Live Fearless

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There is a reason why I don’t have pictures of my daughter swimming in the middle of the Border lakes on the Minnesota, Ontario border from last summer. My daughter was terrified of the unknown depths of the lake, and would not jump in where she could not see the bottom. She was perfectly content to stay on the beach while her cousins fearlessly leapt off the back of the houseboat, slid down the waterside, and went tubing down the watery highway. I could see it in her eyes though. The look that she wanted more, that she wanted to do those things too. I knew that she would have fun if she let go of her fear and just leapt, slid, and cruised.

I had seen her do it before many times at the park. Overcoming her fears only to be riled with glee and delight as she had that adrenaline rush of fun. But she wouldn’t budge on this. ¬†I wish I could tell you that I just let my daughter sit on the sidelines of the boat or on shore, but instead I gently dropped her down into the waters to my sister who was there to catch her. (She did have a life jacket on), but she wasn’t having it. A few days earlier I put her on my brothers lap and off they went down the slide, but she wasn’t ready for the thrill of that either. She almost got the courage to do it again, but that was the only time she went down the slide the whole trip or swam out in the deep. In my heart I could not push her to do something she truly didn’t want to do anymore.

This reminds me of the time I wanted her to become a figure skater just like I was! My sweet cousin graciously lent me her daughters old skates so I wouldn’t be out the money for a good sturdy pair of Rydels. I packed my daughter up and drove nearly an hour south to the skating school that was run by my cousins mother, and grandmother. The same duo that I had learned from and skated with all of those years. Sure there was a skate school much much closer to my house, but my Aunt truly is the best of the best in the state of Minnesota when it comes to Figure Skating! But, my daughter was scared and disliked every minute of it. It was something that I had wanted her to do, not something she picked out. How could I expect her to face her fears if she didn’t even like the activity she was doing in the first place?

So, we followed what she would want to do and signed her up for gymnastics. Even if we would find out that it would cost us more money… After all, it is her activity not mine, and its her life, not mine. The point of a sport to me, aside from the obvious physical activity portion is to stretch them beyond where they think or can imagine they can go. To show them with hard work, dedication, and living fearless they can reach their goals. She doesn’t always get a certain skill, and sometimes has to really work for it. But I think that this teaches her patience, perseverance, and endurance. Its the reason we do gymnastics!

My daughters gymnastic coach told me not too long ago that my little miss’ favorite phrase was, “I can’t”, or “It’s too hard”. But our coach has been working with her to get a mind set of, “I know its hard, and I know its scary, but I’m going to try it anyways.” For my little miss who has been overly cautious since she was in diapers and is virtually scared to try all things that “look scary”, this is huge! I am so thrilled that she is trying her very best at gymnastics. Letting go of her fear. She is pushing herself and is even now learning how to do a handstand on the balance beam and walkovers.

On a side note – we have my daughter in swimming lessons now, and she is getting to be quite the little swimmer. Like gymnastics her favorite phrase in swimming used to be “I can’t” or “Its too hard” and would constantly swim for the instructor instead of the island, grabbing on to them with such intensity as if she was going to drown, but recently… she has had a major mindset change. Now she is striving to be the best in her class. Swim fiercely, and swim fearlessly. The island seems to be too close now, and you can tell that her little spirit just wants to soar. I can’t tell you as her mother how proud I am watching her shed her skin of fear.

As parents I think its part of our responsibility to stretch our kids past where they think they can go. As a mother, I am responsible for my daughter. How she grows up, what kind of woman she will become some day, and I can only hope to help shape her attitude. We can’t force our kids to do what they don’t want to do, but if you find that nook, that niche that allows them to leap into the unknown. Grab it, and let them live fearless.

Minnesota – Week 3

Well, we’ve determined one thing.

Sadie HATES the kennel.

She got “banished” to the kennel a few weeks ago because she was lazy and decided to poo and potty in the house twice overnight. We recently purchased a metal wire kennel in anticipation for the new puppies arrival and thought Sadie would be perfectly safe in there for the day. I gave her a treat, kept the light on, and told her she was a good girl and went off to work.

Upon my return home, my husband told me that the dog was and I quote, “Dead to him”. I said, “Why?” so Jason told me to look in the room, and boy did I find a surprise.

Not only did she eat through the plastic flooring of the puppies brand new kennel, but she chewed the carpet down to the plywood in our bedroom! (guess we need new carpeting).

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But she also managed somehow to pull Jason’s $100 Silver jeans into the kennel and chew them out of spite, or hatred for the fact that she was in the kennel.

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The craziest part is that she is completely nondestructive when she’s not locked up. So for now, she gets free reign of the house.

In a week or two I’m going to the store to get these magnetic locks for the bathroom cupboards to put our new puppy in the bathroom while we’re off at work. We still have a few things to get ready before he comes home, but we still have 7 weeks. ūüôā

Next stop on my journey

I am currently on a journey of spending some good time in the Psalms and Proverbs. I am using a plan from the You Version app on my phone to help me stay on track. You read through the psalms twice, and proverbs 12 times over the course of the next year.

I’m currently on Proverbs & Psalms 13. Since starting just 13 days ago I have found myself in deeper worship, which is usually in my car to and from work, because it is my time by myself, and what better way to make use of an otherwise hour plus lousy commute.

One song I have been listening to on repeat is Holy (Wedding Day) by City Harmonic. This song makes me want to lay down in green pastures, stare up at a blue sky and sing praise to God, and thank Him for all he has done for me.  How I have so much to be joyful about, and thankful for. I hope you too have a special and Holy moment as you listen too.

Another song I listen to on repeat is called Wake by Hillsong Young & Free. When I listen to this song I basically have a rave going on in my car. Shouts of praise can probably be heard by the cars next to me. (perhaps that’s the point?) Who knew there was such thing as a Christian rave – live with glowsticks & beach balls! Who else wants to go to a Y&F concert?

Lastly, I will like to close with my favorite verses so far of  Psalms & Proverbs 1-13.

Psalms
Oh what can I say about the Psalms, but that it may just be the most uplifting book in all of the bible. I want to touch on so many points, but for the sake of brevity I will leave you with this,¬†my favorite verses so far,¬†¬†“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” Psalms 9:1-2 (ESV)

Proverbs
I started listing out every single Proverb verse I had highlighted, but pretty soon this blog post was hundreds and hundreds of words, and I realized i would have had to copy down nearly all of Proverbs 1-13. To make it succinct Proverbs 4:20-22 sums up what I’ve gotten so far out of it, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don‚Äôt lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” (NLT)

Thai Peanut Chicken

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We had just eaten a big snack after lunch, so when 5:30 p.m. rolled around nobody was hungry. We decided we would just eat after gymnastics practice. Only problem was, I didn’t have a plan!

I am a total planning kind of girl. Normally I have at least two weeks of meals planned in advanced, but last night we were going rouge.

I had a hankering for Peanut Butter Chicken Wraps, which are just divine, but I didn’t have any commercially bought peanut sauce, nor did I have 1/2 the ingredients from my recipe book to make peanut sauce, so I decided to go Martha Stewart and make it up as I went. I didn’t measure anything so I’ll make complete guesses.

Chicken , maybe 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (as much as you want, cooked your favorite way)

Olive Oil (splash)

1 Cup of Chicken Broth (complete guesstimate)

1 Cup of Peanut Butter (again, complete guesstimate)

1/4 cup of Soy Sauce (guesstimate)

1 TBLS of minced onion, fresh preferred, or dry spice

2 bell peppers rough chopped (red, yellow or orange)

Mix that together until the chicken is warmed

Top with Cilantro

Top with Crushed Red pepper

A nice start ahead was that we had made Chicken Adobo a few nights earlier so I didn’t have to actually cook any chicken!

I placed the chicken in my large skillet and added about a splash or two of EVOO. Then I sprinkled in some soy sauce, and minced garlic.  MMMM Creamy.

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Meanwhile I started chopping up some bell pepper. Honestly, mushroom, kale, onion, broccoli would work well in this dish as well. Once I was done rough chopping I threw that in the skillet as well.

After a while I noticed the peanut butter sauce was very very thick, so to lighten it up I added about a cup or so of chicken broth until light and creamy.

Now. You could serve in a lettuce wrap right here and be done with it.

But I cooked up some rice, and served it over rice, topped with cilantro, and since I like all things spicy I added some crushed red pepper to my dish to make it really come alive.

Bon Appetit!

Minnesota – Week 1

So, you’re going to have a Polar Vortex?

In my part of Minnesota, as I write this post, it is currently -20, with windchill it is -41. What the what? But we live up here, and not in California, so we learn to cope, and even made it to a friends wedding this weekend! (Yes it was obviously indoors!)

Here’s a “Top 10 List” of How to survive

1.) Start your car at least 3 hours before you plan to go anywhere!

Ok, that is a “little” bit exaggerated, but I cope by starting my car around 20 minutes before I am going anywhere. That makes climbing in your car bearable. Environment be damned, i’m starting my car and letting it warm up to 65-70.

2.) Dress in layers

No, not because you may actually get warmer. You need layers to actually stay warm. I suggest multiple infinity scarfs and wrist warmers as well! Bless my dear friend for making these for me and sending them to me in time!

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3.) Meal plan ahead

The last thing you want to do with dangerously low temps and wind chills is to go grocery shopping and spending the 5-10 minutes or whatever out in the cold loading and unloading your car. So glad my husband shot a deer, and we “do chickens” as we have food for months! Plus if you plan ahead for meals that can be baked in the oven you have an instant additional heat source! (Just don’t forget to turn it off before you go to bed!)

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4.) Light a fire

Does this even need an explanation? Despite our thermostat being set for 71 degrees, without our fire going the boiler can’t keep it above 65, with the fire 69! ¬†Plus isn’t this just what people do in the winter? If you’ve got one, use it! (p.s. doesn’t it look like eyes in the fire? Weird right?)

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5.) Keep the kidletts inside

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton closed down all schools in the state of Minnesota to keep them safe and hopefully warm. So add another day to the already 16 days the’ve been out of school. I know my daughter is excited.

6.) Keep a car kit

An extra backpack/box whatever of gloves, hat, scarf, blanket, emergency blanket, jumper cables, flares, here’s a list I found online. Point is… you should have one too!

7.) Keep the pets safe

This isn’t the time to accidentally leave fido out in the backyard! Their skin can freeze in as little as five minutes too! My Sadie baby is always cold, so I can’t imagine leaving her outside in these temps.

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8.) Grab a good book, a hot tub, and a glass of wine for good measure

When you just can’t stay warm, grab a good book, perhaps about the tropics, fill the tub up with steaming hot water, and maybe throw in a glass of wine for good measure. At least if its going to be this cold I’m going to be happy! (I don’t recommend going to an “outdoor hot tub” on days like this, but then again I don’t have one… so….)

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9.) Complain wildly on social media sites! 

If you have any friends from the south where “cold” is 45 degrees F then post pictures of your temps reaching down in the minus digits and you’ll instantly get lots of people sympathizing for you. Some of my friends can’t even believe I’m going to work in these temps, but I refer to point #1…..Unless of course your friends live in Alaska. Then they’ll just tell you to “suck it up”….

10.) Say a prayer

If you have a home, warm clothes, and a car! Heck, even if you just have shelter, say a prayer. On days like today my heart breaks for all of the homeless people out there. All of the folks on the news have been telling us with temps like these, you can get frostbite in as little as five minutes. I thank God for providing my husband and I with skills to have jobs that support our house, heat, warm clothes and car. I secondly pray for all of the men, women and children out there who don’t have the right necessities and who are literally freezing to death not that far away from me.

And that’s it! I’m sure there are tons more tips, but you can google that! If I don’t post for a week you can assume I did not survive the polar vortex!

As one friend on Facebook pointed out…”Today is the day you get to prove how Minnesotan you are!”

Purposeful Intent

Can you guess what topic I’m going to blog about today? Resolutions! ~ Having purposeful intent in 2014!

I’m not very good about declaring resolutions which is probably why I don’t stick to any of them, and I’m not exactly holding my breath for 2014, but its the Eve of the New Year so why not make a list?

Things I’d like to get more purposeful about this year:

1.) If I say I’m going to pray for someone – doing it right away.¬†

I know this just sounds terrible, and “I pray” (pun intended) I’m not the only one,…but have you ever told someone that you would pray for them only to forget? Its not that I’m just saying “I’ll pray for you” to make the person feel better. I honestly WANT to pray, but as I often joke that I have early Alzheimer’s I’m just a forgetful person sometimes. One thing I started doing at the end of this year, that I’d like to stick to – is praying for someone immediately when I tell them I will. Sometimes this will be literally praying WITH them over the phone, an e-mail, text message, or on Facebook, or stopping what i’m doing, finding a quiet place, and praying right away.

2.) Get more organized

This has been a slow, yet steady process. I started with throwing or giving things away that we haven’t used in sometime, have outlived their purpose, or is just excess, but there is always more to be done. ¬†Getting organized makes you feel better because you can focus on what’s important rather than the lingering feeling that you need to be organizing. Another thing I started doing was becoming “E-Organized”. I had literally turned into an “E-Hoarder” [call A&E]. I had around 4 or 5 separate blogs, and lets not talk about the amount of e-mails I keep in my inbox! (its downright ridiculous).

So to get more E-organized I started with combining my christian, “food” and personal blog all in one! What do you guys think so far?

Now, on to those e-mails!

3.) Keep fit/eat healthy

Isn’t this 313.9 Million other peoples “New Year Resolution” in America too? But really. Unfortunately due to the bombardment of confusing messages on food labels, and so called “facts” among experts its no wonder we are a confused nation. Simply put. I would like to be more focused on keeping fit, and eating healthier. ¬†Some of my favorite people to follow is Dietitian Cassie, and Jimmy Moore. ¬†Some of their suggestions may seem unconventional like FAT won’t make you FAT! but its been proven over an over again to work, and is based on scientific evidence. This year I might even follow more of her/their advice! I saw a t-shirt on a girl at the gym recently and it says this so succinctly, “Stop wishing for it, and start working for it!”. I love this! I think this quote can be applied to all areas of life.

“Stop wishing for it, and start working for it!”

4.) Sleep Better

I feel like this goal is kind of ridiculous. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a night owl. My parents have even told me that putting me to bed at night was a nightmare. Usually on every night of the week (including work nights) I am not in bed/asleep before midnight. I know this isn’t healthy for me, so this year I will focus on a more restful night.

5.) Make more memories

Our daughter has now started Kindergarten, and while this is “just the beginning” I know there is going to come a time very soon when this will all be no more. One thing we’ve started is Family Game Nigh which is especially fun now that our daughter doesn’t try to cheat as much. But even further, letting my daughter do some of the baking without worrying so much about the outcome or the mess, letting her decide what do do on a Friday night taking more family trips, and even taking a random road trip to see where we end up is what I’d like to do!

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6.) Slow down

I used to be go-go-go every night of the week, but in 2013 I radically changed this. I learned to be a “no” person, instead of the “yes” person I always used to be. Not to say that I said No to every opportunity, but this meant sometimes saying no to friends, or myself when I already had 3 or 4 other things going on that week. ¬†The payout was amazing. ¬†Just spending a night at home vegging out, or allowing myself the opportunity to just sit on the deck in the summer and share a glass of wine with the neighbors was so needed! Finally I felt like I could breathe, and recharge. I can’t wait to see this in action for ALL of 2014.

7.) Don’t be afraid to try new things

Could 2014 be the year I try sushi, or volunteer for something I’m being called to do, yet don’t think I have the talents, or desire for? As this blog post states,”¬†God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called!”¬†#truth

8.) Kayak Rice Creek

This isn’t just a pie in the sky goal. This goal is very real and I’m going to do it! Since 2011 I have desperately wanted to kayak down Rice Creek. It begins in Hugo, MN and traverses 22 miles until the confluence with the Mississippi River in Fridley. This year I am going to be VERY intent on actually doing it!

So I think that’s a pretty good list to start with.We’ll be popping champagne with good friends tonight, so Cheers to friends, good health & may God bless¬†the New Year!