Friday, December 27, 2013

Lord, Save us from ourselves

I found this rant in my drafts. I typed it back in July. Guess this New Year resolution has actually been weighing on me for a while!

I never intended for this blog to become a ministry and I'm not sure that is what God wants from me, but this is an outlet where I can express what is on my mind and on my heart.  Lately it's been on my heart that I'm a crappy Christian.  I say this because it's something I'm well aware of and something I want to do something about.  Did you know that early Christians didn't give themselves the name 'Christian', non-believers gave them the name because it was obvious who was a follower of Christ by their actions.  In America today lots of people call themselves 'Christian' but don't walk in a lifestyle that is conducive to what they say.  This HAS to change folks and I'm going to start with me because I can't change anyone else.  I want to be the example for Princess and anyone else watching me.  Proverbs 22:6 says 'Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.'  There is still hope for us and for our children!
I've been searching lately for a good place to start.  I'm realistic in thinking that my whole world isn't going to change and all my old habits aren't going to change overnight.  I have to take this one step at a time.  I've watched lots of video of sermons and series on Christian lifestyle.  I am reading books written by Christian authors directed at people who want to do the right thing.  I really need to pick a place in the bible and just start reading!
Recently I found a film on Netflix called 'Lord, Save Us from Your Followers'.  I almost didn't watch it because it sounded scary to me.  I'm very glad I did.  In it filmmaker Dan Merchant is trying to open a dialog between believers and non-believers.  He did this in a very tasteful, very realistic way.  I am inspired to see that there are those out there who not only call themselves 'Christian' but SHOW it too. 
The big ticket issues in this country will always be there.  There will always be people who disagree.  So many times non-believers associate Christians with hate.  That is unacceptable.  There are large groups who call themselves Christian and only give threats of Hell and eternal damnation.  God tells us explicitly to love our neighbors.  We need to stop letting those who preach hate represent us and start showing God's love.  We should be volunteering our time, donating our money or possessions or talents not passing judgment and saying ugly things about people.
This isn't home.  The bible tells us to store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).  We get those treasures by doing good deeds and winning souls for the glory of God while we are on earth.  Stop sitting there being so comfortable working toward your 'American Dream'.  God didn't promise comfort.  God promised that there would be those opposed to us because of Him.  He tells us to give up things of this world because it doesn't matter unless we are following Him.  I don't know that we are all called to give away everything we own and become missionaries, but we should be doing more.  Praying 'Thank you, God, for all the blessings in my life' then hoarding said blessings and not passing them along to bless other people is the opposite of what God wants.  We should be volunteering, we should be giving (and not just the old clothing in the back of the closet we never wear anymore). We should be LOVING God's people.  Guess what, folks, 'God's People' doesn't just mean the people you like or can tolerate well.  We are ALL God's people.  The lady next to you at church, the annoying neighbor, the murders, and your family members who drive you crazy.  Love, love, love.  That is what God says.  Love. Period.
There will always be people we don't agree with.  There will always be people who are opposed to us.  The problem is that the folks representing Christians in the media are doing it in a hateful way.  Screaming at people and telling them they are going to hell isn't going to win people to
Disclaimer:  In all places I typed 'we', you can insert 'I'.  I am guilty of all of this.  These posts are a reminder to myself more than anything. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas and New Years Resolutions

So it's December 26th and I've already taken the tree down and put away all the Christmas decorations.  I don't put that stuff up until December 1st and it comes right back down on Christmas day evening.  I'm relieved to have another Christmas behind us.  This year I have been thinking more about the true meaning of Christmas, though.  Ya know, the Mass of Christ.  Baby Jesus born, celebrating our Savior's entrance into this world.  We all get so busy trying to make sure we see this family and get gifts for these friends that we forget.  It's easy to do, I'm not criticizing, I'm as bad as anyone.  A couple things happened this holiday season that have kind of shocked me into making a resolution that doesn't have anything to do with weight or money.  Starting today and continuing throughout 2014 I want to get closer to Jesus.  I want to walk more in line with Him.  I want to figure out what God has planned for me.  I plan to spend more time in His Word and I want to commit to listening to the Christian radio stations.  I want to read some of the devotionals and Christian books I have stacked next to the bead.  I want to focus on God and stop letting life distract me.  I want to be an example for my family, my husband and daughter, but also to everyone around me.  Do you know that it wasn't early followers of Christ who coined the word 'Christian'.  It was in Antioch that people noticed the apostles and followers were different because they followed the Christ and called them Christians. (Acts 11)  I want people to look at me and know that I am a Christian because I follow the teachings of the Christ.  I don't want to say that I'm a Christian then lead a life that says otherwise anymore.

The things that got me thinking most about this are this: 1) The church I frequent more than any other didn't have a Wednesday evening service.  Wednesday.  December 25.  No service on Christmas Day?  The church took the day off on the day we celebrate Jesus' birth so we could spend time with our families.  Now please know that I probably wouldn't have been in attendance if they had had service, but this isn't very different than most weeks and this is something I will be working on.  I'm not upset because I had so looked forward to the service, it just shocked me that there wouldn't be a service for me to skip.

Thing number 2)  A friend of mine goes to a non-denom mega church in a nearby city.  Actually several of my Facebook friends attend this church so I've seen lots of stuff about their big Christmas celebration.  This friend sent me a link to the video of the service.  I'm about halfway through now and I'm not sure if I want to finish.  Don't get me wrong.  This is very entertaining.  There is no doubt that the staff is full of extremely talented folks.  The thing that bothers me about it is this:  I'm not sure what laser shows about Santa have to do with the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  I understand the church evolving to keep the interest of the congregation.  It's a very good thing to get lots of people from all walks of life together to praise our God.  There is power in numbers, even the bible tells us that. 'For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them' -Jesus (Matthew 18:20)

So my question is this:  When do we cross the line of evolving to reach the people and focusing more on what people want than what the Bible says?

Disclaimer:  I hope I don't come off as judgey.  I can't cast any stones.  I'm just a girl who wants to know what Jesus thinks of us.  Then again, maybe I don't want to know what he thinks of me right now...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Accountability

For some reason I struggle with accountability.   Recently I joined Weight Watchers and only gained weight.  I was on that program once before and had good results for a short time then ended up gaining some of the weight back while still on the program.  I believe this is a good program, it just isn't working for me.  I have tried to be accountable to a friend and to my husband.  I really don't respond well to having my husband as my accountability partner.  I just get defensive when he asks me about my workout habits for my food choices and I don't want that causing problems in my marriage.  I have a couple friends who make good accountability partners, until we all fall off the wagon together.  Why is this such a struggle for me?  Why do I have this mental trigger?  I fight back rather than use it as a tool.  When I see a cop checking traveler's speed, I slow down.  When I know the boss will be in town, I try harder to get to work on time.  When my bank account balance is low, I slow down my spending.  Why can't I apply this same logic to healthy living?

I'm reading a book by Lysa Terkeurst called 'Made to Crave: Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food'.  (Review to come later).  I want to learn from this book because it is a genius concept.  God created us to crave Him, desire Him, rely on Him, yet somehow the enemy has used this to his will and moved my focus to an unhealthy lifestyle.  I eat to much, I drink to much, I don't exercise enough. I need to see when the devil is trying to manipulate me and use that as a trigger to pray and not do something unhealthy.

The book selections I made at the library recently are comical to me.  Well, interesting anyway.  I started reading 'Made to Crave' the same time I started reading 'The Screwtape Letters' by C.S. Lewis.  I didn't see any kind of link between the books when I checked them out.  I wanted a self-help type book and a novel to read for entertainment.  As I started reading them together, I think it was Divine.  The self-help to show me a direction and the novel to show me how the devil is getting into my head.  The enemy doesn't come in the form of a scary guy with a pitchfork and tail, he whispers in your ear and tries to keep you complacent.  If you are comfortable where you are right now, you probably need to move.  I say this to myself more than to anyone. I'm very comfortable in my life right now, I'm comfortable in my jeans that are bigger than they should be.  It's definitely time to move!  Guess it's time to get on my knees and find out where I should be moving too.

Are you having the same struggles?  Do you feel like the enemy is keeping you at a comfortable distance from the path God has for you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Boxing and Burning Man

Husband has been working lots of weekends lately and since he works out of town I've been going to see him on the weekend.  The apartment he stays in during the week has a big, nice gym.  Indoor Olympic pool, cardio machines, weight training machines, free weights, tennis court, and my most favorite, a boxing ring!  I found out they also have a trainer on staff.  I can go to the gym for free because he lives there all week and the trainer was pretty inexpensive.  I had one lesson so far and I hope to do a lesson each weekend I go stay with him.  I really hope he gets to come home more soon, but if he's got to be away, I might as well take advantage of the situation, right?  I learned a lot of things I can take home with me and use on my heavy bag.  I worked out with the trainer on Saturday afternoon and I'm really sore this Monday afternoon.  It's amazing! 

This weekend I also went to an Okie Burner's Decompression event.  Basically a bunch of burners and future burners got together to exchange stories and burn a ten-foot tall dreamcatcher.  Someday I will go to Burning Man.  This feeling was fueled even more after meeting Burners and other future Burners.  We got a glimpse of some of the costume pieces worn at the festival and got to talk to a girl with a hoola hoop.  I got a tiny picture of the things to expect from the actual festival.  Maybe someday we'll have such a festival in every state.  I know this isn't a religious event and I know there are many things that will make me shake my head, but I think Jesus would approve of some of the basic values of the Burner.  Do no harm, leave this place better than you found it, love everyone and take care of each other.  Such a wonderful experience.

P.S.  I got some video of the dreamcatcher burning, but I'm having trouble getting it to load.  I'll keep working on this.

Do you know about Burning Man?  Google it!  Watch the videos on YouTube!  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The Real Food Detox

I've decided to make this a three day, clean-eating detox.  All vegan, no junk for three days.  No pills to 'flush' your system.  Don't spend a ton of money on a 'cleansing kit'.  And you don't need to eat a ton of cabbage soup.

This menu is for my experimental use.  This is not medical advice and I don't promise to heal what ails you.  If you do follow this plan, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.  I will be updating my progress along the way and since SIL started me on this, I'll probably use her experience, too.

BREAKFAST

Smoothies!  Fast, simple, ton o' nutrients.
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen fruit (berries, mixed fruit, mango, peaches, whatev)
1T chia seeds
1 banana
small handful spinach

Put all ingredients in blender.  Add enough water to make it smoothie consistency. Start with about a cup of water and add more if needed.

SNACKS

Talked about this some in the last post, but I'll say it again.  Fresh fruit, frozen fruit without sugar, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, any other fruit or veg you can think of, but skip the ranch.  If you MUST have something to dip your veg in, make (or buy if you must) some humus.  Nutritious and delicious! 

DINNER

Spaghetti Squash with diced tomatoes:  Cut a spaghetti squash in half , scoop the seeds into the trash or compost or whatever, pour a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano.  I know a can of tomatoes doesn't exactly count as 'clean-eating' but it's better than filling the squash with a stick of butter like we did when I was a kid!  Cover with foil, bake for about 45 minutes, poke it with a fork to see if it's tender, if not bake it longer, check at 10 minute intervals.

Vegetable soup:  Fresh or frozen veg including, but not limited too green beans, broccoli, carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc.  Limit corn and potatoes as these aren't as easily digestible and the goal is easy to digest, nutrient rich foods.  Add a hearty grain like brown rice or barley, something minimally processed.  Put veg, grain and enough vegetable broth to cover in a pot and simmer until everything comes together.  Season with salt and pepper, garlic, whatever you like.  I like cumin and chili powder, I'll be using some of those spices.

Roasted butternut squash over quinoa:  Just like it sounds, cut a butternut squash into quarters, scoop out the seeds.  Roast at 425 for about 45 minutes.  Salt, pepper, curry spice.  Remove when fork tender.  Let it cool for a few minutes so you can handle it, peel the skin off, dice the meat.  Meanwhile prepare quinoa (or barley not used in the soup) as directed.  Season with s&p and curry seasoning.  Top grain with squash and enjoy.

LUNCH

Lunch for me will be leftover dinner or a smoothie like breakfast.  Easy to prepare, easy to take to work.  

Remember to keep this simple.  Just eat real food, no meat or dairy, no processed crap.  Should cause your waist to shrink and your energy level to rise.  But also keep in mind that if you go right back to eating crap all the time, the effects will be short lived.  Use this as a kick-start to a healthy lifestyle, not as a quick fix.  

If you have concerns, comments or questions, leave them in the comment section below! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Real Food Detox - the intro

People in my world ask me about healthy eating all the time. All.The.Time. It makes me feel pretty good that people feel like they can come to me. Recently my sister-in-law asked me what I know about doing a cleanse. After talking to her for a bit, I decided this would also make a good blog post topic! Here we go:

I am in NO way an expert and all of this comes from my Google education and life experiences.  This is in now way, shape or form medical advice.  Everybody is different. That being said, here is my opinion:

A cleanse is a good way to sorta reset your metabolism. It is NOT a long term solution for you weight loss plans, but its a good place to start.  A good time for a cleanse is probably when you have been off the healthy eating wagon for a while and want to get back on or if you have consumed way more adult beverages than you should lately and need to detox all that crap out of your system.  SIL's reason is the former, mine is the latter...

Anyway!  I told her I'd come up with a menu or guideline of some kind.  Some of the really important things about a cleanse are to drink PLENTY of water and eat until you are full.  No need to starve yourself.  The point is to keep everything moving through your body, not make it shut down and go into starvation mode.  Eat whole foods, nothing processed (or at least very little processed stuff, you may see some exceptions in my plan), no meat and no dairy.  Basically eat yourself stupid on all the fruit and veg you want!

Smoothies are a GREAT way to get a ton of nutrition on the go and the fruit is already blended and easy for your body to absorb.  I don't generally wake up early enough to sit down and eat breakfast, but it doesn't take long to throw a smoothie together.  I like smoothies all the time, not just for a cleanse.  My normal smoothie would have about a cup of frozen or fresh fruit, a banana, 1/2 a cup of yogurt, about a tablespoon of chia seeds and enough water to blend it to consistency.  For a cleanse, I'll opt for no yogurt.  I like to add spinach because it's a good source of iron and it's a mild flavor usually covered up by all the fruit.  I've read where others use kale or other greens, but spinach is good for beginners because of the mild flavor.  For this cleanse I'll have a smoothie for breakfast everyday, maybe for a snack if I'm feeling it.

Snack on fresh fruit and veg.  Apples are in season, not my favorite fruit, but I might eat a few.  I like oranges, love bananas.  Frozen cherries are delicious.  Be sure your fruit is without sugar.  Just picked and flash frozen, nothing added.  Dinner will probably include squash because the fall squash is in season and that is one of the few things I like about this time of year.  You see pumpkin-flavored everything this time of year, but squash is where it's at.  Don't get me wrong, I'm consuming my fair share of the pumpkin, but I like the squash best.  Maybe I'll work some squash or pumpkin into dessert, too.  We'll see.

I'm working on a full menu plan and shopping list.  I should have it posted by the weekend, so stay tuned friends!  If you have questions or information you want to add leave it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Update: Project 333

Update on Project 333:  Fail.  Thirty-three items for three months is really hard, but these are some things I learned:  Practical can be fashionable.  A few high-quality, well-fitting clothes is better than a closet full of clothes I don't wear.  Five inch heels are to high.

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  - Matthew 19:21

We should all spend more time following Jesus than chasing after 'stuff'.  As I've unpacked more items from the boxes I've also moved more stuff to the donation box.  I definitely want to live with less stuff.  Less clutter in my closet will probably lead to less clutter in my life.  My khaki pants were in terrible shape and never really fit well.  I've replaced them, all is well with Thursday again.  My super fabulous, nude, peep-toe pumps are to high.  I will replace them with lower heels soon.  I'm not in a huge rush because it's warm enough to wear sandals for now.  When fall really sets in I'll have to replace a couple pair of pumps and a pair of boots.  When I do, I'll donate more of the shoes in the boxes.  I have so much stuff that has barely been worn, someone should use it so I'll donate it.  Sometimes less really is more.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How I paired down my wardrobe to 33 items

Step 1:  Make sure the laundry is finished.  You can't very well pick your top 33 without having everything clean, right?

Empty laundry basket
Step 2:  What season is it?  I live in an area with 4 seasons (in one day...).  You know the old joke about Oklahoma weather, right?  It's September so it's hot right now, but I'm also planning for October and November, it will probably get cool, but not downright cold.  I'll work a jacket into this mix and probably work with mostly long pants.  Good thing I work in an office...

Step 3:  Do you have a signature?  What kinds of things are you unwilling to part with for this experiment?  I'm going to have to have sunglasses.  Luckily I only have one pair so that choice was easy.  I usually wear silver hoop earrings.  I have several pair, but mostly the same thing.  I just have to pick one pair.

Step 4:  Casual wear.  It's football season.  In my house that is important so my casual wear will mostly be t-shirts for the local school and my husband's favorite college team.

Step 5: Panic.  Thirty-three items isn't as many as pieces as I thought it might be...


  

The final cut:
1. sunglasses
2. silver hoop earrings
3. blue jeans
4. blue jean capri pants
5. brown fat-pant slacks
6.grey fat-pant slacks (after minor mending)
7. black slacks
8. black short sleeve t-shirt
9. grey cardigan
10. purple short sleeve t-shirt
11. black pencil skirt
12. brown v-neck t-shirt
13. green dress
14. black 3/4 sleeve cardigan
15. green short sleeve t-shirt
16. OU football t-shirt
17. black long sleeve t-shirt
18. local high school t-shirt
19. other OU t-shirt
20. other local high school t-shirt
21. grey short sleeve sweater w belt
22. Morticia Addams blouse 
23. faux leather jacket
24. comfy black pumps 
25. silver ballet flats
26. shiny white Bobs
27.black sandles
28. nude pumps
29. fabulous scarf
30. black and silver long necklace
31. over-sized cross necklace
32. tiny diamond cross necklace
33. pink v-neck t-shirt

Is 5 pair of shoes and 3 necklaces a waste of my choices?  I guess we'll see.

What pieces can you not live without?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Living with Less

I've spent a lot of time in recent months thinking about all the STUFF in my life.  There are areas in my house that would make one think that I'm a hoarder.  All this stuff in my home is probably a visual reflection of the clutter in my own mind, so I'm ready to do something drastic.

Exhibit A
This week I found Project 333.  The gist:  33 wardrobe items to work with for 3 months.  Sleep clothes, workout clothes (as long as you only wear them to work out), underwear, and sentimental jewelry (like your wedding ring) don't count.  Everything else does. My strategy:  start with the pants, clean out the items that don't actually fit, pick very few shoes.

I'm about 15 lbs heavier than my usual weight so there are several items that don't really fit right now.  This will be a good excuse for me to box those items up while I get my weight under control.  I'm recently re-committed to getting into shape because my family is doing a Biggest Loser style competition with a cash prize at the end.  I'll need the cash to restock my 33 items when NOTHING fits!  I've been working out 5 mornings per week, eating breakfast, and packing sensible lunches for the last couple weeks.  I've lost 6 lbs, but that is just a tip of the iceberg.  By the time I switch into my second 3 months worth of clothes, I should to be able to donate the first 3 months worth because they should be to big, right?

I'll post pics of the items that make the final cut.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gourmet from Scraps

Last night I planned to eat watermelon for dinner.  Cut one up before church, ate until I was full, went to church.  When church let out I had to pee, then I was hungry.  Dango watermelon!  It didn't last long. Decided pretty late that I was hungry, but remembered I have extremely limited groceries in the house. Searched the cabinets and the fridge and the freezer, this is what I came up with:

Please ignore the ring on the counter...
Greek-style Green pasta with spinach

From the pantry:  Green spaghetti (made with spinach) and lots of garlic

From the fridge:  kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, last of the pesto, pine nuts

From the freezer:  salmon fillet

Boom!  Gourmet dinner in less than 20 minutes made from either staple ingredients or things leftover from other recipes.  Be creative in the kitchen.  That is one of my most favorite places to be creative.  I like crafty stuff but I'd rather be cooking any day.

What are your favorite kitchen creations lately?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fiesta Rice and Beans

Last night I finally broke down and cooked something.  I don't always eat dinner when I'm home by myself, but last night I got hungry.  I've been home by myself a lot this summer.  Princess is living it up this summer and spending nights with anyone but her momma and hubs is still out of town.  I haven't been buying groceries much either.  Luckily, I'm pretty good at working with what I've got on hand.  I read a recipe on some website (don't remember which one now) and used it as inspiration.  Here's what I came up with:


April's Fiesta Rice and Beans

1 cup brown rice
2 bell peppers (I had a red and a green)
1 jalapeno
1 onion (I had a vidalia, use what you have)
2 cans kidney beans (I had a dark red and a light red)
2 cloves of garlic
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
fat pinch of chili powder
fat pinch of cumin
fat pinch of salt-n-pep
Saute diced peppers, garlic and onion in a little olive oil.  Add rice and 2 cups water.  Simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender, stir it once in a while so it doesn't stick to the pan.  When water is absorbed, add kidney beans, spices, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Eat.

Boom.  One pot meal, easy clean up, super healthy.  Squeeze on a little lime juice, top with cilantro from the garden (I would have had to drive to mom's garden across town to get the cilantro so I skipped it this time).  I have an avocado in the kitchen that is going to go bad if I don't eat it soon, but forgot it was there until I had already got to work this morning.  Had enough left over to take for lunch today and eat for dinner tonight.  This is how I cook.  If only my family saw this as a whole meal, too!  Hubs would want to know what kind of meat I was serving with this side dish and Princess would pick all the onions out.  Not sure when she got so picky, but I don't like it.

What are you having for lunch today? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

God Loves the Man in Sweatpants and Loafers

I had a revelation today:  Blanket prayers probably aren't what God is interested in.  Hear me out.

Like with diet and exercise, sometimes we get this all or nothing mentality.  When we don't succeed with the all, we get down on ourselves and eat an entire pizza.  What's the point in trying, I'm just going to fail, right?  Maybe you eat cake or peanut M&Ms, whatever, but I bet you know what I'm talking about.  Why would we think our prayer life and Christian walk would be any different.  Let me use one that I know I'm guilty of: 'God please help me to see when I'm being judgmental and help me to stop being judgmental.  Judging isn't my job, you will do a much better job than I ever could.  Besides, who am I to cast a stone?'  Then I'm gung hoe... until the next time I see someone doing something I'm not sure they should do and the judgment kicks in, then the guilt, then the shame, then I give up because I failed.  Sound familiar?  What if, just like a healthy lifestyle, we take it in steps.  Maybe start with 'God, I know it's not my place to judge, You instruct us to love, not to judge.  Please help me to stop trying to judge people for the way they dress (or the way the speak, or the way they handle situations, etc).  Help me to love people for who they are, even if they are wearing their ragged jeans to Sunday morning service.  Help me to lovingly guide them to You though my testimony.'

Start with the thing I know I'm doing right now that He doesn't approve of , work on one thing at a time.  Eventually I'll be closer to living the life Jesus would want me to be living, right?  One step at a time.  One day at a time.  I know our days are numbered and we don't know the day or the hour when Jesus will return for us or when our time on this Earth will end.  If we spend what time we have trying to build a better relationship with God and loving His people, it will all be for the good and not wasted.  God loves His people and since he knew each of us while we were in our mother's wombs and even before, we are ALL His people.

Sin is sin is sin and God hates it all.  He doesn't hate the sinner, but he does hate the sin.  He says that over and over in the Bible.  It doesn't matter if it's murder, adultery, a lie, a lustful thought, judgement, hatefulness, or any other sin out there (trust me, we are all guilty of many every.single.day).  Each sin is equal in God's eyes and He hates them all equally.  We will never be perfect, but thankfully, we don't have to be.  God's Love and God's Mercy are good.  We are forgiven because Jesus died for us and we are washed clean.  We only have to ask forgiveness and it is given.  This is Good News!  We Christians should be sharing this with everyone we meet!  It is selfish of us to not share.  I know we are probably concerned about what people will think about us, we will be those crazy Jesus Freaks.  What we should be concerned about is what does God think?!  He is the one we should live for.  Any souls we win for God are just that, for His glory  We need to tell them the Truth.  What they do with it is up to them, but we HAVE to share it.

I'm writing this for myself more than anyone.  God has been trying to talk to me for a while.  I answer with 'God, please tell me what it is I need to know' followed by 'Oh, I better get to that thing I am supposed to do'.  I rarely stop and just be still and wait for an answer.  Always to busy doing the next thing I need to get done and never leaving time for God.  I am going to dedicate the next couple weeks of my life to getting closer to God.  I cut off the satellite television in my house (husband isn't crazy about that one).  Husband and Princess will both be gone during the week and I'll have quite time to just reflect and sit quietly with God.  I don't post as much in this blog as I should anyway, but don't be surprised if I'm M.I.A. for a little while or if I post more of my revelations with you.  This could go either way, be patient with me.  Maybe God will tell me something you need to hear too...


Side note with for this post:  1) The punctuation ?! is called an interrobang.  Now ya know.  

Inspirational advice I heard recently:  If you don't know what God wants from you, go back and do the last thing He told you to do.

What has God done in your life lately?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rum and Gardening

Spent the weekend at the lake and I didn't get as many pictures as I should have.  Brother-in-law bought a kayak for this summer and let me try it out to see if I actually want one for myself.  I loved it!  I am going to start looking for one on craigslist or Facebook or something.  Do you have a kayak you want to give sell me?

Hubs got a tiller attachment for the weedeater and used it to work the dirt in my flower beds.  Sadly spring is almost over and I hadn't started on my flower beds yet.

I did have a few plants in the bed that are still doing well.  This is amazing considering how brown my thumb is.



If anyone can identify these plants for me, I would love to know what they are.  The little purple one was a gift from Grandma, she said it's purple cabbage.  I hope that means I will get to eat it soon.  I call the fern Fern, but if you know what purple plant with her is, I'd like to know.  The other green plant was a gift from Neighbors.  No idea why people would gift plants to me, I have a REALLY brown thumb.

 
LOTS of grass roots pulled from the beds



My new friend, I call him Big Worm
  Got me a half-price slushy drink at Happy Hour.  Took it home to add my own touch, touch of rum that is. Mmm.  Lemonberry slush with guava rum, a refreshing drink to go with my gardening.
Neighbors had some seed they wanted to plant in one of my beds.  I told them a while back they could.  Turns out the seeds were for sweet corn and okra...  I put the seed in the ground, but I don't think I have ever successfully grown anything from a seed so wish me luck. 

How does your garden grow?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Keep Calm and Okie On



So the title isn't original, I stole it.  It's also my Facebook profile picture because it's appropriate today.  Today, as I'm sure you have heard, was a terrible day for the state of Oklahoma.  Not only were there tornadoes in the state again today, but they struck a couple elementary schools while school was in.  This is even more horrifying to most of us because so many young people lost their lives.  Princess asked me today why God would let there be tornadoes and let them hurt people.  I don't really have an answer for this.  I told her God has a plan.  We don't know God's plan and he doesn't owe us any explanation.  We just have to keep the faith and show His love to our neighbors. 

Verses that I hope will be helpful:

Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you;

Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 11:28 - 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest'

John 16:33 - 'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.'

I hope you find peace and trust in God even in times like these.  Pray for all those effected and show love to your neighbors.  If you want to help in the relief efforts pray first then check with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or some other reputable organizations.  There will be scammers, so please be careful.

Welcome to Springtime in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is notorious for trailer parks being blown away by tornadoes this time of year.  This past weekend was no exception.  I visited the hubs this weekend because he was going to have to work and wouldn't be coming home to see me.  Princess went out of town with some family so I didn't want to stay home by myself.  When I dropped him off on Sunday it was warm and sunshiney.  He called me about 5 miles down the road to tell me not to stop for anything, keep driving home because there was a huge storm hitting where I had just left him.  It happens that quick.  No storm, beautiful day to tornado in no time. Blam!  He found shelter in a parking garage, but the garage and the hospital it serves were in the direct path of the tornado.  He was shaken, but physically unharmed.  Thank God.  He was sad that his cell phone was dead and he couldn't get any video.  As far as I have seen so far, there were no fatalities in his area.  There were injuries and a single fatality so far reported in a town not far from there, though.  Pray for those who lost homes and family this weekend and let's pray for a mild tornado season this year.  We've all seen how devastating it can be.



Fun store along Historic Route 66 called Pops.  They had hundreds of different types of soda in glass bottles.  The burgers smelled amazing, but hubs told me I had to drive straight home so I didn't try one.


Looking a little ragged and ready to get home.


Sister, Mother and I decided to try watermelon 'ritas and not think about storms.
Pretty good use of an early watermelon that wasn't great by itself.

I've always refused to get into a storm shelter because I'm more scared of it than the storm.  What's your take on fraidy holes?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vegan Pancakes from Mars

I have been dying to try a recipe I found on Pinterest for vegan pancakes.  They are made with no sugar, eggs, or milk.  This sounds like an adventure to me!  I didn't get pics of the process because I was to excited to eat them.  Here is how it went:

I had used all the dark chocolate chips in the trail mix I made last week so I subbed some frozen blueberries.  Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.  The mixture turned out pretty thick and didn't pour.  I scooped the mixture into my skillet, but put them to close and they turned into a big blob of pancake.  To save it, I scooped it all into a baking dish and just baked at  350 for about 15 minutes and had one big pancake pie.  The house smelled really good, like baking bread or something.  Ok, so I don't really know what my house would smell like if I were baking bread as I can't remember ever doing such...  Anywho, this is what the finished product looked like. 


Not pretty, but tasted good.  A little maple syrup over the top and voila! Dinner.  I like to have breakfast for dinner, don't you?

I got up a midnight last night because I couldn't sleep.  I realized I didn't have anything for lunch today.  I found another recipe on Pinterest for curried quinoa and had all the ingredients to make it.  I got a big bag of Vidalia onions over the weekend so I diced and cooked one first, then added my quinoa and water.  Boil, reduce, simmer, add seasonings and cover for about 15 minutes.  I added a can of chickpeas because I love them, but the dish wasn't very colorful, so I added a can of kidney beans, too.  It tasted pretty darn good for lunch today.  If I had had any greens I would have cooked them and added them, but I haven't been to the grocery or farmer's market in weeks so I was just working with what I had. 

Come to think of it, I ate like a vegan all day!  Banana for breakfast, curried quinoa for lunch, and veeg pancakes for dinner!  That's pretty good.  I'm not a vegan, or a vegetarian for that matter, but I try and I hope to be a vegetarian someday.  I like cheese, though, and yogurt and honey and lots of other non-vegan things, so I will probably never be vegan.  I just want to try to make an impact in my carbon footprint.  I drive a sports car and don't get 40mpg so I try to make up for it in the food I eat.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse and Renaissance Festival

As I'm sure you have heard by now we are on the verge of a zombie apocalypse.  It's very frightening to think about, but there is so much talk about it we can't help but think about it.  We need to prepare our bug out kits and make our emergency plans.  I'm not a crazy conspiracy theorist (well, maybe a little...), but I'm here to tell you that I have seen the creatures.  I was even chased by some just this last weekend!  It was a frightening experience but I survived to tell you about it today.

Terrifying, right?
 
Okay, so maybe it's me, little sister and her friend dressed for our very first zombie run. So.much.fun. Little sister and I decided (and I think I've mentioned) that if they did fun runs like this in the area we'd be sure to sign up so they would do more themed runs. 
 
How it works:  We were chased by zombie actors in the dark streets and if they captured all three of the flags we had around our waists we were turned to zombies and could try to take other people's flags.  I'm happy to say that our camouflage worked out great because we all made it across the finish line with enough flags to have survived.
 
 
Husband thought we were crazy and got to home to late for me to talk him into dressing with us.  He later said he wished he would have and I think he'll be easier to convince next time. This is one more reason why he is the perfect man for me, not only will he put up with my version of crazy, but sometimes he even wants to join in!
 
 
Princess brains are pretty good, too.  She thinks her mother is a weirdo and tells me all the time, but jokes on her because it's hereditary!
 
To add to our fun-filled weekend, we went to a renaissance festival in the area.  I had been to the festival before, but not in about a dozen years... wait, am I really old enough to be able to say I did something a dozen years ago?!?  Anyway, I had been but husband and Princess never had.  I mentioned to them that we should dress up.  Most of Princess' dress up clothes don't fit anymore and husband didn't think it was necessary.
 
 
Princess got to be a fairy anyway and I husband was won over enough to talk about dressing for the occasion next year!  I, of course, want to be a gypsy and husband says if his choice is tights or a kilt he'll take the kilt. 
 
This weekend just reminded me why I would love to be able to wear a different costume every day of the week.  I LOVE to dress up and any excuse is a good excuse.  I'm glad God blessed me with two people who are just as weird as I am at heart and glad He blessed them with me so I can bring it out in them!





Thursday, May 2, 2013

Energy Bar Fail

I attempted to make energy bars at home rather than buying them this grocery trip.  Save money, hand pick my ingredients, what could go wrong?


Bag o' energy crumble
I really should have done more research.  No Meat Athlete has a formula.  I've used their smoothie formula and liked it, I should have done the same for the energy bars.  They mostly just turned to crumble.  It won't go to waste, I'll blend it up in smoothies or pour milk over it for cereal or bake it to make crunchy granola or something.  The parts that did stick, didn't stick for long.  I'm eating them anyway because they taste good.



They are full of good stuff.  Oats, natural peanut butter, chia seeds, sesame seeds, dried cherries and dried cranberries.  I will put less chia seeds in next time, I love them, but they get stuck in my teeth and swell up and that is not a pleasant feeling.

What are some of your recipe fails?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sober May and Streaking

In an effort to shed the extra pounds I found lately and to get my body in generally better health I'm going to give up booze for the whole month of May. Hubs and Curly Friend agreed to do this with me! Don't get me wrong, I'm not some raging alcoholic.  I do drink wine slightly more than occasionally, but hey, there are antioxidants in there, right?  Don't judge. I know I get a lot of extra calories this way, which is why I'm going to cut them out.

 Also, I want to work out at least 23 days in the month of May.  Who knows, maybe I'll try to make it a workout streak, we'll see.  The motivational stuff you read says to set measurable goals, 23/31 is measurable.  I don't usually work out on Friday and rarely work out on Saturday or Sunday.  Then there are the days when I have to go to the store after work and the days I need to do a little extra house cleaning and when my husband is home earlier than usual and when... well, you get the point.  I have a lot of excuses to not work out.  Those have to go out with the booze for at least one month.  

Last 'rita in the house
Little Sister is forcing wants me to do a zombie run with her on Friday night.  Should be a fun start to my Friday workout routine.  I told her we should sign up for any theme runs and fun-type runs they do in our area to convince them to keep doing them.  She reminded me I said that so I'm signing us up tomorrow.  But hey, I don't mind running as much when someone makes it fun.  


Speaking of making running fun, did I show you my new running shoes?  Please excuse my unmade bed and my purse in the pic.

May Plan:  Punching the bag.  Running the races.  Avoiding the booze.  What do you have planned to ring in the warm weather?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Smacked in the Face

Today it hit me.  Like a ton o' bricks.  I was online looking up diet pills and their reviews.  Diet pills, really?!?  I preach to anyone who will listen (and more often than not, people who don't want to hear it) about putting whole, natural foods into our bodies.  I talk about the benefits of eating a mostly vegetarian diet and avoiding dairy as much as possible.  I shame people into giving up soda and energy drinks, yet today I'm looking at diet pills?!?  That probably ranks pretty high on the things you should NOT put into your body, yet I'm reading reviews to see which one I might purchase.  I felt like the worst hypocrite ever!

January 2012 I was about 17 lbs lighter than I am today because I worked for it then.  I was taking gym classes a few days a week, eating well, not sitting on the couch like a bum watching TV drinking wine.  You could see ab muscles and I didn't have to lay on my bed to button my khaki pants on Thursdays!  This week I think I've finally found a workout I enjoy enough to do at home, now I have to get back to eating well.  I'm going to prepare more meals at home and start making shakes for breakfast again.  I know those things work for me, I just stopped doing them.  Hubs says he'll help keep me accountable as we both have goals we'd like to see before summer.  I'll post my progress along the way and pictures of what I'm eating so you can keep me accountable, too.  I fully expect you, my hundreds of followers, to call me out when you don't see me posting progress.  I can do this.

How do you stay motivated?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kickin' it Boxer Style

Hubs got me a heavy bag for our anniversary a couple months ago.  I have decided that I would rather do a boxing routine over running any day.  Kickboxing over pretty much any workout right now!



 I have no plan of doing any ultras anyway.  My ultimate running goal is to be a mule for Curly friend when she works up to that point; carry extra water and fuel and keep her company in the lonely miles. I probably only need to be able to do a half to handle that so I've decided I'm going to switch to boxer training!

After I did a little research, I wrote a training routine.  Wanna hear it?  Of course you do!

Round 1:  Jump rope
Round 2: Jab cross
Round 3: Alternating hooks
Round 4:  Squats
Round 5:  Boxer shuffle with alternating jabs
Round 6:  Sumo squats
Round 7:  Right round kick
Round 8:  Left round kick
Round 9: Front kicks
Round 10: Jump rope

I found a round timer app on my phone for FREE!  I set it up for 2 minutes per round and 1 minute rest between.  The rest seemed long so I will probably shorten it to 30 seconds for future workouts.  I'm going to alternate this routine with one I found on YouTube for a while and see how I feel.


Think I'll look like this by summer?
 

Do the Hustle

I was very excited to get to do the first ever 5k in my tiny town.  We had to weave around a few blocks in town just to make it a whole 5k.  Yes, it's that small.  We had 175 people turn out for it and the weather was perfect, just a little chilly if you we just standing, but once we got moving we felt great!  Hubs and sister both beat me, but that is no surprise because I'm REALLY slow.  Hubs finished in 36:56.  That is amazing to me because she has never done a 5k before.  I'm super proud! 

Sister finished this race 4 minutes faster than the color run she did 2 days before.  Very proud of her, too.


One of the things I'm most proud of, though is the fact that we had four generations of women in my family complete the race.  Myself, my mother and my sister did the 5k and Princess and Grandma did the 1 mile fun run. 


Princess will tell you that the fun run wasn't much fun.  She only decided to sign up the evening before.  She doesn't like running AT.ALL.  This worked out well because Grandma isn't up for running either so they got to cross the finish line together. 

When I first started running, the women in this pic told me I was a crazy person.  They never even considered entering a race of any kind.  I'm glad to say that we all finished on Saturday.  None of us got a medal, they didn't announce our names over the speakers, but none of that mattered.  We all crossed the finish line.  Grandma, Mom, Princess and Hubs had never crossed a finish line before.  Now they can say they have finished a race.  These are the things that make me want to be a runner.

Are you signed up for any races yet?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Back to Natural

I preach to everyone I meet about the benefits of a more natural life.  The people who know me best say I'm a hippie, sometimes it's a compliment, sometimes it's a joke and I think sometimes they mean it as an insult.  I'm okay with being a 'hippie'.  I try to make decisions that will help the environment, my family, my health and my pocketbook.  Lately, though, I feel like maybe I'm conforming.  I'm not a conformist, I have pretty much always been 'duifferent' even if it was only slightly.  I'm turning 30 this year.  I have a grown-up, middle management job.  I have a husband, a kid and a couple dogs.  All of this is way to adult for me.  I'd rather be living in a yurt in the middle of a vineyard living off the grid, but I'm in rural America living the American Dream.  Because of all this, I'm a little bit stuck in a very important decision:  Should I let my hair go gray naturally or should I continue to dye it because I don't want to be that grown up?

I want to be natural, right?  So if my natural hair color is fading to gray, shouldn't I let it go?  On the other hand, there are hair dyes out there that claim to be more 'natural'.  I don't believe most of these products are actually natural.  I realize it's a marketing scheme to make us think we are doing something better for ourselves and for the environment.  I have been using baking soda and vinegar to cleanse my hair on and off for a couple years.  The times that I stop using them and start using some kind of shampoo and conditioner again is when I'm coloring my hair.  Baking soda will wash everything, including the color from my hair.  Vinegar is used to set colors when you dye things like clothes, it will do the same for hair color, but the baking soda counters it and the result is a waste of money on hair dye.

All of this is vanity, of course.  A lame attempt to stop the process of growing up.  I'd like to know what I know now and go back in time and do things again.  Not so I can do things differently, the decisions I've made make me who I am today, but so I can enjoy things I took for granted over time.  God is giving me this gray hair, maybe I should just accept it as a gift and be thankful I have the hair I have.  Besides, if I truly want to be more natural, using the baking soda and vinegar are better for my body and for the environment, but that conformist part of me kicks in when I look in the mirror and see a fresh gray root on my head.  I have threatened to just put silver highlights in my hair so that I can go gray on my own terms.  My mother and I have a trip to the beauty supply store planned for tomorrow, I haven't made any decision yet.  I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens...

How are you coping with getting older and the physical things that come along with it?