Friday, January 13, 2017

Mistakes Were Made

I’ve made some massive mistakes. Uh, just in the last month!

Mistake One: I quit my job. The one I love, have a passion for, and completely flow in my giftings of organization, typing, creativity and details. I resigned.

My husband and I told our pastors after service one Sunday that I had to resign. I was going to babysit my granddaughter 4 days a week. They were amazingly supportive, understood and prayed with us.

As Pastor Judy prayed, I cried. Not because I was sad to leave, but because already I had a clue I wasn’t doing the right thing.

The next week there were moments of, “Man, I’m glad I won’t have to do this [particular task] anymore.”

There were also moments of, “I don’t want to give this [particular task] up. I don’t want to stop doing this [particular task]. I’m going to miss the people in the community I work with. I don’t want to give my keys back. Who’s going to do this job? I know I’m going to criticize the work that comes out of this office now; I don’t want to do that. Are we going to have to leave this church?”

Endless thoughts and questions!

The next week was also the most trying time of babysitting my granddaughter I’ve ever had. Crying and screaming that would. Not. Quit! One afternoon was an hour and 20 minutes by the time my daughter came to get her. I love the girl, but I was ecstatic to hand her off!

That was the night I sent a text to Pastor Judy and said, “Please don’t say anything publicly yet. Can we talk Sunday? I’m feeling confused.”

How was I ever going to do this four days a week? I’ve always said I’m NOT cut out for daycare. I don’t like it. It’s definitely different with a grandchild - it’s more enjoyable, it’s easier, but it’s not the thing I enjoy most. (I feel like a terrible grandparent when I say that.)

My passion? Office work. (I’ve been in love with forms since I discovered them at 7-years-old!)

My husband and I did a lot of talking. I think we over-discussed it. But we were in agreement that I needed to revoke my resignation. Office work is life-giving for me. It’s my creative outlet. Where was I otherwise going to have that?

The next Sunday we had lunch with Pastors Keith and Judy and they were relieved when I revoked my resignation. I was relieved. I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do.

Mistake Two: When I arrived at my job the week before Christmas, I was trying to set up for the day. Unlocking drawers, setting up my laptop, switching from boots to shoes, checking email on my desktop…ah, the email.

With too many things to distract me, I tried to plow through some emails to catch up and get them cleaned out. There was one from USPS Same Day. It told me a package could not be delivered because nobody was at our office to receive it.

True. I’m only there two days a week.

“Click on the attachment for further instructions.”

You know where I’m going, don’t ya? Yep. I. KNOW. BETTER! But distracted. *Click* and a flash. What was that? Hmm, nothing seems to be happening so I must be ok.

Then my laptop (thank you, Jesus, I had my laptop on!) started showing notifications about Dropbox files being updated.

Long story, short, I downloaded an encryption virus. I had to delete my Dropbox account, but fortunately the virus hadn’t made it to the server yet, so all other documents were safe. Although I’ve lost all my contacts and calendars because our IT guy had to rebuild my desktop.

It’s been 3 weeks since I did that and I’m still fuming mad at myself. I know better than to click on attachments, especially from a Canadian email address that claims to be from the US Post Office. How dumb can you be?

What is my point in sharing these mistakes? Life goes on. We can go back and admit our mistakes, ask forgiveness, change the situation as best we can and move forward.

The world didn’t end because I resigned, then revoked it.

The world didn’t end because I downloaded an encryption virus onto my computer that inconvenienced people for days because they had to work around that.

I know you’ve made some mistakes too. Some are way in the past - over and done with. But some may be recent. The past year, the past month - yesterday.

What can you do to resolve the situation? Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and admit our mistakes - then apologize for the inconvenience we cause everyone! (A la computers with viruses!)

Sometimes the only thing we can do is move forward, having learned from our mistake.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Philippians 3:13 [NLT]

Sometimes it’s just therapy to write about it and share your stupidity with the world! Because I know I’m not alone in making mistakes, and I want you to know you’re not either.

Care to share any mistakes you’ve made and how God redeemed them? Let's encourage each other.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Just Say No To Resolutions

When I was in school, my teachers would almost always check the box on my report card that said, "Makes wise use of time." These many years later, it still makes me crazy to waste time.

Over the past couple of weeks I did some goal setting for 2017. I want to look back and see some accomplishments so I know I made wise use of my time. I am intentional about living a life of purpose - to tell a meaningful story with my life.

In January 2016 a few goals I had written were:
  • Clean cupboards, closets, clothes, bookshelves, and give things away to Goodwill.

  • Have coffee dates with long-lost friends.

  • Lose Weight

  • Finish an online course I had started, then put aside.

  • Publish my health journal book.

I listed specific goals for each area - exactly which cupboards and closets I wanted to clean, which friends I needed to reconnect with, how much weight I was going to lose (and specifically how I was going to do it), when I would finish the course, and set a deadline for publishing my book.

Results? My closets, cupboards, drawers and bookshelves have been pared down by around 60% (and I still look for things to get rid of), I reconnected with 5 long-lost friends, I lost 28.4 pounds and discovered which foods I need to avoid, I finished the course and published my book!

I heard a stat that only 8% of new year resolutions make it to the end of January. That means by the time you read this, if you've made resolutions you're already struggling.

Pastor MarkPettus (Church of the Highlands, Alabama) said, "Resolutions depend on me to fix a problem I caused," and that's not a good idea. He said we need more than willpower, we need a Higher Power - Jesus!

Our resolutions are meaningless if we don't depend on Jesus to change us. I also believe we need to pray and be intentional about the changes we're going to make.

"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth." Isaiah 43:19 [NASB]

For the past couple of years I've read James Clear's Annual Review on his blog. He looks back over his year and discusses the good, the bad, failures, improvements and where he can use those lessons going into the new year. I love his overview-style and it has helped me consider my year and where I'm going.

I also recently read a great article from Chris Guillebeau, "How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review." He's more specific in his review style using a step-by-step process, listing distinct areas, what the summary theme is for each, which 3 or 4 specific action steps it will require, and checking in with yourself each quarter to see how you're doing.

Even though we're already into January, I encourage you to take some time to look over your past year. This may not be a quick process; it may even take a few days, but that's ok so you can put a good plan together. What are your wins? What are your losses? What did you learn from them? Where do you want to go in 2017? What will it take to get there?

Even if you don't meet all your goals (I didn't in 2016), at least you've got something to aim for. You'll have a story of accomplishment to tell on December 31, 2017. You'll be excited and proud of living a story of purpose.

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Mary Kay Ash

A few of my goals for 2017 are to be consistent in daily time with God, walk at least 5000 steps per day, connect with 4 or 5 long-lost friends (the ones I didn't make it to last year), read 6-10 books, attend the Tribe Writers Conference in September.

Check out James Clear and Chris Guillebeau and let me know if you create a plan for 2017. Just say no to resolutions and yes to goals!

Happy New Year, Sweet Friends! Thank you for being on this journey with me.

And let's check in with each other on January 1 so we can see how well we did!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Pizza Quinoa

Continuing my accidental series of recipe creations, this week I give you Pizza Quinoa. It's the usual blah-blah-free: gluten, dairy, egg and tomato. Yes, I can't have tomatoes either.

I LOVE pizza and have been craving it a lot lately. I could eat it every night and be happy, but since I'm all-those-things-and-more-free, I can't have it. Gluten, diary, tomato - crust, cheese, sauce. Blah.

It's with pizza on the brain and a need to bring a dish to a potluck last weekend that I came up with Pizza Quinoa. It was a hit!

Of course, if you're not dairy-free (lucky), add some shredded mozzarella or cut some fresh mozzarella into bite-size cubes. It would be delicious. (Definitely do this after the quinoa cools.)

If you're not tomato-free, maybe about a 1/2 can of drained, fire-roasted tomatoes would be fabulous as well.

Pizza Quinoa

1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
Add to the cooking water:
1 1/2 t basil
1 1/2 t oregano
garlic, generous sprinkle (I like lots)

*I like to allow the quinoa to sit for awhile after cooking so it's fluffier, but you can certainly use it as soon as it's finished.

1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup green pepper
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/2 of a 3.5 oz package of pepperoni, sliced in half. 

Mix together and add the quinoa.

Drizzle with some olive oil. If you have access to the fancy olive oils (Fustini's in Holland is awesome), a basil or Tuscan olive oil would be extra delicious.

As always, make it your own. Add whatever you like on your pizza - olives, sausage, pineapple, etc.

I'd love to hear how you like this and how you change it up!

Happy Pizza-ing!

My book, Be Real Health Journal: A Guide To Slowing Down For Better Health will be a perfect jumpstart for your health in 2017! Click here to order!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Peanut Satay Chicken with Rice Noodles

Continuing with my crazy food-restriction-diet theme, here's another awesome recipe! Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, blah-blah-blah-free.

I'm not even sure how I came up with this one, but it's so good I've made it a couple of times already.

As always, my recipes lend themselves very well to your own creativity. (And measurements never need to be exact.) While I used broccoli and peppers in this, if you share President Bush's dislike for broccoli, substitute something else. Cauliflower would be awesome. (Makes note to self - sounds delicious.)

Rice noodles are very easy to make and I like them just as well as pasta. But note they soak up sauce like a sponge, so unless you plan ahead, leftovers will be very dry.

Peanut Satay Chicken with Rice Noodles

1 pound chicken, cooked and diced
7 oz Rice Noodles (found in the Asian section)
8-10 ounces bottled Peanut Satay Sauce (found in the Asian section)
Vegetables of your choice: broccoli, carrots, onion, peppers work well

Begin by boiling water for rice noodles.

Chop and sauté vegetables in olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic for 5-6 minutes.

Combine together or serve separately on the plate - whatever excites you. Like I said, my recipes are casual!

Let me know what you think if you try this. What would you do different?

There's still time to get $5 off my book, Be Real Health Journal: A Guide To Slowing Down For Better Health.

Use the code HEALTHY17 at checkout before 11:59 pm, Friday, December 16! This would make a perfect Christmas gift! Click here to order!