Quarantine Day 4

Hello World! Oh my goodness, you have changed drastically. This is the first time I am sitting down and reflecting over it and I am certain it is not the last. I am not going to let my mind travel to the statistics. They are quickly changing. If I think too deeply about the negative stats my anxiety kicks in. My head wanders to the what ifs. I can’t go there. That does not mean that I am not aware or that I am in denial. To keep this quarantine as positive as I can at home I have to focus on the good. I check on the news throughout the day, but then I try to focus on the positives. Below I am sharing a few of them.

I am continuously in awe of how some books come into our lives when they are most needed. I downloaded Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth Podcasts a while back, I don’t recall when, but I tried to listen to the first one and then put them on the back burner- I just wasn’t read for “it”. I was visiting with my hair stylist a couple of weeks ago and she suggested I read Tolle’s book by the same name. Once I got home and Googled him I made the connection with the podcasts. I ordered his book and couldn’t get into the first chapter quick enough. I was on the verge of tears! It was like something opened up inside me. I am only on chapter 2 as it is not something I can rush through. I felt this way with How Yoga Works too. I am going to provide you with Oprah’s quote about the book:

Winfrey calls the book ‘a wake up call for the entire planet, one reader at a time. It helps us to distance ourselves from our egos…and to open ourselves to a higher self…It helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future ought to be, and to put ourselves in the now.

“Wake up call for the entire planet.”

“It helps us to distance ourselves.”

What more of a sign does a person need?

Ok, enough of the heavy feelings. Let’s talk about what has gotten us through the past 3 days. Yes, it is has only been 3 days. So many more ahead of us I am certain.

• Uplifting Apps: Spotify, Podcasts, YouVersion Bible, Calm •

Find some new music to listen to on Spotify. It lets you find pre made mixes of music depending on what mood you are in or you can make our own “mixed tapes”. Acoustic Pilates, Kindie, Dreamy Vibes are a few that have been on rotation. Kindie is a nice mix of kid friendly music that won’t drive a parent completely nuts. Armchair Expert is one podcast that is guaranteed to make me laugh. Even if Dax Shepard has a serious topic to discuss with his guest he still find a way to bring you to out loud laughter. You can find podcasts on any topic. Simply Google a topic. YouVersion Bible app has been great. I have tried different Bible studies over the past year. This gives you various Bible studies depending on the topic and depending on how long you want the study to last. 5 days? 7 days? 21 days? It is so versatile. You can do them with friends or alone. I am so thankful I learned about this from a new friend at work. I downloaded the Calm app for the second time. I downloaded this just before the COVID-19 outbreak. It gives you daily meditations, calm music, sounds to sleep to and simple yoga guides. It is all things calm.

• Keeping the kids busy: Daily Devotion, Legos, Educational Websites, Play

It has not been easy to juggle working from home, making sure kids are happy and just not letting the current state of the world freak me out. I know our schools are working on a plan with more direction and school work. This may make things easier or it may make it more difficult. Probably both. Another change and we will work through it. For another week though, the kiddos will do a daily devotional reading followed by drawing a picture and writing about what they learned. Emmy’s kindergarten teacher did a 30 Days of Lego Play challenge that both girls have found to be fun. If you follow Instagram watch for #30daysoflegoplay. We have access to the following websites for educational play:

Prodigy math game

Lalio phonics game

Reflex math game

Abdo online library

Audio children’s books

They are also reading some each day. Stella is reading Star Girl and then we plan I’m watching it on Disney+. We do what we can. We have to be patient with them and ourselves. After all, many of us are not professional teachers. I am most certain that we are to learn patience from the COVID-19. I have lost my cool the past few days, and more than once. But I quickly crouch down to their level, tell them we are in this together and that we will get through this. I remind them this is not easy for any of us. We make sure to apologize to one another. We are working on respect. It’s a work in progress for us all.

Move

Get outside if it’s nice. We make it a goal to get out twice a day. We were not successful yesterday as we only made it out in the afternoon. Fresh air is good and this is not the time to get lazy, at least for us. It’s a time to focus on health. Try the Aaptiv app, FitBit premium has some great videos, FitOn is free and has videos. Search YouTube fitness videos. There are options. Just make the choice to move!

As our family finds things that work I will make sure to share. We are in this together. Besides patience and being present I am most certain that the higher powers above want us to work together. I pray for your health- mind, body and spirit. *hugs+

Two Weeks into Lent

We are exactly two weeks into Lent. It feels great to say I have been away from Facebook and Instagram for that length of time. To be honest, I quickly went on tonight to check in with my bookclub to see if we are still planning on meeting next week, and I will have to check in periodically over the next few days to see what the plan is. However, I have not gone on to scroll through either of the social platforms. It feels amazing! So amazing, that at this point, I may give up one of them. Now, who is to say that I will still feel that way when this is all said and done, but two weeks in, I just may! Or at least, I will scale down who I follow. Time will tell.

What have these past two weeks taught me? Tonight, my oldest out of nowhere said “mom, I am glad you gave up Facebook, I feel like you were on it too much”. Yes, Stella, I probably was on it too much. I am not proud of it. I could have been on it much more, or much less. Now, what she doesn’t realize though, is that everything is on my phone so I am not always on social media. Text communication about friend get togethers, music that she loves to listen to, email correspondence about her extracurricular activities, and shopping for things we actually need all take place on this time consuming device. The phone is with me and is a part of me. That is the way of the world. I can be better though. We all can be, right?

What have I done with this extra time? I have gotten back on board with some much needed self improvement. I have felt like I had fallen off of the train with my healthier lifestyle. It had only been a few weeks, but I was not happy to feel and see the results start to diminish. I had a friend ask me what my “why” was. What is the “why” behind my weight goals. I knew a little bit about my why, but I had A) lost site of it and B) had to dig a little deeper to provide me with some much needed motivation. I think that discussion is for another post as I am still processing through that why.

A friend at work introduced me to the YouVersion Bible app. It appeared I had downloaded the app about three years ago, so I guess she re-introduced me to it. My morning routine has welcomed some new found Bible studies and has brought a college friend back into my circle. I would say a triple win so far! I have ebbed and flowed through starting my morning with some spiritual words and I am not quite certain why it is easy to drift away from this routine as it does bring me a sense of calm. I have brought back my journal too. There is something therapeutic about writing for me. There are a few topics that I have declared off limits for this blog. I need to remind myself that a journal and a pen are just as good.

I have finished two phenomenal books in the past couple of weeks too. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano and Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert. This is not a sales pitch by any means, but if you love to read and you love to get new books in the mail I highly suggest subscribing to Book of the Month. Maybe with leaving Facebook and Instagram I will find enough time to catch up on my pile of books. They all sound so good, it is hard to make a decision each month. Daughter of Molokai was not part of the Book of the Month subscription. I read Molokai by the same author years ago. It by far is my favorite book. I have not been to that particular Hawaiian island, but reading it brought me back to Maui and the heart warming feelings it brought to my senses while I was there. I have read a lot of good books by authors that bring great detail to their writing. Those authors make you feel like you know the characters. They make you feel like you sitting there next to them. This author exceeds all of my expectations with his level of detail. I lent Molokai to someone once and didn’t get it back. I ran across it at a 2nd hand store and bought it again. Honolulu is another book by Alan. Again, I lent this out and never got it back. At some point I will want to purchase it again. It was that good. Daughter of Molokai is a sequel to Molokai. You don’t have to read them in order, but I would recommend it. Alan makes learning about history fun again for me. If you have a fear of flying or are taking a trip soon I would suggest not reading Dear Edward. I didn’t know what to expect out of Ann’s story, but it brought a sense of warmth to my heart after a tragic situation occurred. I couldn’t help but feel for Edward and is family. They all struggled in their own way, yet being family they made it through together. Life is not perfect, however we have to work together.


I am excited to see what else come from the next few weeks of peace.

The Struggle to Accept Others

I have been struggling lately. After reading some of the books I have over the past year it has opened my mind and heart even more to the way the world is. If I were to rate myself on a scale I would say I am more open to other’s differences than many people. I am not perfect and my mind wanders at times when I have certain gut feelings, however, I yearn to learn about how other people differ from myself and accept them for who they are. I feel like I have been like this since I was a child.

So where do I struggle? When others do not feel that way. When I feel others are being closed minded to people that are not part of our norm.

The story in Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, took place throughout the past few decades. It saddened me to see that things have not really changed that much. Sure, we have made strides, but still, it embarrasses me to see how we have so far to go. People, it is 2020. Ugh, to type that, and see where we still struggle. It makes me want to literally cry. I am currently listening to the audiobook, Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. Sure we don’t have scaled down concentration camps in the US for the Japanese Americans anymore, but so many American’s still fight against letting others come to our country. These people come here in hopes to have a safer environment than what they left behind.

I get it, we are crowded.

I get it, some come here and can’t speak our language so how are they to be successful? How are they to work and make money to live?I get it, our tax money needs to help those that are already living here and have “put in their time”.

But what I question is, what if America was not the land of the free? What if we lived our life in constant fear of terrorists? What if women could not walk around with their heads held high? Would we not want a place to escape to in hopes for a better life? Would we not dream of better opportunities for our children?

While I was reading How Yoga Works by Michael Roach, I was also reading the book of Matthew in the Bible. So many parallel teachings between the two. Christianity and Buddhism teaching how to be good people. How to be loving people. How to be accepting people. It made my heart feel warm and happy.

This brings me back to where I struggle. I need to be more patient with those that are not open to things like I am. Maybe my way is not necessarily the right way. Only God knows. I need to ask more questions when people disagree with my thoughts. I need to revert back to the 3 year old I once was and ask “why” more often. I need to continue challenging people to see if they have looked at situations from all sides. I need to focus on myself and on broadening my understanding of others. I need to accept those I struggle with for who they are, just as I accept those that are different from me in other ways.

Life is hard. Love is not always easy. Learning new ways takes time. May you find peace with the acceptance of those around you and with those that come across your path.

Books that have opened my eyes can be found here.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

What makes good co-workers great? Ones that make you feel welcome, that are patient and kind, help keep you accountable and…share great recipes!

I have always been fortunate to work with people that know how to hold tasty potlucks and share their recipes. This can come with challenges, like over eating or unhealthy options. But food is what holds people together! Really! It does!

Enjoy this “Very Yummy” recipe!

Green Bean recipe is found here

Three Women Book Review

I am uncertain as to why I was drawn to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I only briefly heard about it and it wasn’t like a friend had recommended it to me. Perhaps it is because of my interest to know why people do things they way they do has skyrocketed. Maybe it is because I have two daughters and I worry about how things will be for them growing up in today’s world which is so much different than when I grew up. Maybe it is because one of the women in the book was from Fargo, just across the river from where I grew up.

What I can tell you is that the book was hard to put down. It was non fiction. This was not Fifty Shades of Grey, although, some of the details were as descriptive as the works of E.L. James. Three separate stories about three women and how sex affected their lives.

One story was about a high school student in Fargo, ND. This story was eerie for 2 reasons. A high school student having sexual relations with one of her teachers and it happening in a city I know well. A part of her story took place in Barnes and Noble which is still one of my favorite places to go to when I am back “home” and part of it took place at a restaurant that I frequented many times in high school (hello Moorhead Perkins and their warmed up bread bowls dipped in ranch dressing). Ok, not funny, but that combo was sooo good and yet sooo bad. My girls are going to be in high school with a blink of an eye. This makes my heart rate blow up. It is all too real. Where I live now there have been multiple accusations within the past two years of high school girls being “persued” by staff members at their high school. I know this is happening all over the United States, it is not just northern Minnesota. It is too real for my comfort level.

Regarding the other two women. These were hard to read but for a different reason. These ladies were both married and yet had sexual relations with different men other than their husbands. This is a concept I do not personally understand or would ever gravitate to. With that being said, the author did a good job of explaining the reasons why they were intimate with other men. She described what they were lacking in their life to make them act on their feelings. It made me step back and think differently about my initial reactions to their character. It made me realize, once again, to not judge a person if I have not walked in their situation.

Pick this book up if you want to feel uncomfortable yet challenged.

The Power of Clean Eating

Bless Facebook Memories for reminding me that 4 years ago I was at my healthiest with food and workouts since before children. My kids are 7.5 and almost 6. With that being said I was not at my healthiest mentally. At that time I fixated on food and exercise because I was unhappy, unsettled and trying to figure out how to be “me” again. It felt like I was trying to fit a square block into a round hole. Little did I know I had to change my expectations on what “me” looked like and felt like. I had children that relied on me. I had a husband to love. Life was not like it was when I was living alone.

That lifestyle of eating clean and in proportion soon lost its power. I slid back into emotional eating when stressed. I lacked being present when eating meals and had seconds even if I wasn’t hungry. Now, I have never been overweight. A person doesn’t need to be overweight or underweight to have a problem with food. It has been a coping mechanism for me. Since turning 30, overeating has affected my body like it didn’t before. Weight gain comes quicker, sluggish feelings make their home in my body and mentally I feel defeated.

This year, like many years before I have set goals for being present when I am eating, eat less snacks, and eat clean. 2020 is off to a good start. It is off to a good start because I have been practicing better habits since November.

I followed Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean 7 cleanse last week. Let me define follow: I followed this cleanse about 80-85% for what it was. The smoothie recipes were made for two servings and I ate them as one. The days that it called for tulsi tea for a meal I made a turmeric latte with almond milk. There was the occasional bite of spaghetti or a few almonds, but I tried really hard to curve the cravings. One night I was immensely craving something salty. I traded my sweet smoothie for a bowl of homemade mushroom stew (a boat load of sautéd mushrooms and broth). It hit the spot and made me feel so much stronger.

This cleanse helped bring my mindset to where it needs to be. I re-downloaded the Clean Eats and Clean books, also by Dr. Alejandro Junger, onto my Nook. I had another good week of clean eating and rejuvenating feelings. With the help of my goals, my accountability group at work and this blog, I hope that my strength carries on. I am not perfect. I will slip. I will have girl weekends where I mindfully select to eat unhealthy foods. I need to remind myself that it is ok. The next day is new day and I will get back onto the right track.