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Monday, October 20, 2014

Living Inside Out: Gearing Up for Holidays

It's the end of October, and just around the corner is coming YOU.KNOW.WHAT! Yes, the holidays...Halloween (which many go all out for), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and for us two birthdays! YIKES! Who in the world managed the creation of the holiday schedule? Oh, let's just lump the major ones all in a few month time frame!

Holidays can wreak Havoc on someones ability to Live Inside Out. No other time does the Outside scream louder for our attention. Tomorrow I'll talk about expectations but today lets just chat about gearing up our minds and emotions for the next few months. I believe that if we can gear up our emotions and our minds (thoughts), we can place appropriate expectations on the months to come. As the days go on, we'll see more Pinterest Holiday Pins, more blog posts, more FB posts that can begin to make us feel less than adequate in our abilities to pull off the perfect holidays. Been there, done that. Not only that, but the weather is a bit (or a lot) gloomier so our moods may tend to be a bit more on the down side.

The key to heading off disaster early is to recognize our own mental and emotional fragility when it comes to these times. By now, as adults, we are more than aware of the things that make us tick and the things that make our "bombs" go off. We take so much time getting physically ready but rarely do we take time to prepare our hearts, minds and emotions. From year to year circumstances can change which will ultimately impact how the upcoming holidays will take place. Maybe a job change, a death in the family, additions to our families with new expectations, stress in relationships, physical limitations, the state of world economics, the list could go on. The question is, what are you going to do to make sure you do not fall apart trying to make everyone else happy?

For me, personally, it's important to remind myself that the physical, tangible things are not the core of what these holidays mean for us as a family...yes, they are fun, but that is not what I want to hold on to. I love decorating for the holidays, but this year things have been so busy and my emotions have been a little wonky so I just did not have any desire to decorate for fall. I decided that I'd rather not decorate, then feel the stress of climbing up in the attic of my pumphouse to pull down my tubs, only to take them down a month later for Christmas. I chose to choose my battles. For me, it would also be turning my thoughts towards who I am and the fact that my Papa God is not moved by anything on the external, but by my heart of love for him and His heart of love for me. Spending time contemplating my oneness with Him and love for my family and others helps me keep a proper perspective during these times. I am already aware that my own personal emotions are more sensitive than they were last year, so I need to have a plan, I need to realize and remember to breathe....often...inhale, exhale. It's all okay. It doesn't have to be what everyone else says it needs to be. It just has to be what fits our family. That's it!

What can you do to prepare your heart, mind, emotions for the upcoming months? Maybe keep a journal, maybe turn off Pinterest, maybe sit the family down or send out an email if everyone is crazy busy and share your heart (because if they don't know what you're feeling or your heart, then we can't expect them to be on board with us).

Tomorrow we'll tackle some expectations. I'll leave you with a few quotes about holidays.

  • Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch ~Evelyn Glennie
  • Holidays are all different depending on the company and time in your life. ~Dominic Monoghan
  • The Holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can. ~Giada DiLaurentis

With Joy UNquenchable,

Friday, October 17, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: it's okay to have a rough week

This week has been rough! Physically, mentally and emotionally. I had no desire to post, not much of a desire to do anything. I've come to some conclusions that haven't been that fun and some things I need to do to take care of myself but not sure how to go about doing it when I feel at the end of my rope already. So this week I didn't blog. And that is just fine. It's okay to have a rough week now and then as long as we are aware of it and are resting in God's goodness no matter what (not sure I did a great job of that either). I definitely didn't do a good job living inside out, that's for sure. Tomorrow's a new day and all that can change.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recipe: Nut and Seed Granola

Granola was one of those things that I just never bothered to make..it was just as easy to buy in bulk at my local grocery store than attempt to make it myself and potentially burn it or something. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to give it a try. I'm not sure what circumstance brought me to that point, maybe I had run out, maybe I saw it somewhere, but I decided I was going to make it. I browsed the internet for recipes. So many options. Many recipes are very similar and can be easily tweaked to suit your tastes. This site had some great pointers that will make creating your own recipe a piece of cake. I looked at a few recipes and then did what I wanted. It turned out so good, I'm not sure I'll ever go back to store bought.

We like our granola on Honey Greek Yogurt the best. Add some fruit and it's a real winner.

Nut and Seed Granola

3 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. flaxseed
6 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. maple syrup
(optional: cinnamon or other flavoring)

1. In a small saucepan combine honey, oil and syrup. Heat just until honey is on the "runny" side.

2. In a large bowl combine all other ingredients. Pour honey mixture over the top and stir well and quickly.

3. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Stir and cook for another 15 minutes. Possibly less depending on your oven, but for mine 15 minute increments is perfect.

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. I stir it every once in a while to keep it loose and not clumped together.

You can add whatever you want, coconut, dried fruit, chocolate, the skies the limit!

With Joy UNquenchable,

Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: "Me Time"

With all my good intentions, it seems I cannot get around to posting during the day. Life happens and before you know it, the day has gone by. Which brings me to the topic at hand....Me Time.

I am not the best at this, making time for ME, taking care of ME. I am the mom who loves taking care of everyone else, sacrificing herself for the family (you know the one; the one wearing the same clothes over and over because she doesn't take time or spend the money to buy herself new clothes. The one who would rather spend her money on things the family needs, then things for herself. The one who will do more chores because she wants her kids to focus on school, athletics, etc....the list could go on.) Uh, being that mom is not a good thing necessarily. Oh, I love doing all of those things and it really does give me great joy but I also realize that I'm not doing myself or my family any good by not taking time for me. By not taking care of me. By setting myself aside. Sometimes it can be hard when schedules are tight (to make time for myself). There's not a lot of free time. Sometimes I shake my head wondering how moms who work full time do all that they do. I suppose with the two jobs I have (helping an elderly woman and babysitting), it equals full time work. But I recognize that I don't give myself enough attention. I don't nurture the things I love (photography, hiking, reading, gardening, cooking). I realize that I want to look cuter (even if I feel so overweight that I just want to wear baggy clothes or never sure what to buy with the little money I might have for clothes), which leads me to wanting to exercise (though I haven't gotten back on the bandwagon with this one). It's a vicious cycle and I'm probably in good company wouldn't you agree?

But women, we need to make this a priority. Even if I'm just speaking to myself, so be it. Soon enough my girls will be even more independent and leaving home and I'll have more "me time" than I'll know what to do with. The lady I help out is convinced I'm going to go stir crazy when my girls "leave the nest", because I always have so much going on. I laughed and said "You better keep me around then so we can entertain each other".

Taking time is vital, taking time naturally, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. That will look different to every person. Think of what ways you can take time for you in each of those areas. Maybe choose one at a time.

One of my favorite books right now is "Grace for the Contemplative Parent" by Lily Crowder. Oh how I wish I would have had this book when my girls were little. Here is a quote I love in her chapter about Solitude.

"I believe there is a beautiful balance in the mother that lays down her life for her family and also maintains a sense of individuality. A mother automatically has the calling of a servant, and we know how highly a servant is esteemed in the kingdom. But her servant heart, birthed out of a love for her family, should enhance her individuality and identity, not dismiss who she is." 

So mom, take time for yourself....in whatever capacity it looks like. Just do it. I promise I will do the same.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Don't Take Yourself so Seriously

I don't think I've ever really been a serious person. I know I've never taken myself too seriously, and I certainly know how to laugh at myself...for the most part. There's always an exception but I'm pretty laid back and light hearted.

"Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves will never cease to be amused"

Yep, story of my life! I mean, what other choice do I have when my nickname growing up was "Grace" and not as in "graceful". When I am holding a cup of coffee and for no apparent reason just tip it over. Or how about while running errands before going to work I, for whatever weird reason, get on the freeway. I can easily get lost in a big city. I threw my back out jumping away from a spider. Should I go on?

Let's face it. I amuse myself. Whether I amuse others is a completely different story. BUT...I amuse myself. I have learned to lighten up, go with the flow, roll with the punches. Even when life or circumstances are tough, no fun, even sucks (because I have had some circumstances that there is just no other word but that it sucks. But I don't want to be a worrier. I don't want to fret, be frustrated, irritated, uptight, having everyone walking on pins and needles. There are times I look back on when my girls were little and think "I should have lightened up a bit"...and I wasn't even that uptight.

We all function at different levels in regards to what we can handle, how much we can handle and where we are in our level of "taking ourselves or others too seriously". Pick one thing that you know you just get way to bent out of shape about and try to laugh instead of reacting. Maybe your kids like to help you in the kitchen but they are really messy..instead of being uptight and harping on them, just laugh with them, have fun and make them help you clean up. It won't be everyday they want to help you out. Just try laughing in a situation instead of reacting the way you typically might want to.

Today I took my youngest daughter and her friend to see one of their favorite artists from The Voice who happened to be doing a mini-concert at a Pumpkin Patch/Farm an hour and a half away from us. It was a super fun day but on the way home I managed to miss the exit to get us on the right "freeway" to go home. This would not be the first time I've done this, and not the first time with both these girls...we just laughed.

So today, tomorrow, the next day, JUST. LAUGH. Find joy in the little things. Hey, you spilled flour on the floor? It probably needed to be mopped anyways.

How about some quotes to end the night?

  • Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated ~ Confucious 
  • Do not take life so seriously..you will never get out of it alive ~ Elbert Hubbard
  • It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in your everyday life. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver ~ Betty White
  • Don't take things too seriously, and just chill ~ Kailash Kher
  • Keep the circus going on inside you, keep it going, don't take anything too seriously, it'll all work out in the end ~ David Niven
  • From there to here and here to there, funny things are everywhere ~ Dr. Seuss
  • Keep your chin up, otherwise you're just looking at your own boobs ~ ?

With Joy UNquenchable,


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