Two years looked so far away……..

I won’t deny that some days feel like the picture above……especially when you feel like you only have time for fast food!

Needless to say, I don’t eat much fast food.

It is two years ago today, since I began this quest to implement healthier eating habits.

Actually, I always thought I was pretty smart about how and what to eat…..but I’ve learned quite a bit in the past couple of years and, though weight loss was the initial motivation, my primary focus has leaned more toward improving the quality of the foods we eat, and including some important foods consistently to my nutrition.

I had several goals to keep in mind when planning and preparing meals, or making food choices of any kind. These principles evolved a few times as I gleaned information, scouring podcasts, listening to audio books, and of course……reading Facebook!! Actually, I am just kidding about Facebook, like seriously kidding…… However, Pinterest was quite valuable, and sure helped with recipes that incorporated some of the principles that became important to me.

The primary guiding factors were:

  • reducing carbs, especially highly processed ones
  • knowing how different foods fare on the inflammation spectrum
  • increasing vegetable intake. especially leafy greens and other alkalizing ingredients
  • limiting evening snacks to only occasionally, and very rarely.
  • including all food groups, as I believe that each one has a contribution to make. So though some were more limited than others, none were eliminated, but rather planned into the meals in the quantities that seem to work well for MY metabolism.
  • creating nutrition habits that would become maintainable, and consequently, firmly established as a permanent, nutrition-management system, not a short-term diet.

Some of the ingredients that begin to show up more prominently and routinely:

  • chia seeds
  • quinoa
  • kale, baby spinach, arugula, and various mixed greens
  • homemade bone broths
  • cauliflower, turnip, and zucchini/squashes – all very good subs for high-carb mashed potatoes, pizza crusts, rice, French fries, and pastas.
  • MCT oil
  • lemons
  • avocados and avocado oil
  • plain greek yogurt (dairy is something I, personally, need to limit.)
  • nuts and seeds, often replacing higher-carb, over-processed grain products such as flours. I really want to make a nut and seed granola to use on top of fruit and yogurt or as a healthy snack
  • turmeric
  • fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir made from goat’s milk

Some of the tools that are key for me:

  • the Instant Pot – I’m pretty sure mine is almost worn out!!!! It can’t die now, I just ordered the new air-fryer lid for it!!!!
  • a food processor – mine just died!!!!! :'(. HIGH on the replacement list, I just have to find one I like! I need a work-horse of a machine!
  • a food dehydrator – I use the Excaliber 9-tray model. We’ve had it for almost 13 years and it has been used more this year, than most others combined.
  • a vegetable spiralizer
  • good sharp knives!!!!

Full disclosure:

  • I still eat pizza……like REAL pizza!!
  • I still drink wine
  • Hummus is going to kill me!!! Not that it isn’t a good option sometimes, but it is one of the foods I find challenging to moderate. I could eat the whole container, and there are so many different flavours!
  • I’d like to say I ate celery sticks with the hummus, but no, there were often Tostitos involved!
  • Thanksgiving weekend, I enjoyed everything we had available, including delicious desserts and yummy baked goods provided by local foodie, Laurie Anne Brennan of https://www.facebook.com/shortcrustfoodcompany. I’ve had the delight of enjoying her whole-food, made-from-scratch creations, including some of the most flavourful dishes I’ve ever eaten. The main ingredients in her dishes are sourced locally, as possible. Unfortunately, it never even occurred to me to ask for lower-carb, minimal sugar products, but when I was bemoaning what these treasures were going to do to my “diet”, she enlightened me that these options are all available.
  • All of these confessions include the caveat that they are consumed only occasionally, and almost always in moderation. 🙂

Some of the successes achieved so far:

  • 2-3 clothing sizes smaller
  • A 65-70lb (depending on the day) weight loss.
  • Elimination of pain – especially in my knees.
  • Increased mobility. We have stairs outside the emergency entrance at work. These steps are quite deep and I used to have to step up one step at a time, lifting one foot up to the other, with knees throbbing, onto the same step with the previous foot, before repeating this process on the next step. Now I ‘sprint’ up.
  • I actually enjoy shopping for clothes…..maybe even a bit too much!!!
  • A significant number of inches lost overall….just not sure how many and don’t feel like hunting for the measuring tape right now!

Some days have been hard. Some days I’ve come close to just forgetting the whole endeavour!!!!

I’ve had to address some entrenched mindsets and defaults – such as when I have a bad day. If my choices haven’t been stellar, I don’t let it derail me and send me into a downward spiral, sabotaging all the progress made so far. I pick up and move on, looking long-term and gauging over-all progress and goals versus wallowing in one bad day.

Every day I’m at work, I see the cost of not taking our health and nutrition seriously. Sometimes it becomes too late, irreversible, and there is no turning back; but even then, it’s not too late to start making choices that can improve our quality of life.

I’ll never see the body I once had or the weight I once was. But I CAN prolong mobility, aid my body to find disease naturally, increase immunity, decrease inflammation, and achieve greater gut-health. I can work with MY body providing the nutrients it needs, to do the job it was created to do.

So can you…… Believe me, my prospects were not good!!! Years and years of gaining-losing-gaining, menopause, a strong distaste for exercise, a love of all things bread and wine, but even more – years of living in shame and defeat – all worked against me.

Some meals, I lose the battle…….but I WILL win the war!!!!

It begins…..

Harvest is starting to occur…. Fresh kale, Thai chilies and one habanero, oregano, and rosemary.

We want to get a smoker to do the peppers, but in the meantime we will go ahead and dehydrate the ones that are starting to ripen. We are going to have TONS!!! Still have jalapeños that are starting to really produce!!! Something ate most of the dill (Grrrr….) and we still have thyme, cilantro, and chives coming as well. I should/could have taken some of them off too, but it started to rain.

The tomatoes are ripening like crazy and have produced abundantly!!! The only plants I really struggle with are my lettuces and basil. I’m thinking they might not like full sun. My basil was doing so well too, and then pretty much overnight they looked terrible and haven’t really come back since!!! I’ve pruned, made sure they don’t dry out…. I’ve never had a lot of luck, especially with basil!! :(. Any tips would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

One of my favourite new-to-me finds is cress. So peppery and flavourful!!! Grows really well too, and I am sure it will be one of the ones I will grow inside over the winter.

Lunch today: chicken salad on kale leaves, it’s a ‘wrap’ folks… :).

Ready for first dehydration from our garden…. Kale chips will be tried next!

Summer is finally here!!!!!

Anyone else find this winter seemed like it would NEVER end???????

Maybe the whole Covid19 thing made it seem even longer. Life definitely took an unexpected turn and thrust us all into something we didn’t understand, or want – on many levels and for many reasons.

Certainly, having to work in healthcare throughout this crisis has taken a toll, on every one of us. I was so thankful to still have a job, yet it was the last place I wanted to be. There were many fearful, tearful moments and the pressure, risk, demands of the job, absolutely drained me…..and I’m not even a nurse! I can’t imagine doing what they do any day, let alone under these incredibly difficult and emotional circumstances. Nevertheless, it still left me numb and what feelings I did have, I still have been unable to define.

So these hot, sunny, longer days, have been just what the doctor should have ordered……about 3 months earlier!

You’ll notice I didn’t blog much…..in fact, hardly at all. What do you say? It’s hard to write about something you still haven’t truly processed…….especially because it’s not over. So many conflicting feelings, mixed emotions, and no time, or real knowledge, on how to even begin to unpack it all. It’s messed.

But if it’s taught me anything, it’s taught me to LIVE, and to value and invest in the things and people that make my life rich.

The circle is small……but that’s okay, it’s a great circle. It’s shown who is in my life and my acquaintance circle who can respect opposing opinions and gave me the opportunity to practice respect for the concerns of others, even if I don’t share them. Not gonna lie, my circle may have shrunk. And also not gonna lie, it’s frigging hard to be at opposite poles on issues when it’s someone you truly love and care about.

That may have been the hardest thing of all.

Politics, this virus and the measures implemented, BLM and riots in the streets, issues of faith and how they apply….

Even lifelong friendships have been challenged and tested. But they remain intact because we CHOSE to listen, to respect the fact that we are not the same and we see things differently, and while not ignoring those differences, we CHOSE to focus on the things we have in common, the values we share, and the love that runs deep.

At our staff meeting yesterday, you could see that people are running on empty. There are no reserves right now and my heart goes out to the amazing nurses that serve from depleted emotional and physical resources to keep everything as safe and ‘normal’ as possible for those they care for.

During the staff meeting yesterday, our manager told us that we have all suffered trauma and that it is real. I am so thankful for a manager that actually cares and truly ‘gets it’!!! It is amazing how uplifting it is, and how much renewed “give a *(#%” you feel when you know someone has your back and truly supports and cares about you.

Anyway, back to summer….

Pelican made a few bucks off me this summer. I bought a kayak for my husband and my granddaughter. We got the “sit on” kind…partly because I am terrified of getting in and out of a real one, or getting stuck in it. But most of all, for the stability. My balance sucks because of weakness in my core and my ongoing battle with vertigo. And, as most of you know, Glenn has a trach, so it would be disastrous for him to end up in the water. We wear life jackets…..every single time, but still, the extra stability is a comfort and safety measure.

Anyway, may we all find healing and renewed hope in the sunny days ahead. Just sitting out on the deck is renewing for me, but I plan on spending many hours paddling through the waters, by myself and with others.

Stay well friends….and I don’t just mean Covid. In many ways, the virus itself, was not my biggest threat. Depression, withdrawal, despair, hopelessness, fatigue (both physical and emotional…..mostly emotional), threatened my well-being more than the dreaded virus ever could.

Drink deep from all this season has to offer.

Garden is in and doing well….

Let the paddling begin….

Just hanging out at home…with the people I love!! <3

Pizza With Coconut Flour Crust

I can’t claim to be doing Keto, but I do try to limit my carbs. I try to save carb counts for the things I enjoy most like the odd slice of sprouted grain bread, the occasional treat like Josiah’s amazing banana cake, fresh fruit, and wine!!

Some of the things I really love are quite high in useless carbs and one of those things is pizza!!! I still want pizza and I have tried numerous lower-carb versions of crust, but so far, this has been my absolute favourite.

I found the recipe, where else, but on Pinterest. Who ever invented Pinterest will forever have my eternal gratitude and respect. Nothing short of brilliant!!! Gone are the days when I had to have passwords and accounts on numerous recipe sites, and trying to remember which site the recipe I was wanting to make, had been found on.

Coconut flour is quickly becoming a favourite as well. While almond flour is frequently used for lower carb recipes, I find coconut flour to be much more economical, easier to digest, nutritious, and I love the flavour.

“Coconut flour is a gluten-free flour made solely from coconuts. Rich in fiber and MCTs, it may promote stable blood sugar, good digestion, and heart health. It may also boost weight loss and fight some infections. Plus, it’s delicious and versatile, making it a smart choice when choosing flour alternatives.”

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-flour#what-it-is


So, without further adieu, here is the recipe I used. I also added some dried basil to the crust.

Coconut Flour Pizza Crust

Delicious, pliable, low-carb count pizza crust
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 86 kcal

Equipment

  • Bowl, pizza stone

Ingredients
  

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese shredded

Instructions
 

  • Beat eggs together in a bowl
  • Add water
  • In separate bowl combine remaining ingredients
  • Add dry ingredients to egg and water mixture
  • Whisk together until well combined
  • Spread batter on 12" pizza stone/pan or in 9"x13" pan
  • Bake crust for ten minutes @ 400 degrees F
  • Remove from oven and add desired toppings.
  • Return to 400 degree F oven for until well browned
  • ENJOY!!!

Notes

I topped my pizza fairly heavily with Alfredo sauce, chopped peppers, bacon, sliced mushrooms that I had lightly sautéed to sweat out extra moisture, arugula, and shredded mozzarella.  I would have added sliced green olives as well, but my husband forgot to pick them up at the grocery store!!! 
Original recipe post found here

I am not okay – but I will be.

A few weeks ago, I posted about Randall in This is Us and his emotional collapse as life began to pile up on him. It was, in fact, exactly one month ago today – February 24, 2020. Randall was not okay. You can read my other post here.

Today, I have realized, that I am not okay either.

This was the picture I used for the former post …. today it is picture at the top of this post.


That little kitten who saw himself as a warrior tiger; big, brave, and strong……..yeah, that’s not me. I’m the hot mess,

I rarely sleep past 4 a.m. these days, regardless of what time I go to bed. This morning it was 3 a.m. when I awoke and after 15 or 20 minutes just got up so I wouldn’t disturb Glenn.

Yesterday, my one day off after working the weekend, I did nothing. Well, not exactly true, I played Nintendo Switch most of the day with my children and my granddaughter. Outwardly, I am sure nothing seemed wrong, but inwardly I was crumbling.

My husband prepared veggies etc., before he left to go to work. Me, I forgot to put the roast in the oven. So we ate frozen pizza.

Today I tried to remember the name of the ministry that I donate to every month to support someone out there on the streets working with the homeless and downtrodden, and I couldn’t remember the name of the ministry. I’ve been giving to them for a few years.

I cry at the drop of a hat, with no warning and no apparent trigger. I feel so helpless.

These are scary days.

There is much unknown. Many possibilities and no real guarantees.

The biggest heartache for me right now is that I can’t be with all my kids. It’s been nothing short of agonizing. They are in their homes, some with their own little ones, and we can’t be together. In times like this, I just want us all to be together. I feel like everything would be okay if we could just be together. Under one roof. In one place. Together.

I can’t see my parents. My mom is 93 and my dad is only home a. week or two from a 3-4 week hospital stay where he suffered a heart attack, a septic knee, a bowel blockage, kidney stones, and received stents in his heart. Thank God he made it home before this madness hit.

Yesterday I fired their housekeeper…………over the phone.

My concern for their well-being can not be understated, or overestimated.. I was angry. Angry at her for being there when we are ALL being told to stay home. Angry at the situation and worried because I know they don’t grasp how serious this is. And angry because I haven’t seen them in almost two weeks because I won’t put them at risk, yet there she was. And when they all started arguing with me that everything would be fine and it wasn’t a problem, I told them clearlyl that this was neither a debate, nor was it at all negotiable and if she showed up there again, I would be waiting at the door and/or would send the police!

I was crying and I was shaking, but I wasn’t begging or pleading, I was angry, or maybe it was just feeling desperate.

Or maybe I was just scared.

Needless to say, either way, the housekeeper is history.

I don’t know what to do. I can’t fix this, I can’t stop this, and I have no idea how we will all ultimately be affected by this. Already, I can’t sleep, I don’t care if I eat, I can’t think, and all I really want to do is to get the hell out of Dodge…….but I have nowhere to go.

I am thankful for my job, but it’s the last place I want to be.

My husband works at Walmart. There are a lot of people at Walmart, people who, as has been reported, have travelled outside of Canada, and returned to work or shop at the store. My husband has a trach, a direct opening to his airway, and is 68 years old. We desperately need the money, but at what cost? I don’t know….. It worries me……greatly.

Honestly, I’m not worried about getting the virus as much as I am about the society we live in if things turn really bad. It’s already nuts in many ways. The panic, the hoarding, the desperation….those that worry about their survival only. Shortages, closing, economic disaster…..there is a lot to be concerned about.

I want to be……………..together. With my family. With my kids. I just want us all to all be together.

And I can’t.

The turmoil is great, the anxiety is escalating, the “what-if’s” overwhelm me, and the solutions elude me.

I just wish we were together.

I have realized, I am not okay.

Today I woke up feeling overwhelmed. I haven’t felt that for a v-e-r-y long time.

And then I read this…

I actually closed the book and opened it again to make sure that the words I was seeing were the actual words on the page………it addressed all that had me tied up in knots and I knew this was exactly what I needed to hear.

Glenn, my kids, my parents…..I was carrying the weight of their wellbeing on my shoulders…….well, at least in my mind, and heavy in my heart. But I am limited, I have no control over what is taking place.

So I have to release them all to the only One who loves them as much as I do. I know, in reality, He loves them even more…..but, to be honest, I can’t even fathom that. Some things cannot be understood, they have to be revealed.

This too is not something I can make happen, nor am I expected to. Instead, the answer lies not in striving and struggling, but in rest. That place of rest, where the storm can rage all around me, but I am at peace.

Peace that doesn’t depend on the circumstances but rather exists in spite of the circumstances.

Peter walked on water, until he focused on the storm instead of the One that called him out to walk on raging waves.

There isn’t a “happily ever after” ending to this post. It’s not like TV where by the end of the show, all has been resolved and calm and order have been restored. This is a moment by moment pursuit. Some moments will hit the mark, some will fail dismally. But it’s okay…. It’s a journey. A pursuit of peace and rest.

I’ve never needed it more than I do right now.

How I am keeping myself safe….

It’s not easy, or popular, being someone who thinks outside the box and runs the other way from the crowd. Oh that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned or that I’m not taking precautions, but I am not losing my mind and letting fear control me.

It is life as usual for me, because the precautions, apart from the shut-downs and isolations, are the common-sense precautions we should all be taking every single day.

  • I wash my hands
  • If I feel unwell, I don’t go out, if possible, especially not around my elderly parents, young children, or anywhere that isn’t necessary.
  • If I do have to go out, I minimize contact as much as possible.
  • I use essential oils to boost immunity.
  • I eat fermented foods, some fruits and lots of veggies.
  • I make and drink homemade bone broth, and take probiotics to improve gut health, thereby boosting my immunity.
  • I diffuse air purifying and immune boosting oils daily.

What I do NOT do:

  • Overload my body with toxic chemicals and carcinogens. I use natural, non-toxic environmentally friendly (remember, the environment?) cleaners, hand and face soaps, body washes etc.
  • Eat sugar! Sugar is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy immune system.
  • I drink lots of lemon water to help flush the toxins that are unavoidable or unintentional.

From the things I’ve read, the symptoms of the Corona Virus, are not extraordinary and MOST PEOPLE, experience symptoms that are even less than those of the flu and similar to a cold. Yes, there are those that are at a higher risk, and yes, there are deaths attributed to this virus, just like there are deaths every year from influenza. But businesses didn’t close, schools didn’t shut down, and there weren’t brawls in the department stores!

I have the utmost respect for those that have made a rational choice to isolate themselves or take whatever precautions they have deemed necessary and prudent. I feel sorry for those who sit wringing their hands in fear, compassion for those who are truly immune compromised and therefore at risk, and I despise those that have little to NO concern about their fellow man and are emptying the store shelves of everything they can get their hands on, or even worse, selling at exorbitant prices to those in need.

I fear for those small, and not so small, businesses and corporations that won’t survive this.

As with much of what I see touted as cures for anything, the solutions often cause bigger problems than the issue that they are supposed to fix.

You are free to do as you want, (except post nasty comments trashing my personal opinions…..I will delete/block you in a heartbeat) but be aware. Operate from concern if necessary, but don’t be controlled and consumed by fear. Did you know that stress is another significant enemy against a healthy immune system?

Germs of all kinds are unavoidable, even under the best circumstances. I believe we need to focus, at least as much, if not significantly more, of our effort on building our immune system so that we are strong and healthy, and not vulnerable to every germ and bug, Every day. All year.

Funny, I don’t see many carts filled with, or people fighting over, vitamins and fresh foods.

Here is recipe for an immunity boosting essential oil roller bottle blend:

Immunity Boosting Roller Blend

Equipment

  • Good quality essential oils
  • Roller ball
  • Carrier oil

Ingredients
  

  • 6 drops Rosemary
  • 10 drops Frankincense
  • 6 drops Lemon
  • 2 drops Oregano
  • 10 drops Theives (Young Living), On Guard (Doterra) (or DIY blend)
  • Carrier oil (fractionated coconut, MCT, V6 etc.)

Instructions
 

  • Drop your oils in your roller bottle and fill with carrier oil of your choice.
  • Cap the bottle and enjoy. I usually apply 3-4 times per day.
  • I've also used it in a dropper bottle and added to my bath with Epsom salts.

Click this link for the original recipe and the properties of the selected oils.

Here is a video link highlighting Thieves cleaning liquid and it’s proven germ/bacteria killing results tested against other toxic cleaners, including bleach and lysol. The results are amazing, and all without cancer-causing, caustic, toxic fumes or chemicals. It is a little long, but time well spent.

While I am not posting this with the purpose of selling you something, I can get you Thieves if you want to try it. Mostly, I want you to know that I believe we are being sold a bill of goods when these harmful products are brought into our homes and applied to the surfaces at home and on our bodies, or inhaled…., and they don’t adequately kill the germs and bacteria we are trying to eliminate.

Here is another great video on how to use oils. Again, a specific brand is mentioned, but take away the information that you find useful. She gives a list of the top ten oils to have on hand…….a good place to start your collection.

Be well, and be kind…..to your body, and to your fellow man.

Celebrating alone…..

As with just about every holiday…..I am always aware of those that celebrate (face) them alone, or in circumstances that rarely make it to a Hallmark card.

Holidays can be hard when everyone else around you is experiencing the picture-perfect moments and you are not, for whatever reason.

I know, I was alone.

When Glenn and I met, I had been a single, unwed mother for six years. Those years were some of the loneliest I had ever been. Always a third or fifth wheel, watching others walk away to go home together at the end of the night. It was hard.

There were a couple of things that I knew though, that kept me putting one foot in front of the other and weathering the disappointment and despair.

  • God took care of me in tender and timely ways. He promised to be a husband to the widow (person alone) and a father to the fatherless. We were in good hands, even when it didn’t always feel like it was enough.
  • I learned to be content in whatever circumstance I found myself, knowing that there were both drawbacks and benefits in both being alone and in a relationship. So trust and contentment in whatever I faced, became a priority.
  • It was better to be alone, than to be with the wrong person. .

I knew. I had done that

That doesn’t mean it was easy, but it was good. I learned a lot about myself, I learned to value myself, and I learned to focus on what I did have, not on what I didn’t.

I had, and still do have, an amazing family; parents that loved me, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents that always supported and encouraged me, no matter what.

I had friends…..friends that listened to me when I whined, held me when I cried – even cried with me at times, and when happiness came, they celebrated too!

So today, if you can, focus on the relationships you DO have. And if you have none, know that there is One.

Know your worth and value. You are strong, you ARE loveable, YOU are a masterpiece and someone needs you in their lives.

Do something for you, whatever that may be. A hot bubble bath with flower petals, candles, and wine, order out or cook yourself an amazing meal, take a long, leisurely stroll, see a movie…..maybe invite someone else who celebrates alone to join you (maybe not in the bath, though 🙂 ).

Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap of self-pity and self-loathing. Live YOUR life and live it well. Hold your head high and walk tall! Be your best self – for you first, and to prepare for whatever may lay ahead.

Reach out…..someone else is lonely too and you could brighten their day. I will be forever grateful for those who included me, and for the One who loved me enough to bring me His best.

There can be happy endings, but there is no such thing as fairy tales.

When you’re dragging……

Third evening shift on the horizon and even coffee doesn’t seem to be helping much.

I decided I needed to sit quiet, but since I can’t sit and do nothing, I decided to organize my Essential Oil Pinterest board. I came across a diffuser blend that claimed to be a fatigue fighter……it seemed providential!!! 🙂

Since beginning with essential oils, I’ve experimented making my own pain blends, face serum, hand and body washes, diffuser blends, and wellness roll ons. I’m a bit of a perfume addict and love scents. I used to be one of those people that had plug in air fresheners all over the house, but between fire hazards and chemical warfare, I’ve started placing diffusers in different rooms in the house.

I am amassing a bit of a collection…

So as I sat here organizing the plethora of essential oil pins, I thought I should probably fire up the diffuser, but deciding which scents to use is kind of like choosing a recipe for dinner…………I look through hundreds and then can’t decide which to make. When I saw ‘fatigue fighter’ and it contained two of my favourite scents, grapefruit and peppermint, I elect#ed to give this one a try….

Fatigue Fighter Diffuser Blend

Equipment

  • Essential Oil Diffuser

Ingredients
  

  • 5 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 3 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 2 drops Peppermint essential oil

Instructions
 

  • Simple, right? Add recommended amount of water to diffuser and drop oils on top. Enjoy!!!

SO fresh smelling!!!!!

Now, back to Pinterest!!! Follow me there for many, many, more ideas!!!

Discouragement….and lost hope

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, but very 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

And hoping.

And dreaming.

“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.”

-Jeremiah 29:11

“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.”

—Joshua 1:5, 9