Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beautiful Heartbreak

I am not a fan of Christian pop music... BUT I love this song.  And I've been meaning to post a link to it for a while.  Listen to it - even if you have before.  The message is so beautiful.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Come alive

"Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

-Howard Thurman

I know people like this...people who are ALIVE.  People who are passionate and kind and open and live a very conscious, deliberate life.  Being around them always makes me want to follow suit and live that way too.

I'm lost in my thoughts of what makes me come alive, and how to live my life differently once I figure it out...

Friday, June 20, 2014


This week has been wearing me down a bit.

I'm feeling really insecure about being a stay at home mom of one kid.  ONE KID!  His 3-year-old behavior (please tell me this is just a phase) reminds me of the sign I saw in my sister's house once:  "Raising kids is like being pecked to death by ducks."  I'm tired of doing mom stuff.  I feel guilty that I don't contribute to our family income at all.  It seems that I fill my days with cooking, cleaning, reminding, and disciplining.  Wouldn't a maid or a nanny be doing a better job anyway?  What is it, exactly, that I do all day?

I feel ordinary.  And small.  And...yes, a bit worthless.

I'm still reading that book by Brene Brown, and I came across this yesterday.  It felt like it was written just for me:

"Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency.  By sufficiency, I don't mean a quantity of anything...Sufficiency isn't an amount at all.  It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.  Sufficiency resides inside each of us, and we can call it forward.  It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances."

And then this:

"We seem to measure the value of people's contributions (and sometimes their entire lives) by their level of public recognition.  In other word, worth is measured by fame and fortune.  Our culture is quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary, hardworking men and women.  In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless."

Then she says that while doing research for this book, she found that people who had experienced tremendous loss often held most sacred the everyday, ordinary moments in life.  As if going through the hell they'd gone through woke them up to what is truly important and miraculous about life.

I thought about swinging in the hammock with my son this afternoon, watching him eat a popsicle and listening to him sing his made-up songs about the trees and the dirt and the ants (he seriously can sing about anything these days).  And I thought about the walk I went on earlier this week, after a big rainstorm...and the mountains and sky were unbelievably gorgeous.  And my garden that's growing.  And the books that I'm reading.  And the purse my mom just helped me make.  And all the other little beautiful things in my life.

I get it.  Ordinary and quiet are ok.  I'm just going to forget it again tomorrow, ya know?  How can I remember that I'm enough?  How do YOU remember?  Really though, I'd love some comments on this.  It's a hard one for me...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Carrot Pasta With Ginger Lime Peanut Sauce

Another yummy one we tried tonight...  Seriously delicious.  Fast and easy to make.  I shredded my carrots instead of trying to make cool noodles out of them and it was still awesome.

HERE is the recipe.

Here is the picture.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Black Bean Burgers

This is what my husband wanted for his birthday dinner.  That's how much my recently converted (mostly) vegetarian husband loves these.  I do too.  Thanks to Kristine for introducing us!  And by that I mean introducing us to black bean burgers.  Not my husband and me to each other...

Black Bean Burgers

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T ketchup
1 T mustard
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/3 C oats

Mash black beans, add other ingredients, and mix well.  Form into 4 patties.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes on each side.

I've made these with freshly minced garlic and chopped up onions instead of the powder.  They tasted a little better, but the powder cuts down on time a LOT, which is nice when I'm in a hurry.  I've also shredded carrots and thrown them in.  I've added leftover rice.  Really I think you could add almost any veggie you want.

We usually eat these on toasted bagels with sauteed mushrooms, onions, feta cheese, lettuce, dilly beans (or pickles), bbq sauce, and mayo (hummus would be yummy too).


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The gifts of imperfection

I'm currently reading (and loving) a book by Brene Brown called The Gifts of Imperfection - Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  I wanted to share a few thoughts I've enjoyed:

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:  they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want."
- Margaret Young

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
- E. E. Cummings

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."
- Ann Quindlen

"Cultivate the courage to be imperfect."
- Brene Brown

I know, most of those are people she quotes in the book, but obviously Brene Brown says some pretty amazing stuff too.  This is just a snippet of what I've liked so far.  Hope you like it too.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


The idea for this blog came to me while I was in the shower.  Some of my best thinking is done in the shower...where it's quiet and relaxing and mostly uninterrupted (my son still sneaks in sometimes to check up on me).  This particular moment of inspiration was just days after a miscarriage.  I was wallowing.  I was having a pity party in the shower.  I was trying to decide if it was worth it to keep going, and if it was, how was I possibly going to do it...

I need to take a class.  I need to discover a new hobby.  I need to go on a trip to Puerto Rico.  Yes, Puerto Rico.  That will fix it.  I need to learn how to not feel anything ever again.  I need to make a decision that I'm going to be ok.  That I CAN be ok with less than what I planned on.  And then I need to write it down so I can read it on days that seem impossibly hard.  I'll start a blog.  I'll start a blog!!  I bet no one will read it, but maybe it will be good for me to lay my thoughts out in front of me where I can analyze them further and try to correct some of my negativity.

A few more minutes of shower time and a few scribbles in a notebook and I came up with a sentence that describes how I will focus my thoughts from now on - I can have a richer life with less of what I thought I wanted.  I got online to figure out blogspot.  I had absolutely no clue where to start or how to make a blog look like...a blog.  You've probably noticed.  I searched for blogs about living with less and having or being more.  I liked everything I read.  And all the blogs and websites I looked over had links to other awesome blogs with even more ideas and books to read and people who are in the middle of a similar journey.

Well, the other day when I finished that book by the minimalists and then looked over the minimalist blogs I've been following since my shower epiphany in March, I realized something.  There is GOOD coming from that miscarriage.  I've learned so much.  I've changed my thinking patterns - maybe in a very small way, but I've done it.  I look forward to posting something new on my blog.  I feel happy that there are people reading my thoughts, even if the numbers are small in comparison to real blogs out there.  I have found books and quotes and people who make me feel alive and validated and....happy?  Oh man, I think it's true, despite my swearing to my husband through my sobs that I never wanted to be happy about anything ever again (I have a tendency to get a bit dramatic when things don't go my way.  And when I haven't eaten for a while).

It all made me think of this quote I love:

"I do not believe that every adversity that comes into our lives does so because it is necessary in His grand plan.  I am confident that we face many things that the Father of us all would rather we avoid.  The cruelties of men, the ravages of nature, the weaknesses of our physical bodies may bring to us burdens not in the majestic plan of a loving God.  Life brings them, life in its imperfect scope, life in a fallen world, yet a life that still contains immeasurable joys and fulfillment.  I believe that God does not burden us with many of the adversities that we face - but that does not mean that He cannot or will not turn them to our advantage."
-S. Michael Wilcox

Monday, June 2, 2014

Permission to be me

Last night I finished a book called Everything that Remains by "the minimalists" Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.  I read it in 3 days.  It only took so long because I have a 3-year-old to chase around.  I loved it.

This will probably not make any sense, but reading their book was like getting permission to be the person I've always been in my heart of hearts.  See, I've always felt so insecure in my habits and opinions and interests.  I constantly apologize for the way I am, the views I hold, the simplicity I crave, the tv I don't watch, the gadgets I don't buy, the career I don't have...  I have been sure that I must be lazy or unmotivated or, well....just plain weird.  THAT'S still up for debate....

Joshua is the main author of the book and he tells the story (that is becoming more and more common, I think) of his quick rise to a six figure income, his increasing debt, his divorce, his loneliness and depression as he tries to consume his way to happiness, fight his way up the corporate ladder, and basically live the American Dream and keep up with the Joneses.  Or rather, stay one step ahead of the Joneses.  A series of events leads him to seriously analyze his life, his priorities, his direction, his lack of happiness.  He hears about a guy named Colin Wright who lives a minimalist lifestyle.  This leads him to a bunch of other minimalist websites (a few of which I have links to from this blog) and he and his friend Ryan both drastically change their lifestyles.

I'm not going to attempt explaining what their new lifestyle looks like or what the definition of minimalism is.  But you can read about it HERE.  Read it!  It will be way better than anything I can say!  The thing I love most about it is that it can be applied to anyone, anywhere, in any circumstances.  It's about getting rid of the stuff in your life that isn't working, and then focusing on your passions and filling your life with the things that truly bring you joy.  It's constantly asking yourself, "Does this thing add value to my life?"

If you're still reading this soapbox post, here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

"Minimalism has allowed me to eliminate the other distractions from my life, things that, when you step back and look at the big picture, just don't matter as much as we think they do...Relationships that I clung to without a good reason.  Bad habits. Silly activities that took my time and money and energy.  Minimalism has helped me identify those things so I can remove them from my life and focus on things I'm passionate about, things I truly care about." 
-Colin Wright

"There is more joy and fulfillment in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more." 
-Joshua Becker

"...I finally saw the light:  I was never going to feel happy or complete based on anything outside of me."

"Imagine a life with less clutter, less stuff, fewer distractions.  What would it look like?  Imagine your life with less - less stress, less debt, less discontent.  What would it feel like?  Now imagine your life with more - more time, more contribution, more elation.  Imagine better, more interesting relationships.  Imagine sharing meals and conversations and experiences and smiles with people who have similar interests and values and beliefs as you..."  (this paragraph went on forever, but you get the idea.  If you want the whole thing, let me know)
-Joshua Fields Millburn

I'm sort of preaching the gospel of minimalism now.  My parents came over on Saturday and I couldn't shut up about it...the contents of our shed strewn about the lawn surrounding us as we talked...we are doing some serious de-junking.  And it feels so good.

I'm taking baby steps.  I'm not even close to being a minimalist, but reading that book and keeping up with these blogs are changing the way I think.  And, as I said earlier, they are validating thoughts and practices I've grown up with...since my mom took me school shopping at thrift stores and made me ask myself before any purchase at the mall, "Do I HAVE TO have this?"  For years I have felt suffocated by the person I'm supposed to be.  The person the commercials and magazines and billboards tell me I have to be.  It's so refreshing to read a whole book(!) about people who are swimming against the current too.  I FEEL preachy.  Sorry.  It's just really ringing true for me.  Check it out.  I HAVE to spread the word :)