Who are the writers on this show? How do they know how to pull on my heartstrings in such a hit-home kind of way???
The bad week extended to this weeks episode and it didn’t get any easier. There was loss and grief, memories – both painful and happy, and the threat of a marriage break up.
At the end of it all, the siblings turned to each other. When times were hard, coping was hard, and the future looked scary, the first call they made was to each other.
There have been many times in our home where we had to pull together. We leaned on each other and shared our pain and our grief. When money vanished and the future looked bleak, we hugged, we cried, we talked, and we moved forward……united and together.
My daughter once posted something that epitomized the way we feel. It went something like:
“”I’ve faced challenges that were too big for me – but no problem has ever been bigger than my family”
This picture was taken at our daughter Katie’s wedding and it was the first time we were all together in one place after five, long, challenging years. Yet, in reality, we never were really apart. Forgiveness, compassion, loyalty, and much laughter carried us through, and does, still to this day.
Our troubles aren’t over. We have no way of knowing what lays ahead and we have no idea what other challenges we will face. But, whatever may come, we will face bravely……together.
To dispel any illusions, we are not perfect. We have fought and said and done things that we all regret, no one more than me.
Sometimes when you really love someone, you say the hard things. You challenge each other to dig deeper and you call out the bull$@it.
‘Perfect’ families, perfect marriages,, they do not exist.
I have tried journalling numerous times……too many to count, to be honest! So when my daughter introduced me to Bullet Journalling, it addressed many of the obstacles I had failed to overcome.
Even in this digital age, I still like to take pen, or pencil, in hand and jot down thoughts. But I don’t need more failures in my life, and the traditional journalling methods always ended up in failure.
I needed something that did not require daily entries, long-windedness (shocker, I know…) or obvious neglect evidenced by the distance between entry dates.
The beauty of Bullet Journalling is that it can be as simple or complicated as you like. It can contain anything you want from simply jotted points or elaborate doodles, etchings, or decorating of various sorts.
Anyone else intimidated by a blank page? Note the dotted lines.
Your journal should start with an index. You add to the index as you add to your journal. Let’s say today you want to enter a recipe to remember, then tomorrow you want to list birthdays in the family or ideas for gifts or a planner for meals, appointments, tasks to be completed for the week, you simply go to the next blank page and make your entry and then record it in your index indicating the page it can be found. The journals that I use have numbered pages, so it makes the location easy to find. When you need that information again, it is easy to find, and there are no more wasted pages trying to allow room for entries you think you may want to include later on.
You can add colour and design however it suits your fancy. As a perfectionist in recovery, I still mainly use pencil so I can erase anything that doesn’t go how I want, but if you want to be more adventurous, there are myriads of examples of how others embellish their journals beautifully. Just do a search (Pinterest is a wealth of ideas and examples) and then be as creative as you dare! As you become more confident and comfortable, you can let your ingenuous juices flow!
Some ideas for Bullet Journal entries are:
1. Daily tasks page
2. Bullet journal key
3. Books to read or movies to watch
4. Favorite quotes
5. Weekly meal planner
6. Savings tracker
7. Spending tracker
8. Workout log
9. Weight loss chart
10. Habit tracker
11. Travel Planner
12. Trip highlights and memories
13. A vision board
14. Favourite recipes, or ones you want to try
15. Meal prep and planning ideas
16. A gratitude log
Really, the possibilities are endless. Make this entirely your own and express yourself in whatever way is meaningful to you!!!
Click here to find the journal I use. They are available in a variety of different colours, with 249 numbered and dotted pages, titled index pages, an elastic closure, and two ribbon page markers.
A day ‘off’ and it’s time for family dinner and meal prep.
Both of my Instant Pot were put into use. I made a meatloaf for dinner in one pot, mashed potatoes in the other, and when dinner was done, I cooked four chicken breasts for my salads to take on my work lunches.
Combine ground meat, egg, seasonings (feel free to experiment with favourites), crushed crackers and parmesan cheese. Mix well but don't overmix.
Form into loaf and place in cake pan, or any other pot suitable for Instant Pot.
Place lid on pot, being sure to to turn pressure valve to locked positiion. Press manual setting and set timer for 25 minutes.
Prepare the glaze by combining ketchup, brown sugar, and dry mustard.
When cook time is complete, allow 10 minutes before unlocking the pressure valve.
Remove loaf for pan and place on cookie sheet or pizza pan.
Cover with the glaze and broil for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for approximately 10 minutes.
Slice and serve.
NOTE: Many recipes mention that you can make a tin foil sling to place under loaf in pot. I did and it does help to remove the cooked loaf from the pan. Fold a 12" length of foil until it's approximately 3" wide. Place across the center of pan and up the sides before adding the loaf.
I admit, I’m a bit of an appliance collector!!! I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and LOVE to cook, but I’m no martyr and if I can find something that makes the job easier and faster, I’m all over it!!
When you’re trying to eat healthy, and meal prep is paramount, this wonderful invention is the answer!!!
Some of the things I use it for regularly:
Hard boiled eggs….14 at a time! They cook to perfection and peel like a dream!
Spaghetti squash, used often in place of typical pastas.
Bone broth…..one of my favourite ways to consume turmeric and collagen.
Quick and delicious pasta casseroles for the rest of the family.
Steel cut oats….made in quantity and reheated for quick breakfasts.
Quinoa, fluffy and flavourful.
Chicken breasts for my salads.
They aren’t cheap but they are wonderful, and certainly not wasted.
I just finished watching the latest episode of “This is Us.” This is fast becoming one of my favourite shows……….and the real reason behind the rise in Kleenex stock prices!
In this episode, Randall has had a really rough week. Health issues with his mom, challenges in his job, rescuing a woman from an attacker, and an intruder in his home…..all in one week! Granted, this is TV so not necessarily an accurate depiction of what your week might have held, or mine. However, though circumstances may vary, the overwhelming feels are all too familiar some days.
Randall also battles, and has since childhood, what many face all too often, attacks of anxiety and panic. Sudden, uncontrollable, unwelcome, and to the onlooker, seemingly unreasonable reactions to circumstances that are upsetting, terrifying, and usually beyond our control.
Randall tries to cope. He keeps putting one foot in front of the other, assuring everyone he is okay. Then, during a positive interaction with staff, where he is being hailed as a hero, he walks away, locks himself in his bathroom, and falls apart. He calls his brother and admits, “I lied, I am not okay….”
I am only aware of two such attacks in my life. But I have experienced deep, debilitating depression a few times, maybe the flip side of the same anxiety coin.
I spent a year and a half where I rarely got out of bed. I felt utterly defeated in life. I felt like a failure…..a failure as a mom, a failure as a christian, a failure as a wife, and I was so exhausted, emotionally and spiritually, that on the rare times I did get up and get dressed, the kids thought I had to be going somewhere. For the first time ever, I experienced suicidal thoughts.
Fast forward a few years…. We, as a family, made a move back to the area I had grown up in, and had been away from for over 20 years, back to my dearly loved family and friends. We were enjoying a rare time of financial prosperity and the endless possibilities this afforded us, a new church where I formed new and amazing relationships, and I was happier than I had been in a very long time, maybe ever. I felt like I had come full circle and was poised for an adventure that seemed to be the culmination and reward of weathering all the tough years of struggle and disappointment.
Then came the diagnosis.
Glenn was diagnosed with a chondrosarcoma…..a cartilage tumour just under his voice box. At the very same time, the company he was working for failed and he sunk into his own year and a half depression. Our income went from six figures to zero…….overnight. We still had nine children living at home, and our future seemed desperately bleak.
I was not fine.
I kept things running at home with as much normalcy as possible. I leaned on my friends…..a lot. We had to go to the food bank for food. We resorted to social assistance, in various forms. And once again, just getting out of bed and getting dressed each day, became a monumental hurdle to clear.
I would wake up in the morning, completely overwhelmed.
Add to ALL this, the day I opened my door to find SWAT in my front yard, or the children who, trying to find their own way to cope with their worlds being rocked, were making disastrous life choices, the five+ years of prison visits, taking courses because I had to find a decent job (after being a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years), a new career, losing my beloved church experience, and the day-to-day rigours of just trying to survive… I was no where near “okay”!!!
Yet I was…
Because deeper than all the disappointment, pain, confusion, and fear…….were the underlying truths that I clung to. They brought HOPE.
Hope that there was a power greater than mine, working in and through the circumstances I faced. Hope that no matter how bleak things may have appeared, a new day would dawn and I would be equipped with the exact amount of strength I needed to not only face, but overcome, whatever may lay in wait.
Often, the hope – and help – came through the amazing friends and relationships that had been formed, both near and far, those that never judged but came alongside and supported us, respected us, prayed for us, or just sat with us in our grief and agony.. Sometimes it even came from complete strangers, with a kind word, a helping hand, or free homeopathic health care when we refused the conventional medical solutions proposed.
I don’t know what you’re facing, have faced, or will face. What I DO know, is that even if you do all the right things, follow all the formulas for success, and feel like you have it all wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow…….life happens. People will disappoint or hurt you, expectations will be unmet, and your whole world can be turned upside down…….overnight.
I also know that you can be a hot mess, and still be okay.
You need to care of you… I am no expert, but I do have some advice.
Eat healthy! Exercise if you have to!!! Your body is an intricate system that has requirements and it needs nutritious fuel to run on in order to have the resources to draw from, physically and emotionally.
Be kind to yourself, you are human and you are allowed to make mistakes as you find your way through the darkness. Yes, you may even FAIL….but don’t quit.
Get help! Tell someone you’re struggling. Find a group, a therapist, a trusted friend and be as honest as you possibly can. They may not have answers to your problems, but compassion and understanding, a safe place to pour it all out, and the room to be transparent, can go a very long way in helping you to heal and move forward.
Find a strength greater than your own to live out of. I know what that has been for me, and I would be happy to share it with you, but just know that YOU are not expected, nor were you intended, to live this life on your own.
Beware of the temporary fixes this life has to offer.
Like I said, I am no expert. But I can be a listening ear.
Some wisdom gained through life’s hard knocks.
Just so you know…
Glenn is still here……12 1/2 years after that devastating diagnosis.
My kids are great!! Lessons were learned and challenges overcome. They still experience typical life challenges, but they are strong, resilient, and each other’s best friends.
My church experience has not yet resolved, and may never look like it once did, but God and I are tight! His love, His goodness and faithfulness, and His grace continue to empower and compel me.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit…”
I am not one to waste if it can be helped. We work too hard to earn the money it takes to buy things….and the fact that so many others go without, makes me cringe any time we throw out food.
One of my recent posts shared a recipe for low-carb bread; one using psyllium husk, coconut flour etc., and though the flavour was good, I’m sure I messed something up because the texture was very dense and crumbly. I did eat some of it, and would not have wasted it, but a perfect solution presented itself while I was using up another leftover item in my fridge.
We had salmon a few nights ago, and while I love it fresh-cooked, I normally only like it cold afterward. However, there was only one piece left and I needed something quick for dinner, so time to raid the fridge.
I pulled out the leftover piece of salmon and flaked it in a bowl, deciding to make a salmon patty. Most recipes call for bread crumbs, which I really did not want to use.
What to do?
Light bulb moment!!!
The bread I wasn’t thrilled about would make great bread crumbs…..and would use up the leftover loaf beautifully!!!!
It certainly wasn’t hard to crumble!!!! After breaking it up finer, I toasted it with some sesame seeds until dried and light brown.
I found the dried dill weed I harvested this summer and tossed some in to the flaked salmon with an egg, lemon juice, seasonings, and the nicely dried breadcrumb mixture. (See recipe below.)
As I sat praying and pondering recently, I became aware that a deep discouragement has crept into my heart over the past few years……..subtly, butvery steadily.
Unmet expectations, my own personal failures, the day in and day out drudgery of life and making ends meet…..(or not), it can really wear on you after a while. Then, if you’re a parent, you carry all the concerns and worries you have over the happiness and well-being of your children, even if they’re grown; maybe even especially if they are grown!!
Truly though, even if everything is relatively fine and no major crises have arisen, just drifting through life, letting it happen with no real thought or purpose, causes a deadness to your soul. If I just go with all the thoughts and feelings that occur naturally, I slowly sink into dullness and despair.
It’s so easy to get into a rut. It’s easy to have no real vision beyond what you have to do just to get through a day, to just exist instead of really living. To dream, to believe, to hope……it takes energy that I don’t always feel like I have!
So I have decided that if I have any hope of not living in this state of discouragement and disappointment, I have to take time each day to be quiet, to listen, to reflect, to pause…..
I examine the thoughts that I have running through my mind. (Have you ever really listened to yourself think? You might be surprised at the diatribe rolling like a stock market ticker tape…) I need to take these thoughts captive instead of letting them run the show.
I remind myself of truths. The ONE resolution I made this year was to read my Jesus Calling devotional each day. The sentiments and bible verses included in these short devotionals, renew my focus and perspective and remind me of the truths that I can stand on, replacing the subtle lies and fears that I have unconsciously embraced.
I think about, and picture, the things I want to see happen in the lives of those I love, as well as in my own. I remind myself of the higher callings on myself and my family, beyond just surviving and getting by.
I start to imagine the endless possibilities to pursue interests and income opportunities for myself and my family.
I pray. I bring all of this before Father, knowing that He loves me and wants what is best for me, and for those I love. I (attempt) to leave it all in His hands.
So, before you form a picture in your mind of me just contentedly sitting quiet and spending an hour or more caught up in rapture and bliss…….let me remind you, I am NOT a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t get up any earlier than I have to, and I do NOTHING before coffee!!!
All those things I mentioned above, they may start with a minute or two of sitting quiet, maybe get my daily reading in, and then the rest often transpires throughout the day as I go about my tasks, my job…..just my real, everyday life. So though I don’t get up an hour earlier etc., just that few short minutes before I am thrown into my day, sets the tone for the rest of the day, mentally.
It doesn’t magically make everything go great that day
It doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and impatient
It doesn’t mean I don’t think, or say, something I shouldn’t
It just means that when I screw up or something goes wrong, I have a mental/spiritual anchor point that I can go back to and launch again from there.
These other things, they don’t define me, and I refuse to let them derail me any longer.
I refuse to let the circumstances of life lie to me anymore about who I am, or about who God is.
I am going to release the things that are not mine to carry, and focus on living, really living…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Meal prep is an absolute necessity for me………and breakfast is no exception!
When I work day shifts, my first meal of the day is at morning break. It has to be quick, taste good, and be nutritious. I don’t like a big breakfast though, so it can’t be crazy heavy.
Eggs are my frequent go to. I love eggs in just about any form I can get them.
I already use my Instant Pot for large quantity (14) hard-boiled eggs. They cook perfectly and peel like a dream! But I thought I’d try something different this time…
Sous Vide Egg Bites are apparently a thing! And, judging by the recipes I’ve found, it seems that Starbucks must have been the ones to start the trend. I don’t frequent Starbucks, so not sure what they charge for them, but I’ve seen the Tim Horton’s similarity, and yeah…..I’m not paying that.
So, here is my version and they turned out pretty good! As stated in the instructions, be sure to spray the silicone mold or apply a little oil in some form.
Combine egg whites, eggs, cottage cheese and seasonings in blender and blend for 15-20 seconds.
Divide mixture between the seven compartments in silicone mold.
Sprinkle vegetables and cheese evenly on top of each bite.
Cover with lid or aluminum foil.
Add 1 cup of water to Instant Pot.
Remove trivet from pot and set silicone mold on top. Gently lower into Instant Pot. Cover with lid. Be sure pressure nozzle is set to lock.
Use Steam setting, set for 13 minutes.
Let pressure naturally release for ten minutes after timer sounds.
Loosen each bite with knife and allow to cool a few minutes before removing.
I spray my silicone mold with non-stick spray. I tried it without spraying and some of the egg remained in the compartments. These are SO versatile!!! You could add mushrooms (I would sauté first), spinach, arugula, really any vegetable that you would like.You can also add bits of meat like cooked bacon, sausage, pepperoni or ham.Have fun!! Experiment and enjoy!!
No, that’s not a typo…..but it might be a slight exaggeration; they aren’t r-e-a-l-l-y my pets, at least not yet, but they are definitely WORMS!!
I had no idea that there was such a thing as a worm ‘farm’ (it’s actually a Rubbermaid bin 🙂 ) until our daughter, Stephanie, told me she wanted to start one. Not gonna lie, I thought she was joking UNTIL she started talking and sharing the wealth of information that she had been researching.
Around the same time, I had been listening to podcasts discussing microbiome importance, healthy gut and the role bacteria play, and I also was listening to the book by Dr. Josh Axe, Eat Dirt.
I’ve long felt that we have gone way overboard in our quest to eliminate germs. We have antibacterial laundry soap, hand wash, dish soap, cleaning liquids, hand sanitizer…..you can barely buy anything that doesn’t claim to have some protection against germs!!
But I began to wonder:
“What if we put as much effort into strengthening our immune system as we do trying to avoid germs?”
What affect does all this antibacterial stuff have on our systems?
Are we now becoming more susceptible to the very things we are trying to avoid?
Are we destroying the natural protection and immunity we were designed with by ingesting and absorbing all these antibacterial products?
I also want to increase the amount of food we produce ourselves. I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the modern food industry, but now I’m just plain paranoid!!! It used to be you m-a-y need to be concerned about meat and how it was handled or the animal having a disease, but now I’m afraid to even eat a salad!!!!!
So I bought worms!!!
I had NO clue what I was doing and relied heavily on Stephanie’s knowledge and assistance. Every time she visits, she teaches me something new about how to take care of them properly, and thanks to her, they are really starting to thrive!!! In fact, when she was here over the holidays, she sifted through my bin and I now have my first container of worm castings!!! In the world of gardening and growing, this is like powdered gold, nutrient-wise!!!
It doesn’t cost me anything to feed them, they simply consume much of the organic waste from my kitchen. They love fruit, with the exception of citrus like lemon, limes, oranges, grapefruit etc. The other exceptions from the scrap bucket are: potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. They love coffee grounds (we have lots of those!!), tea leaves, and crushed up eggshells that have been boiled or cooked. Since I make over a dozen hard-boiled eggs at a time in my Instant Pot, it’s a win-win for us both!!!
The only other thing I add is bedding. I shred junk mail in the paper shredder, tear up newspaper, old egg cartons, and paper bags, and in it goes to my bin!!! Again, more waste that would have just been disposed of.
Gut health and………………..worms?????
So what do worms have to do with gut health and microbiome? Well, an important component to gut health is probiotics. When we talk about probiotics, there are numerous and varied sources from which they are derived. One that we haven’t heard much about, until recently, are SBO’s – soil-based organisms.
Dr. Axe states….
Soil‐based organisms (SBOs) support gut health and immune response. Why, exactly? In the plant world, SBOs help plants grow. Without their protection, otherwise healthy plants become malnourished and are susceptible to disease or contamination by fungi, yeasts, molds and candida. Just as plants grow best in healthy soil teeming with highly active microorganisms, you, too, need these organisms to live a long, healthy life.
We now know that SBOs nourish cells in the colon and liver and actually create new compounds, such as B vitamins, vitamin K2, antioxidants and enzymes. SBOs can destroy or crowd out harmful pathogens, such as candida, fungi and parasites. They also kill off bad bacteria that can bind to or puncture the gut wall. They’ve been shown to bind to toxins and extract them from the body.
SBOs also help regulate the immune system and naturally reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the entire body.
In generations past, you would not have had to put any intentional effort into ‘eating dirt’. Most families lived on a farm, or at least grew a garden. The gardens and farmland were fertilized organically using animal waste and composted kitchen scraps vs chemical fertilizers and pesticides that would destroy the naturally occurring microbes in the soil. Once harvested, vegetables were stored in earth cellars and only water rinsed before consumption…..not with all the chemical-based, germ-killing vegetable washes we use now.
Kids played outside from dawn til dark running through forests, rolling down hills, digging in the sandbox. We were barefoot more often than not!! Summer days were spent on beaches playing in the sand and swimming in the river!!! There was no chlorinated pool!!
Dirt was a natural part of every day life, in some form or another……and no one was horrified by it!!! Now we have sanitized everything to death!
Digging in the worm bin, using the castings in my garden, eating food I’ve grown myself (not nearly to the scale I want……..yet), these are all part of my quest to live and eat more whole and chemical free.
It’s not easy! You don’t realize how many foods, cleaners, ‘health’ care and beauty products contain ingredients I now want to avoid. You have to work HARD to replace these products that have become entrenched in our homes and our daily lives!!!
Meal prep isn’t just a hobby or a pastime, it is CRUCIAL in my quest to eat healthy!!! Schedules, demands, unexpected events etc…..or even just plain being tired, are all a recipe for nutrition disaster unless I have foods ready that don’t sabotage my success.
It used to be sandwiches, or toast that I grabbed quick. The other culprit was leftover pasta or rice casseroles. If I could just have a reasonable sized serving, it would have been one thing, but no… I mean seriously, who eats a cup of spaghetti???????
I don’t eat nearly as much bread, and when I do it is usually one slice of a sprouted grain bread or a low-carb pita or lavash. However, today I tried two new recipes; one for a psyllium husk bread and the other a low-carb sandwich bun.
I can’t give the recipe for the buns because it would be a violation of the membership……but the bread recipe I found while reading an article on psyllium husk on the public blog.
I am learning that low carb breads usually contain some, even a lot, of eggs. Neither of these recipes had eggs, which is why I wanted to try them.
Some of the other ingredients often found in keto bread and buns are:
apple cider vinegar and baking powder for leavening
For a really good article on the benefit and uses for psyllium husk, click here.
So I haven’t tasted the buns yet, I will probably bring one tomorrow to work. The bread flavour is really good, but I think I squished it too much when I was kneading. It tastes great but slices are small and a little crumbly.
Trial and error….but it will still eat!!!
Enjoy!!!! Comment below if you try this or have other favourites!!! Always looking for new recipes!!!