Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 2011 Gifts

In no particular order:

1. I found out a month ago my sister Tami is pregnant again...an early present :)....but I found out yesterday that her husband was in fact going to allow 'us' to find out the sex!! I'm so excited, this is the first neice/nephew I will know in advance!

2. Several years ago my family decided we were done with presents for each other and would much rather just enjoy our time together and only spend money on the kids. This year my other family (Sean's family) decided that from now on that's what we're going to do as well! Yay!  I'm not a humbug by any means, I really love giving gifts, but it's very hard to buy them presents so usually just exchange gift cards anyway. We've been trying to get them on board with this for a few years!

3. The hilarity that ensues when my family plays games at Christmas.  We played this one again this year...
Some examples: everyone is supposed to name a 'thing you would like to do in a blackout'...answer 1 - kick Kellin in the nuts, answer 2 - fondle, kiss, cuddle.  It took us all round to get Sean was answer 1, even though it's pretty obvious :)  Dad unfortunately was the owner of answer 2 :(  Then last question was 'some thing you wish you didn't know'....best answer - that dad wants to fondle, lol! Tami, that was a good one.

4. The Bible I'm getting with the Hull's gift certificate I received!  I've really been wanting a few different Bibles, a Parallel Bible, an Amplified Bible, an Archaelogical Bible....I found the Expanded Bible that has a good combination of all those versions :) I had to order it because they only had a boring hard cover, but it's worth the wait.

5. Almost a whole day of my neice Brooklynn stuck to my side. Usually this lasts for a shortwhile but everytime I turned around she was next to me or saving a spot for me. I love it.

6. And of course, as usual, the huge smiles (or otherwise equally adorable looks) on all the kids' faces as the magic of Christmas takes place. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stewardship Saturday

So here is a recap of my 2011 Stewardship Steps and how I've grown through the year, for more details you can search my label "Stewardship".  I am much preferring this to type of 'to do' list, not because I was able to accomplish so much more of my list, but most of the items I was doing without even monitoring it against my list, it truly is a reflection of my heart and what I want my life to look like!

Stewardship of My Finances
1. Before buying anything new first consider reusing/recycling -this is something I still have to work on better, but not being able to find a suitable used item to buy did sway me from buying some things altogether, realizing we could live without them. Part of the Financial Peace course talked about where to find bargains, I think if I have enough time in 2012 I'm going to do more garage sale/consignment store shopping!
2. Smarter money management - with the Financial Peace course I was able to pay off $2500 in debt and save $500 in just 2 months, as well as on track to pay off another $3000 by Spring, and to pay off our vehicle 1.5 years early.
3. Give more tithe than we already give - already have a plan (again, thanks to Financial Peace course :) to move money from an area that shouldn't have been used as an investment, upon cancelling that we'll be using the cash value we built up towards our Church's building fund.
4. Cap my Stampin’ Up! expenses to 50% of 2010 expenditures- not only did I just about stop all expenses altoghether, but I went out of business and sold off about 66% of my inventory for a decent amount....which helped pay off debt.

Stewardship of My Home
5. Schedule a small Fly Lady tactic every day, to maintain a tidy & welcoming home without a LOT of effort - as I've mentioned, I'm not quite on par with the 'per day', but my whole home has been in a state of easy maintenance for most of the year, especially with short notice guests, it takes hardly any effort to make our home more welcoming and tidy.
6. Establish a list of at least 60 staple recipes and rotate in a 12 month menu - My meal plans ended up being 90 in number, which I organized by meat/flavor and rotated per week, then OAMC/d most of the meat after a Costco shop. This plan has kept me right on track, I blogged them all with the title "What's on the Table Tuesday".  It's been a life saver and will be doing it again next year!
7. Make as much food from scratch as possible to avoid unnecessary preservatives & packaging & cost - I have made the following from scratch this year:
~roasted red peppers    ~almond butter      ~homemade broth   ~oregano infused olive oil & vodka
~tomato sauce with stewed veggies and spices   ~dry soup mixes (no chemical or preservatives)

~roasted turkey for OAMC as well as lunch meat, instead of deli meat   ~homemade granola
~naturally flavored my plain yogurt   ~flavor infused rice in my rice cooker
~homemade dressings with veggies blended with mayo (bought with no unpronouncable ingredients)
~homemade tomato soup  ~homemade turkey stew   ~homemade fries in my Actifry

8. Improve yard, by installing brick patio, add BBQ pit & replace broken sidewalk - due to our finance goals changing, and a few unplanned for expenditures, this will be on hold for awhile, but still want to use discarded sand bags from the city to lay brick over, and will still utilize the annual summer deal we get an inside scoop on.
9. Finish improvements to upstairs bathroom - all finished as per this post.

Stewardship of My Body
10. Create a list of weekly weight loss motivators/challenges to last through year - although I stopped following the list after a few months I have in other ways built up some of these as habits and that was what I wanted to do, was create more awareness of my actions and develop good habits. I work out on the treadmill twice a week unless I walk significant amounts outside the house.  I wake up at 6 am to do weights or pilates at least 2 times per week, aim for 4 times per week. I snack way less and more healthy when I do, drink more water and less sugary drinks, eat in moderation and no longer eat based on how much I've worked out. I eat more clean foods (partly 'less processed', partly based on the Maker's Diet).
11. Lose 20lbs and maintain that weight - I have lost 12 lbs and with my new 'whole health' perspective I am confident I can shed the rest of the weight.
12. Try a Zumba class to make being active enjoyable again - I did not have a chance to try this after all, but with running becoming more enjoyable again I'm not too worried.  A friend of mine is hoping to get trained as a Zumba instructor and so I look forward to still trying this one day, and as her student would be even better!
13. Create/maintain a better daily health routine - I have to love my body and not just my image, my body is also affected by how I treat my skin, my teeth, taking my vitamins, etc. I have remarkedly improved in this area and actually have reduced the amount of nose bleeds I normally get due to taking allery medication and nasal flushing habits. My hip hasn't been a problem all year, probably due to increased activity and vitamins.

Stewardship of My Earth
14. Assist composting with more room in yard & kitchen caddy - we removed a bush to make room for a large compost area and I recycled plastic containers to make my own kitchen caddy.
15. Grow my own vegetables, fruit, herbs or purchase from Farmer’s Market - my experiment with container gardening wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, my carrots and peas were tiny and my peppers never came in at all, but I got a bush of oregano I have to end up giving most of it away!  I did learn from it though and hope to make modifications to make it more successful next year.  And I did hit the farmers market a few times, which was mostly good, although worms in the broccoli was not something I was a fan of.  Having a 1000 ml container of honey for $5 I do like!
16. Have a 100 mile meal once a month - I wasn't nearly as diligent as I'd hoped I would be with this, meat is the hardest to be intentional about so I hope realizing that I can do better than 4 meals per year next year.
17. Use organic/natural herbicides & pesticides - with container gardening I didn't have to use pesticides and I did find an organic herbicide but due to the frequent rainy weather I ended up manually pulling all our weeds this year.  That's a natural weed killer :)
18. Find 3 more ‘One Million Acts of Green’ I can try - it was hard to find 3 because most of what' left on the list is pretty major. I wanted to try conserving more water (which I learned about during my Justice Journey), turning off/unplugging my computer - and as many other appliances as I can remember - daily, and drying my clothes instead of using the dryer. I did somewhat well with the appliances, water conservation I could do better in some areas but I've really tried to multi-use cleaning water and we also got a free kit from the City of Winnipeg to attach to our shower heads to reduce water.  I dried a few pieces of clothes on our inside clothes line but didn't even get one whole load on the outside line for drying.  I blamed the moist weather we seemed to get every other day in the summer, but I'm sure I could have found a way. Another one to try next year.

Stewardship of My Talents/Purpose
19. Blog truth insights I receive - these are fewer and farther between than they used to be, but I believe I'm sharing a different kind of insight now...when I get a chance to blog. My time and my insights have mostly been shared now with my Recovery group every Friday night.
20. Start focusing on developing my other creative tendancies other than papercrafts  - things I've created in the last year:
~ frames for my bathroom     ~ bracelet for myself    ~ started sewing a purse from old tank tops
~ started saving old clothes for pieces of a quilt I'm going to sew  ~ wrote a poem
~ created our 2011 Christmas photo card

21. Capture memories in scrapbooks and photobooks, finishing at least one of each - I couldn't finish my wedding scrapbook because the type of pages used by that album are extinct! I might have to try ebay. But I did finish a dating 'scrapbook' that I did through blurb books, it has the ease of creating a photo book but I could use digital scrapbooking pretties to make it look at some points like a scrapbook.
22. Continue at least one entry per journal per month - I only did this about every other month, but it's something I still want to strive at.
Stewardship of My Communities
23. Set aside at least 2 hrs per week for quality time with Sean, not including date nights - this may have been a bit ambitious in hindsight, maybe a total of 6 hours per month is more reasonable. We did however spend a lot of time serving next to each other, which was definitely quality time :)
24. Donate blood at least once - due to my tattoo retouch I wasn't allowed to give until September....when I got crazy busy.  Gotta try for this one again next year.
25. Volunteer to help someone with something they can’t do for themselves 2x per year - have done more than 2 times this year! Puppy fostering for several months, giving rides to friends without a vehicle, we even tried to pay for someone in financial need to be able to take the Financial Peace course but this term no one needed our donation.
26. Babysit one or some of my nieces/nephew(s) at least once - babysat all of them once and the girls twice.
27. Organize/host at least one gathering of friends every other month - this was completely on pace, actually ahead of my goal, until September hit, but most of my 'gatherings' have been one-on-one with girlfriends since then.
28. Invite at least two couples from Church into our home for a meal - yay! I got a 100% on this one! Although technically one was in our backyard not IN our home :)
29. Volunteer in mentorship opportunities at Church - well....there is that little thing I do called Celebrate Recovery every Friday night.

Stewardship of My Growth
30. Step out of my comfort zone, and any time I get a case of ‘that’s not me’s’, attempt to try whatever it is anyway - nothing significant in this area comes to mind...of course I could be getting better at not labeling myself in the first place.
31. Learn to play guitar - I received another lesson this summer and realized I need much shorter nails to keep that up. Oh, and more time.
32. Read all non-fiction books on my shelf - got through 2 of the 6 and had another 5 added to my shelf :(
33. Improve my photography skills - this may have to be a backburner, it's been on my list for far too many years now, with no time put to this at all really.  But maybe if I put it on my list I'll actually be reminded that it's important enough to be on my list, and give it a whirl during some free time, lol.
34. Media fast one day per month - I actually completely forgot about this one after my fast in the Spring, but I've probably 'accidently' done this most months.
35. Keep up prayer journal and bible study blog - well, unfortunately the same tale, same sad ending for this goal.  However I did create a prayer 'checklist' on my iPhone, one for all the important people in my life and other prayer requests that come up, so when I'm staring at my phone looking for something to entertain me while bored, I can be prompted with who needs prayer for what. I did also start listening to the New Testament on CD in the car and I finished the whole NT just a few days ago. I should get the OT version for next year.

Stewardship of Living My Life
36. Read to relax and be entertained in a healthy way - only got through one fiction book
37. Take a trip with hubby to Las Vegas - no trips until all but vehicle and house debt is paid off.

38. Go to at least one Folklorama pavilion - yup, went with mom and sisters
39. Go out on the town by myself3 times - only did 2 out of 3 times, but I got a mani-pedi one time! No art gallery this year though, maybe next year.
40. Take at least 4 hours per month to pamper myself - as I wrote in one of my last posts, pampering myself hasn't been quite as important to me as it once was. I still should make some time now and then to unwind in a bubble bath though.

Can't wait to start on my next list!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My home away from home....

....is our Church.  I've mentioned a little about it's growing and how exciting this time is for our Church family.  We've been growing in leaps and bounds for about 4 years now but between wanting to stay in Elmwood and needing more Sunday morning seating our options have been rejected over and over again for quite awhile now. In the mean time we've squeezed in a third service but in a building down the street (at MBCI) which we have to rent, we had to buy two sets of visual/sound equipment, AND our staff have to run back and forth between the buildings to serve at all 3 services!  It's not an ideal location so it's been hard to get people to move over to that service (us included, we tried it and just couldn't hack it).

Then, our Pastor, during the GL Summit's session on Audacity, heard God saying our building plans were not audacious enough, and that we had to first set our audacity towards seeking the lost, reaching even more people rather than a fancy new building, and God would provide once we were doing that. So that's what he preached from the pulpit, and then a few weeks later he went to a conference for growing Churches and found a model that tugged at his heart. There was one Church there that instead of building one ginormous Church they decided to aquire smaller buildings within walking distance of where they already were and each place would have it's own live worship music and announcements and coffee time, kidzone would be in the main building, but the message part would be a live feed of the sermon at the satellite location.  And you never knew which building the actual live pastor would be at or if you were getting the feed that Sunday :) This type of model could give us a total of 2000 seats at about 1/4-1/5th the cost of one 2000 seat building! We already have a second smaller building we could maybe utilize this way.
All of a sudden, shortly after he came back, several smaller buildings near by all became available for sale!  A plan began to form. 
Here's a bit what that looks like:

Riverwood Building Tour, Supper & Vote from Riverwood Church on Vimeo.

Our members voted 100% in favor of going ahead with a bid on a property just a month ago that we we are now signing paper work to purchase, that would also give us parking we were sorely lacking, as well as a second building that is almost auditorium ready, that would give us about 300-400 seats, so up to 900 more seats Sunday mornings, as well as room for even more buildings to be built in the future.  Then the old YFC (Youth For Christ) building talked about in this clip was also just voted on, on the 11th and passed with 98% approval and our bid was just accepted this last week!

We are SO excited about the potential for our Church and our different ministries to grow with this plan! And it's interesting that the Church Sean first attended with me exactly 10 years ago was our Church plant from Southland (my Steinbach home Church) and it was held in this very YFC building.  It's amazing how God works, Merry Christmas to Riverwood, what a gift!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wellness Wednesday

Well, I'm happy to report that even though my weight 'pendulum' did swing back about 2-3 lbs, I lost those again and another 2 lbs! I may not have gone down a whole size but my size 14 pants are all very loose, some in a flattering way :) and some are just about to fall off all together and make me look like I lost my butt, lol.
Here's what I looked like in a certain shirt where I couldn't hide my gut, and what I look like in it now. The pants I'm wearing in the second pic were my tightest pair.

I'm lovin' this new healthy living. I've stopped counting calories, I haven't even been doing my 15 min. weights/pilates every morning, I've been eating Christmas baking and have eaten out a little more lately, but I've been paying attention to when I'm full more, I've stopped most weekday evening snacking, as well as sticking to my 2 detox days & 1 vegetarian day each week. I feel like I have way more freedom than I've had the last 4 years since I orginally began this weightloss journey.  And I'm 2 lbs lighter than the low I hit in fall of 2008 when I was working at it the hardest. 
Back then I hit 30 lbs total since early 2007, now I've lost 32 lbs. 32lbs!!! That's almost the size of my neice!!

Not to mention I probably lost about 15 lbs back in early 2003 (just before our wedding). This is me at my heaviest.

And I lost about another 5 lbs in 2005. So, from my heaviest point to now I've lost about 50 lbs! When you tack on the weight of another (albeit tiny) human to your body it's a little eye opening how overweight I was. And even though I feel I have about another 10 lbs to go, it makes me feel so able to conquer the last (and likely hardest) bit of weight.  It may have taken me 8 years but I've lost almost 50 lbs, I can handle another 10. God has given me so many tools and support systems along the way, and he's given me value for myself that I used to never have. I am a new creation, my mind has been renewed, and in turn so has my body. PTL.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's on the Table Tuesday

Well, this is the last week of my meal plan, I can hardly believe it lasted almost 4 months!! Portions will likely be changing in my future pre-packing of these recipes because we had more leftovers than anticpated, but otherwise I'm so excited to try this again, and likely will be over the holidays! I am of course revising my list somewhat, as I have changed me dietary needs since I first created this list, and I think I may add in a few new recipes to try out as well, but this has made my life SO much easier and our grocery budget SO much cheaper :)

So, without further ado, here are the last of my meals, which actually don't follow my current dietary weekly plan, but it's all that's left over so gotta eat it :)

Ham Melts - Going to fry up some slices of ham from a honey ham roast, add them to some rye bread with mustard and mozarella and stick in my paninni press. Yum.

Spicy Peanut Spring Stir-Fry - which I'll be serving over brown rice. I can eat it without the carbs (like I did a few weeks ago with the chicken variation, although those shanghai noodles are hard to pass up!) but if I add a complex carb it keeps my cravings at bay for the rest of the evening.

Ham Primavera - my own version of this recipe I modified, I'm going to miss it with my elimination of ham.  Maybe I'll have to try and find a good substitute and keep this fav. Farmer sausage can be bought 50% beef but still has a mostly pork flavour, maybe I can sub that.

Baked Falafel Balls  - in Naan bread with tzaziki sauce and a side of curry fried potatoes. And just a side note, my vegetarian meatballs last week I actually loved! I fried them up nice and crisp (actually forgot the beans so I used textured vegetable protein, subbed quinoa and a little panko for bread crumbs, but probably should have added some refried beans just to make it all stick together better, they were a bit crumbly) and dipped them in a little ketchup - which I usually do with meatballs anyway - and I was a happy camper. The fritters were great as well but I need to shred the veggies thinner next time as they didn't all get cooked through.

Farmer Sausage Burgers (50 pork/50 beef) - served with some saurkraut perogies for the hubby, since I can fill up on these burgers alone!

Lumaconi Pasta - a one dish casserole that I am ever so fond of!

Triple 'P' Salad - a salad my sister Jodi introduced me to and I find it an awesome way to use leftover poultry, and it has every food group all included in this delicious salad!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure, I'm glad it inspired a few of you along the way. I'll be sure to add a recipe now and again as I change things up in the future.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Night Before Christmas

Our Church has an annual tradition of having our Christmas production/service on the 24th instead of the 25th, leaving the 25th for family celebrations (other than the meal they serve at our Hope Center for the Elmwood community who have no Christmas celebrations of their own).
This year our production is looking really awesome!  Not that it isn't enjoyable every year :) But if any of my friends are into musical theatre, our Church has a very talented group of actors/singers/dancers who will be putting on a production all day Dec. 24th! It's a modern twist on an old story, a fun entertainment for the whole family. There will be hot drinks and treats, Sean and I will be hanging out in the fireside room all day, if any of you come, drop by and see us there!
Click the picture to link to all the details. And below is a little vimeo about it.

Word on the Street from Riverwood Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

She let herself go

I have found myself over the last few months paying way less attention to my looks.  Not that I’ve let myself go completely! But I’ve let myself go a little, in a good way.  I have never been high maintenance, but there are a few things I was particular about, like my hair having to be ‘just so’ – I hated stray hairs or unsmooth pony tails, etc., and I had to get rid of chipped nail polish quickly, and thinning out my eyebrows.  But, time is in short supply these days, so I haven’t stayed on top of these things like I used to.  And at first it bugged me. A few times I’ve noticed my lack of maintenance upkeep on Fridays and of course there is NO time on Fridays to sneak in a quick ‘fixer upper’, but there is another reason I end up not worrying about it.  I stop and think of the message I may be sending with having to appear 'perfect', having to have a ‘pristine finish’ to my appearance.  I may feel prettier, but a less than perfect exterior may actually be more inviting to the people I see Friday nights.  I think of when I was in my darkest moments I might have (and likely did) begrudge the 'perfection' I noticed in others.

So, I'm letting myself go.  I waited a few weeks longer than normal to touch up my roots.  I have almost every finger with chipped nail polish. I have some straggly hairs that refuse to be tamed and I don't care.  I may have worn the same top last week because I haven't had time for laundry.  And I think I'm becoming a better person for it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My God Story

Our pastor asked us recently to share our God stories on his blog, I decided to share, I hope you check it out here.  Mine is the fifth story.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

~ well, I haven't done a 'catch up' Miscellany Monday since October, thought it would be an easy way to catch up on all that's happened so far in December!

~ Dec. 3rd we went to the Doc Walker concert at Pantages Playhouse.  They are a Manitoba Country band and they haven't had a concert (except Country Fest-like concerts) since they opened for Paul Brandt back in like 2002-ish. We've been hoping they would someday soon have a concert we would attend in Winnipeg and were ecstatic to find out they were coming. We even got pre-sale tickets, front row! It was a great show!

~ Dec. 7th we started another short stay-cation because we went to the Paul Brandt/High Valley concert this evening. We see Paul Brandt everytime he comes to Winnipeg, and High Valley opening was a bonus! We've been waiting 4 years for him to come back (he came to Portage la Prairie 2 years ago, we went to that one too)! It's funny, we found out only a few days after buying Doc Walker tickets but we made it work to buy 9th row center tickets for Paul too.  His concerts get better and better every time!

~ Dec. 8-9th we took off for some errands/appointments and relax time before the holidays, since Sean couldn't use the last of his vacation time during the holidays.  Got a mani/pedi from Groupon that I used and it was actually a nice little place, I've already got plans to come back.

~ Dec. 8th our recovery leaders had our monthly meeting and it was a really awesome time of connecting.  We had a chance to share more significantly with each other, earn a little more trust with each other, pray for one of our own who is struggling medically (and prayers were immediately answered the next day!).

~ Dec. 10th was my office Christmas party which was a great time of visiting as always.  We've been trying out different venues, trying our best to combine being able to freely visit (not a table dinner where you only visit in your radius) but also a relaxing time where we are served and don't have to work at the meal in amongst visiting (like the potluck we tried last year).  I think we were closer this year, however the room wasn't as private as we thought and so other parties on the same floor kind of squashed us in a corner and we had trouble hearing each other as the evening went on.  Practice makes perfect, but it was still a really great time.

~ Dec. 11th was our annual mom and daughter Christmas baking day....which my two neices were able to help (slightly) with this year for the first time.  We of course got caught up in baking and visiting, only got half done, I forgot to take pictures, but here are some of the results :) Including the shortbread dough I had to bring home to bake tonight.

And of course, the usual bits of life have continued in amongst it all as well.  Looking forward to life quitening in a month (yes a full month), but will enjoy the time with family and friends, even amidst crazy chaos, until then.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's on the Table Tuesday

Here are the recipes for my meal plan these next two weeks:

Something Different Stew - substitute white potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Spicy Peanut Spring Stir-Fry - serve over shanghai noodles for Sean, throw in some extra veggies like waterchestnuts and babycorn for me.

Apple Onion Pork Chops - served over Fresh Quinoa Pilaf.

Shell Pasta in Marinara - (the vegetarian meal) marinade roasted veggies in tomato sauce for at least an hour, pour over pasta and sprinkle liberally with cheese.

Tuna Melts - my grill has a paninni setting, going to make some tuna salad, with chopped pickles, top with mozzarella and grill, and a side of fries (in the Actifry of course).

Crispy Ranch Chicken - substitute panko for shake n' bake, serve with sweet potatoes and a side of veggies.

Lemon Pepper Tuna Quinoa Stir-Fry - with quinoa, this grain has a lot of protein so I include it on my detox days.

Lasagna - one layer ground beef, one layer tomato sauce marinade roast veggies.  I love lasagna, especially because it will probably give me leftovers for the weekend :)

Veggie Fritters w/  Meatballs (add 3/4 cup walnuts, sub beans for soy, add onion, cook in broth)

Crab Salad Subs - we love the seafood sub from Subway, but making it our own is even better! Just mix imitation crap (shredded with a fork) with some mayo, a small squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. I top it with swiss cheese, tomatoes and black olives, yum!

Here is the host blog of Titus 2sdays, a great place for house-wifery and godly woman(wife)hood!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heal ~ Change ~ Grow - Part One

I've briefly mentioned the book Changes That Heal in my blogs over the last year, and I just can't get over how differently I relate to people now, how I've been able to let go of so much of my anxiousness, my attempt at control over situations, the world, and people.  And as I see through healed eyes I now see so much more clearly the pain of those around me.  There is no doubt this book has changed my life!

I've recommended these books to so many people, but there are a few close people who don't have time or inclination to read books like these so I've been spending some of my time trying to summarize the most key principles and blog about them so that some of them, or even just one of them, may be able to start applying these healing principles to their own life.

First of all, here are some key indicators, if they are consistent or prolonged, that something in your life needs healing, that something you are struggling with is out of control that you alone cannot change:
~Feelings of guilt                   ~Broken Relationships
~Anger/Resentment              ~Eating/Substance Issues
~Sadness                              ~Judgementalness/Highly Intolerant
~Aimlessness/Emptiness        ~Excessive Care-giving
~Panic/Anxiety                      ~Feeling Obligated
~Indirect Resistance               ~Blaming

These are just a few of the indicators, the ones I've felt personally.

So, to start I'll summarize by saying that just about every issue we have boils down to relationships; our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with others.  Not being in a healthy relationship with any of those will result in some brokenness. But what does it take to make those relationships right?

There are 2 integral ingredients, both for personal health~change~growth, and consequently healthy relationships:

God's truth - it is truth that God created the world with order and structure, laws of nature and moral law. God knew that even his original design, flawless as it was, needed guidance, needed one point of obedience, Adam & Eve had one law, not to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil. He's given us his written truth, he became living, breathing truth, and he gave us a universe full of the truths he created.

Our truth - there is reality and then there is our reality. When we live outside of healthy relationship with God and others we can create our own reality, our own truth, because we have no 3 dimensional perspective.  Only by opening ourselves to being completely honest about everything; who we are, what we've been through, what we've done, etc., can we begin to see the world as it really is and then act on that reality, instead of making choices based on the reality we created, and live alone in. Disowning our truth, our feelings (good or bad), is to ignore our responsibility for them, we can't act on what we deny, and that is one of the most destructive things we can do to ourselves and others.

Relational truth - we were created to be relational. God is a relational being, three in one, and we were created in his image...we have a built in need to have relationships because we are just 'one in one'.  And deep relationships, with truth and accountability are the kind of relationships we crave, because accountability will keep us from drifting back into hiding and hypotheticals, they will remind you of the truth you desire but forget. Only in complete relational truth will vulnerability and humility flourish.

God's grace - we are safe from condemnation with God's grace.  He doesn't want us to feel condemned  or judged, he has something to teach us but he wants to teach us in love, to give us freedom, and to give us healthy relationships, and he gives us mercy in abundance when we mess up.
In John 8:2-11, Jesus tells the adulterous woman, "Neither do I condemn you (grace). Go now and leave your life of sin (truth)."
And God knows that he who is forgiven much loves much. Luke 7:40-43, "Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them do you suppose will love him more?"

Our grace - if anyone's theology will not allow them to help someone who is hurting then their theology is not big enough to hold the love of God. Some Christians label all problems as sinful, but being sinful isn't actions or results, it is a state of being we are all in constantly. Labelling other people as sinful is trying to create a community of 'only perfect people allowed', we all know that no one is perfect or ever will be, pretending otherwise is denial. So realizing this we need to give everyone the grace we hope people will give us. Only being a grace-full person will make you a 'safe' person for other people to trust, and without trust their can be no real intimacy.
Micah 6:8, "And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Relational grace - we hide within ourselves not only because of truth but we hide because we've have emotional baggage we haven't experienced grace in. We either have been injured by others or we have injured others ourselves, and both of those cause guilt/shame. But there is grace in admitting that pain, exposing it to the light of day.  Humility became a virtue because of the founder of Christianity - Jesus, but now it can be hard to find a Christian community that welcomes a spirit of humility that includes openness about struggles with painful issues. But remember, 'blessed are the poor in spirit', those who can admit they don't have it 'all together spiritually' will find grace in relationships, because other people are drawn to vulnerability and humility. People are drawn to the truly humble because in their presence they feel grace for their own pain is possible and they feel like they are with someone who is honest and trustworthy.

The combination
Grace (safe from condemnation) + Truth (reality, true intimacy) = acceptance of your true self (good and bad) ->  leads to healthy relationships with yourself, others, and God.  And when you are in healthy relationships it is much easier to grow and change in the areas of your life you know you need to, because you are surrounded by grace-full and honest support.

There is a third ingredient but, I'll save that for another post....this was quite enough to chew on :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Right Now

Buried up to my eyeballs in month end accounting paperwork. Yes this is my actual office right now, I used an 'archive' effect on my photo :)

What's on the Table Tuesday

Weekly posting of my meal plan has been a little bit of an ordeal lately, so I think I'm going to keep it at every other week to add some manageability to this undertaking. I think I'm almost done listing my meal plans, but it's already lasted me much longer than I thought because various things, like bigger portions than needed, sickness, and other stuff interrupting cooking at home, but now I'm also adding to the mix a vegetarian meal once per week, so my original meat breakdown of 90 meals is going to stretch even farther into December. 

Also, meats are a going to continue being a little mixed up, not exactly the original 'one type per week', since things have been thrown out of balance a little, so I'm just going to list all meals from my plan per two week period, rather than a day by day account.  This two week period won't have ten meals, as I was sick for a good chunk of last week, plus we had a few dinner plans outside the house this week.

Tropical Chicken  - the details I already wrote about here.

Teryaki Basa Fillets Stirfry - I was going to try a black bean sauce I bought, since we tried it with fish at a Chinese restaurant and loved it, but the sauce went bad so I replaced it with Teryaki sauce. Once again, fried the veggies in my Actifry.

Sweet Chili Chicken - substituted ground turkey for chicken, mixed chili powder in with my homemade tomato soup, eliminated onion soup mix, and pureed canned apricots instead of jam. Served over sweet potatoes fried in my Actifry.

Steak - grilled steak to perfection in my Cuisinart grill, fried up some Sweet Potato Fries in my Actifry. Can you tell I love it yet :)

Sundried Tomato & Bacon Risotto - this is going to be my vegetarian meal, I'll leave the bacon in for Sean and then pick it out for me (and give it to him, which he'll LOVE me for :).  I'm going to give it a bit more substance by adding roasted red peppers and zucchini (grilled on my grill), and I think I'll try baking most of it instead of pan frying.

Beef Taco Salad - fry up some beef tenderloin strips in taco seasoning and broth, add some left over brown rice, serve on top of a bed of lettuce and jalapeno & cheddar Doritos, topped with chopped tomatoes, red & green peppers, black olives, and lots of cheese, with salsa and plain Greek yogurt on the side (instead of sour cream).

Here is the host blog of Titus 2sdays, a great place for house-wifery and godly woman(wife)hood!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Forgotten Foto Friday

So there is a new blog-post inspiration making it's way around my bloggy friends, and I like it! I need an easy post idea these days :)
The premise is to dig through some old pics you may have forgotten about, on old memory cards or hard drives, maybe pictures that stayed digital - never were printed (which is almost all of mine!).  Since I don't keep mine on memory cards, always download them monthly if not sooner, so I just picked the year 2006 to go through because it was before I was on blogger and facebook, and likely some people haven't seen them :)

First, our pictures to Louisiana, we drove down to the Gulf of Mexico where it still looked like this one year after Hurricane Katrina.

I bought a really nice new camera that year and it had a timer so I did my own 'photo shoot' :)

And these are our Christmas photos that year...Sean not wanting to cooperate as usual, so I put the kitty on his lap to get a smile, at least I didn't get a scowl.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wellness Wednesday

For many reasons, as well as lame excuses, my determination to get healthy again was undermined and derailed by life. BUT, the important thing is I keep getting back up, dusting myself off, re-evaluating and starting all over again with new determination.

My plan back in the summer, from all my inciteful reading, came down to "I now know that being physically healthy is also part of being healthy mentally and spiritually as well. AND I don't have to deprive myself, just discipline myself." I was building self-control, so I'm building on that, cutting back unhealthy things I won't miss, and finding really tasty food that is healthy to have instead of my default sugar and salt.  Also, to get back into being more active. I mentioned I did lose about 3-4 lbs and luckily stayed there through the crazy fall I've had, but starting again I knew I wanted to start off with a bang.  Even though counting calories worked for me at first, it just isn't cutting it anymore. And, I'd love to not have to count calories the rest of my life.  I hope with forming a habit of self-control and discipline I can stop.

Many reliable weight loss programs start off with a detox/cleanse of sorts, and Dr. Oz recommends if you have a hard time cutting back on carbs (a carb addiction) you should abstain for at least a week to kick the habit. So I created my own detox/elimination meal plan based on the Maker's Diet book I read. In addition to that info I found a challenge for 21 days on Pinterest that I just knew I had to take up.
Source: weheartit.com via Lori on Pinterest

And no Starbucks! I have a whole album of motivation there on Pinterest now....like 'Love my body, not my image', and 'My stomach is not a wastebasket'....there's lots of great nuggets that push my self-control buttons!

But anyway, back to my detox/cleanse/elimination meal plan.  For 21 days I eliminated a bunch of foods that have some ties to weight problems, health problems, and mess up your body with toxins, unbalanced hormones, insulin levels, etc., and to start from a 'clean slate' so to speak.  No starchy or gluten carbs, no dairy, no processed sugar, no soy, and eating 'clean' foods in general. Reduced pork and bottom-feeding seafood. Seems like I've cut out just about everything but you'd be surprised how much I have enjoyed food and been filled over the last few weeks.

Here's a few glimpses of what I've enjoyed eating over the last few weeks.

Breakfast I did a protein shake with coconut milk and water only, but the protein powder is vanilla flavored and it tastes like yummy milk basically.  I'd also add a fried egg in coconut oil, what a delish combination. I heard a weight loss tip that promotes eating a lot of protein in the morning and so that's why I chose this.

For lunches I mostly had turkey in my own dressing (roasted red peppers pureed with a little mayo) or tuna with red curry and mayo, over spinach.

Then in between meals I'd munch on celery with Almond Butter, that I made myself!

And a lot of yummy fruits.
Suppers I had a lot of food I normally have, just no potato, pasta or rice on the side. And I love my bullet, because making my own sauces/dressings in it were so simple, no preservatives or unwanted ingredients to worry about but still a yummy and simple sauce. I posted my supper recipes here, but here are some photos.

Lemon Dill Chicken

Skillet Rosemary Chicken (Basil substitute)

 For night snacks I ate frozen grapes...wow, where have those been all my life....and a variety of unsalted, unroasted nuts other than peanuts.

The third week I could add in sweet potatoes, so I made my safeway-rip off Hearty Homemade Tomato Soup for lunches, minus the dairy.

However I got the flu and ended up eating mostly nothing for 2 suppers, I had left over hamburger soup from last week, but finally felt up to cooking on Thursday, when we had this for supper, I love my grill and Acti-fry! The sauce on both the chicken and veggies was pureed apricot, balsalmic vinegar, honey, and just a bit of mango chipotle kraft dressing for kick. All fried in a little coconut oil...it's my own version of Tropical Chicken. Yum!  I've come to realize I can alter a lot of my fav recipes.

And, what do I have to show for all this? Well, it sure motivated me to make the most of my activeness, why waste all that hard work just to grow fat cells on the couch, so I started waking up early again doing weight lifting and pilates, and getting in some good prayer time in between sets. Also increased my walks on the treadmill again - which I am really loving again as well.  I took greater care of my body in general, valuing other ways to take care of my body externally and internally, better sleep, vitamins, skin care, etc. I actually received a couple of months worth of U-Weightloss vitamins from a friend who can't take them afterall and didn't want them to go to waste! Weightloss plan pills for free, yes please!

I also hardly crave the junky food anymore. Honestly you wouldn't believe what I've had to face since Nov. 1st! I forgot I'm in a cookie of the month club (fundraiser) so 2 batches of homemade delicious cookies in the house. And my sense of smell has miraculously turned off, because I was able to crunch on my celery and apple happily while my whole office ate pizza under my nose. Then more fantastic baking at the Wednesday night financial course (every participant at each table takes turns bringing something). The Christmas lattes are back at Starbucks now (they are a particular weakness). It's funny, I gave up sugar for lent 2 years ago and mid-way through I was going crazy but I guess different motives = different results, because I really haven't been all that tempted. 

And what about weight loss? Well, there was a bit of that too :)  I lost 7-8 lbs. I'm floored that's how much I lost actually, never thought it would have been that significant.  I'm not going to rest on my laurels though, I know some of that weight may come back on, the pendulum swung far because of how different my actions have been, but it will swing back a little once I am not eating that way 100% of the time.  But this whole experience has fuelled me not to fall back into the same old bad habits. I've said that before, but I never focused on the majority of my diet being healthy, it was all about low calories and burning calories so I could eat more calories. This time I think I'm going to keep up this meal plan 2 days per week, and also have a vegetarian meal once per week, but even though I'm allowed to eat anything I want the other 4 days of the week I'll still be disciplined about choosing healthier options and everything in moderation. I'm determined to remember how good healthy food has tasted, how good having strength and energy feels, how I haven't felt deprived and so I don't need to turn to food and laziness for rest or reward. I am at my lowest weight since about 2001 now...by 1 lb :) But I am taking every victory and running with it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Right Now

Looking at my fav artists.

Dreaming of art for my walls.

Dreaming of making my own art.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stewardship Sunday

Well, it's been several months since I updated my stewardship/ 'hope-to-accomplish' list (NOT my 'to-do' list :), after updating it in July, life just got swamped but I'm thankful I've still made progress without it being at the forefront of my mind! Maybe it's just ingrained in me now :)

Stewardship of My Finances
As of October I started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University every Wednesday evening at Church, until January. WOW! I thought I was hyper-anal-retentive when it came to my finances but my eyes have been opened! With many more tools at my disposal I have done an overhaul on our finances, re-prioritized with hubby, and we're back on track. 
We had some huge paradigm shifts from his speaking and realize some bad choices we made that we didn't think were as dumb as they were, but taking into consideration Sean is on a wage freeze going on 3 years and if he quits he likely will be going down in wage, we weren't making the smartest decisions over the last year.  But I'm excited to see progress on fixing those already!

Stewardship of My Home
5. Schedule a small Fly Lady tactic every day
I'm still at the point I could step this up a little, but I still haven't had to tidy my living room or clean off my dining room table in about 6 months! So I'm still happy! And I've been de-cluttering like crazy, we're selling and giving away stuff weekly it seems, lol. Partly to fix our finances, selling stuff has/will help pay off some debts, but even giving stuff away has felt SO good! Less to worry about, less to clean/tidy, and making other people happy.  I love it!
 6.Establish a list of at least 60 staple recipes and rotate in a 12 month menu
My meal plans have kept me right on track, they haven't failed me yet, I've stuck to it every week...and blogged a "What's on the Table Tuesday" to track my weekly meal plans.  It's great because I can pick the easiest meals that week to make for our busy Mondays and Fridays and we haven't had to eat out unnecessarily at all, not once! Awesome, hey?!
7. Make as much food from scratch as possible to avoid unnecessary preservatives & packaging
Food I have made from scratch in the last few months....I can't remember if I've mentioned this here or not but I've roasted my own red peppers a few times now. I've just made my own almond butter for the detox/cleanse I am on.  I've been using homemade broth instead of boullion for a few months. Oregano flavoured olive oil and vodka, and dried oregano...with my own grown oregano.  Tomato sauce from canned tomatoes blended with raw veggies and spices - all with no additives.
I have two recipes I'm going to try soon, one a replacement for condensed soups made from all natural (no chemical or preservatives) dry ingredients that you can just mix with water/milk when you need, the second an all natural replacement for onion soup mix.

Stewardship of My Body
We don't have the puppy anymore so my all the exercise I was getting walking him now had to be done on my own motivation and will power. BUT, I finally got un-busy enough on our vacation in October to start on the treadmill again, minimum once a week, and I'm really enjoying it again! YAY! I'm also waking up early at 6 am again to alternate days with weights and pilates.
I am also on a detox/cleanse/elimination meal plan...refocusing my idea of health, what I'm putting into my body, how much, how I'm sustaining my body or hurting it, etc. I have a more indepth post about the health of my body that I am working on....I'm waiting until I'm done this 'kick start' program of 3 weeks so I can post about the results too, so that ends on Nov. 21st...I should have a post done shortly after.

Stewardship of My Earth
15. Grow my own vegetables.
Well, the garden is dead and frozen now.  I didn't get quite as much out of it as I had hoped...no peppers at all.  But, live and learn and try again next year with some new information!  Most of the Farmer's Markets are closed now but I hope to make a special trip to a few 'local food' markets that are year round, hopefully at least once a month. 
16. Have a 100 mile meal once a month.
I did have a 100 mile meal once in July, August and October.  My September is a blur due to the start up of my volunteer job but that's mostly settled down now and so I hope to start this again...as long as I can take the time to go to those local markets.
17. Use organic/natural herbicides
Never did have the weather or time to use the organic spray, but I did ALL weed pulling by hand! If that isn't organic and natural, don't know what is :)
18. Find 3 more ‘One Million Acts of Green’ I can try
I've been successful at shutting down the computer every night, unplugging appliances not in use, still saving up compost, even through the winter, in the garage.  I've been less consious of my water use lately, I want to get back to conserving it better. And now that it's winter, probably won't be airdrying clothes, but I am making sure I have full loads and still using cold water.  I'm also getting more into repurposing items rather than throwing/giving them away, so that I don't have to buy other things.  I am hoping to clear out space in my craft room (selling stuff) for a second hand sewing machine so I can repurpose clothes rather than buying new clothes, etc.

Stewardship of My Talents/Purpose
Well, this has flourished in abundance since my last post.  June 28th I heard officially for the first time about a recovery program at Church that I knew I wanted to be involved in, I just wasn't sure in what capacity.  My leader from the book study facilitating I did contacted me, did an informal meeting/interview and then offered me a LEADERSHIP position for the whole program! Not just a table leader, the Administration/Promotions leader. YIKES! I told her I had to think about it, but the 'job description' fit right into my talents and strengths, and I'd still get to facilitate a group of people who've been through some/most of the same struggles as myself.  I didn't think I was entirely capable but she proved me wrong and I've proved myself wrong :) I've excelled at this job, even though it's exhausted me some weeks, and I love it! I feel I am doing almost everything that I do best AND blessing other people who are in pain and hurting. It's win win.

Stewardship of My Communities
25. Volunteer to help someone with something they can’t do for themselves
Other than what I've previously mentioned, not much new on this task.
26. Babysit one or some of my nieces/nephew(s)
In Steinbach right now babysitting my two neices and my nephew at their home, Saturday to Sunday, while their parents are off on a vacation trip for the long weekend.
27. Organize/host at least one gathering of friends every other month
Now over the year have had 8 outings/gatherings with friends that I've either instigated or hosted, 6 more outings with friends that I didn't even instigate. And no, it wasn't all the same friends :)

Stewardship of My Growth
35. Keep up prayer journal and bible study blog
Still haven't been keeping up with the actual documentation part of praying and reading my Bible, but I have still been praying and spending time in scripture more consistently. I've finished the whole New Testament on CD except Revelation.  I'm listening to that one sparingly because I want to make sure it has my full attention so I can really learn from it, since I'm not as familiar with it. 
I've also got prayer reminders on my phone, a whole list of everyone I'm keeping in my prayers, and I rotate through them in the mornings in between my workouts and getting ready.  And I also have a prayer reminder in our car because we were challenged to pray for people we could bring to Church in the next 2 years. After praying and thinking about it, Sean and I came up with the number 7 (combined) that we wanted to be able to bring to Church in the next 24 months, so this reminder is there so I can concentrate on praying for those 7 people every time we're in the car.

Stewardship of Living My Life
38. Go to at least one Folklorama pavilion
Done, and I posted pictures back in August after I went with my sisters and my mom.
39. Go out on the town by myself
When I go out by myself I tend to shop....I have to stop that (for several reasons) but I still have a mani-pedi I intend to get before my Groupon for it expires in December.  I still would love to hit the art gallery, there was even a show by one of my fav photographers, Jason Poturica, but I think I missed it.  Life has just been too busy unfortunately.

So yeah, I'm just living life and I'm glad my core values are shining through without me having to 'work at' them for the sake of making them a priority, I just am working at them because they are valued parts of my life.  Love it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If you don't know me by now

So, one of my first rebellions against getting 'old' was getting a tattoo and another one I've been contemplating since is some pink hair.  Well, I finally went for it!

That was actually in August, but I've been tempted to try even more dramatic pink since...maybe.  I have this side of me that itches to be wildly spontaneous and care-free with an equally itchy side of insecure and calculated detail-obsession.

Recently I stumbled across a blog of a woman who I at first observed as a heavily tattoo'd free spirit, and then came across her scrapbooking section. Huh? Only for a second was I befuddled before I realized I am a tattoo'd scrapbooker! LOL.  I sometimes have this view of myself, of this mousy wall flower, especially when I say I like scrapbooking and crocheting....if you google renowned scrapbookers you would see they are typically not ladies you would suspect have tattoos.

That got me thinking about other things in my life that seem a little unreconcileable to those who might label me based on one aspect of my life. Some of my personalities may overlap but you could see one side and then be completely blind-sided by one of my others. Of course, I don't have multiple personality, I'm just well rounded ;)

The Nerd                            The Bohemian                
Accountant/Admin                       Nomadic - love travelling                          
Author wanna-be                         Love whimsical clothing      
Hyper-organized - color coding     Tattoo'd                             
5-page budget spreadsheets          99% cosmetic-free             
Love a nice pant suit                    Eclectic creativity               
Sci-fi shows/movies fan                Musicality                         
Crime or Medical drama fan         Frugal - minimilist wannabe
Know my techy stuff                    Motto: Love & Be Loved   
Read-a-holic (fiction & non)         Dream: Live off the land
Librarian childhood aspirations      Create things from scratch
Addicted to iPhone & laptop         Care for God's creations                
Video game player                       Passion for justice ministries

The Country Girl Next Door     The Girly Girl
Most comfy in jeans & a T                Pink! (well all colours of the rainbow really)
Country music has most heart            Shoes - high heels
Love to cook & bake                         Sparkles & Glitter
Animal lover                                     Dream: magazine worthy house
Nature lover/outdoorsy                      #1 gift - spa & pampering
Hometown spirit/loyalty                     Art Galleries & Museums
Love time with family                        Painted fingers & toes
Goes to football games                       Shop-a-holic
Hangs out with hubby's buddys           Prefer a glass of sweet white wine
Wears an apron                                 Sunset roses my fav flower
Scrapbooks & crochets                      Love me some sundresses & skirts
Not afraid to get dirty                         No less than 5 purses in the closet       

Does anyone else feel they are sometimes several people inhabiting one body, am I an enigma (haha) or are all women crazy like this :)
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