Saturday, October 22, 2016

Living Intentinoally: Nourishing your soul part 2: Will

Will = The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action. Free discretion. Self control, self discipline. Wish or desire 

You are so much more powerful than you might realize. I think many out there would rather not believe they are powerful because if they did, they would realize that their choices, actions, reactions, attitudes and consequences of those things (good and bad) largely fall on their own shoulders. They don't want the responsibility. It's easier to shift that responsibility to others. 

But what does that accomplish? Absolutely nothing. Nothing for you and nothing for anyone else. You may think it does, but it doesn't. One of my favorite speakers and authors is a man by the name of Danny Silk. His parenting series called Loving Our kids on Purpose is excellent and I wish I had discovered it when my girls were little. The foundation is based on the fact that we are powerful, others are powerful and we are responsible for our choices and the way we respond to others. He has several other books that are great as well. It is important that we are intentional with our will because it is vital that we feel empowered and others feel empowered to make good choices, exercises self control and self discipline AND not be afraid to have wishes and desires. 

Think about the definition of "will" above. What does this look like for you personally? Are the choices you make intentional and working towards your health (mentally, physically, spiritually) or do you have an "I just don't care" attitude. From getting up in the morning to choosing to respond with grace instead of anger, to choosing to get gas now before you run out on the side of the road. These all exercise our "will", our ability to choose. Even when we don't think we're choosing, we really are! Yes,  we hear the phrase "against our will", or "I didn't choose this?" and yes, that is true in some cases, but I would venture to guess that 98% of the time we have a choice, some kind of choice, even if something is not what we wanted. You might not have chosen to be laid off of work, or have your spouse leave you, or a loved one pass away, but you have a choice as to how you will respond to each scenario that comes across your life. Do you embrace your responsibility or do you try to pass blame on to someone else?

A few quotes I have always liked when it comes to choices are:

"You are free to make whatever choice you want. But you are not free from the consequences of that choice".

That seems harsh, but it's true. Especially with our children. Okay, you (child) may have made the choice to speed and wreck the car, but now the consequence may be that you don't get to use the car for awhile until trust can be re-established. You may made the choice to sleep in on a work day, now the consequence is running around like a chicken with your head cut off because you chose to run late.

"Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you made. If you want different results, make different choices". 

That's a good one. I see so often on Facebook people moaning and groaning about things in their life and I want to shout "then do something different"!!! Even if is't just changing your attitude. For me personally, I would like to lose some weight and get in shape...ummmm..that's not going to happen unless I decide to do something different. I have a choice to make. 

"Every choice we make has an end result".

That end result might be extremely positive or it might cause heartbreak, or frustration, joy, adventure, etc...but there will be an end result. 

As you go through the weekend, be more conscious of the choices you make, pay attention to the results of those choices. Tape some quotes in places you'll be reminded. 

Oh and one other thing...God is not looking at every choice you make and judging you harshly on them. He's not going "you idiot, what were you thinking". No, just like even when my kids make a not so good choice, I don't beat them down about it. No, I love them, encourage them, help them see why that probably wasn't a great choice and let them walk through the consequence of it. One of our phrases to our girls has been "how's that working out for you, how'd that work out for you". I imagine God might say the same thing. So give yourself a break, say "well that didn't work out for me very well", pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do something different the next time. Sometimes we just need to shift our mindset especially if we are in a circumstance that maybe we can't get out of at the moment or have been hurt by a relationship. Shift the way you think. 

With Joy Unquenchable,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Living Intentionally: Nourishing your soul part 1: Mind

WOW! Where did the day go. It's 4:30 and I'm just now sitting down to hopefully write something. I wish I was one that writing just flowed in 5 minutes flat. I think I could be with some practice, but anyways, I say that to say, I'm not sure this post will get done before I have to leave for a soccer game at 6:30. Yes, it could take me that long. I also get easily distracted and then there's the towels to put in the dryer, dishwasher to unload and I should probably heat up some soup if my hubby gets home before we have to leave. Yah, so, we'll see. Well, it's now 6:00 and I have gotten no further. Maybe late tonight will be the magic hour.  Now it's the next morning and it just didn't happen last night. Sometimes life gets in the way and that is A-OK!

The reality is that often we don't think about caring for our souls. We just get so busy and bogged down that we go through our days with the same lack of enthusiasm and intentionality that we deserve to give ourselves, that our bodies and our soul and our spirits, cry out for. "Please love me, please take care of me, please make me a priority". How many times do you leave for work, grumbling about the early hour and totally miss the beautiful sunrise? The sunrise that will also be a sunset equally beautiful and given to you by a God that would love for you to enjoy it. How many times to you post negative status after negative status, or enter in to toxic conversations online, at work, at home? How often do you simply forget nurturing your own mind because you're busy "doing" for everyone else? 

I remember one day thinking "who am I anymore? What are my dreams, interests, etc? " It wasn't like I was unhappy, but I am very much a nurturer and give myself wholly to the people around me. Unfortunately often, to the unintentional neglect of myself. 

Let's get some definitions out there and then today we'll talk about being intentional with your mind.

Nourish = to cherish, foster, keep alive. Supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth. Keep alive. 

Soul = The emotional part of human nature, your total self, the moral and emotional state of a human, your mind, will, and emotion. The central or integral part. Your vital core. 

Mind = The part of a person that feels, perceives, thinks, remembers, desires and imagines. 

Will = The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action. Free discretion. Self control, self discipline. Wish or desire. 

Emotions = Any strong feeling such as joy, hate, love, fear, etc..A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort in response to something else. A feeling. 

 Part of nourishing your mind and being intentional is staying active and engaged in life around us. Keeping our brain active and healthy plays a key role in the health of our mind. Sometimes I will look at someone in their 70's and 80's in comparison to someone else similar in age and I see so strongly the difference between those that keep their mind active and healthy and those who almost seem to have given up on life. I realize that much of the difference is how they think, feel, perceive themselves and life around them. How they keep their brain active and always learning, or they don't. Others perceive everything around them as negative. 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love and a SOUND MIND!
2 Timothy 1:7

But we have the MIND OF CHRIST
1 Corinthians 2:16

So what are ways to be intentional with your mind?

1. Keep your brain healthy and active. I love doing puzzles, games, things that challenge those capacities in my brain. 

2. Read. Read both for pleasure and for learning. 

3. Find a hobby. What is something you would enjoy doing or learning. Take classes teaching you how to do new things. One thing I want to learn is Zendoodling. 

4. Get out and see nature around you. Change your scenery. If you sit in an office all day, find somewhere other than the breakroom at lunch, even if it's sitting outside. The people and even scenery will change on a daily basis. Take a scenic route. Doing this engages our brain that there's something new we are seeing. 

5. Look through old pictures and spend time remembering what was happening during that time. Take time to do recall exercises. 

6. Talk to others. Engage in conversations that both challenge you and inspire you. 

7. Get physical activity...Really, this helps...I need to go say this in the mirror.

8. Don't be afraid to use your imagination whether in writing, creating something, taking pictures, let your imagination flow.

9. Surround yourself with positive people and messages. If you find that you are impacted in your perceptions and thoughts by negativity, then get rid of that toxic information that is coming in. How do you perceive yourself? If it's not positive, then start changing your thinking. 

10. Realize your origin. You were created by God, in His image and you carry His DNA. There's nothing wrong with you. Oh, maybe you need to change your mindset or perception, but you are His. I love reading books that solidify this for me. I don't want to live in a way of thinking that can't make up it's mind about who I am and how much I'm loved. 

Think for yourself of ways you can nourish your mind. Here's a link to 100 Ways to keep your mind healthy. There's some good stuff. Tomorrow we'll talk about our Will.  The following is one of my favorite verses. By taking time to reflect, meditate and stay connected to the source of my origin (The Trinity), my soul is reminded of my origin and who I am!

With Joy Unquenchable,

Monday, October 17, 2016

Living Intentionally: An Intentional Soul

Just this past weekend I was watching a few speakers during an online Symposium put out by The Truth about Cancer. Several common threads were weaved in each one but one that really stuck out to me was the importance of having a healthy soul. Words like; belief, joy, happiness, positive thoughts, peace, spirituality, etc..were woven through each speakers message. The health of our soul affects the health of our bodies. I totally agree with this and we'll look more into it later this week. They also stressed the value of speaking love and life to our bodies. Hmm...seems like we talked about this last week.

Sometimes life is not always a bed of roses. Often it's hard work, there's friction, tension, frustration, exhaustion, heartbreak. We focus on everyone's "highlight" reels that are posted on FB and measure our "real life" to that. Forgetting that we aren't always seeing everything about their life, which is fine, we just have to keep it in perspective. BUT even in the midst of those things that just happen, there can be joy, peace, adventure and a whole and full life...if we're intentional. 

Let's take another look at the definition of our "soul": 

  Soul = The emotional part of human nature, a persons total self, the moral and emotional nature of human beings, man's mind, will and emotions.

Our soul makes up much of who we are and it is vital that we keep it healthy. Our soul, even more so than our body and maybe, just maybe, even our spirit is greatly affected by all that swirls around us on a daily basis. For some people it can be overwhelming, crippling, a roller coaster ride that they just want to get off of. You see it daily through Facebook statuses, through the number of people battling mental illness and depression. Those who struggle with real or perceived loneliness. 

The beauty is, you have POWER. You heard that right. YOU. HAVE. POWER. Power to change, power to think differently, power to shift your mindset, power to take care of you. Your emotions, your mental state, your "total self" is worth you taking charge and realizing the power you were given by a Creator who finds your so beautiful, valuable and loveable. 

We're not always good at this though are we? We easily get bogged down with kids, and lunches, and work, and family and everything else that we neglect the most important person of all. YOU! I'm very guilty of this. It's easy to lose ourselves when we're in the midst of raising families. 

Think of some ways that you know you have neglected your soul. What does "soul" mean to you? Tomorrow we'll talk more about it. I'll leave you with this quote:

With Joy Unquenchable,

SRC Reveal: Macarons with Vanilla Cream

It's that time again for our Secret Recipe Club reveal for group C. I have enjoyed this group very much over the last several years. 

This month my assigned blog was Tara's Multicultural Table. Tara is a stay at home mom with two little ones, a boy and a girl. She loves reading, cooking, scrapbooking, dance and traveling. She loves all cuisine and it is seen widely in her recipe box. Like many of us, she started her blog as a way to share her recipes. Read more about her travels in her About Me page

I am always so wary of trying things too much out of my comfort zone. I hate being disappointed or feeling like I'm wasting money. BUT as I was going through her blog I found a recipe for macarons. They are something I have enjoyed eating and have always wanted to try making them after watching several cooking shows where they were made and just looked so tricky, they intimidated me. Soooo, I decided to be brave and give them a try. I had a backup recipe just in case it didn't work out. The other recipe I was going to make was her Australian Soda Bread. I still may try it because it looked so good! 

Okay, so macarons, not to be confused with macaroons (which I can't are:

MacaronA macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring

The cooking shows are adament as to how hard these are to perfect because they have to be "perfect". Perfectly smooth, perfectly round. I was intimidated. BUT, I decided to try anyways. Earlier in the year my daughter and I went to a great little place in downtown Portland, Oregon before a soccer game and tried macarons. I can't really remember what they tasted like now in order to compare mine so I'll have to just go back and try there's again. 

I didn't want to make the full recipe, because that was A LOT of macarons, so I decided to half it. Now, this could be where I went a little wrong because my batter was thicker than I think it should have been. So when I banged it on the counter it didn't really "fall" and It wasn't smooth and glossy so possibly my almond meal wasn't fine enough. These factors made me a little nervous because I wasn't so sure they'd rise like they should. Well, they rose, and looked right (just not pretty or glossy smooth). I think if I tried again I'd make them a bit smaller. Tara, maybe you can give me your thoughts on what I did wrong. They did taste really good, and can I just say, um, I love the taste of meringue..haha. 

Macarons with Vanilla Cream
(makes 72 macarons...not sure if this means separate or sandwiches)


2 1/2 c. ground almond meal
2 c. + 1 1/2 Tbs. powdered sugar
6 egg whites, room temperature
pinch cream of tartar
1 c. + 3Tbs. Caster sugar
a few drops of food coloring


5 1/2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. milk


1. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 210 degrees F.

2. In a food processor, grind almond meal until the texture becomes fine. Spread the almond meal on another baking sheet not lined with parchment. Bake in preheated, tossing occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated and it no longer clumps, but is not darkened, about 15 minutes. Place in a large bowl with powdered sugar. 

3. In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites on low speed. Once they become foamy, add cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high speed. Once soft peaks form, add caster sugar and increase speed to high until stiff peaks form. 

4. Fold in 1/4 of egg whites and food coloring into almond meal mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites, then smear against the side of the bowl about 12 times, until the mixture becomes glossy and peaks fall within 5 seconds.

5. Transfer mixture to a piping bag, fitted with an 8-10 tip (or just cut tip off a plastic bag enough for mixture to come out. Pipe even circles about 1 1/2" in diameter, on prepared baking sheets about 1/2-1" apart. Rap the trays against the counter a few times and allow to rest 30-45 minutes until a skin forms and is no longer sticky to touch.

6. While the shells are drying, place oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

7. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes, then open door slightly 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies. 

8. To make filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese on low til smooth. Dice butter and add to cream cheese. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. If it's too thick, add some milk. Transfer mixture to piping bag, again fitted with an 8-10 size tip. 

9. Pair together the cooled macaron shells that are similar in shape. Pipe the filling onto half of the bottom side of the shells. Top with remaining shells and gently twist until filling fills the interior.

10. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving. 

I's a lot of steps, but really wasn't that hard. I think I'll try them again, trying to figure out where I made my mistakes. I also think I made the filling a bit too sweet. Enjoy and thanks Tara for challenging me.
With Joy Unquenchable,

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Living Intentionally: Feeding our Bodies

Hi friends! I hope that if you've read this series, you've maybe gotten some good nuggets. If not, that's okay too, because the reality is, I did this more as a stretch for myself than anything. To get creative juices flowing, to learn to write a little better, etc. I am learning things I'd do differently next year, and I'm excited to expand my blog topics. 

Yesterday we touched on moving our bodies. I hope you were encouraged. I hope you found some motivation or resources in the links I shared. I hope you were able to set some simple goals regarding how you plan to be intentional with this. Remember it doesn't have to be hard, just do something. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the store entrance, walk the track while your kids have practice or before games. 

Today I thought we'd end our Body portion talking about being intentional about feeding our bodies. Again, I'm not perfect at this, but I know I've made great strides compared to years ago and I'm always willing to learn more because there is so much to learn.

What we choose to fuel our bodies with is important whether we are trying to lose weight or just in our day to day living. 

But I also think it's important to evaluate first and foremost our relationship with food. Are we emotional eaters? Do we live to eat or eat to live? Are we afraid of food? Do we feel pressure from everything we see out there in the media as to what we should and shouldn't do, eat or buy? Do we feel guilty when we eat? It can all be daunting. Been there done that! Tired of it. 

One of my biggest issues years ago, was that I would, say, go to a potluck and it was almost like I'd say "oh, my, I need to eat everything and a lot of it because I may never have this again", that was a lie, because, of course that wouldn't be the last time I had whatever it was, and even if it was, it wasn't going to kill me. And it was almost like I didn't have a "full" switch so I could eat and eat and not ever really get that "full" feeling. I knew I needed to change my thinking and re-train my brain. 

Take a look through your kitchen. What foods do you find? How often do you go out to fast food or even just restaurants in general? Do you read labels when you shop? Do you take vitamins and supplements? How much water do you drink? These are all great questions we need to ask ourselves. Because they tell us a lot about what we are putting in our bodies. 

I know that the topic of food can be touchy because there are so many opinions out there so I won't go too much into it other than what I think are the general most important things we should think about and what our own family tries to do and you can decide what is best for your family. 

For me, it is always more beneficial to make small changes a little at a time. This keeps me from getting overwhelmed and the changes are more likely to stick! 

Here are some things we have done in our home:

1) Less sugary drinks, more water. The only juice we usually have in the house is Orange Juice and it's usually organic or a brand like Floridas Own...none of that Sunny D stuff.

2) More whole foods. There is not much in our kitchen that is processed or pre-packaged. Canned foods are more like beans, tomato sauce, etc. and I try to buy organic.

3) More fruits and Vegetables.

4) When eating out we try to find places that source locally and hopefully organic. When we eat elsewhere we really try to limit those places and make smart choices.

5) Sharing meals when eating out. My husband and began sharing meals years ago because we realize that the portions we were being served were more than enough for two people. Now, sometimes we get our own meals, but more often than not, we share.

6. Read, read, read, labels. I try to buy products and brands that have the fewest ingredients. I learn what ingredients to avoid.

7. Choose organic or local when possible, but if it's not possible look for the next best thing. So for example I shop at Safeway often I will buy their Open Nature Brand because while not always organic, has better ingredients than some other brands. I buy my eggs from a friend and often some of my chicken from her too.

8. The key is choosing better ingredients. Do your research to find out what restaurants are better options than others. You might spend a little more, but it's worth it, I think. 

9) Make more meals at home. If you are a busy working family, try using your crockpot or make freezer meals. Keep pizza dough in the freezer to take out and thaw to make your own homemade pizza.

10) Include your kids in the kitchen. Teach them good habits now. 

11) Incorporate vitamins and supplements, but make sure they are quality and don't have a lot of fillers. 

12) I like using essential oils though not as much as I'd like to.

13) Incorporating whole food smoothies and juices. 

14) Portion Control. I began eating off of a salad plate because I wasn't as tempted to fill the plate and I found I was satisfied. I try to be mindful of when I am actually physically hungry and eating then, and then stopping when I'm satisfied. 

15) Carry healthy snacks in your car or purse. I need to be better at this.

So, those are just a few things we do. I've learned to cook vegan, gluten free, you name it, etc...and incorporate a variety of those things and more in our eating because I feel like it's important to mix things up and incorporate variety in our diets. I love to do soups because they're healthy, easy, and often inexpensive for feeding a lot of people.

I love following pages and websites that talk about healthier eating, but I also love my cooking shows that don't. lol. Every now and then I'll throw in some creamy, not exactly healthy dish to a meal, but I try to use the best ingredients and it's not that often we do it so I don't feel guilty. I am a believer in moderation. 

It's all about being mindful and intentional, whatever you choose to do. I'm not always great about eating breakfast or even thinking of myself when it comes to eating so I need to work on being intentional with that. I've gotten much better with breakfast. 

I know that things can be more expensive, but do your research. When I have time, I shop at several different stores because I've learned who has the best deals on what. I look at ads. I pick and choose, and sometimes we go without if I can't find the item I want or it's too expensive. But you may also find that if you stop buying pop, you'll have more money to put into something else. 

Here are some of my favorite websites and Facebook pages:

Food Babe
Dr. Oz
Food Matters
Clean Food Crush
Whole 30 Recipes
Reluctant Entertainer
Food Faith Fitness
Just Eat Real Food

I have many others but too many to list. Also search my own blog for recipes. You can friend me on my personal page to see more pages I like, or follow my pinterest boards for more recipes I've pinned or health ideas. I have a hodge podge of stuff on there. 

Tomorrow we'll jump into being intentional in the area of our soul. Can't wait!

With Joy Unquenchable,


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