Friday, February 28, 2014

Clothes and Shoes

I have a good amount of workout clothing from the last time I went through this healthy living thing.

Some of it fits.  Some of it doesn't.

One way that I get motivated to exercise is to have clothing and gear that gets me excited about running, dancing, sweating, working out.

Which means that it's time to clear out the old and bring in the new!

Priority one is going to be getting new running shoes.  Part of me wants to be hardcore and go with the minimalist thing again.  But more of me thinks that since I will be walking more than running for a while, I'd better stick with more traditional shoes for the time being.

I have several pairs of sneakers but none of them are in good enough shape to be running shoes right now.  I've checked the tread on each and they are practically treadless.  Out with the old.  I've got to donate these shoes somewhere and get fitted with new shoes.  Mizuno was my go-to brand before and we will see what we come up with this time around.

I find it strangely motivating to have an assortment of fun sports bras - I like having different colors to go with whatever color shirt I'm wearing.

Thankfully, it seems most of my capris fit just fine and are in good shape.

It's time to get myself feeling like a runner... looking like a runner... acting like a runner.  Like an active and motivated person.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Menu - Week 3

This week, I started getting inspiration by looking at the sales flyer for my local grocery.  From there, the menu planning began!

Monday - I have a dinner date with a friend.  So Jeff and the kids are on their own for making dinner.  Crock pot seems like a good option.  And cashew chicken sounds delicious!  Edamame for Teagan and broccoli for the rest of us.  All Jeff will have to do is take the chicken out of the crock pot and make some rice.

Tuesday - Chicken nuggets.  They were such a hit with the kids the first time around.  I'm also going to make ranch potatoes.  And then we will have strawberries, sweet peppers, and salad.

Weds - church.  And it's the first Weds of the month which means it is pizza night!

Thursday - I have Worship Team but will make dinner before I have to leave.  And yet another crock pot dinner!  I'm think pot roast, potatoes, carrots.

Friday - Taco night!  We'll keep it basic - ground beef, soft tortillas, lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shhhh. Don't Tell My Kids!

They know we're going on vacation.  Without them.  Grandma is coming to stay with them for a long weekend.  And they know that we are "most likely" going to Florida because Mommy has a conference there that week.  But they don't know what we're really doing...

We had an overall great time at Disney with the kids last summer.  We did.  I swear.


Zach was 5 and he was very easily overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and scared of very many things.  We had not anticipated this from him since he is usually a pretty easy going, ok with trying new things kind of kid.  But by the time we went on our trip, he was more cautious and concerned about things.  And the BIG nature of all things Disney was just too much for him.

Teagan did great most of the time.  She was 8 years old and had the courage to try bigger rides and experiences.  But sometimes the drag of that little brother... the hot day... the rain... the lines... resulted in some attitude meltdowns that weren't our favorite moments.  Family vacation requires the ability to be flexible, embrace spontaneity, and sacrifice and compromise for those around you - Teagan wasn't quite there yet.

There were so many experiences, rides, and events in each park that the kids just couldn't quite do or wouldn't quite embrace where Jeff and I found ourselves saying... "We would really love this... without the kids!"

So we're doing it.  A long weekend.  Just the 2 of us.  Celebrating our 11 year wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday.

These are the things we are doing to make it a more "adult" trip.  These are the things that will make it a special vacation for a married couple away from the kids.

  • Late Nights.  Our kids get up before the sun so staying up for any of the fantastic fireworks experiences at Disney never happened.  We caught glimpses once or twice as we travelled back to our resort.  We are hoping to be able to catch the end of night extravaganzas in a couple of special ways - like the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party and the Fantasmic! Dinner Package.
  • Deluxe Resort.  We stayed in a Moderate with the kids and we enjoyed it.  But by bumping it up and staying at The Contemporary, we are more likely to be rooming around more adults and less families.  
  • Less Routine.  With the kids along, we needed to have a solid plan each day to make sure the things that the kids would love would definitely happen.  We also had to plan on meals in pretty specific timeframes.  That's just how my kids operate.  Without kids, we can be a bit more freeform.  Enjoying Disney will always mean some planning.  Dinner reservations have to be made.  You have to be able to take advantage of Fast Pass +.  
  • EPCOT.  Epcot was the park I was most looking forward to and ended up most frustrated with by having kids with me.  I am very excited to enjoy the rides we couldn't do (like Soarin').  And I am very excited to take my time enjoying the World Showcase.  I fully intend to explore, browse, eat, and drink my way through each of the countries.  In fact, we aren't making any table service dining reservations for the day we are at EPCOT simply because I know there will be much eating and drinking throughout the day!
  • Hollywood Studios.  One of Jeff's very favorite things was in this park and I know that we will spend more time in The Magic of Disney Animation - specifically in the Animation Academy (where a class is led by a Disney artist and you get to draw a Disney character).  Plus, we can ride Star Tours together and multiple times!
  • Romance.  Just as I enjoyed some sweet moments with my kids... hand holding as we walked, heads resting on shoulders on a bus back to the resort, the look of awe on their faces... I am going to enjoy those kind of moments with my sweetheart.  Holding hands as we walk the parks.  Sitting side by side to enjoy dinner, dessert, fireworks.  Stealing a kiss under those fireworks.  A hotel room with no kids in it.  
If you know my kids, please don't give away our secret!  I'm sure we won't keep it a secret the entire time.  But we're not ready to tell them yet.  For now... it's a secret plan for 2 grown ups to go and be big kids in the most magical place on earth!

Of course, we are using Katie from Hi Ho Vacations to help us plan our trip.  She has all the knowledge and know how and inside scoop and she has the patience to do all the phone calls and waiting to get the reservations we want.  

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Devil

This is something that has been on my heart for a long time but I've never quite been able to find the words.

I hear a lot of people who put a lot of belief in The Devil.  They credit him with all kinds of bad things, weak thoughts, poor choices.  Without realizing it, people often hand over a lot of power to the devil simply because they believe in him so strongly.

The Bible has a lot to say about the devil, too.  What's interesting is that it seems that the New Testament has a lot more to say about satan than the Old Testament does.

I think I gave a lot more power to the devil back when I more strongly believed in fear as part of God and religion.  Fear of evil was a reason for desperately needing God.  Fear of the devil was the reason for clinging to faith and hope in an everlasting and peaceful existence in heaven.

I'm not so sure I believe all of that anymore.

I believe there is evil in the world.  I believe in the devil and hell.  I also believe that basic human nature causes a lot of our bad decisions and hurtful actions - it isn't always a devilish thing.  I don't believe that every negative thought or experience is connected to that bad guy.  Sometimes, human beings just make bad choices.  Sometimes, DNA is screwed up or chemicals are imbalanced.  Sometimes, good intentions go wrong.

I was reading a daily devotional today and it provided this C. S. Lewis quote from The Screwtape Letters:

"I believe [in the existence of the devil] not in the sense that it is part of my creed, but in the sense that it is one of my opinions. My religion would not be in ruins if this opinion were shown to be false. Till that happens—and proofs of a negative are hard to come by—I shall retain it. It seems to me to explain a good many facts. It agrees with the plain sense of Scripture, the tradition of Christendom, and the beliefs of most men at most times. And it conflicts with nothing that any of the sciences has shown to be true."

That first sentence is the one that sparked my attention.  "Not in the sense that it is part of my creed, but in the sense that it is one of my opinions."  And then I found a lot of power in the next sentence - "My religion would not be in ruins if this opinion were shown to be false."

Wow!!  That sums it up, right?

I hear some people talk about fighting the devil like it is a daily battle and I have to wonder... would their understanding of God take a serious hit if someone were able to prove that the devil doesn't exist?  Would their faith be shaken if the evil they thought they had been fighting against ended up just being... human nature, people with messed up brain chemistry, a really bad day?

My faith in God is solid.  I know what He has done for me through the sacrifice of His Son.  I know what Christ taught and I know my purpose in following His teachings.

But the devil?  It isn't a matter of faith.  Maybe he does exist.  Maybe he doesn't.  The devil doesn't impact my faith in God, my religion, my creed, my beliefs.  Even if he meddles in my affairs and even if he is the one responsible for the tragedies I have survived... his existence doesn't define me.

God's existence does.

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Monday, February 24, 2014


I've said it before and I am saying it again.  Even though I've said it a bunch of other times.

Time to get serious about some healthy living choices!

Here's what has transpired to get me to a point (again) where I not only need to focus on my weight but want to focus on my acitivity.

1. We have this healthy living initiative at work.  By participating, you get this discount on your health insurance next year.  I took the assessment and I am healthy - except for my weight.  But the amount of weight I need to lose doesn't feel as overwhelming as I thought it would.  So I suddenly felt like... this is something I really can do.

2. Teagan wants to run.  As soon as the weather gets better, my girl wants to run.  Outside.  3x per week.  With me. Which we actually did on Saturday - taking full advantage of 50+ degree temperatures.

3. I get a health coach as part of that healthy living initiative.  And he called me.  And we talked about having goals.  And if I'm going to accomplish the longer term goal of running a 5K in June with Teagan, I need to start getting in shape now and need a solid plan of when to start officially training for a 5K.  And the coach guy will be calling me back in 2 weeks to see if I'm meeting my goals.  Which means I'd better step on it.

4. I've been sick this week and my appetite has been tiny.  And I've lost a few pounds.  I know I won't necessarily keep them off.  But when I stepped on the scale Friday morning, I'd gotten below a milestone and I'd like to keep working in that direction.

Goal #1  Get to the gym 3x per week.  At the gym, either do 30 minutes on the treadmill/elliptical/bike or participate in a group exercise class.

Goal #2 Start Couch to 5K no later than Saturday, April 5.  That would give us 12 weeks of training time.

Goal #3  Run the Fishers Freedom Festival 5K with my daughter.  We welcome anyone to join us!

So if I make the time now to get into the habit of exercising 3x per week and can set it so that time is after work/school... it will be that much easier to incorporate that time from the gym to a running schedule.

I'd love your tips for staying motivated... and any apps you use to keep track of workouts or running apps or whatever... start sharing the healthy love!!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Menu - Week 3, Er, Well, 2.

My menu last week got completely derailed by my illness.  I had... some sort of virus.  I hesitate to call it the flu.  I had a fever.  And it took days to get rid of it.

Anyway.  Being sick meant I was not cooking.  Jeff and the kids had to fend for themselves.  Even if I was awake and realized it was dinner time, I had zero appetite.

But now I'm all better and took a stab at planning a menu today, making my list, and doing the shopping.

Meatball Monday!  We're having Game Day Meatballs, salad, apples, broccoli, and dinner rolls.

Asian Night.  This one isn't really cooking but it is dinner at home.  Chicken fried rice from Trader Joe's, eggrolls, shumai (also from Trader Joe's), edamame, pineapple.

Wednesday is always a break in the schedule because we go to church for the evening.  No cooking, no doing dishes.

Homemade Pizza Night.  We buy naan at Target in the bakery section - it makes for a perfect single serving.  Kids will have regular sauce, cheese, and bacon or pepperoni (or just plain cheese).  Jeff will have the same.  I'll have garlic alfredo sauce, spinach and mushrooms.  And we will serve with salad and grapes.

Breakfast for Dinner!  Jeff is out Friday evening so the kids and I chose a dinner that is not his favorite - breakfast!!  Eggs to order, toast, bacon, waffles, fruit.

Gotta say - it feels good to be sitting down on Saturday night already knowing the plan for next week, knowing we won't be stressed about choosing dinner, and that we already have the shopping done.

And my friend and reader Lori will be proud to know that I totally make my list and then arrange it in order of grocery store sections!!

Anything fun on your menu for next week?

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Friday, February 21, 2014

I Need My Church

I've been sick this week.  It's funny how you can learn important things when life has to come to a stop.

This normally would have been a week that I was overdosing on church involvement.

Tuesday was our monthly church leadership meeting.

Wednesday was our weekly dinner and small groups evening.

Thursday was our weekly Worship Team practice.

Saturday morning is a Bible verse discussion small group.

None of it is happening for me this week.

Back when I left home for college, I was in a bit of a faith crisis.  It wasn't a crisis of my actual faith - but it was a crisis of my connection to my church.  My faith in God was solid but my reliance on my church had faltered.  I didn't believe everything they were teaching.  It didn't all seem to align with what I was experiencing in my personal relaitonship, in my prayer life, in my own worship experiences.  So I withdrew from church altogether.  Off to college, off of church.

It took 10 years before I began to consider looking for a church home again.

I tried a couple of places because my friends went there or because it was close to home but nothing felt right.  So I went back to just talking to God each day and pretty much stopped looking.  Then a guy I was in a show with started to tell me about this church he went to that he thought I'd really like.  He invited me several times before I finally broke down and went.  And I liked it.  It was a Good Friday service so it wasn't an uplifting experience.  But within a week of going... I had my miscarriage.  And I needed to go back to this church because I didn't know where else to turn.  And even though people there didn't know me, they still loved me through it.  And months after the miscarriage, when my mourning was still taking over too much of my heart, a conversation with the pastor of this church helped turn me around.

I started going most Sundays.  I slowly became more and more involved.  Now I've been part of this church for 10 years.  And I'm finding that I rely on this place, these people.

Don't get me wrong - I've certainly shared that my church family is very important to me.  I don't know that I could ever capture the words to express what the people in my church mean to me, to my husband, to my kids.

But this week, I realized that while my church might miss me when I'm gone, they certainly don't need me.  Anything that I do for my church can be done by someone else.  I've always known that.  It isn't a surprise.

But this week... being away from my church, my people, my commitments... I realized that I need my church.
I need God. I rely on my faith.  But to realize that the things I do in my church really do mean something to me, really are that important to me...

I have to admit that I kind of cried over it this morning.

Here's how it hit me.

If I had to only choose one thing to be part of in my church, it would be Worship Team.  There is nothing greater than singing, worshiping, praising.  I love the time that our team practices and I love our Sunday morning experiences.

Not going to practice last night was really tough for me but I knew that I even though I was on the upswing in my illness, going out to practice and not getting home until 8:30 would just be too much.  So I didn't go.  And I missed it.  A lot. There was a post on Facebook, as there often is, about it being a great evening.  And my heart was heavy.  Because I missed it.

On my drive in to work this morning, God made a great playlist on the radio.  So many of my favorite worship songs so I had my worship time, my soul fulfillment.  And it hit me.  I wasn't sad because I wasn't part of that great evening.  I was happy that the rest of the team had a great experience - whatever it was.  I was sad because I hadn't had any of my soul nourishment this week.  I didn't go to the monthly leadership meeting.  I wasn't at dinner and at the last meeting of this session of this small group I had just started attending.  I didn't have my time with my family where we sing and share and laugh.  And I already knew I had a conflict with the meeting on Saturday.

My soul needed to be quenched.

The things I do in my church can be done by any other number of people.  While I recognize that I am unique, I won't pretend that I do anything in such a spectacular way that I could never be replaced.  If I were to stop going to church, things would continue on without me.

But if I were to stop going to church... I'm not sure how well things would continue on inside of me.

I need my church.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Menu: Week 1 Wrap Up and Week 2 Plan

We did it!!  Provided we actually cook dinner tonight as planned - we followed the menu and ate dinner at home 4 weeknights this week!

If you need help remembering the plan - here's the post from last week.

A couple of notes so I can do better next time around:

Chicken Nuggets.  These were a hit! I really liked them, the kids loved them, and Jeff thought they were fine.  Next time around, I want some fun dipping sauces.  The kids had apple slices and the grown ups had salad.  I'd like to have something else with it.  Frying in coconut oil was very easy and fast.

Chicken Taco Night. Always a family favorite. Everyone gets to make their stuff how they want it.

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken. This one needs some work.  I would use less soy sauce (it called for 1/3 c and I think I'd try less than 1/4 cup) and I would increase the pineapple juice from 1 cup to 1.5 cups.  Might increase the brown sugar, too.  It wasn't sweet at all.  I think I might add some chopped up pineapple to the fried rice, too.

And we haven't had the pasta dish yet so I will have to add notes for that later!

And now to come up with the plan for next week...

First step is to check the calendar.  It looks like we should be able to follow the same plan.  It's a holiday on Monday but that should, ideally, make it easier to cook at home, right?

I'm going out on a limb and planning a potato bar for Sunday evening.  Jeff has a thing he's doing on Sunday so I'm not sure he'll be home for dinner.  So I think we'll do an easy rotiserrie chicken, baked potatoes, and various toppings.

Monday - Pizza night! Make our own - I like using naan I get at Target and then we each get to pick our toppings and sauces and such.  Serve with apples, salad.

Tuesday - Tuscan Roasted Chicken.  I'll do a variety of veggies. I'm thinking crispy edamame for me and Teagan, raw carrots or peppers for Zach, and broccoli for Jeff.

Thursday - Breakfast for Dinner.  Eggs, bacon, toast, fruit.  Maybe pancakes for dessert!

Friday - Pork sirloin roast is on sale this week at Marsh so I think we'll do a roast. I will use some sort of Wildtree seasoning on it - will have to figure out which ones, exactly.

Alright - time to make my shopping list!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

That Thing You Can't Let Go Of

Have you ever had something happen in your life that forever altered your course?  Or learned something about your past that made you question who you really are?  Or maybe you've got some guilt or shame or hate or whatever about who you used to be?

You know what I'm talking about.  Maybe no one else knows.  Maybe it's a deep, dark secret.  Maybe people know some but have no idea how deep it all goes.

That Thing You Can't Let Go Of

I think we all have Things that we hold onto that we don't even realize are Past Things.  But they have so deeply defined us that they are simply part of who we are.

I'm not talking about the Things We Can't Forget.

I will never forget the sexual abuse I survived.  I will never foget going through a divorce.  I will never forget having a miscarriage.  I will never forget my first big heartbreak.

But sometimes, in each of those Things We Can't Forget, there is That Thing You Can't Let Go Of.

I became aware of one of mine after a talk with my pastor.

I was holding on to this idea that Something Could Have Saved Me.  Even though I'd been in a good and strong place for years and years in terms of being an abuse survivor, there was still a piece of me that would see something or hear something or learn about something and I would then get a little obsessed with how that new knowledge could have saved me from what I went through.

There was a day when my world was rocked by some information that I *knew* Could Have Saved Me.  I called my pastor because I was reeling.  I needed someone to talk to who could help me see clearly, help guide me.

We sat and talked.  And he gave me advice that really changed my perspective.

Does knowing it now change what happened then?


Nothing can change what happened to me.  Nothing can fix it, nothing can erase it, nothing can make it something that was good.

It kind of blew my mind.

I think that my wanting to find what could have been that one thing that could have prevented or stopped what was happening was my way of holding on to this hope that it didn't really happen.  Not that I had been wrong about it but that somehow finding something I could blame it on or point to as a failure would mean that I could somehow just write it off.  But by always searching for that one imaginary, unattainable answer... I wasn't truly letting go of that piece of my past.

Healing takes time.  There have been so many steps to get to where I am - I've had to forgive a list of people, I've had to acknowledge all that was done to me, I've had to let go of things that were out of my control, I've had to mourn and grieve a childhood.

I won't forget.  What happened is part of who I am.  It is woven into me and my story.  But I can't change the story.  It already happened.  The events are over and done.

That Thing I Couldn't Let Go Of was my final thread of attempting to change something to make it all make sense, be ok.  And there are just things in life that will never make sense, never just be ok, never be easy to accept.  There are illnesses and natural disasters and mean people and mental illness and drugs and suicide and cancer and poverty and...

What about you? Is there something you are holding onto?  Someone?

Maybe your heart has been broken.  Maybe someone near and dear and important died.  Maybe you were hurt and damaged and abused by an ex-spouse.  Maybe you've been impacted by a medical diagnosis for youself or someone you love.

I don't know what your Unfair Difficult Life Thing is.  But maybe today is a day that you can stop and look at it and maybe you'll find that there is That Thing You Can't Let Go Of.  That Thing that represents hope and a wish that you could change the past.

Letting go doesn't mean you've failed your old self or that you're letting down your loved one or that you are somehow turning off all your memories and feelings.

If you're a person of faith, maybe today is the day you take That Thing and let God carry it for you so that you are free to move forward with less weight.  And maybe today isn't your day.  Maybe today you just recognize what That Thing You Can't let Go Of actually is, you identify it.  Maybe today you read all this and think I'm only talking about someone else.  Or you just think I'm full of it and don't know what I'm talking about.

A time will come when you find yourself ready to let go, to release.  Realizing that you are holding on to something that is keeping you connected to the awful pain and trauma and hurt is a first step.

Maybe today is the day you realize what it is you've been holding on to.

Maybe today is the day you open your heart and Let Go.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Menu - Planned

Good thing I"m using the blog to keep me somewhat accountable because it's now Friday and I had wanted my menu plan for next week to be done and... it's not.

Step one:  Look at the calendar and figure out which nights we will be cooking/staying home.

Definitely Monday and Tuesday.  Wedsnesday is dinner at church for Jeff and the kids and I have a work related function.  Thursday I have Worship Team Rehearsal at church but if I plan wisely, we can cook an easy meal at home.  Friday is Valentine's Day and I am not one to eat in a restaurant on that sort of holiday because places will be packed.

So it looks like cooking on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.

*gulp*  I have to admit to being nervous.

I am forcing myself to avoid a rookie mistake.  When I do get in the mood to cook, I go through cookbooks and Pinterest and get all inspired by dozens of new and exciting recipes.  And then I want to plan a menu filled with never-have-I-cooked-it and never-have-my-kids-seen-it foods.

So I'm going to try my best to keep it relatively simple.  I will have new items in the menu - otherwise Mama gets bored, too.

We have a good amount of chicken breast in the freezer so I am planning most of the menu to focus on chicken.

Monday - Homemade chicken nuggets, fruit (sliced apples, applesauce, whatever), salad (carrots for Zach)

Tuesday - Chicken soft taco night.  Chicken, tortillas, all the yummy toppings.  Using my Wildtree taco seasoning, of course.

Thursday - I think maybe a crock pot dish would be ideal.  Crock Pot pineapple teriyaki chicken and an easy to whip up chicken fried rice.

Friday - I feel like I'm going to be tired of chicken at this point.  I want a pasta night.  I'm going to make Bowtie Lasagna, breadsticks, salad.

Holy crap.

I'm going to cook.

I'm thinking I might share pics of my results.  Look me up on Instagram... I'll be sharing my success (and failures).

Now - time to make my shopping list!

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Foods They Like

Yesterday, I shared that I would really like to give menu planning a good try.  I asked for help from my readers - email me, comment, link up to your blog.  Share your meal planning tips and favorite recipes.

Last night, I sat the family down and we talked about food we like - or at least most of us like.

Protein - chicken, pork chops, steak, fish

Vegetables - carrots, corn, peas, edamame, green beans

Fruit - pineapple, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, apples

Also on the list - fish sticks, pizza, and chicken nuggets.

In addition, we had votes for spaghetti night and taco night and breakfast for dinner and chicken nacho night and baked potato bar.  Jeff's requested pot roast.  Teagan is interested in trying quinoa and also spaghetti squash.  We also thought turkey sandwiches on king's hawaiian rolls would be good.  And 3 out of 4 of us enjoy hitting the salad bar so we could make an at home salad bar.

So I think I have a very good start.

Now it's a matter of creating a plan and sticking to it.  I'm looking ahead to next week.

Monday and Tuesday are eat at home nights.  We eat at church on Wednesday.  Thursday is either Jeff and kids on their own or a quick meal before I go to Worship Team rehearsal.  Friday we eat at home.  Right there, I've got 4 nights to plan for.

I have chicken and fish in the freezer.

I'm perusing my boards on Pinterest and finding recipes that I think the kids might want to try.  And I even created a board of Stuff I Want To Cook.

It's my intention to have my plan ready to go by Friday.  I'd still love for you to share your favorite family recipes on yesterday's post!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Menu Planning

I have always wished I could be one of "those moms."  You know - the ones who can toss together a meal that the family gets excited about.  The ones who know a favorite and special meal for each member of the family.  The ones who plan a menu for the week and schedule time to make it all happen.

I am so not one of those moms.

I enjoy cooking but tend to find it somewhat thankless.  And with limited time each evening, I feel like I'm stuck with pretty basic food like spaghetti (to fancy it up, we cook up ground beef to add to the sauce or we get really wild and have garlic bread) or chicken nachos (layer of chips on foil lined baking sheet, bits of chicken, shredded cheese - bake at 350 until cheese is melted).

I look at recipes and, honestly, I feel overwhelmed.  I've even tried signing up for menu planning websites but I always get scared of the things they send and the effort involved.

And with a family that can sometimes get a bit complain-y and picky... I often just don't feel like I have the energy to deal.

I did have some success with a Wildtree frozen meal party I attended a few months ago.  We made up about 10 meats/proteins that would then be frozen and would just need to that, be cooked, and served with sides.  The foods that I prepared from that party... my family was perfectly happy with.  And I should have been pleased with the ease of having things basically planned in my freezer.  But in my head?  It wasn't much different than just having all that meat in my freezer and pulling it out to make something with it.  I did come away with some delicious spices and grapeseed oils and when I use them, I know my family is getting healthier stuff.

But it isn't the solution to my problem.

I need to look ahead to the coming week on Saturday so we can shop on Saturday and Sunday.  I need to evaluate what I hav ein my freezer and what meals I want to make and plan approproiately for the meals we can eat at home.

But somehow I never make it work.

I'm asking for your help!  

I would love to do a recipe share.  Dishes that are super easy and that families love.  Or maybe mostly easy and families like.  Or meals I can plan to make and that picky families will tolerate.

If you have a blog post with some favorite recipes - share it in the linky-doo thing down below.

If you want to email me some favorite recipes, I will add them to this blog post.

You can leave a comment with your recipe.

Or maybe you aren't much of a recipe person?  Me neither!  So leave me a comment or email me or link up to share your PLAN.  Share some menu plans - Monday is pork chops with peas and apple sauce, Tuesday is lasagna, etc.  If I have a good plan, I can work with all the awesome Wildtree products in my cabinet!!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Intentional Friendship

I have really great friends.  I have women in my life that I can turn to when I need support, that I am pleased to encourage through their joys and hard times, that I laugh with, hug, celebrate with.

These friendships, these people... this is something very valuable to me.

I have to nurture my relationships if they are going to be strong.  I have to make the effort.  I have to be intentional.

To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile.  -Unknown

It's a challenge sometimes.  Life can be so busy and hectic and stressful.  Working full time, involvement and commitment at church, kid schedules, husband schedule, running errands, appointments, meetings, tasks...

How am I supposed to find time to get together with my friends?  How am I supposed to stay connected?

One of the things I really value about my church is that the people there are my Ohana - my intentional, chosen family.

Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.  - W. Clement Stone

But like with intentional friendships, and with Ohana, and with any relationship of any value... intention is key.

Intention.  Purpose.  Determination.  Deliberate.

Have you ever noticed that you have some friends that you can lose touch with and maybe you don't speak or have contact for a period of time and then you reconnect and... it's like you never lost touch?  You talk and laugh and carry on just like you used to.  But have you also noticed that if you don't make an effort to stay connected after that, it just slips away again?

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. you know that your name is safe in their mouth.  - Jess C. Scott (The Intern)

What about the people that you truly value?  How often do you drop an email or text just to say "Hi, I'm thinking of you today!"?  How much effort do you put into issuing invitations?

Or do you sit and wait?  Wait for someone to reach out to you... wait for someone to invite you... Wait for someone else to claim you as their friend.

Intentional friendships.  Purposeful friendships.  Determined friendships.  Deliberate friendships.

Those are the relationships that I want in my life.  That I need in my life.  And I'm willing to put in the work that is required to keep those connections strong and healthy.

I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together.  -Jon Katz