Thursday, February 25, 2016

Make Time to Care for Yourself

As a mom and even moreso, a homeschooling mom who is always on call, I feel responsible for a lot for my family: their health and nutrition, their education, their hungry bellies, their needy souls, their talents, their weaknesses, and everything in between. I wake in the morning, knowing that any moment can start rolling the ball of needs, demands, and inquiries. If I don’t intentionally start the day proactively with some time for myself, I will lose that precious time as my family waits for my love and service.

I have said to my husband at times, “Picture waking up in the morning to your boss staring you in the face, waiting for you to get to work”.

That’s how motherhood feels oftentimes. If I don’t rise before my children, soon enough they will be breathing in my face, waiting for breakfast and direction, possessing appetites and intentions and hopes for the day.

The day moves forward, and I serve and serve… Training, exhorting, encouraging, reproving, prodding, feeding, cleaning, driving, and tending to many needs.

It isn’t long before I realize that I need to be on my toes daily. I need to have my strength stored up and my ducks in a row. Well, as best as I can, and of course, rely upon the grace of God for the rest! Drier moments and seasons will come when we rely upon God to carry us through our days.

However, I believe we need to make time for ourselves
so we can make ourselves
stronger, wiser, healthier, and lovelier.

The blessed and sometimes unfortunate truth is
that our households are only as good as we are.

If we desire to have a clean house, healthy meals, happy hearts, a cozy atmosphere, well-trained children, hospitable moments, and thriving marriages, we will have to work hard to restore our strength and be filled up so we can pour good energies into our homes.

Taking care of our homes and the hearts that live there and visit is an immensely important privilege and also a huge responsibility. We should never take it lightly nor should we get to the point of despising the beautiful position God has put before us.

Taking good care of ourselves prevents burnout,
provides refreshment, and positions us to thrive.

There is no need to feel guilty about making time for ourselves, but everything should always be done with proper moderation. Too much focus on ourselves causes us to neglect responsibility and feel like we ought to live on an eternal vacation or merely feed our own desires. Too less of a focus on ourselves causes us to neglect ourselves and be susceptible to depression, lack of vision, sickness, fatigue and more.

How are you taking care of yourself?

Are you taking care of your spiritual self?
  • Reading your Bible
  • Praying
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Attending church
  • Fellowshipping with the believers
Are you taking care of your physical self?
  • Getting enough sleep and rest
  • Eating well
  • Exercising / Adding movement to your days (walking, housework, etc.)
Are you taking care of your emotional and mental self?
  • Reading good books
  • Staying away from dramatic situations
  • Giving yourself quiet time each day or at least when necessary
  • Limiting social media and internet time
Are you taking care of your relational self?
  • Prioritizing and pouring into your marriage
  • Keeping peace and joy in your relationships with your children
  • Creating and maintaining friendships that are godly and encouraging
  • Finding a mentor, if necessary, to help you through tough times

There is a lot we can do to take care of ourselves,
and it isn’t really optional.

Taking care of ourselves isn’t about selfishness but about building ourselves up so we can be the best we can be for God and others.

What can you do today
to take care of yourself better?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cheesy Cauliflower "Bread" Sticks

Cauliflower has become all the rage over the past handful of years, especially as gluten-free eating habits have increased. I have wanted to tackle cauliflower pizza crust but made my way to these wonderful, cauliflower “bread” sticks first.

My husband ate them and said, “I wish you wouldn’t have told me that these were made from cauliflower.” The truth = He thought they were delicious.

I, too admit, they were delicious, and the texture and sight of these babies turned out well also – a hit on multiple facets!

Whether you are gluten-free, like to add more veggies to your diet, or just like trying new things, I recommend you try these!

Cheesy Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks
Original found Here.

4 cups cauliflower “rice”
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1 t oregano
1 t basil
1/4 t salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning
Marinara or pizza sauce for dipping, if desired (This kicks it up a notch!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

“Rice” the cauliflower. I did it the easy way. Clean and chop the cauliflower into chunks. Place the chunks into a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice.

Put one inch of water into a medium to large saucepan and bring water to boil. Put cauliflower “rice” in the water and steam for about 5 minutes.

Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the cauliflower. Let cool for 5 minutes. Then place inside a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess water.

After the cauliflower rice is drained and squeezed, combine with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the egg, oregano, basil, and salt and stir well.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil. Put the cauliflower mixture on the baking sheet and form into a rectangle, about the size of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Mine actually cooked in less time than this. Watch for the crust to become golden brown and firm.

Remove the “bread” sticks from the oven and cover with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and the Italian seasoning.

Return the pan to the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it and watch for the cheese to melt.

Cut into “breadsticks” and serve with sauce if desired.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Make Time for Your Hobbies. They're More Important Than You May Think.

Writing this post feels a bit trivial at the moment. As my own household currently battles the stomach flu and the world juggles its own load of needs and concerns, hobbies hardly seem important. It feels like there are a lot more important things we could be doing: feeding the hungry, helping the poor, comforting the lonely, encouraging the disappointed, healing the sick… I can think of many noble, and menial, things to fill my time.

But let’s face it… Hobbies are part of our lives, or at least we want them to be. When I asked on my Facebook page what people wished they had more time for, hobbies were at the top of the list. Some of the answers were: quilting, crocheting, scrapbooking, and crafting, in general.

Although we obviously want time for hobbies, our hobbies tend to live at the bottom of the list, getting attention when “everything else” gets done. Some of us may even feel guilty spending time on our hobbies when we still have tasks that we could or should accomplish.

However, I have come to realize that our hobbies
actually play an important role in our lives.
  • give us a way to relax and take a break from our normal, every day responsibilities
  • still give us a sense of purpose as we accomplish something that is more fun and less pressure
  • bring variety, beauty, and newness to life, a breath of fresh air that refreshes us
  • provide a way to connect and share our interests with others
Spending time on our hobbies opens an
avenue for refreshment, purpose, and passion.

When I write or work on my blog, I feel satisfied, even if I have only spent a short while doing it. I enjoy writing, and it is one of my passions, so for me to spend time writing is for me to invest in myself and in turn, the people and products of my life.

When our hobbies exist at the bottom of our “To Do” list, if at all, they appear merely as a dream or a hope of “some day”.

However, if we really see that hobbies can be an important part of our lives and have a desire to better establish them, why not make some goals for ourselves?

Teri Maxwell, author of Managers of Their Homes, sewed for a half hour every afternoon during the week. This amount of sewing led to “four jumpers, two culotte jumpers, two vests, two baby outfits, one skirt, putting ruffles on ten baby outfits, plus mending projects” over the course of eight months. She said in her book, “For me, the slow, steady progress and accomplishment is better than not sewing at all. If I did not have this half-hour set aside for sewing, I would not get around to it. Other urgent things would fill this time space. So at 1:30 p.m., I am busy. I do not plan other activities during this time. It is reserved for sewing.”

Jessica N. Turner, in her book Fringe Hours, encourages women to use the spaces of time – waiting for appointments and practices and the like - that are already in our days to make time for ourselves and our passions.

How can we make time for our hobbies?
- Schedule small amounts of time, a few times a week or each day
- Schedule one time slot per week, i.e. Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 when your husband can watch the kids.
- Use the fringe hours of your days – when you’re waiting at a child’s music or athletic practice, traveling somewhere as a passenger, etc.
- Strive to work on your hobby for a certain amount of time each day, week, month or year.

Remember: Something is better than nothing!
And if you make a goal,
at least you are striving for something.

Not sure what to pursue for a hobby? Consider these:

  • Photography
  • Scrapbooking
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Card-making
  • Sports/Outdoor Activities
  • Writing/Blogging
  • Crocheting
  • Quilting/Sewing
  • Reading
  • Painting
  • Playing a Musical Instrument

Think about your heart’s passion and interest
and make a goal to pursue the things
that enrich your daily life.