Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"I want to love food, but sometimes I hate it"....

Every week or so, it is time to come up with a menu plan. Oh boy, am I *really* bad at this. Menu planning has been something I have struggled with since the first week of my marriage. I would, and oftentimes continue to, sit at the table with three or four cookbooks around me, searching through them to see what I could make that week. This process usually takes minimum of one hour, and I usually want to cry at least once while doing it. FOOD! Food. We all need food. Everyone has to eat, and the crazy thing is that it's usually 3 times a day.

The semester following my marriage gave me lots of opportunities to learn about food. I graduated with a B.A. in Geography and couldn't help coming out of it a little more aware about sustainability, food-sources, GMO's, etc. Top that with a little Food, Inc., and a couple other documentaries and articles (I also learned that margarine is a couple of molecules away from plastic), and you have a newly-wed who has basically only cooked boxed meals for most of her life who has a new-found desire to cook more whole foods. The desire to do so, but not really the know-how or the time.

Throw a precious little baby Henry into the mix, and you have a homemaker who freaks out about food every time she has to menu plan. Healthy and natural vs. cheap and easy, I feel like those things are definitely at odds. It costs money to eat well, and it takes diligence and patience in the kitchen. I know that none of us make it out of here alive (sorry to be morbid) but I want to teach my children to love food, to be okay with taking the time to prepare it, and to enjoy the whole process of food: growing it, preparing it, enjoying the delicious fruits of our labor. For me to teach the children that, I have to be doing it first. Right now I kind of hate food. I hate it insofar as it causes me stress, I don't know how to prepare it very well (as far as more fresh, whole food meals go), and cooking is not something I currently enjoy doing.

I really do want to love food and everything that comes along with it. Can I teach myself that? I don't know. I want to step up to the weekly menu plan with joy and excitement about the ways I get to serve my family and friends. Cooking isn't easy for me, but the result of it -- eating -- brings people together on a regular basis, it is important and worth it.

I believe that food is medicine. What we put into our body matters. The fact of the matter is one person has to prepare food for a family. Being a stay-at-home mom gives me the time and ability to be that person. So, here we go!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Never Stop Starting...

The phrase "never stop starting" was wisdom given to me from a very good friend and mentor. It rings incredibly true for me, and I'm guessing for others as well. I tend to have extremist tendencies and if a goal of mine is ruined, well, then that's the end of the world and the whole house falls apart. I say the house falls apart because this comes up mainly in the world of housework. My home is either perfectly spotless, or slowly falls apart until it's pretty bad. (Yes, I have a toddler, but at times it's unreasonably bad.)

I'm guessing you can spell out what "never stop starting" means, but in case you're having a hard time with it, let me tell you: Never stop starting doing things, never stop starting pursuing your goals and dreams, never stop starting living your life, reading books, etc. The list can say whatever you want it to say. Don't give up. You will possibly ruin your New Years Resolution of eating no sweets or desserts on February 14 when someone gives you chocolate -- or when you see all the delicious chocolate at the store and buy some for yourself.  But don't let that get you down! You can just as easily start the next day....though I am now more for setting reasonable goals that you might actually stick with. 

Ah, Bible reading has been a big one for me. Growing up, I always had the resolution at the new year to read the whole Bible in a year. When I would miss a day, which didn't always take too long to happen, then I would feel incredibly discouraged -- I had failed myself. The missed day of reading would turn into a week which turned into a month and so on and so forth until I found myself back at the new year only to start with the same overwhelming goal again. Needless to say, I still have not read the entire Bible, but I am working on it. My pace is slow and steady, and I do still miss days, but they don't bother me as much. Never stop starting reading your Bible. You will finish it eventually and God will reveal things to you over time. You don't have to be a seminary student to read it, and you might get things out of context, but God can guide you and reveal things to you in your reading. Just pray that He would. 

Feel free to comment some of the things you've had problems sticking with, goals you haven't met because you don't meet them and then you quit. I'd be interested to know, if you're willing to share.

Never stop starting! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

I broke my own Facebook rule...

And for very good reason!

We haven't announced it to too many people yet, but we are moving to La Crosse, Wisconsin in the timeframe of 5-11 months. It's such a large frame because we do not want to move there in the dead of winter, in early winter, or in late winter. I, personally (being an Oklahoma girl from birth) do not want to experience a Northern winter any sooner than I have to.

About a week ago today or tomorrow, I received a support letter in the mail from my very good friend Ashley Engebretsen. She, too, is going to living in La Crosse, Wisconsin this August. *Ahhh!!!!* She and her husband are being transferred from a small town in North Dakota to the beautiful city of La Crosse. I am so excited. My heart was bursting with joy, and I had to contact her IMMEDIATELY! I had to share with her how we were going to be reunited, living in the same city, and both of us there with the thought of that being our home long-term. I am going to have a friend in La Crosse. Not just any friend, either. She and I became close during our years at college together. We'd see each other weekly, bake cookies together, study together, go on jogs together...I'm so thankful we get a chance to be involved in each others' lives again.

So, what did I do? How did I try to contact her? I went to Facebook (which is when I broke my rule) and tried to find her. Turns out, she deactivated her Facebook for many of the reasons I stated in my first post on the matter. Well, since I had broken my rule, I kept breaking it. --This is kind of an aside, but after reading this interesting article from a man who left the internet for a year, I didn't feel too badly about it. My two weeks of only going on Wednesdays and Saturdays helped me out more than I thought it would. Plus, I got rid of about 200 friends and am working on deleting more. Not having 1000 "friends" means my homepage doesn't update as often with people I don't really care about, but who are doing fascinating things. This is a step in the right direction. I'd thought of doing that for a while but I didn't want to waste my time with deleting people. If you've used this excuse, don't. Just do it, take the time to delete that person you met at the caf your freshman year of college, back in the two-thousands when EVERYONE friended EVERYONE for who knows why. (Why did we do that?....)

I've gotten a much better hold on my social media use, and I've been able to talk about the good and the bad of it with some friends and family since the first post. It really can be both good and bad, like many things.

OH, and to finish the story of my dear friend Ashley. I eventually contacted her by........drumroll, please?...........calling her on the good old cell phone. Yes, I kind of have a talking-on-the-phone-phobia, but it was totally worth it. I got to hear a little bit about her life, more than what I get in the monthly newsletter. It was wonderful to hear her voice.

I'm definitely going to miss Oklahoma and being closer to my family and dear friends that I've made while living in Norman. But we believe this is a good choice for us. Anthony grew up in La Crosse, and it is where his parents currently reside.

Adventures are to be had!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 3: So far, so good.

Sundays I try to go without getting on the internet at all, so as to better enjoy my day of rest. Only checking Facebook on Wednesdays and Saturdays has naturally lead to less internet time in general, turns out. I'm okay with this, mostly because that means that FACEBOOK consumed most of my time online. Blech. (I promise I'm not trying to demonize Facebook. This is a personal journey, not an agenda I'm trying to force on everyone.)

Monday was a good day for me:
This is my dearest sister's sunhat. I wore it while I hung clothes on the line to dry. I had a great time! It was kind of therapeutic...and I think that the clothes may have dried faster than in our drier. Isn't her sunhat cute?  I take no credit on the cuteness of that hat, it all goes to Jalaena. (I love you, Jalaena!)

Here's my sister and Henry, they were hanging out while I hung the clothes. What a picturesque time. Oh, did I mention that we really like blue? 

I have been more productive and restful. I've done much less comparing of myself to others, and have enjoyed sending the intentional email. I've had projects piling up that I'm going to be starting. I've had more time with my own thoughts -- sometimes it's great, sometimes it's not. 

So as not to trick you into thinking that leaving this Social Media stuff has made my life perfect, here are some "Real-Mommy" Moments.

Real Mommy Moments:

  • We had to order pizza on Saturday night because I didn't do any dinner prep throughout the day.
  • Yesterday morning I was being uber-productive. I went outside and worked on the computer while Henry played in the backyard. I don't remember the order of events exactly, but he turned over the water table getting himself all wet, then he ran to me and wanted me to pick him up (a reasonable desire being a cold, wet 20 month old). I wouldn't pick him up because...well, because he was wet! I made him walk inside with me so we could change him into dry clothes. 
  • At a different point, he was stepping on my backpack, and in the act of getting my backpack out from under his feet, I knocked him over. He started crying HUGE crocodile tears, and I felt terrible. I picked him up, held him close, and apologized. Oh yeah, and I think all of these were due, in part, to Henry messing up my "productivity streak". Thankfully, I had a heart check moment, I said a prayer to be more understanding and patient with sweet little Henry. Things got better between us. :)
  • There were dirty dishes in the sink all day yesterday. 
  • Oh, I went WAY over grocery budget, and domestic budget, this month. It seems that Sprouts store being within a 5 minute walk has been detrimental to us. What can I say, I love Sprouts. But in the future, I have to discipline myself to stay within our budget. 
Why the Real Mommy Moments? Because I want to remind you that I am real, and that just because I am limiting my Facebook and Pinterest time doesn't mean I've found myself in a domestic utopia. I find myself reading blogs of various mommy's and I wonder how they do all that they do, and inevitably feeling terrible about myself. 

If you're interested, here are links to two articles that talk about Pinterest and Instagram. I'm going to try to post things like this so you can hear from others who are talking about this as well. 
I'll have a blog-post about the Pinterest one in the future. 

Alright, readers! Thoughts? Anything you'd like to see on here? I'm up for suggestions. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day One: Always wanting to hit the f button

**First off, sorry for the generalization in the first post. I said "we" too much, instead of "I". I do have some friends who use Facebook for good: keeping up with friends from afar, discussing news articles, current topics, sharing pics with family, etc. I think that's great!  Also, I would like to add that I do not have a smart phone. I've gone back and forth as to whether or not I should get one. I'm still deciding.

Oh, and I didn't want to exclude anyone when I said stay-at-home moms might struggle more. I was just thinking in terms of not necessarily being super-committed to something else (but what am I talking about, hello children?). For instance, a full-time worker has commitments from 8-5. There still might be the occasional Facebook check every once in a while. Full time employees, what do you think?**

My typical internet usage throughout the day looks like this: open Google Chrome, hit g and go to Gmail, then hit f and go to Facebook. I might go back and forth between the two for a while, it just depends if I'm anxiously waiting for someone to message me back on either site. --Sometimes I'm incredibly impatient when I message someone about something I'm excited about. I want to hear their response as soon as possible! It's a little ridiculous, really.-- Occasionally on Facebook, I'll link through to an interesting article that one of my friends has shared. Sometimes I'm incredibly disciplined and am able to close out of both. Sometimes I'm incredibly undisciplined and will scroll through the home page for a while, go back to Gmail and see if there are any new emails, then go back to Facebook and check the newly refreshed home-page-news-feed-importance.

I had to stop myself every time I got online yesterday. It really is a habit to go through that cycle. Sometimes I will go through it a lot. On days when I'm hanging out with friends, or have things to do outside the home with Henry, I don't go through it that often. Those days I'm usually much more content and happy, though it could be the combination of not going through the comparathon and of getting out and about (something I enjoy).

As far as inconveniences go, there were a few that I experienced:

  • I had to email a friend to ask for another friends email address so that I could start some planning for an upcoming event. 
  • I started an email chain as opposed to a message chain. 
  • I had to plan ahead and write down an address to a baby shower I was attending.
Not too bad, really. Let's not forget, this was after only after not logging on for one day. The break from Saturday to Wednesday might allow for more inconveniences.

As far as benefits, there were several!

  • I was able to play more restfully with Henry and his friend Lucy.
  • Once my emailing was finished, there wasn't much else online I had to do, so I would close my computer allowing for a more restful heart. 
  • I felt more calm and content.
Honestly, there were times where I wanted to check my Facebook to see what people were up to. My sister, Jalaena, was on her account and I definitely wanted to read things over her shoulder. There's such a pull to it. I want to be in control of Facebook, I don't want it to control me. 

What's your usual online routine? If you work full-time, do you still find yourself checking your phone?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Personal Journey

Hi! I'm back! Maybe just for a little while, and I'm okay with that.

I have been having several conversations lately, and reading several articles, that lead me to the conclusion that Facebook and other forms of social media are not making us any happier. Rather, they are making us more lonely, more jealous, more discontent with our own lives. I have had that experience, to be sure. If this is true, then why do we continue going back to Facebook, Google+, Instagram, etc. Why do we feel naked without our smart phones? Why, after being away from the internet for a while, do we feel a nagging need to go check all of our 'noties' (notifications).

As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like the temptation to be on social media is perhaps even stronger than for other individuals. Our little ones are having a bad day, we feel stressed and lonely, and we just want to see what other adults are doing. Cue checking Facebook. Cue scrolling through our homepage seeing all of our 'friends' doing wonderful, adventurous, non-mundane things: traveling overseas, having a home that looks just like the Pinterest pictures, whose picture-perfect children who are so well-behaved, the list goes on. We are in the midst of a comparathon and we begin to feel worse about ourselves and our lives, and we're even more unhappy than when we first were checking Facebook. It's a vicious cycle. And it is one that I can give into SO easily. Too easily. It's second nature for me. Ugh.

Obviously, some of you wouldn't care one bit if someone's home looked like Pinterest, so just change my example to one that fits you. If you're a student, maybe everyone's college life just looks so much better than yours. If you're job-hunting, everyone seems to be landing dream jobs. If you're single wishing that you were not, you might find yourself seeing status updates about engagements or new relationships. Discontent, anger, jealousy, can all settle in too easily.

People do not share reality online. They share highlights. The best parts of their days. Granted, you do have some people who vent through status updates, but on my home-page, those are very rare.

So now what? What am I going to do to battle this? I'm going to restrict myself to only checking Facebook on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I'm going to blog about the journey here.

The gist of what I'm hoping to discover, whether or not Facebook is worth having, is being talked about in other places, I am not the first to think of this. I just want to see how it affects my own life. And maybe, just maybe, I can encourage you to evaluate how and why you're using social media.

Please feel free to tell me what you think, and if you're going to try it out.

Disclaimer: I do not think that all social media is evil. I may or may not leave Facebook entirely after this. Admittedly, I will probably feel like I'm missing out on all the newest news of my friends, and there will probably still be things that happen in my normal life that make me feel jealous, envious, and angry. Facebook and other social medias are not the problem, they just give an easy and quick way to fall into those feelings and habits.

Here we go!