You Make Me Laugh

I have never felt more self doubt as a mother than I do during this season of parenting. Seeing my daughters venture out into the world as young women really makes me wonder if I have done enough to prepare them for this next step in their journey. There are times I see so much that I haven’t done that I feel like a complete failure in the mom department.
I often hear other moms talk about how they make their kids do household chores, make them complete all their homework, and make them practice for hours. Then I come home and trip over a pile of shoes, turn my nose up at a sink full of dirty dishes and hear the silence of a piano left unplayed.  It seems like I can’t make my kids do anything and I worry if I have been the right guide for them.
One Saturday a few weeks ago I was particularly troubled with these thoughts when I found myself in the midst of an intense exchange of words with one of my daughters. Before I realized it I let out a clown face. Yes, right in the middle of battle my solution was to make a funny face. Great, I thought. Just great. I silently congratulated myself on another mom messup. I don’t know what I expected next but she just stopped and stared at me. Surprisingly her next words melted my heart. She said “Mom, you always make me laugh”.
I thought, “Wow, I actually can make my kids do something”. Laugh. But is laughing really that important amidst everything they’ll need to make it in life? I pondered that a bit and decided that yes, yes it is. Life is serious business. There are always bills to pay, loved ones to care for and dishes to wash. The monotony of day to day tasks combined with times of trouble can leave one weary and sad. Without laughter it’s easy to get stuck in a dour disposition. According to Helpguide, “Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load, boosts the immune system and relaxes the whole body” If laughing can do all that, then it’s a priority in my book.  Most of the things I worry about making my girls do they will pick up out of necessity when they fly out of the nest; but where else are they going to learn to laugh?
I’m not going to give up on the chores, homework and life readiness in general, but I am going to quit beating myself up about a pile of shoes by the door. I am going to keep trying to be the best mom I can in the time left with them under my wing. And I am going to keep making them laugh.

Cool as a Cucumber

Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I guess eating cucumbers for lunch doesn’t really qualify as desperate, but when I started my new job in November, I found myself thrown back on the front lines of needing healthy food prepared fast. My nutritional goals faced a new challenge as the flexibility I’ve enjoyed over the past few years was replaced with long hours away from home (and my kitchen). I needed to switch back into the gear of quick and easy choices for my lunch box, and cucumbers were an easy place to start. Here’s why: They are a nutritional powerhouse packaged up right in their own wrapper. I call this God’s fast food!
Let’s review some of the nutritional reasons I like cucumbers:
  1. Vitamins and minerals galore. Everything from stress managing B’s, immune boosting C and heart healthy potassium turn cucumbers into a one stop nutritional shop.
  2.  Digestive dynamo. Water and fiber are essential to a smooth move through the gut and cucumbers have both! Insoluble fiber from the skin adds bulk needed for healthy elimination, and the high water content may help with acid reflux.
  3. Glowing skin. All of those vitamins, minerals, water and fiber in cucumbers do even more than aid digestion and boost our health. They also help keep our skin radiant.

For more information about the amazing cucumber, check out these 2 articles by Dr. Mercola and Best Acne Treatment.

Now that we’ve explored a few of the healthy benefits that cucumbers offer, let’s talk about how to get them in your lunch box quick. I have 3 strategies for this depending on how much time I have. The first one may not be glamorous, but can be accomplished in 30 seconds or less: simply wash and and wrap the whole thing in a paper towel. That’s it! At lunch time I pull it out and eat it apple style. Like I said it’s not glamorous but does give me a cool and refreshing boost in the midst of a busy day.
If I have a few more minutes I slice it right into a bowl and add vinegar and garlic salt. That makes me feel a little more sophisticated when break time comes calling and I actually need a fork.
Finally, if I have more than 10 minutes or have actually planned and prepped ahead, a salad like this one from iowa girl eats  makes lunch time delightful. When I open that one, it’s so exciting that I spend more time trying to get a good image for Snap Chat than I have to eat it.
Trying to keep the healthy thing going on with a busy schedule can get overwhelming pretty quick. Especially with all of the convenient packages of chips and candy bars looming on every horizon. It helps me to keep it simple and to remember that God has given us quite a variety of delicious, healthy food like cucumbers. Quick nourishment on a busy day can be that easy.
Leave me a comment and share your favorite way to get healthy food fast.
Sources found in this post:

My First Gray Hair

I looked in the mirror at my mess of hair and as I tried to put it in order I saw it. Gray. I looked closer and there it was, a flash of gray weaving it’s way through my roots. I’d been watching for it, wondering when it would appear, and here it was.

A lightning bolt of exhilaration shot through my body. Not quite the reaction I anticipated but I couldn’t deny it. A buzz of excitement flowed through my veins.
Lately it feels like I’ve been jumping through ring after ring of fire on this journey of life. Each new phase rocking my world and challenging the pillars of my identity as a mother, wife and individual.
My role as a mother has evolved over the years but this past year brought more change than I was ready for. I anticipated the graduations, confirmations and college for a long time but actually living through these moments was so bittersweet. The same family structure we’ve enjoyed for the past 18 years has changed. It is a tremendous blessing to watch both my daughters growing up into independent young ladies, but at the same time I’m uncertain how to navigate these new waters in a motherly fashion.
My marital relationship is another area experiencing change as it grows to include caregiving. My husband has lived with Young Onset Parkinson’s for over 10 years now and I thank God every day that his progression has been mild for so long. But each passing year brings new challenges and changes to his condition. Sometimes the energy it takes to be the encourager and support for his health is overwhelming to me.
Rounding up the changes in my life is my entrepreneurial journey which is currently on hiatus. I set out a few years ago full of ambition to make the world a healthier place. I’ve had a lot of fun, met some amazing people and learned so much along the way. I’ve led online programs, taught cooking classes, even started a food business. For now, those aspirations are on hold as I rebuild my vision and regenerate my determination. New opportunities will emerge when the time is right.
Back to the gray. You might not see it for a while since my hair is a palette of colors reflective of the seasons, but discovering it felt like a culmination of so much change in so little time. Like a crown at the end of a race. A signal to stop and breathe. Stop trying so hard to change the world around me and instead enjoy my little corner of it. Breathe in each moment before it passes into memory.
Change will always come but one thing will always remain the same. The one constant through all of life is God. He never changes, is always the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. When I put the turbulence of life aside and seek refuge in the steady of hand of God all my worries wash away. Peace and strength to face the day are found, no matter the color of my hair.
Leave me a comment with some of the challenges and changes you face.