Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Growing Season

Hello again, friends.

It has been a while since I last wrote, but I am back from a good, long break and am ready to start again. While my transition back may be a slow one, I am hoping to keep this blog up as much as I am able.

Recently I have started gardening, something I had wanted to do for a while now but did not have the patience or time to do. It has been such an awesome experience and the fruits of my labor are finally starting to show as many of my sunflowers have started sprouting. Prior to gardening, I did some much needed yard work around the house which included lifting up our patio bricks to dig up troublesome roots that were breaking through, pulling weeds, and washing everything down. That took up an entire morning! It was pretty impressive how strong the roots of these plants were (don't ask me the name of them, I don't know); they were able to break through brick!

Doing work around the yard made me realize just how much I missed being outside. Working and school really sucked the life right out of me. Since graduating, I have slowly been transitioning back out of the house, but I had neglected all of the yard space that Tim and I now have. There is room for trees, flowers, crops, and even more pets (possibly). There is so much that can be done with this outdoor space, it just needs to be utilized.

The experience of yard work and gardening also made me realize a few other things, mainly about life in general. The first thing is that, like a yard, life needs maintenance. Whether it's relationships,  spirituality, finances, or health, a general upkeep is necessary in order to keep weeds from growing and other plants from having their way around the grounds. There are major things in life that require our love and attention and if neglected, the wrong things can easily creep in and start killing off the beauty and the purpose that once was.

Second, there is something truly therapeutic about working with your hands. Over the span of a few days, I maintained the yard, started a garden, and helped my husband build and paint an outdoor crate desk (pictures to follow). It was hard, sweaty work, but truly satisfying. It seems a lost and almost dying art to be outdoors and unplugged. I didn't even look at my phone until it was evening time! It was a truly liberating feeling that Instagram just can't give you. It reawakened my soul to dreams, inspiration, and creativity. I all of a sudden have this crazy urge to be productive; to paint, to write, to craft, and to clean. I feel more vibrant, aware, and alive after having spent over three days outside in nature.

Lastly, it made me realize that gardens are about patience during growth. We work hard, pouring our hearts, sweat, and tears into the ground in hopes that life can somehow grow from the process. We water and we wait, hopeful to see a tiny sprout spring forth from the earth. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, a tiny lifeform appears from the barren ground.

We are all gardeners planting our dreams into a barren life. We rely on the the Father's care to shine His light on our plans and water them with success. We wait eagerly to see even a small sliver of hope sprout up, but can easily become discouraged when we see no visible progress. Sometimes we are discouraged to see that not all of our plans succeed in growth, but instead die in the ground where we planted them. But there is a lot that is happening in the dirt that we can't see. We can only sow in faith and wait for God to work His miracles. I once read a quote that said, "Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year." This revelation couldn't be more true. It is easy to grow impatient waiting for answers from God; for careers to take off; for dreams to become reality; yet it is during this time that crucial growth is taking place within us. We grow in patience, in perseverance, consistency, and in faith. During the hardship, we develop hope, joy, contentment, and our dependency on God who prunes and weeds whatever He sees as harmful to our growth. If we allow the process, we will produce beautiful blossoms in the end.

Learn to trust the process during the growing seasons.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Key to Eating Out on a HEALTH Budget

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So we've all been there before.

Monday through Thursday we're doing just fine; sticking to our diets and putting in work like a BOSS when all of a sudden, we get that text from a friend/coworker/relative that says:

"Hey! We're all getting together after work/school tonight. We're meeting up at (enter ridiculously delicious and satisfyingly sinful restaurant) at 8pm. Show up!"

Now, you're in a dilemma; a pickle of sorts. Should you splurge all of your hard work on this un-healthy, heathen feast and cry all Saturday morning about the 5 pounds you gained back? Or should you risk being called anti-social and isolate yourself from all outside contact with people?

Well, now you can have your cake and eat it too...well, that is, as long as you don't eat too much of it.

Cheats are OK to do here and there as long as it is done with discipline. However, being in the social atmosphere changes everything. Humans are very complex, yet predictable creatures. When we're surrounded by people we are comfortable with, we eat. When we are uncomfortable, we eat. No matter what the circumstance/situation/occasion/holiday is, we eat.

So how do we enjoy ourselves in these environments if we can't eat what's on the menu? Usually everything is fried, swimming in oils and salt or doused with sugary good...I mean, badness.

Well, if you're going out tonight, here's a solution that works for me every time:

Look up the healthy food options before you enter the restaurant

That's it.

Just take out your smartphone/tablet or use the office computer (don't tell them I told you that) and literally Google "Healthy options at_______."

It might be a little inconvenient at times, but it will save you the guess work in the restaurant when you slip into your comfort zone and become less concerned with calories and more concerned with feeding your feelings.

Trust me, once you figured out your options beforehand, it'll be easy to order. You won't even have to look at the menu either! Say bye-bye to last minute decisions and changing your mind at the sight of a grease-induced burger.

This could mean more time for chatting it up and maybe, if you're lucky, your friends will let you steal a bite (or two) of their food. Just sayin'.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!