By the time you read this, it's likely I've had my second (or third) cup of coffee.
It's likely I'm looking for a time to slip in a workout
and I probably haven't showered yet.
(I will, though!)
It's likely I don't have a lot set in stone for the day because Mondays are good days to ease into the week if it's possible
...giving out Equal Exchange valentines until every last one is gone (although I'm tempted to keep some of the chocolate for myself!)
...going to my nephew's basketball game(s). I haven't seen him since before Nolan was born!
....finishing up level 2 of the 30 Day Shred and moving on to level 3....Yikes. I'm a little nervous, but I can also tell I'm getting stronger. The getting stronger thing is what has me continuing with the shred. I'm a little obsessed with strength these days.
... going for a walk, maybe?! If it's "warm" enough, I'll be bundling both me and Nolan up to enjoy the sunshine while we can.
...another Bikram yoga class and a few more hours to work on my "courage" project. (<--I'm loving this! The hours fly by when it's just me and my computer and my fair trade agenda.)
...oh, and another visit to a local Spanish church. Did I mention that Tim, Nolan, and I are going there? We are. And no, we don't know Spanish (yet), but we're working on it. Getting to know the language, the culture, and the people is something we've been talking about for awhile...we've decided it's time for us to move past the talking phase. (We almost chickened out but are so glad we didn't!)
So that's a bit of my world.
How about you? What are you looking forward to this week?
I'm linking up with Lisa Leonard's Hello, Monday series.
Last Saturday was the first time I held "work hours" for this first project on my agenda.
I'm finding out that "courage" has been necessary only to get started. From there? I feel like I can't be stopped. I feel like "I can do this." I feel like I'm on a mission, and it's right, and I feel completely passionate about it.
The more research I do, the more I think I'll focus mainly on the fair trade end of things.
Because there are child slaves involved in the non fair trade end of things.
And while I think the welfare of ALL small farmers is important, I've always been motherly (maybe from birth?). Right now, I feel like a mama bear, ready to do whatever it takes to rescue "her" babies.
Whatever it takes.
I get that I can't change it all on my own
but that's not going to stop me from doing what I can.
I get that there is SO MUCH wrong with the world, and it's overwhelming, and sometimes we can feel ourselves shutting down, waving it all away, closing our eyes because it's just too much to handle.
Also? We're comfortable with the way we've been doing things.
That's part of how I want to get involved. I want to make good, slave-free choices easier, more accessible for the busy, overwhelmed consumer. I'll do the research and lay it out, share my journey, and hopefully make not supporting slavery practices more natural than supporting them. (For a real eye-opener, check out Slavery Footprint.)
I'm still working on getting the new site up (the real hold-up is the name. I mean, really, Nolan was almost born before he had a name).
In the meantime, here are some slave-free ideas for Valentine's Day this year:
Equal Exchange My Fair Valentines (If we come in contact between the time I receive these and the time I run out, you'll be getting one of these from me!)
Theo Chocolate Gift Sets
Why did I ever stop doing yoga? For a woman like me, whose internal compass seems set on "high strung," chilling the heck out for at least an hour a few times a week does wonders. Wonders. The benefits are physical, mental, and spiritual.
I am a professed lover of yoga.
I had grand plans of keeping up with yoga while training for a half marathon. Then I threw in classes and life changes, and it just wasn't happening. I thrive on yoga, but I also thrive on sharing cups of coffee, meals and child care with the people who do life with me. I was not wanting to give up time with people for a life of nothing but work, books, and exercise.
(And maybe I was a little unintentional along the way.)
Running 13(.1) miles got kicked to the curb, because guess what? I'm still working on getting healthy (in all capacities) and part of that is recognizing how I am designed and then honoring that. I have felt great many times after a 4 mile run, but a double-digit run? Doesn't make my body feel good at all. At this point in my life, honoring my composition seems pretty important.
I feel best when I...
...practice yoga regularly.
...spend plenty of time in the kitchen. (I actually rarely feel the old familiar urge to binge when I give myself plenty of time to create yummy things.)
...take the opportunity to walk in the sunshine with my husband, when maybe we both might just as soon collapse on the nearest couch.
...and spend some time writing every day.
...act on the occasional impulse to sing at the top of my lungs or dance in the living room.
...read books by people much smarter than me.
...find ways to celebrate and then follow through.
What about you? What do you do that leaves you feeling your best?
The first day of February brought me a snow day to help me ease into my goal for the month.Perfect timing. (Breakfast was a basic Green Monster smoothie, a toasted cinnamon raisin Ezekiel English muffin with a tablespoon of cashew butter, extra cinnamon sprinkled on top, and a cup of coffee...and then a second cup of coffee later on.)
Today marks the first day out of twenty-eight that I commit to blogging everything I eat (not necessarily everything I drink- there may be many a glass of unsweetened tea, water, black coffee or flavored seltzer that goes undocumented. Everything else will be snapped and posted.)
My line of thinking goes something like this:
The commitment to post everything I eat will bring me accountability, of course, which will lead to the likelihood of a lot less overeating on my part...The idea of displaying everything I eat already has me more conscious of what I'm eating, more inspired, more excited to be in the kitchen...Cooking is fun, but lately I've been feeling so overwhelmed by it. (How do I make meals that are healthy and please both Tim and I without spending all our savings on meat and dairy that isn't pumped full of antibiotics?)
Of course, I know it isn't "my job" to cook for both Tim and I every night, but still a guilt of sorts has been weighing me down. I love the kitchen; I love to chop and create and nourish. I seek out retail therapy at the grocery store, but I've been shy and overwhelmed in the kitchen lately. A defeated attitude has been creeping in lately, and I don't like it. The kitchen is a place for therapy, comfort, trial and error, and messes. Not anxiety.
So I stepped into the kitchen today with one thing on my mind: Enjoy.
Enjoy I did. In the process, I made:
- Caramelized Onion, Asparagus, and Parmesan Quiche (I used a Wholly Wholesome whole wheat crust and adapted the recipe based on one found at Weekly Bite and previous quiche-making experience.
- apple pie (also using a Wholly Wholesome whole wheat crust and based on the recipe on the back of the package)
- whipped cream
- my favorite hummus
- vegetable "fried" brown rice
Ladies and Gentlemen, you may just witness the evolution of a wannabe cook over this next month.
Oh, and that apple pie? I made it with Tim in mind, but I couldn't resist a taste test. I cut a small piece, added a dollop of whipped cream and a little plain Greek yogurt for staying power (+ a mug of decaf French vanilla coffee for perfection's sake) and closed the kitchen.
But I'll be back tomorrow.
Buying into lies, looking at everything through the lens of how-does-it-effect-me, equating a great life to a famous life. Those are big and little steps that lead me straight to Crazy Town. Let me tell you, every visit to that place is tiring, and I have been really tired lately (I KNOW you know this because I have not stopped complaining about it!)
Lately, I have been thinking that the things I spend time, energy, emotion, and thought on really don't matter. My efforts don't matter. People don't notice, I haven't made their lives better, I'm failing. I'm failing. As if that's the worst thing that can happen in this life. Can I tell you something? Failing is only "the worst thing" if life is all about what I look like, what every one else thinks, and how perfect I am. Thank GOD it is not. I mean that.
I have been reading Romans 12 for days, all the while thinking that every word applies to me. I've been reading it to my cat, to myself, passing it on. But I am a slow learner, and those words are just beginning to sink into my heart and my mind: "It's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."Never gets old (for me).
I have been wanting congratulations and assurance that what I am doing makes me a hero (because secretly, that is what I really want to be). I have been wanting to see the end of the story. I have been wanting to know that the things I did contribute to a great ending. But it's not the end of the story (and to rush through the rich parts would be a real shame), and I'm not a hero. The hero of all this? Isn't me at all.
I'm a driver on a bus that sometimes makes stops in Crazy Town.
For all the griping, struggling, and binging I engage in, it might seem that I am mostly likely to be found thrashing around in a glass half-full of dirty water.
Admittedly, sometimes I am. But I also see life as a gift. It does frustrate, anger, and freeze me in place sometimes. I let it. I choose to let it.
Today, I choose to share a bit of some of the small things I'm currently digging:
1. Sweet potatoes. Really. A humongous sweet potato was the star of my breakfast this morning, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dare I say sweet potatoes just may be my favorite vegetable? Lucky for me, they are quite bountiful during my favorite season and prevalent on my favorite holiday. (Oh, and Tim doesn't like them, so...more for me!)
2. I am currently reading In a Heartbeat, by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. And I am feeling inspired. It's The Blind Side from the Tuohy's perspective, and it is heavy with discourse over what it means to live life generously. For them, it is about doing small things with great love (not striving to do something "big"), giving without an agenda or any expectation of what-do-I-get-in-return, and giving with a cheerful heart.) Love, love, love this book.
3. Those little heart-shaped leaves that stare me in the face while I practice yoga. Last week, they were green, outlined with gold, and the heart-shape was so obvious. I thought about taking a picture, but didn't. Maybe next time I can arrive early enough to snap a picture without disturbing anybody?
6. The idea of hosting a vegetarian Thankgiving dinner (Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday!). Not on the actual day, of course. Just for fun. Hmm....
Enjoying the small things (also the name of one of my favorite blogs!) is a gateway drug, I tell you. Once I made the decision to embrace food as a part of my adventure, I got excited. Hopeful. I wrote out a list of things that I honestly want to do and that are also feasible in the foreseeable future (I did not write about my dreams of hiking the Grand Canyon or hiking all over the Californian coast . I wrote down immediate, every-day life things.) I didn't write down things I thought I should do. I did write down things that made my heart swell a little at the thought of them. You know what? Reading that list surprised me a little. Maybe you could try it? Write down things you really want to do in the next few weeks, things you think you could actually do, and be honest. No judgment, no "shoulds." Maybe you'll get to know your own unique self a little bit more. I know I did.
My sweet mama gave me a piece (okay, maybe it was the equivalent of 2 pieces. I'm calling it a piece) of her homemade, all-whole-foods banana bread last night, so I decided to make it the star of my breakfast show.That's my mama's banana bread (recipe to come!), toasted and spread with some Olivio spreadable butter; lots of chopped spinach, one egg, and 2 egg whites (I am normally a completely whole-eggs girl, but this morning, I wanted to make room in my tummy for butter) cooked in a little more Olivio, and of course coffee...
...in my current favorite mug. If you ever get the chance to go to The Chicago Diner, go! It is my absolute favorite restaurant.) Plus a little Stevia in the Raw.
Could I tell you a little bit about my mama? Thinking about who she is makes me all melty inside. She's more my friend now than ever, but you know what? I've been told that once a mama, always a mama. And she is. I'm 25-years-old, but when Rosie Lauterback thinks that I've been wronged, all 5'3" of her gets huffy and like she's wants to knock somebody out. (She also continues to hide Easter baskets and stuff Christmas stockings for all of her kids annually.) She told me once that she used to feel intimidated a whole lot more easily than she does now, but "when you become a mother, you just do what you need to do for your kids." She does, but now that her kids are grown, she does what she needs to do for a whole lot of people. She invites hoards of people over to the house for often impromptu (and usually large) meals.
She likes to take care of people (and she's good at it!), she'll try something new despite fear, and she's not afraid to "start over" during any given moment. She's human, you know? So she's not perfect. She comes with mistakes and disappointments, but she tells those stories as a tool for encouraging the people she meets. She's honest, and she sees no point in hiding anything anymore, because if bare naked honesty can help somebody else out, why not, right?
My mama gives out affection to anyone who will come over to the house and eat her homemade, lovingly prepared meatballs (I don't eat meat, but I used to, and I know she makes the best.). People who have been running low on love just drink up her smiles, her laugh, her I'm-the-mama-hen-and-I-will-take-you-under-my-wing concern.
I am often making changes, just to up my quality of life. Most recently, I have not been getting a whole lot of exercise, but I have been getting a whole lot of bowls of it's-nighttime-so-please-please-please-eat-lots-of-something-sweet. For the record, this picture was taken at my first and only visit to a self-serve froyo shop, and I was ecstatic.
I want more of almost everything: reading, writing, time with my girls, dinners and coffee dates, cooking, and dancing. Usually, I want at least a little more exercise, but I guess this time , exercise (nearly unconsciously) went almost completely out the window. So, of course, I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable in my own skin. Which means I made some changes- I decided to do some form of exercise every day, even if it's just a little, and cut way down on sugar (because although I keep going back for more, it never really satisfies me like I think it will.)Photo by Reuben Wilson
Those changes are really just a side note. Observing and making changes are just part of my live-a-quality-life intentions. Along with...
- you guessed it- regular time with a copy of The Message and a cup (or two) of great coffee. (No one is surprised, right?)
- living with intention- Thinking about my words and actions before I follow through. I can't say I'm always successful, but I can say that drawing chalk houses on the sidewalk with the neighbor kids or visiting a friend is much more satisfying and refreshing than zoning out in front of the TV after work.
- having a plan...(I find I do much better with unstructured blocks of time (like Saturdays) if I create a loose plan of what I'd like to accomplish.)
- ...but roll with it if plans don't go the way I wrote them down...or if they don't go at all. Sometimes (okay, almost all the time) there are better options than my own ideas out there.
What about you? How do you define quality of life?
I will preface this particular post by saying I am definitely coming down with something.My body is worn out, my thoughts are all over the place, and I'm just hoping I am able to communicate intelligibly. But I want to write...so write I will.If you are a regular Yoga for Breakfast reader, you might recognize this photo. I love it because it represents a peaceful and healthy beginning for my day.
I started my Saturday and my Sunday with delicious cups of coffee, a copy of The Message version of Galatians, paper, and a pen- my absolute favorite way to start any day. It is rare that I am able to start of my weekday mornings in the same manner, so I have really treasured these weekend mornings.
I took a few weeks off from my regular yoga practice. During the process of moving towards teacher training, yoga became more about performance instead of the letting go, observing, noticing, and relaxing that had originally led to my love of yoga. I felt the need to walk away and then later return to my former love. So I did. Saturday was my first day back. I wasn't feeling well then, either, so I used a vinyasa basics podcast in my own home. It was tough, due to my absence and the fact that my body is using much of its energy on fighting germs, but it is good to be back.
I have become annoyed with my own back-to-back "food and me" posts. It's come time to explore some other aspect of life...so explore I will.
You know, at some point, I intended my blog to have one singular focus. And I tried...briefly. But I just can't. I'm an all-over-the-place type of girl, and that particular characteristic continues on my blog.
But my real reason for blogging goes something like this: I love to write. I love to write more than I love to talk, more than I love to eat, more than I love to read. It's cathartic for me. I don't know what caused my love, but I know I loved it as soon as I could do it.
Of course, I could keep a diary. I could password-protect my entries. I could stick to sharing my thoughts in emails and cards. However...I discovered my love for this-is-my-story books several years ago. Donald Miller came out with a book called Blue Like Jazz. [Source]
I read it, and I loved it, and then I read all of his other books. Which all go something like this: "this is where I've been, what I've learned about life and God and what's truly important, and I am still a work in progress." Somewhere during all of that reading, I thought, "anyone can do this. We can all share our stories, what we've learned, and the fact that we're all in progress. Why try to explore life alone?" So I started my very first blog at xanga.com. Though I continue to write publicly, and though sometimes I hold my breath while I push publish, I think that I have never regretted it. Why not be honest, even vulnerable? Why try to explore this life alone?
My baby sister moved to the lucky state of Mississippi today. [I don't really think of her as being younger than me. "Baby" is one of my preferred terms of endearment. Baby sister, baby girl...] I said goodbye to her around 11:20 last night and then cried on the way home. The best man I know held my hand and looked up prices for roundtrip tickets. In the morning, he got me a cup of my favorite coffee in a well-played attempt to start my day well.
I wrote "help my students learn and BE PRESENT" on my list of tasks. I did, and I was. And with a cup of great coffee in my hand and just about two few hours of sleep, I had possibly the best day I've ever had with my students.
And then I left. I went straight from work to the best chocolate shop in town. I ordered a chocolate peanut butter cupcake [which I'd purposely saved room for] and forgot to take a picture because I was just enjoying my cupcake and more importantly, precious moments with my two beautiful friends [those women are fantastic mothers, have hearts of gold, fight for what's important, and aren't afraid to be honest about themselves].
We walked down the street in the rain, and I just kind of loved that. Maybe it was the destination; maybe it was the company. We scoured our favorite everything-is-handmade store, talked with the super-sweet owner [whom we are all individually becoming friends with] about all kinds of things [including potlucks], and spent some money. I'd been planning on buying shoes or a dress or something for an upcoming wedding; I ended up with some definitively "me" jewelry [and the determination to put a cap on my spending...you know, after the bachelorette party I am attending tomorrow night, the wedding lunch I am putting together, and a few gifts I'd like to purchase...]
Today was simple and sweet, and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful that I have a sister who I adore. I'm grateful that I have students who let me into their lives enough to allow me to be involved in their efforts to do something great for themselves and their children. I'm grateful that the best man I know is my husband and that I have friends who really, truly, deep-in-the-cracks-of-their-hearts care about me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to live each present moment.