We are all guilty of it. We wake up, thankful for a new day, we breathe in the morning sunshine, enjoy a yummy breakfast, freshen up with a hot shower and then it happens.
We set up all of our expectations for that day.
The to-do lists, the things that must get done, for ourselves and for others. It's ever growing with new goals, new chores... things we didn't get to yesterday (or last week) get added to it and before you know it, every last minute of the day ahead is already accounted for.
But sometimes, God has a different plan for our day. Or our bodies have a different plan for our day. Sometimes someone we love needs us to fit into the plans of their day.
It's in these moments and on these days I'm learning to be kinder to myself.
Today was one of those days for me. Scheduled to work both my jobs, cook dinner, continue spring cleaning and take a new dance class, I set out ready to take the day by storm. But today was a day my body simply said "no, today we are going to be kind to me. Go slower, take a nap, or two." At work it was hard to be there, my hormone issues are making PMS almost unbearable to the point of physical illness. But I choose to see the good. Part of my work included a massage that helped alleviate some pain and nausea. I thanked God for this.
When I got home, I knew how many hours I needed to be able to write quality stories, but I also knew it was still early, so I made an anti-inflammatory smoothie, put on my ocean waves app and took a 20 min power nap. My body thanked me for doing so, I in turn thanked God again, and I was able to not only write for four solid hours without much pain, I also got to go back and put in an hour of work that I wasn't able to do this morning.
Now, as for dance class. It's something I've been looking forward to for months, so I'm in prayer that my ultimate healer would dance with me through it and as I type this entry I am back in bed with a heat pack and comfy blankets.
And that's ok.
Because sometimes you just have to listen to what you should be doing, instead of what you THINK you should be doing. And be kind to yourself. Don't just take life one day at a time, take it one moment at a time. Because sometimes taking it one day at a time, when a day in the life of a modern woman can include so many variables, can overwhelm you into leaving out God and time for rest, connection and healing.
So maybe the tupperware won't get sorted, or the bathroom grout won't be scrubbed until its glistening. I use to stress myself into an anxious tizzy about these things. Today I count what I WAS able to accomplish. And that's good enough.
Tonight Mr. Charming had to work late. He started a new job recently and he has been working his booty off. I'm so proud of him and I try to do what I can as his wife to make his nights relaxing and easy when he's put in over 12 hours at the office. Today was spent working on recapping Australia Fashion Week for the magazine, meditating, spending quality cuddle time with my dog, and spring cleaning the house. It was an amazing balance of work and play, and I feel so blessed and re-energized by this day. I also had some time to catch up on a couple TV shows, read some books and I watched the Thai Life Insurance commercial that went viral, and yes, it proceeded to make me tear up.
Tonight I made a new favorite dinner. We do chicken and sweet potatoes every once in a while, but its normally a rotisserie chicken and a nuked potato. Tonight, I wanted to make it special. I shredded chicken and cooked it with olive oil and fresh garlic and served it along side glorious stuffed sweet potatoes. I baked them in the oven and stuffed them full of all kinds of vegetable goodness. Click here for the full recipe. And though it was a two hour process... It. Was. Heavenly.
Mr. Charming and I are usually on the same page, he is my best friend and one of the reasons why our marriage works so well is because of what we have in common and how similarly we think. But its really special on days like today. He walked in with a long stem rose as I was plating dinner, and I just adore him for these moments. On our wedding day, almost three years ago, in his vows he said he would bring me single long stem roses on random Tuesday nights... and tonight was a random Tuesday night. The beauty in this detail just makes me fall in love all over again. It truly is the little things. Always hold on to the little things.
After our amazing dinner I surprised us with dessert. I had previously made chocolate cupcakes, the ones listed on my dessert page, but I wanted to rework the recipe and try one that didn't taste so oily. (I will be swapping out the old recipe for the new one that is listed below). The original used a lot of coconut oil and I wanted a fluffier chocolate cupcake. These turned out so fantastic. Since I don't use frosting in most of my desserts I paired them with a new Barney Butter almond butter product I splurged on at Sprout's Farmers Market. Its a new almond butter mixed with cocoa and coconut. It was yummy and reminded me of a fluffy cupcake version of a Reese's with a hint of coconut. They were delectable.
What You Will Need:
1 Cup Almond Flour
1 Tablespoon of Sugar of your choice (I used organic maple sugar)
1/2 tsp. aluminum free baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips or dairy-free dark chocolate
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 tsp. organic vanilla
2 organic eggs
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Frosting of choice or Barney Butter Cocoa + Coconut almond butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. This will be your almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, and sugar. Heat chocolate and coconut milk in a small sauce pan over medium-low until completely melted. Mix in a metal bowl with eggs, vanilla, and melted coconut oil stirring together until well mixed. Add to dry ingredients and stir until batter is formed. Pour into lined muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Cool completely, frost and enjoy!
Prepper Fest AZ is an expo that takes place each year promoting preparedness and sustainability. I knew Mr. Charming would love this expo too because of all the awesome weapon and man-oriented booths that would be featured. I wasn't wrong, I think he found more camping gear than I found food prep, haha.
And while there were some extremist booths throughout, I was on a mission to find good gluten-free food options that families could have in their preparedness kits. I also knew I wanted to find emergency lighting, emergency water storage and whatever else caught my eye. Mr. Charming was in the market to build up our fire starter options and of course peruse all the manly camping weaponry. (note: we do not hunt, but he does love to chop wood and shoot crossbows). Towards the end of our day at the expo, I stumbled upon this gem... Thrive Life Foods...
The ladies at the Thrive Life booth were so sweet and the food options were plentiful! From fruits and veggies to gluten-free freeze dried entrees they had the most options and the purest ingredients. Their website also features gluten-free recipes in which you can incorporate their dry mixes as well as additional tips for preparing and prepping your kit.
Another product that caught my eye were the emergency drinking water pouches. At the first booth we found they were $1 a piece, but we found them for $0.50 later. Not the first choice for water consumption, but great for emergencies due to it being super light, portable, and easy to stash in any bag, pocket etc.
I've wanted to try gardening for some time now, but with living in a desert climate and having no green thumb whatsoever, I haven't attempted to try, spending all that money in the process only to have everything die on me. I did however speak to someone with Tower Garden and I fell in love with this concept. Have any of you successfully grown any produce using one of these or a similar product? I'd love to have your feedback, because it seems like a nifty deal. Outside of doing it for preparedness and living off my own land, I like the idea of truly organic herbs and produce right in my own home.
We also got some little first aid items to add to our kit that we hadn't found elsewhere. As for lighting, the third thing I wanted to check out, we found some awesome solar options that you can hang throughout a tent or home. We didn't end up purchasing anything yet, but I got to see how many options there are outside of candles and flashlights.
Prepper Fest is definitely a show to check out if you're wanting to get an idea of what to incorporate into your supply kit, I certainly learned a thing or two, and its a great place to obtain the shelf stable gluten-free food. As for the general products, first aid kits, tools and basics, its cheaper to pick those up at your local store.
For more information on the Fall Show coming in September 2014 visit PrepperFestAZ.com.
I loathe falling into patterns. Old habits. The funny part is, having those feelings IS part of the old pattern. Hate, loathing, dislike... those are all dirty words I'd like to strike from my vocabulary. Well, maybe we can keep dislike around, because there are a lot of things one can dislike and still be very joyful. Recently I had set forth a plan to help me cope better with my crazy schedule and find more joy and peace throughout each day.
It included injecting my day with more time for God and me to talk. Whether it was through meditation, taking walks, sitting and breathing in His quiet stillness or through Praise Moves exercise (more on that later).
I was doing good for a little while, and even worked out my schedule to balance my career paths nicely. And then, the old pattern started again. I started over-extending my one little self, exercise went out the door, meditation soon packed its bag and followed and yesterday I found myself exhausted again of the pattern of work, work, doctors office, television, bed, work, work. I had to break it fast, because my adrenals, hormone and tummy issues just don't care for such a lifestyle.
Yesterday, when I got home from work, before I sat down to write, before I started cleaning the house or running errands, I put on my sneakers and went wandering. Not walking, simply wandering. I went down streets I didn't know, exploring parts of my neighborhood, golf course, parks, simply just wandering and letting God replace my cluttered mind with one that was simply still, relaxed and taking in the rich blue sky and subtle breeze.
I prayed, I listened to music, I stopped to take photos of anything that caught my eye and I came home refreshed. I put in a solid amount of time of social media promotion and article editing and I felt calm in doing so. When the internet went down from the water company messing with stuff outside, I got some laundry done. And last night, for the first night in over a week I meditated on God's word before running errands for our vacation.
And you know what? I still got everything done. Just in a more peaceful, and calm manner. So much of our time is spent telling ourselves we don't have time. Something that Mr. Charming tells me often is, "but you do have the time..." sometimes I believe him, sometimes I scoff in the middle of my chaotic panic, and ok, maybe sometimes on jam-packed days I don't have the time to lay on my mat for 20 min, but even if I took 5, to step away and re-center I'd feel a lot better. Below is just a list of ways you can re-center, recharge, reconnect and refresh. Try one or two each day. I've also included some of the spring beauty I saw while wandering.
1. Go Wandering - Explore parts of your town or city that you have not been to. When the mind is able to explore and process new things, its harder to stay focused on whats stressing you.
2. Guided Meditation - There are many CDs, DVDs and videos online to help you with guided meditation based on your personal religious or spiritual beliefs. I personally use an amazing CD from my counselor that you can also find on iTunes. It's a 20 minute guided meditation based on scripture titled "Being In Him". Get comfortable, close your eyes and just be.
3. Breathing Exercises - I will be incorporating this more into the fitness side of Nosh & Nurture, but for the time being, again find a quiet place, even if you only have a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. When we stress, we breathe incorrectly allowing us to feel drained, fatigued, short of breath and panicky. Breathe slowly through your nose, hold and exhale slowly. Do this until you feel noticeably calmer.
4. Move Around - So often I am at a computer 8-16 hours a day. I make it a point to get up, walk around, get outside, stretch so that I don't allow my body, mind or eyes to get overworked.
5. Be Social - And this is NOT referring to social media. SEE your friends. WRITE them letters, NOT emails, letters. Call them on the phone, facetime, skype. No texting, no IMing. Hang out. Host a dinner. Play board games. Connecting with people will help calm your system and give you an overall sense of community. Something we are created to feel a part of.
6. Do Things You Love - Not to make money, well if it does that too then all the better, but things you did maybe as a kid, or something you fell in love with later. Personally, I went to the craft store the other day and bought paint and canvases and made art for my kitchen. I've NEVER done this, I do not paint, but I was proud that I did and I felt so relaxed in doing so. I also signed up for ballet because I miss dancing and havn't done so in ten years or so. Find things that make your inner-child smile, or your soul breathe a sigh of relief from the break in your routine and do it.
7. Take Vacations - This is a huge part of how I recharge, Even if its just a staycation in town for a night. The change of scenery, the feeling of luxury, the quiet time with my husband. All helps me to recharge and refocus for the week ahead.
8. Pray - Staying in constant contact with God has been my number one. He lets me know its all OK. That my worries don't have to seem so catastrophic or big. That He is bigger than it all and I CAN take it one day at a time.
9. Live A Healthy Lifestyle - This probably goes without saying here at Nosh and Nurture, but its a HUGE part of how we feel. Eating clean, organic, non-processed food, and foods you aren't sensitive to, play a huge role in your overall well-being. Cutting out caffeine, sugar, alcohol and processed grains will limit the anxiety and stimulation that our face paced life can trigger. Getting 8-9 hours of sleep, 8-9 glasses of filtered water a day and supplementing on any vitamins or hormones your body is low or deficient in are also vital key factors in your overall health, and your ability to handle and bounce back from stressors.
10. Love - Last but not least, find people and moments to love. Fall in love with joyful moments and people in your life with all your heart. Be kind, speak kindly, don't get pulled into negativity or drama and if you are surrounded by relationships that are toxic, pray on them, evaluate if those people should truly be in your life. If so, find a way to not get wrapped up in the negative aspects, and if not, forgive and let go of those people in your life.
Welcome! My name is Mandi & I hope you stay in this happy little space a while. I'm a Christian, a wife to my Mr. Charming, mama to baby Greyson, healthy food-lover, traveler, professional journalist and Personal Nutritionist who hopes to inspire others with my story...
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