Monday, July 14, 2014

Raw Caramel Apple Dessert

It's about 85 degrees in Seattle right now which means it's like 100 degrees in our apartment. Cooking has become unbearable!

My husband is a genius and came up with a delish dessert and a fun way to cool down while we are in the house in these dog days of summer. The first is very simple: a dollar store spray bottle. We're having fun in here spraying each other and feeling more refreshed. The other thing my handsome hubby came up with: the BEST dessert ever! There isn't much of a recipe but here is the general idea:

Chop up 1 apple, add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and sprinkle with a dash each of cinnamon (maybe 1 tsp), salt, and stevia. Now here's the part where we kick it up a notch. Add a very small amount of oil and caramel extract. Mix it all up and enjoy. It is seriously like a raw caramel apple pie without all the guilt and no baking in this hot heat!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Embracing Imperfect

I fall victim to it all the time. I'll be checking my facebook or instagram and see a friend on a fabulous summer vacation or just complete a swanky new home project, and I get jealous. I want to also be having a fabulous time and a beautiful home so I try and make myself look like I too am living an equally as amazing life. But it's all a show. It's all my way to look like I'm perfect. It's this thing I feel I need to achieve. To be a perfect mom and wife. To be an excellent home maker and cook. To be a totally toned and fit woman. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to do well at something or enjoying yourself on a vacation, not at all, but there is a problem with seeing someone else have those things and then coveting after them. My reality, however, is imperfection. We can't always afford expensive vacations (staycations here we
come! :P), we don't own a house so there are no projects to be done, and I am by no means a perfect mother! Every day is a constant reminder of my imperfect existence.

As you know, ever since the birth of my daughter, I've been on a journey to get back into shape. I recently finished two more sessions of the workout program that changed my life and perspective on living a healthy lifestyle. I don't know what happened at the end of this last session, but I kind of went off the deep end. I've always been good about my food choices and kept on a pretty focused meal planning system (never feeling deprived of delicious food mind you and definitely not starving myself!) but I ended up eating like cookie monster for the last several weeks, literally devouring everything in sight including all those not so good for you items, i.e. boxed cookies, cereal. It's carb city over here! Jeremy and I have been hoping to add another little one to our family soon so when my pants started to feel tight I got hopeful that that was the reason why. When I found out it was just me putting on a few pounds I realized I had a problem. I recently signed up for my first half marathon and I just finished week one of my training. Getting back into the swing of things is tough, but it is absolutely necessary or I'll never grow, well, not in the way I want!

I feel like this applies in all areas of my life right now. I viewed a series of baby & toddler early development informational videos this last week. Usually when Hannah disobeys my instructions and outright defies me I get angry and/or frustrated and proceed to punish or discipline her in whatever way needs to be done at the time. After viewing those videos, my perspective changed. The doctors explained that each and every  baby or toddler is testing their boundaries, learning how far they can act or do in a certain situation. They are just seeing where those limits lie. And every time they do this it serves as an opportunity to teach. That's our job as parents and  I feel like I completely overlook that part most of the time and instead of seeing the teachable moment I just see a difficult situation that I have to begrudgingly deal with. Now I'm using my new perspective to approach each situation with more love and patience knowing that it's my job to teach her to control herself, to obey her parents and to enjoy the moment within the boundaries we've set.

These two areas in my life serve as examples of just how imperfect I am. That doesn't mean I wallow in my imperfection and say woe is me. We must strive for excellence, and for the God honoring desires we have, but also know that we're never going to be perfect. We're never going to be the best dressed, have the nicest house, or go on the best vacations. We need to stop trying to keep up with the Jones's (and by we, I mean me!! :) ) I'm beginning to embrace the fact that I'll never be an amazing athlete or perfect mother but I can learn from my mistakes and move forward knowing that they serve as a steppingstone to help me become a better person, someone that knows that it's God's grace that covers those mistakes and sins in my life. My identity is in who I am in Christ, not in what I achieve or do on instagram or facebook.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9