary, much of it makes sense, and if something motivates my husband to eat more fruits and veggies, I'm all for it! So this week I was on a mission to make good use of our juicer, and to find things that we not only could choke down, but actually like. The short story: After a few epic fails, I did. (See my juice and smoothie recipes on pinterest)

I even put some of my best blends to the ultimate test (2 yr olds don't lie!)

photo credit:  Dr Cynthia

The bottom line:
After a week of eating enough fruits and vegetables, I feel amazing.
I have crazy amounts of energy.  But for me, the most exciting thing is this: My body is satisfied.

Satisfied.

Normal me is almost always thinking about food, whether what I'm eating, what I want to eat, or what I shouldn't be eating.  Cravings and resisting and caving and repenting and starting it all over- this is the story of my life. And I am weary, and just plain sick of it.

But after this experiment that seemed so crazy to me (eliminating sugar and giving my body what it needs instead), I have found new hope and motivation. I could go on and on about the high energy and better mood and so forth, but I won't.

Instead, I will just say this.
I feel like a recovering addict, or a laundry-detergent craving pregnant lady, who has just tasted her first bite of food sanity.

Food sanity.

Honestly, I didn't think there was such a thing, not for me. 
But, maybe my body just needed me to treat it with kindness. With a little nutrition-love, it is satisfied.

Yes, there is still temptation in my life, and yes I still must struggle and pray and receive grace. However, I am pleasantly surprised by the blessings mixed in with the battle. God is kind, and good, and His plans for me are better than I imagined.

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Do you battle seemingly constant cravings?
Do you feel satisfied after you eat?


(Want to watch the first documentaries that inspired me? Check them out here.)



Healthy Viewing

If you're like me, and you are sitting in front of the TV trying to eat your veggies, and trying to like them, and trying not to crave that delicious pizza or burger you just saw on a commercial...

Watch something inspirational.

I have seen these 2 documentaries recently, and I know you will enjoy them.

There are still some things in both films that I am skeptical about, but I AM 100 % convinced that fruits and veggies are extremely good for me. And I like learning about what they actually do. I think it even helps them taste better.

I am also pretty sure that processed food is not so good.

Watch, enjoy, and let me know what you think!




Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (on Netflix, Itunes, and also free on HULU)
Is it weird that this one made me tear up? Well, it did. Inspirational.



Hungry for Change
This one really opened my eyes and gave my motivation a jump start.

Have you seen either of these?
What do you think?
Do you recommend any other food documentaries?



Monday, February 4, 2013

Let's see what happens if we actually do this.

This is a basic one.  We've heard it a million times. "Eat more fruits and veggies." Blah Blah.

We all know we should, but why is it so hard to do?
Well, because junk tastes better.

But we all know we should. So let's try a little experiment. Let's do it, and see what happens.
What's the best way to make sure you get it done? Accountability. 

Even better, little people accountability.  If this is an option for you, I strongly encourage you to enlist your children to help you stay on track. No children? Borrow someone else's if you can. Children are excellent behavior police!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The rhythm of His dealings with us: In the Rocking Chair

Rocking Chair chair.jpg


My little boy, fearfully and wonderfully made, crawls into my lap and asks me to rock him. (He’s five. This never happens.) I have time, for once, so I open hands and lap and heart to him. As I have done so many times since he was a baby, I thanked God for him as we rocked, for making me his mommy, and for his wonderfully made little body.

This time, I did it out loud. We rocked, and grace covered his entire body, as my words just acknowledged what I knew to be there: God’s blessing on him, God’s work in Him, God’s love for him.

The rhythm of the prayer follows the rhythm of God’s dealings with us.

“We love Him because He first loved us.”

He gives, we receive.
He loves, we become lovely.
He blesses, we overflow in blessings to others.

With this rhythm in mind, I prayed my way from his head to his toes.

The prayer went something like this:

Thank you God, for making this boy, and for making me his mother.
Thank you for giving him these nice brown eyes— eyes for seeing the beauty of Your creation.
Thank you for giving him a brain for learning and for storing Your Word. Fill his mind with wisdom as he grows, that he may know of Your love for him,  that he may bless others with what he knows.
Thank you for giving him a wonderful smile that makes my heart happy, and a mouth to taste the good things you give. Fill his mouth with grace, that He may speak kind and loving things to others.
Thank you for giving him ears, that he may hear music, and laughter, and the noise of tractors, and the song of birds. Keep his ears ever open to Your Word.
Thank you for giving this child sweet cheeks for kissing!
Thank you for giving this boy a straight back, strong shoulders and strong arms. May those arms receive much love and hugs from others, from mommy and daddy and his brothers and sisters. As his muscles grow, may his desire to serve grow, that he may use his muscles to be a helper to those you send him.
Thank you, Father, for these perfect hands. Teach them to always be open towards You, that they may receive Your blessings with a grateful heart. Fill them with what they need for this day and as he grows. Take his hands, Father, and help them to be strong, willing to serve, and kind. May they often fold in prayer and rise in praise.
Thank you for his tummy, too, where he can keep all the good things you give him to eat. Thank you for filling his body with good food today. May he use the blessings that you give him to love you and serve others, today and always.
Thank you, Father, for his legs that help him run so fast, and his feet that help him stand up tall. May He always run into your arms when he needs forgiveness, comfort, or help of any kind. Direct his paths that he may walk in your ways. I do not know where these feet will travel in this life, Lord, but I ask that wherever he goes, you will keep him safe in Your grace.

Thank you, Father, for making every part of this child just as you planned.

In the name of the One who gives his body for us, who covers us in His righteousness, and who has redeemed us with His blood, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord. Amen.

 In other places and with other children, this prayer sounds a little different, but it always imitates the dance between God and men.

Jesus loves, we are loved, and we become lovely.

That night in the rocking chair, my little superhero melted in my arms. As I put him to bed, he asked, “If I had a bad dream tonight, will you do that for me again? What you just did?”
“You mean rock you?”
“No, say that thing, what you just said.”
I smiled. “Sure, son.”
  
And may God, through the Holy Spirit, say it to you often and always.


You are wonderfully made. You are loved.






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