Being Mindful

I follow this blog on WordPress called the Silver Linings Project and today, as I was reading her blog,  I came across one of her posts titled: Mindfulness for skeptics.  I wasn’t sure what to think so I clicked to read on it.  It was a good read, so take some time to read it… Actually, I really like her entire blog so far.  I am excited to follow her.  You may be asking yourself why I am writing on this particular post and I will say it is because I believe it is something I need to do… work on.  Being mindful.  I was cleaning off the desk right after church and found an article from August in the Good Housekeeping magazine that I had set aside to read.  I took a quick glance and I saw the title that said:

If your dream is to feel more Focused & Energized, Try this when you get home….

Do you know what #1 is?  “Walk your way to MINDFULNESS”.  Apparently someone is trying to tell me something here.  Good Housekeeping’s mindfulness reads as such:

The lapping of the waves, the view from the mountaintop, the clouds rolling by… noticing the beauty around you is a form of meditation, and it can clear your mental cobwebs.  Research suggests that doing mindfulness meditation for 30 minutes a day may actually change the brain’s structure, beefing up areas related to performance on challenging tasks.  And you can meditate wherever you are, even while walking down the street. “Put your right foot forward and think the word right, then put your left foot forward, thinking the word left, says Reeve.  Even doing dishes mindfully helps.  When you’re in the here and now, you can tune out distractions and unproductive thoughts and concentrate more deeply on your goal.

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I like the picture above because it represents so much of how we live, think, and act.  What if… just, what IF we lived in the here and now.  What IF we kept our mind in the here and now?  I know I personally spend way too much time worrying about the future (that could even me the next 5 minutes).  It has paralyzed me at points in my life.  I also spend way too much time beating myself up for what I did in the past.  What IF we let it go because it can’t be undone anyway.

I sit here writing about this and I laugh because I am really interested in this person I am becoming.  The one who has embraced a lifestyle focused on natural healing (as much as possible) through essential oils, who is learning how to recognize anxiety and confront it head on, but who is also the person still looking for the calm.  The one who is on a path towards calm in this insanely fast, furious, and out of control world of ours.  There is peace and there is calm.  It’s inside of me.  It’s inside of you… we just have to tap into it.  We have to be “mindful” …here and now.

ImageIn peace, love, & health,

Noel

Raw Material

This past week I decided I wanted to make 15 bean soup from scratch.  I wanted to know what it was like to cook a soup like this from scratch  It seemed easy enough, just required time.  I looked at the recipe and it said to soak beans overnight or for 8 hours.  I chose the overnight option.  Easy enough… beans, water, go to sleep and deal with it tomorrow.  Loving this receipt already. I went about my day not bothering to go back and look back at the recipe until around 3 PM.  The next step was to drain the beans and cook for 2 hours… uh oh.  I looked at the clock and thought, “No big deal, I have time.”  I immediately got the beans cooking.

As they were simmering I decided to do something crazy and rake leaves.  They were on my nerves.  As I was outside doing my thing something gnawed at me and told me to head inside and check the recipe again.  When I did, I slightly freaked out a bit.  See it was 5:00 PM at this time…the beans had soaked, drained, and then simmered.  They were ready for the rest of the ingredients to be thrown in… except my ingredients were not ready.  See, I *looked* at the recipe, but I did not *read* the recipe.  Big difference.

The recipe said to saute diced onions, celery, carrots, & cubed chicken prior to putting them in with the beans.  My head said to just throw it all in there and let it cook… be done with it.  I was getting frustrated and a tad nervous.  These beans had been cooking for a long time now!  What if they were going to be extra mushy, what if the flavor was not good, what if I left something else out, what if everyone hates this and I have to order pizza.  My fears started creeping up but I had to continue with the recipe… we were getting hungry.   As I finally got all of the ingredients FINALLY in with the beans, I simmered for about 30 more minutes and prayed it would be okay.  This whole working with raw foods gig was not an easy process.

Raw material is defined as “the basic material from which a product is made“.

Using raw materials is time consuming.  Each piece has to be properly handled.  Had I not soaked the beans, they would have been hard.  Had I not sauteed the chicken, I would have possibly poisoned my family with salmonella.  Had I followed the directions as they were written I would have not freaked out and gotten frustrated with the process.  Thankfully, the soup turned out delicious.  I felt really good about it but resolved to read the directions… not just look at it.

Thinking about this soup made me think of my emotions.  They are raw.  My emotions can get the best of me, especially when I lose control.  I turn into a bratty 5 year old throwing a fit.  When I lose control, I lose focus.  I fall into a deep abyss of guilt, regret, sadness, failure, and anxiety.  I have to work really hard to get myself back to where I was… my happy place.  If I am really stuck, I will grab my Wild Orange essential oil and place a drop in my hand… rub them together and find my way back to happy.  Once I calm, I regain my focus.  I search for the positive things and the logical, rational woman that I prefer to be returns!

Recently, I have noticed that my 14 year old son reacts the exact same way as I do.  His raw emotions explode just like mine do and react in the exact same way.  It makes me sad because I know he learned this behavior by watching me… and plus, he is freakishly just like me even though I did not birth him.  Nurture wins!  Or in this case, could lose.  I have realized that I truly need to get a grip, not just for myself, but for the sake of my son’s emotions.  I have to change, but how?

I am a raw piece of material.  We all are.  My change will not happen overnight.  No change ever does. It will come one step at a time, but change can happen if we want it.  It will have to be small and it will have to follow a plan.  Here it goes:

  1. Recognize that you are raw material.  You will need to pieced together slowly and possibly need help.
  2. Take your focus off the negative and turn it to the positive. Think happy thoughts!
  3. Recognize what you can and can’t control.  Let got of what you can’t control… it’s not your battle.
  4. Always be thankful for something.  Find one thing every day to be thankful for.
  5. Realize your reactions can change your environment.  A happy Mom is a happy home.  🙂

None of these will happen overnight or all at once.  You’ll have to soak for a while, then saute your focus until positive, add the positivity to your emotions, and release unnecessary control.  While releasing, find something to be thankful for.  Smile and relax because you just changed your emotions.  🙂

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Postive Affirmation

Postive Affirmation

If you feel that others are talking bad about you, why do you join in with them? Speak positive words about yourself. It’s not conceited to appreciate who you are. You are worth, beautiful, strong, powerful, amazing, and loved. Believe it!

A simple truth

I love our Pastor.  I love the excitement and energy she brings to the Lord’s word.  I love how Jesus is using her to reach out to the community around us.  One that is often overlooked and forgotten.  One where passing residents turn their noses to because the dynamics of the area has changed.  It’s sad really because this area used to be thriving and full of life.  The point is, she inspires me.  I listen when she speaks.  Partly because she is my Pastor and it would be rude to not listen, but it’s mainly because she is normally speaking directly to me even when she is unaware of it.  Let’s take today for instance….

Her sermon today was titled, “Gotcha”.  She shared the scripture from Like 20:27-38 showing how the Sadducees were trying to get Jesus to look like a fool.  To see if he would answer their questions in a way that would make him look like he was stupid, crazy, and less than who he was.  In their need to be right and in power, they were okay coming at him. The beauty of Jesus was that he didn’t let them get to him.  He stood on the truth of God and he let that be his guide.  He wasn’t snarky or degrading back.  He was kind, rational, and simply told the truth.  He stood firm in who he was and didn’t allow their pettiness to get the best of him.  Their need for power got so bad that it cost him his life on the cross, but their quest could not keep him from rising from the grave as our Savior.  Their mission, ultimately, failed. 

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Listening to the sermon my mind started racing to my own life.  I have had people go out of their way to belittle me, degrade me, and make me feel unworthy.  I have no idea what I did to them for them to treat me this way, but they did.  For me, these were people whom I thought were my friends.  Silly me, I know.  I stayed committed to these relationships because I am not one to dump another person if we have different priorities.  I also want to be a source of light and not darkness in this world.  I don’t pre-judge people.  Everyone starts off with a clean slate because I do believe there is good in every heart… just some hearts are a bit hardened and the good can’t escape easily.  I will befriend people even when my gut instinct tells me to run fast because I want so badly for the good, loving, and simple truth of Jesus to triumph.  That sounds dramatic, but it’s true.  How can I claim to be a Christian if I can’t show kindness to people I know are going to hurt me?  Jesus did.  He showed constant love and kindness to every type of person.  I can too.  It doesn’t mean that I am okay with being hurt, it just means that I am not foolish enough to believe that someone isn’t going to try to hurt me.  Our personalities might not mesh, our lifestyles different, our priorities too far apart.  This might make others uncomfortable and they will, in the end, hurt me.  I will stay true to who I am.

I have never had an agenda when becoming friends with someone other than to get to know them and embrace who they are in the world.  I have no “Gotcha” moment in store for anyone, however I will not allow people to “get” me more than once.  If you fool me once, I will stand up for myself and I will do so in a way to that is respectful and in truth.  At least that I what I aim for.  I will stand in the simple truth of who I am and know that my spirit is good.

I have another friend who is experiencing someone who is literally trying to catch her doing something wrong.  It’s sickening.  She is one of the most kindhearted, loving, non judgmental person I have ever know.  She is a true light in the world, living out the mission Jesus set forth for her.  It’s not a pretty mission but one she follows strong.  For someone to try to belittle her, bully her, and try to “get” her baffles me.  It’s people like my friend that the world needs more of.  We have no idea why the lady coming after her does not like her or her ways, but it’s been hard.  It was hard on Jesus too.  To know people hated him for existing, to know that he was constantly being challenged and to know that he was ultimately going to die at the hands of these power hungry people had to be extremely overwhelming.  He stayed true to who He was.  Jesus, the Messiah.  I pray my friend stays true to who she is is.  She will rise above this stronger and more firm in her mission than ever before… I just know it!

Have you ever been that person?  The one that decided you didn’t like a person for whatever reason that you wanted to do everything you could to bring them down?  Were you the person on the receiving end?  Have you ever wanted to be in control, power, or considered as right all of the time that you put others down?  Were you the one that was put down?  Whichever one you are in this situation, you have a choice in how you react and deal with it.  You have the simple truth of Jesus.  You have His word, unconditional love, grace, and mercy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s easier said than believed.  I get that.  In the midst of our raw emotions we feel abandoned and alone.  When we want power, control, applause we are engulfed in its fantasies that we don’t care who we hurt in the process.  Jesus had more power than anyone at the time and he never resulted to playing a game of Gotcha.  He stayed true to who he was and the simple truth of God.  Choose this.  Choose to be the person who chooses kindness, love, openness…. the results are not as immediate but they are far more rewarding and powerful than any “Gotcha” game ever played.

Choose to live and behave in the simple truth of God’s love for you.

In peace, love, and health,

Noel

 

 

*Disclaimer…. I am sure I have responded to pesky people in pesky ways… I am by no means perfect. I am 100% positive I did not respond like Jesus and played my fair share of Gotcha games once started. I am a work in progress and work hard to be like Christ. Just wanted to be clear and speak in truth.

Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna Roll Ups

Tonight I lived up to my last name and cooked us up a mean meal for dinner.  I found a recipe on Pinterest and the picture looked really good so I reviewed the recipe.  I didn’t like a lot of the ingredients so I eliminated quite a few and made up my own because that’s how I roll.  I came up with a Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna Roll Up.  It was so good!

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(Photo from http://www.closetcooking.com)

Slightly diff ingredients, looks the same though.

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 8 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • 1 pre-washed bag of spinach
    • Jar of Spaghetti Sauce of choice (I went with Classico’s tomato basil)
    • 8 lasagne noodles, cooked
    • 15 oz ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
How to make it…..
For the spinach-mushroom mixture:
    1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until for about 15 minutes
    2. Add the garlic and thyme to the mushrooms and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
    3. Add the wine and let it cook for about 1 minute.
    4. Add the spinach and cook until tender, about 10 minutes
For the lasagne roll ups:
  1. Cook the lasagne noodles per package instructions.
  2. Lay the lasagne noodles out, spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixed with the Parmesan onto each lasagna noodle, top with the spinach-mushroom mixture and a tablespoon of the spaghetti sauce and roll up the noodles.
  3. Spread 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan, place the lasagne roll-ups in, top with a drop of ricotta cheese mixture, the mozzarella cheese, and remaining spaghetti sauce.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown on top and bubbling on the sides, about 25-30 minutes.

It’s been a while for me to come up with a meal that I got to make how I like it.  Cooking has always made me happy because it is something that we can all enjoy immediately and there is immediate satisfaction with it.  It’s fun.  Tonight was a fun and yummy evening in our home.  I hope you like this recipe… if not, you can totally do what I did and make it to your own taste buds!

In peace, love, and health!

The breakfast battle

I love breakfast.  I hate processed breakfast foods.  Processed breakfast foods never fill me up.  Fresh breakfast foods take too long to make.  Do you know what I do?  I end up skipping the most important meal of the day.  How wrong is that?!  Do you know what is even more wrong than skipping it?  I make sure my kids eat breakfast every morning, but I don’t stop to dine with them.  STUPID! 

My husband and I had this awesome discussion about why we do not include breakfast as part of our day.  Ready for this? It’s because we wake up too late.  Why do we wake up too late?  It’s because we stay up too late.  Why do we stay up too late?  It’s so we can catch up on work, fold clothes, clean up dishes, watch a TV show, talk, and whatever else has to be done.  We are always on the go.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?  So, what do we do about it?  As we talked about how we can make positive changes in our life we both came back to breakfast.  Everything starts with breakfast. 

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So, we have made a decision that we are going to take another step towards a more simple life.  We are going to eat breakfast. We know this will help our energy in the morning and our metabolism.  By eating breakfast, we are purposely moving towards a healthier lifestyle which will then lead us to be sure we eat lunch.  I know some of you may think this is nuts that we tend to “forget” to eat or that we don’t make time for it during the day.  Part of it is because we are so sick and tired of eating “fast food” and since we are always on the go… that’s what we usually eat.  No more!  We are taking our metabolism back, we are taking our health back, we are taking our time back and we are doing this by just eating breakfast. 

This is a battle that we are going to win!  Now… what are we going to eat?  It needs to be quick, simple, and healthy.  If you have any easy breezy recipes, I would love to hear them.  Send them my way!  If you are in the same rut as we are and ready to make a simple change, I challenge you to join in!  I have a feeling that this isn’t going to be as easy as I think it’s going to be but it is really quite simple.  First thing I have to do is get to the grocery store!  On my way now!