Uncategorized

Tis The Season!

You guys, I’ve let this season get the best of me. We’ll be back after the first of the year!

Uncategorized

You Have One Job

I’ve been trying for the last week to get a post written.  I’d write something and thing, I just don’t like that, so I’d erase it and start over.  I think part of my problem is I’m just tired.  I’m frustrated.  It concerns me more and more the cynicism I see in myself and the world around me these days, and it really concerns me that I don’t know what to do about it.  So this post is going to be my call to arms.  

Let it go.

Seriously.  Don’t make me break out my Indina Menzel impersonation.  It won’t be pretty.  

We have one job.  Be kind.  Be gracious.  Be thoughtful.  Be brave.  Be light in the darkness.  And I know you’re sitting there thinking, Julie, um, that’s five things.  And I guess if you’re reading the actual words I wrote instead of the root of all the instruction, you may be right.  But really?  What it all boils down to?  Love each other. 

Let go of the things that aren’t yours.  If I get pissed off at you because you say something stupid, but choose I to forgive you because you’re a human being and none of us are perfect, I’m choosing to let go of my expectation of perfection and show you that I see you and love you.  

We’ve got this world out here that is just clamoring for attention.  We speak loudly and inconsistently on subjects and topics that we know with 100% certainty that we’re right on.  But what if we’re not?

So before we get angry with someone today for having a ridiculous (in our opinions) opinion or thought on something, just take a second and consider that we might be wrong.  We may be 100% right, but until we consider that we may have it wrong, or even just a little bit off, I don’t believe we can speak to the fact that someone else is wrong. 

All this anger?  All this hurt?  All this yelling and screaming that we do behind the keyboards and screens?  It’s just a desire to be seen and feel cared for.  

So go love someone today.  Or at least be kind.   Be gracious.  Be thoughtful.  Be brave.  And go be light in the darkness.  That darkness is not ours to carry, and it’s not ours to cast upon others.  

You’ve got one job.  Go be love today.

Amazing, Uncategorized

I’m Thankful

We’ve just spent some time in a season of thankfulness, and quite honestly it’s my favorite season.  In my day-to-day life I try to practice thankfulness, and not just in this season of Thanksgiving through Christmas.  I try to sit down occasionally and write out a list of things for which I’m thankful.  I would love for it to happen every night, but it doesn’t, so I just sit and write it all down when I have the time.  It’s life, man.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do with this post today.  I want to just take some time to sit down and think and write about things for which I am thankful.  So here we go.

Family.  Goodness, I love my family.  They’re good solid people.  Sometimes we’re a bit ridiculous, and that’s sometimes when I think we’re at our best.  The ridiculousness of family is something that only your family can understand, and it can be wonderful.  I know for some it can be painful and harmful even.  For that I am so very sorry.  You can come here and join our family.  We only allow kindness here.  I love it when my family plays games.  Man, we are so competitive, but we have a good time.

Friends.  Have you ever had people in your life that are such good friends that they become family?  I hope you have.  It’s such a blessing.  They’re a lifeline.  I could write a million words here, but I won’t.  If you have Framily (friends who are family), then you absolutely understand.  If you don’t, again, come on over.  We build longer tables and not higher fences here.  We’ll find a seat for you.

My job.  It’s slow season right now.  It’s about the time I start to panic every year and wonder where I can pick up some extra money-making opportunities somewhere.  It happens every year, and you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but here we are yet again.  I am so very thankful for it, though.  I know not everyone has a job they enjoy or an opportunity to connect people with homes they love and just help out through what can be a stressful time.  I am so very thankful.

Snow.  I may regret this if we get a really snowy year this year, but for now I still think it’s beautiful.  We had flurries all day yesterday, and I just loved watching it come down.  Nothing stuck to the ground, so it was even better.  I’d like one good snow to watch kids sled in it, and then we can move on.  How does that sound?

Good music.  I’ve started listening to my favorite Christmas album of all time, and I just can’t get enough of it.  Want to hear the story of Christmas from the very beginning?  Like let’s go back to Passover beginning?  Listen to Behold The Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson.

Dreams.  Both the life kind and the sleep kind.  I have a lot of the sleep kind dreams.  I don’t know how you feel about them, but I believe that dreams are a way that God can choose to speak to us.  I’m trying to listen.  I also love the life kind of dreams.  Man, I’ve got some big ones.  I hope you’re ready.

Opportunities.  I had an opportunity to be a guess on the You Brew You podcast with my friend Kari Ann.  Kari is such a fun friend and super easy to talk to.  I had a few minutes to look over the questions before hand and still ended up going in a different direction than I had anticipated.  I didn’t intend to let you all in on a little dream some friends and I have, but here we are.  Ha!

So, yeah.  These are just a few things on my list.  There is always something to be thankful for, even though sometimes we have a hard time finding it.

I’m working on a Thankfulness Journal for you all.  It will be a free and fun printout for you to keep by your bed to write down things for which you are thankful every evening.  Interested?  Sign up for my mailing list there in the top left sidebar of the homepage where it says “Give Me The Goods,” and I’ll get it to on January 1!  I will only send out one email a month, but I think you’ll be interested.  I’ll have some good recipes and some tips that have helped me along the way.  So what are you waiting for?  Sign up now!

 

 

Debt Freedom, Extra Income, General, Motivation, Resources, Saving Money

First Ever Big Girls’ Christmas List

It’s been a hot minute, but I am going to ask your forgiveness because I got to spend some time in Texas last week with my friend B, and I just couldn’t squeeze writing into my headspace.  B had a conference, and I tagged along in a rare opportunity to get out of town with zero agenda.  I came back home tired and refreshed all at the same time.  How does that even make sense?  I have no idea, but that’s what happened.  I as able to meet with a friend and spend some good quality time with here, part of which was being interviewed for her podcast to dig a little deeper into the blog here and my heart behind it, which will be up soon.  Don’t worry.  I’ll share the link.  It also happened that the stars aligned to where another friend happened to be in town, and while there was no expectation that we would be able to connect, it just so happened that we ended up about 6 blocks from each other for about an hour one afternoon.  Sometimes you can look back and just see the ways that God smiles down on you and says that He sees us and gives us exactly what we needed, even when we really didn’t know we needed it.

So that’s what I’m going to do for you here.  I’m going to give you my opinion of exactly what you need even though you never knew you needed it for Christmas.  Remember that this is a blog aimed at helping us get our lives together, so there is going to be a wide variety of things on here.  Hope you enjoy!  *Also, all links are probably going to be affiliate links and I have to let you know this.  Now you can enjoy.

I’m going to separate these into a few different categories in order to make it a little easier to keep track.

Diet/Home Workout

Meal Prep Containers.  Do I believe Tupperware or glass containers are probably the best way to go?  Yes.  Do I hate to use my Tupperware and glass containers because I forget them and lose them?  Yes.  My solution is these cheap meal prep containers.  I have several of these.  They’re reusable.  They’re freezer safe, dishwasher safe and microwavable.  And you get 21 for $13.49.  And if you’re like me and want to do the math, that’s roughly $.64 per container

Dumbbells.  I like these.  I don’t use mine a ton because I typically use my heavier ones, but if I’m doing shoulder strengthening or high repetitions, I like to use these lighter versions.  Also, get the stand.  It’s a space saver, and you’ll thank me later.

Medicine Ball.  This isn’t a necessity, but if you’re looking to add a little extra weight and something you can throw or slam, you need this.  I use mine mostly for Russian twists and weighted sit-ups.  Start light, but you can work your way up.

Resistance Bands.  I use these for virtually anything I want to add a little resistance to.  You can combine them to increase resistance.  You can use them to help you keep your stance.  You can get really mad at someone and snap them with it.  Tons of uses and super cheap.

Gym Membership.  Don’t know where to go?  Hit me up.  I’ve got a great place for you.

Debt Reduction/Financial Management

Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.  You either love him or you hate him.  There aren’t many who are in-between.  But if you take an honest look at his plan and the way he teaches people to get out of debt, it works.  It may take some time, and you may have to really scrimp and save, but if you’re willing to do it, it can be done.

Envelope System for Cash Budgeting.  Okay.  So this isn’t necessary.  You can go buy a box of envelopes from Wal-Mart and write on them and get by.  But if you’re asking someone else to buy these for you, I like the looks of this system.  It’s simple.  You put your budgeted amount of cash for each monthly expense, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  You’re done spending in that category.

Just For Fun

Funny Shirts.  Everyone loves a soft t-shirt and warm hoodie.  Did you know I have an Etsy Store?  You can click here to go there and visit.  I’m adding new stuff every week, so keep watching.  Some are dumb.  Some are funny.  If you come up with a phrase, I can work with it!

Have another idea?  Hit me up.  I’ll add it to the list!

Help, Motivation

How To Survive The Holidays

We’re coming around to one of the busiest times of the year.  It’s already November, if you can believe it, and Thanksgiving is just two weeks away.  And I, of course, know that you know Christmas is close on the heels of Thanksgiving, but for some reason I feel like I need to remind you.  The Holiday season can take its toll on is financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually if we let it.  Part of the reason is we commit to doing things we don’t really need to go, going places we don’t really need to go and seeing people we don’t really need to see.  Then, of course, there are the things that we actually have to do that can sometimes be absolutely miserable for us, as well, that can just beat us down.

I’ve said it over and over and over on here.  Preparation, in every aspect of our lives, is one of the keys to succeeding.  Yes.  I know that sometimes things just happen that we can’t control, and that’s okay.  We can’t control them.  It is what it is.  But for the things we can control, we need to be prepared.

But I want to set a baseline for you first.  You need to always assume that I am coming from a place of no preparation.  If I am awake, I am typically running late and unprepared, so we are always starting from a baseline of below average.  But with the steps I’ve taken in food preparation lately, I’m moving closer and closer to average every day!

I’m going to break this down into three separate sections for us and explain how I am preparing in each of the life areas for you.

Financially

In my early 20s I wasn’t making a lot of money, but I wanted to give good presents.  I would put Christmas on my credit card and hope I could pay it off later.  I am pleased to say that at 38 now I have done Christmas debt free for just over a decade.  Some years are harder than others.  Some years there is more than others.  With my nieces and nephews getting older, the things they’re interested are getting more expensive, so that makes things a bit more difficult at times.  But at the end of the season, I’m not stressed out because now I have to try to pay for it.  If I can’t pay for it immediately, I don’t buy it.  Sometimes I will use my credit card to earn airline points or Amazon points, but only if I can immediately pay it off.  Another fun thing I love to do is give experiences instead of gifts.  For a few years my friend and I would just go to dinner and out to a movie by ourselves, which didn’t happen very often, and just enjoy each other’s company.  I remember spending time with her more than I remember any other gift she has ever given me.  Not that the gifts haven’t been great, but time is more my language.  Do Christmas debt-free.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Physically

There is so much food this time of year.  And we’re so busy that to try and find the extra time and energy to work out can be overwhelming.  First I want to tell you that this season is really hard for me in this area, but I’ve done it well in the past, and I plan to do well again.  Our office is inundated with sweets over the next month or so, so I try to make a point to bring healthy snacks.  My go-to is grapes and cheese cubes or sticks.  I like almonds a lot, too, so really whatever it is that you like that is healthier than all the cookies is good.  You’re going to probably go to more dinners than you’re used to with family and friends, so just choose wisely.  You don’t have to eat everything that is set in front of you, so don’t.  And finally, if you can at all, wake up 30 minutes earlier and get a quick workout in.  Just do some squats, sit-ups and push-ups, and you’ll have a great workout in for the day.  A little movement is better than no movement.  Do what you can with what you have when you have it.  That’s all we can do.

Emotionally & Spiritually

This is a hard one.  The Holidays can take their toll on folks.  Some years have been harder than others.  For me, personally, I go from living alone and being in a very quiet office most of my day, to being surrounded by anywhere from 10-50 people during gatherings and family time.  It can be a little overstimulating and give me a bit of anxiety sometimes.  I know for some of you, things are just hard.  Family can be hard.  Friends can be hard.  The Holidays can seem really lonely and hard to navigate.  In our culture, unfortunately, we have been programmed to ignore our feelings most of the time if it makes someone else feel uncomfortable.  My mantra through this blog if there is one is GRACE.  We need to allow ourselves space and grace to feel the emotions that we have…whether or not it makes someone else uncomfortable.  Sometimes I just leave for a while.  I love being with my family and my friends, but sometimes I need to retreat to silence to fill back up.  That’s okay.  I don’t know your situations.  You may be heading home into a minefield where you never know what is going to set someone off.  May I suggest making your visit as short as possible?  Yes.  I know there are people you absolutely need to go see.  However, if they hurt you, you are so very entitle to limit your time.  If they’re not people that we “have” to go see, then don’t go.  Your well-being and the well-being of your family is all you can control here.  Sometimes people are easier to love from a distance.  Give yourself a little prayer and/or meditation time before you go to a new place and after you get home.  If all you have is five minutes, take five minutes.  You’ll be surprised at the results.

The Holidays can be a wonderful time of year.  They can be quite difficult trying to stay healthy in all aspects of our lives.  If we’re not healthy in one of them, we’re not healthy.  These are all huge parts of our lives.  You wouldn’t tell someone you were completely healthy except for your left lung because it just didn’t work right.  Right? In that instance, you would say a person isn’t healthy.  This is where we are.  We’re starting at our below average baseline, and we’re working our way up to above average.  I believe in us, and I know we can do it.  Grace for today, friends.

Uncategorized

Three Healthy Breakfasts

I’ve often said that if I can plan ahead enough to start my day out on a healthy note, I will more than likely be able to finish it on a healthy note.  Really what that means is if I eat donuts for breakfast, I’m going to have a candy bar or a brownie at some point in the day because I’ve got sugar in my system early, so my body craves it later.  This is a bad thing to do if you’re trying to eat healthy.  However, it is a thing that still happens in my life occasionally.  I try really hard, but sometimes I just go that direction unfortunately.  The victory in this, though, is that it is significantly less than what I used to do.  Most days I just take the wins as I can get them and try to show myself a little grace.  I know I can do better, but sometimes I just make bad decisions because I’m a human being surrounded by sugar.

The trick to a good breakfast, though is to not only make it healthy, but fill it full with enough protein and good fat that I’m still full by lunchtime and not tempted to snack in-between.  Two of these recipes fit that bill very well, and the other I almost always make it to lunch without being hungry, but have started feeling a bit hungry and snacky a little bit before lunchtime.  But it’s still a good one in my book.  They’re all super easy to prepare and don’t take long at all.  For the most part, too, you can prep the night before and just heat up in the morning…which is exactly what makes them my kind of meals.  I function so much better in the evening than I do in the morning.  It’s just plain ridiculous.

But here are my favorites and some quick prep and cooking instructions if necessary.  I promise you they’re not difficult at all!

Banana Pancake.  This one is going to sound gross, but it’s not bad at all.  And I can tell you I am absolutely not ever hungry by lunchtime when I eat this one.  I mash up a banana and stir it together with two eggs.  I add a little cinnamon and vanilla to taste, and that’s it for the prep.  To cook it, I pour some olive oil in my skillet and get it hot and then pour the mix into the skillet and cook it like a pancake.  My only issue I have with this is that it does fall apart pretty easily, especially if I get too much liquid in it.  It’s a learning curve, but it’s worth it.  Once it’s done cooking, I put it on a plate, and since I’m preparing the evening before, I let it cool and then cover and put in the fridge until the morning.  In the morning, I scoop some peanut butter on the top and heat it up to eat.  If you’re eating it immediately, you can just put the peanut butter (or whatever kind of nut butter you choose) on and eat up.  I can promise you it tastes significantly better than it sounds.  Eggs are actually a miracle food in the fact that you can substitute them for a ton of things.

Eggs and fixins.  So this really isn’t a recipe, but it’s so darn good that I feel I need to share it with you.  I scramble three eggs with butter.  Once they’re done I slice an avocado on top and add salt and a little pepper.  Sometimes I add hot sauce.  Sometimes I pick up some pico de gallo from my favorite restaurant here in town and cover it in that.  It’s super easy.  You can have the pico made up and stored.  You can scramble eggs the night before (they don’t taste as good, but you can do it), and then all you’ll have to do is slice up the avocado.  Simple.  This could get me through to dinner most days.

Overnight Oats.  I recently just started this when I started all my freezer meals and food prep, but I’ve wanted to try it for years.   I thought there had to be a catch for how easy it was, but it really turns out that it is exactly as easy as they say. I take a pint Mason jar and put a half cup for oats in it, a little less than a half cup milk, and a quarter cup of yogurt.  Then I add whatever fruit I want, which is typically blueberries for me.  You shake it up, put it in the fridge overnight and the eat in the morning.  There are tons and tons of different recipes if you want to take a look on Pinterest sometime, but honestly you can’t really go wrong.  This is the one that sometimes I start to get hungry sooner than I would like, but it holds me over most days.  And, obviously, if you’re eating Whole30 or Paleo or anything that doesn’t want you to have dairy or grains, this one is out.  But if you’re just trying to prep ahead, this is one of my healthier choices

So that’s it.  Now you know a few more of my morning secrets.  And you also know if I completely fail, I’ll be stopping to get a donut on the way to work.  I won’t tell if you won’t.

*Links are affiliates

Recipes, Resources, Saving Money

Healthy Shopping Tips

This is the time of year that everyone is so busy that they can’t hardly seem to think about eating healthy.  Or we at least think we can’t think about eating healthy.  It is absolutely easier to buy processed foods off the shelf and have a complete dinner together in 30 minutes.  I get it.  But we just can’t do that.  So we have to be smart about how we shop and what we store in our homes so that we have a better chance at success for whatever it is that we want to do.  Here are a few of my best tips.

Plan ahead.  You’re like me.  You probably have less time than I do.  Actually you don’t.  We all have 24 hours a day.  We all just plan our days differently.  But we have to plan.  I honestly don’t think a person can eat healthy by winging it.  Know what you’re going to buy and then go buy it.  Don’t buy anything else.

Make your list.  Check it twice.  This goes with everything above, but, seriously.  You have to have a list or you’ll end up forgetting something or spending way more than you had anticipated.

Stay on the fringes.  Most of the healthier, non-processed foods are around the outside of the grocery department.  All your meat, dairy and produce is going to be in coolers or in open displays.  Most of your processed foods are going to be in boxes in the aisles.  Stick to the edges, and you’ll immediately be doing better than you were before.

Don’t give in.  Corporations have studied people and have certain foods and items strategically placed throughout the store to entice you as you’re doing your shopping.  They bank on your giving into your impulses.  That’s why the candy is right up front in the checkout lines.  Don’t give an impulsive shopper.  That will get you into trouble in the financial department and in the caloric department.

Fruits, veggies, and meat.  You can live your life entirely with all this stuff.  Dairy can be included sometimes if you don’t have any reactions to it.  Know what you are preparing for the week and then go buy it.  It’s simple, but not easy.  But you can do it!

Motivation, Recipes, Resources, Saving Money

My Favorite Freezer Meal So Far

Over the last three months, I have successfully prepped and subsequently cooked around 20 Crock-Pot freezer meals.  For a total of about an hour shopping time, 3 hours prep time and approximately $300 I have been able to have a Whole30 compatible meal every day I wanted one for three months.  I still have 8 in my freezer.  If you’re doing that calculations for four months, that’s $75 a month for groceries or just under $19 a week for healthy food.  All total in two meals that I would make a week, there are about 10 servings.  That’s lunch and dinner every day except weekends.  And, honestly, I typically get more servings out of the freezer meal they they say are there, so I can even make them last through the weekend.  Keep in mind, I typically eat lunch with a friend in a restaurant once a week, sometimes twice depending on how in-demand I am.  Weekends I am more prone to go eat somewhere other than home for dinner, so I count on that.  If I don’t go out, I always have eggs on hand I can scramble and be filled up.

I feel like that’s pretty good in the healthy department and in the saving money department.  Plus, it takes my Wal-Mart trips down significantly, which is ALWAYS a win in my book.  I still have to run out occasionally for  produce, but, man, it’s nice not to have to go every week.  Unfortunately, when I do have to go to the grocery store, I typically find something I don’t need or something that’s not so healthy and buy it and subsequently eat it when I know it’s not at all what I need to be doing.

It’s a process.  It’s a process.  It’s a process.

Even though I keep telling myself that, my other inner voice says that it’s ridiculous that I still struggle with food because I know the right things to do and how to do the right things in order to live a healthier life, but I just don’t do them.  So there’s that.  That’s why I always preach that there is grace enough for today for all of us.  I even try to practice it sometimes.

I’ve found a few freezer meals that I really like and a few that I really don’t, so I thought I’d share with you my current favorite.  There are a couple in the running for this one, so you’ll be getting more of these as we go along.  Of course, if you don’t want to do a freezer meal, you can just throw all this stuff in the Crock-Pot in the morning and come home to a great dinner.

Crock-Pot Pulled Pork Chili from PaleOMG

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs pork roast with fat trimmed
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce*
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp red pepper flakes*
  • salt to taste
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
  • avocado, sliced, to garnish
  • green onions, diced, to garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the roast in the Crock-Pot
  2. Cut into the meat and place the garlic cloves inside the roast
  3. Pour the hot sauce over the meat
  4. Sprinkle in all the seasonings
  5. Add all the diced veggies
  6. Cook 8-10 hours on low
  7. Garnish with avocado and green onions and serve

*If you don’t like spicy things, this is incredibly spicy.  Next time I make it, I will cut the hot sauce in half (at least) and leave out the red pepper flakes almost entirely.

**If you’re doing a freezer meal, throw all this stuff in a gallon Ziploc bag, label it and throw it in the freezer for up to three months.

In all honesty, I had to give the rest of this to my brother who loves spicy food because it was just too much for me.  However, even with all the spiciness, it was still the best-flavored meal I’ve made so far.  And if you’re one that likes it hot, you are going to absolutely love this!!

Let me know what you think!

 

*Links are affiliate links

 

Featured, Help, Motivation, Recipes, Resources

Healthy Cooking Tips

Whether you’re eating Whole30, Paleo, Keto or virtually any other sort of healthy eating plan, you still have to cook.  Honestly, this is the part that I don’t really love about eating healthy.  I really want for it to be sitting there ready for me to eat when I get home.  I don’t even care if I have to heat it up a little bit.  This is why I lean towards crock pot or Instant Pot meals.  I love how you can throw it in right before you head out the door and then it will be done when you get home.  It’s perfect.

When you’re cooking with healthy foods, though, the main thing that you run into is that it just takes so long.  It’s not opening a box and dumping it in boiling water and then adding something dehydrated and powdered to give it a little flavor and a little texture.  You actually have to cut things up and then mix several different spices all together to get the flavor you’re looking for.  You may have to fry or bake or broil, but it’s typically the prep that takes the longest time.

So what I’ve done in this post is put together a few of my best tips in order to be able to actually spend some quality time with family outside of the kitchen in the evenings.

First and foremost you need to figure out what it is that you are going to be making for the week.  All you have to do is spend 10 minutes on Pinterest, and you should be able to find plenty of recipes for meal prep or freezer meals or whatever it is that you are wanting to.  Let’s face it.  You spend more than 10 minutes a day on your phone anyway.  Put it to good use and do a little meal planning.

Prep as much as you can on the weekend.  Listen.  I know we all love our weekends if we have any free time whatsoever, but if you take an hour or two on Saturday morning and at least cut up all your vegetables to have that part out of the way, you’re going to want to give yourself a pat on the back when you actually start cooking the meal.  If you want to take it a step further, figure out how much you’re going to need for each recipe and separate it in Ziploc bags to keep in your crisper until time to actually do the cooking.  If you have a little extra time and already have the recipes ready go ahead and get your meat and everything else for those particular recipes prepped so all you have to do is put it together and cook.

Make sure your knives are good and sharp.  I cannot stress this enough.  They need to be sharp enough to the point where you fear you may cut off your finger if the knife slips.  If you don’t have a good set of knives, invest in one, like this one I have.  And then invest in a good sharpener.  They will pay you back tenfold in the time that it will save you and, quite honestly, you’re probably going to spend less time in the emergency room because of a sharp knife than you will because of a dull one.

Always have a backup plan.  Schedules change unexpectedly.  It’s a given.  You can plan and plan and plan, but ultimately you never know what your day is going to bring.  And, honestly, sometimes you know you’re going to have a long day, and you’re not going to want to cook when you get home.  This is where I shine.  I did a little extra research on Pinterest and have several Crock-Pot freezer meals that I’ve prepped and have in my fridge. I actually use these as my go-to meals, but you might just want to use them for backup.  Either way is good.  I spent $164 and prepped 9 meals in two hours the other night.  They’re in my freezer now.  They all have 4-6 servings, so two meals will more than get me through the week for work and be able to just come home and heat them up.  Again, get the bag holders, because they’re miracle working.  The other thing you need to seriously consider if your schedule is a volatile as mine is a Crock-Pot with a timer.  I dump my food in, set it for low and for 8 hours, or whatever the recipe calls for, and then I know after 8 hours it will go to a “warm” setting and not burn down my house a la This Is Us.  I can leave these meals in the freezer for up to three months, and let’s be honest, if I still have them after three months, I will absolutely use them.

That’s it.  Just be prepared, but also be willing to be flexible. We’re all busy, but if we just carve out a few extra minutes that we’re probably wasting anyway, we should be able to save it on the other side.

 

*As always, the links are affiliate links, meaning I may make a little money if you choose to purchase something I link to.

 

 

Motivation, Uncategorized

The Struggle is Real

Goodness this last month has been a struggle on most fronts.  Just this Sunday night walking to my car from a restaurant with my friend getting our dinner, my ankle turned on their crazy uneven parking lot and I went down. I scraped my knee all to heck, and tonight as I’m writing this on Monday evening, I’m finally starting to get sore.  What worries me the most, though, is that my back is a little sore.  Was it sore before I fell, or has it just started becoming sore again after the fall?  Honestly, this is one of those seasons that every step forward seems to come with two steps back, sometimes three, and leaves me wondering if I’ll ever gain ground back again.

Have you been there?

I know it’s just a season.  There are just high seasons, low seasons and seasons where not much seems to be happening, high or low.  Waiting for what is next can be somewhat excruciating for several reasons.  Walking by faith, as described by Jennie Allen, one of my favorites, is waiting at the bank of a river and then jumping onto a rock that just popped up and waiting there until the next one pops up.  It could be a minute.  It could be 10 years, but for right now you took the step that you were supposed to when you were supposed to do it.  I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the point.

Here’s what I know, though:  The struggle is real.  But so is the victory.

I may not know how to wait well.  I may be taking one step forward and 25 back for all I know.  Right now is hard, but maybe it’s supposed to be hard for a little bit.  And maybe not much is expected of me in this season except putting one foot in front of the other and getting up every day to give it another go.

But here is how I’m going to spend the rest of my evening:  I’m going to make some hot peppermint tea.  I’m going to sit down for a little bit, and then I’m going to get out a pen and paper or pull up Pages on my computer and start writing or typing.  Because this isn’t the first hard season I’ve gone through.  Just thinking back now, there have been some significantly harder.  But I’m going to sit and write about the good things that came out of those past seasons.  I’m going to sit and write about the good things that are happening in this season.  Because they’re there.  They may be hiding behind the bushes, but they’re there.

And then I’m going to show myself a little grace.  Did I eat paleo today?  Not totally.  Did I wake up and do yoga?  Nope.  My back hurt this morning, and I’m completely exhausted this evening.  Have I been able to break my soda habit?  Nope.  But we’ll try again tomorrow.  Have I found a daily routine that actually works for me?  No.  But I will keep trying.

Grace for today, friends. Grace for tomorrow.  There’s plenty to go around.

PS:  I designed a shirt you can find on Amazon here.  It says “It’s so bad, the struggle bus has left me behind.”  I think it’s funny, so go check it out if you’re so inclined.

*some links are affiliate links