Self-care ideas

Ideas and inspiration about the need to care for ones self

Blessed Are They That Mourn

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“No one told me that grief felt so like fear.” C. S. Lewis

I am reminded again of the similarity myself.  And it has me thinking about how that roller coaster of emotions effects relationships.

Even in regular, ordinary days, not times of intense grief, like at the death of a loved one, it seems that fear or illness or even lengthy retrospection can make us appear to each other as withdrawn or angry.  And sometimes we get confused when our family members start to distance themselves from us when they get signals that we are disinterested in them or that we are angry or upset at them.

Can you relate?  Ever had morning sickness and have to explain that you aren’t upset at anyone, just concentrating on not losing your breakfast?

Or has your spouse ever had a lengthy recuperation from an injury and you had to remind yourself that it isn’t you, he’s just tired and struggling to regain his balance?

There are so many ways and times that family members can practice empathy and long-suffering.  In fact, in order to stay intact, these gifts need to be given and received, over and over.

And often, the process begins with those quiet moments in prayer, when your heart is open and stretched out to God, and you realize how in need of His comfort you are!  And with that recognition comes the understanding that you need to make sure that your family knows that you are striving to be comforted and soft-hearted, and that though you may be tender now, you trust that God is working all things for your good and theirs. Often just showing our pain and our hope to each other will alleviate the possible confusion of mistaking grief and fear for anger or blame.

It can be tough.  It can be a long process.  But this is exactly what families are designed to do.  To bounce experiences off of each other, to reflect back each other’s uniqueness and goodness.  To encourage and protect each other.  To endure and try again and again and again to communicate and to share our perspective.

I guess that “blessed are they that mourn” may in part mean, blessed are they who share their feelings with others, who let their grief out, who enlist love and support from others, who don’t climb into a hole of denial and blame and thereby ostracize themselves….for they shall accept comfort and get through the process eventually.  I would guess that it also means that feeling the pain leads to the healing.

I pray that wherever you are today in your journey, through the highs and lows of your life, that you will pour out your heart to God and allow Him to comfort you.  I am doing the same.

I love you.

Jacque

“I will turn their mourning into joy.” Jeremiah 31:13

P.S. Thank you Melissa for the foot rub and honey lavender tea! How wonderful to have dear friends.

Lisa’s Roasted Veggies

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My sister-in-law is a great cook and we were so happy to find that while we had been traveling, she had been shopping and cooking and had this beautiful meal waiting for us!  Isn’t it true that cooking is love made visible?

She cooked a pork roast in the crock pot, made a fresh fruit salad, a wonderful green salad and these roasted vegetables.  It was all so, so tasty! And so welcome because we were hungry!  And there may have been a few in our party who were also a bit “hangry,” if you know what I mean…

She said that her roasted veggies are a favorite dish that she and her teenagers make all the time.

Simply cut up potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, beets,onions and sweet potatoes, or whatever vegetables you have. Try to make them uniform, all about the same size, 1″ pieces works well. Then put them on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, rosemary, and or whatever spices you love.  Stir a bit to coat evenly. Then roast for 30-45 minutes at 375°- 400° (the hotter, the browner.) Stir once or twice while cooking.       .

The last ten minutes or so, she said she added a few dollops of butter. Mmmm!

How easy is that?  And I tell you these veggies were divine.

So, I hope that’s a little inspiration for your weekend!

Sending you much love!

Jacque

Apollo Speaks-

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Meet Apollo.

This little guy was something else.

Nothing like our lovable chocolate lab who let’s you know what he wants or needs by walking by you, not looking at you really, just kind of sending out dog- telepathy and waiting, occasionally giving you a few backward, sad-eyed glances.

No, Apollo let you know exactly what he needed and wanted.  And if you didn’t get the message the first time, he’d gladly give it to you again, only closer to your face each time. He was really quite hilarious! If he wanted you to scratch his back, he would jump on your lap and pick-up your hand with his nose.  If he wanted to play, he ran around the living room in circles, stopping to crouch down and look at you with his little tail wagging like crazy.

I have thought a lot about the difference in these two.

With one, you knew right where you stood and you knew what he needed when he needed it. On the other hand, I feel badly sometimes when I realize that Toby has needed something and I haven’t clued in.  Mind reading is pretty iffy.

Isn’t that the way with people too?  At times we want others to realize what we want and need, sometimes just by looking sad or hungry or tired.  (Not terribly attractive is it?)

Sometimes we want someone else to validate our need for rest or relief or reprieve.

But guess what?  We don’t need that validation when we validate ourselves. When we call for help.  When we anticipate our own hunger, our own thirst, our own need for creativity and friendship.

Most of us, I would guess, would be better off putting a little more “Apollo” in our behavior!

I applaud all of you who are asking for assistance when you need it!  For taking the bull-by-the-horns and moving yourself, step-by-step, into a healthy place.  You are my heroes!

Because, isn’t it true that a woman who gets herself in a balanced, happy place, by nurturing and caring for herself, is far better able to nurture and care for her family?

You are inspiring! 

Jacque

It’s About Time

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I’m so excited!  My sweet friend and designer Shantel has been busy at work getting our new Lioness Home-Management System ready for print.  It will be finished, most likely, in the next week! Yay!

We’ve done our best to incorporate all of the Lioness concepts for time-blocking (time management), meal planning, and logs for keeping track of family life from addresses to self-care, into one beautiful binder.

I mention this here because using our time well is such a big challenge!  Do you know what your highest priorities are each day?  Do you have a way to stay on top of all of the different roles you play?

It is mind-boggling to think of managing a home and family at today’s pace, without knowing what the “big rocks” are in your life.

By big rocks I mean, the things on your list that are of greatest importance.  And the analogy goes that when you put the big rocks into your schedule first, the lesser rocks, illustrated with gravel, sand and water, can fit nicely most of the time.  The reverse is also true.  If you fill your vessel with lesser things, there is no room for the big rocks.  It doesn’t work.

So, how do you know what your highest priorities are?  You get yourself into a quiet, spirit-filled place and you think and pray and meditate and write!

Here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling if time-management is something you’d like to narrow down and master.

Self-care is a big rock.  Does this go without saying?  Well, I don’t know about you but I constantly need the reminder that if I don’t care for myself, absolutely nothing else will get done!  Not the work and not the play.  Besides that, ill health makes us “irresponsible” or unable to respond to the challenges that arise in our families.  Self-care helps us to become more flexible, relaxed, more able to handle stress, easier to get along with, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you feel well, you don’t have to try so hard to be cheerful when things get tough!

And a side note: order matters.  What needs to be done most, should take precedence on your schedule.  First things first is an inspired notion.  If a girl kills half an hour on social media before her daily self-care tasks are accomplished, she may feel empty and without an anchor when it’s time to really get moving on tackling the challenges of the day!

Taking care of your own health and well-being is paramount to the health and well-being of every member of your family.  It is the greatest gift you will give them in the course of your days.  When you feel well, you can sing and uplift and encourage others.  Who doesn’t love coming home to smiles and hugs, to happy music and order?

Please, please, please put the big rock of your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health at the top of your list and the top of your day! I know how it is to be down and trying to be a wife and mother.  It is extremely difficult and takes a long time to dig out of a mess like that. Besides that, even when you are dong everything you can for yourself, sometimes you still have health issues, so don’t push it!

One last thought: stress adds actual physical weight to your frame.  Consider ways to lessen stress in your life if it is weighing you down, whether it be guilt, or blame, or being overly committed to too many things at once.  Pare it down.  Focus in.  Let it go.  Build relationships.  Take responsibility.  Make things right.

Yes, there are “stresses” that are exciting and invigorating!  And yes, doing nothing and completely avoiding all risk is not healthy either.  But be wise young mothers in what you choose to take on.  Life will add it’s own pressures without you taking on the whole world at once.

There are times and seasons.  You are human.  You can only do so many things at once, even though you are strong and talented and all kinds of ambitious!  Yes, even though we are indoctrinated to believe that women can do it all…(with the implication that we can do it all at once as well,) remember that there are things that only you can give your family and there are things that anyone can do, and some that others should do. Make your choices, deal with reality and be happy!

And what if we give up some things?  Some dreams?  Some personal freedoms now for a greater return on our investment into family later on?  I testify that the late returns do come. And that they are priceless.

Godspeed you to a crystal-clear vision of the important family work that is before you. Your vision will inform your daily, even hourly choices and you will excel in your performance!

Much love,

Jacque

“I live my life on purpose.  I recognize my body’s signals that tell me when I am running too fast.  I give my body time to renew.  I honor myself with spiritual and physical food each day.  I give from a place of fullness.  I know how to connect with heaven.  I thank God for my opportunity to nurture others.  I love my life!”

What About Food?

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I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “The problem with life is that it is so daily.”  I don’t know why exactly, but that tickled me and still does when I think of it.

Kind of like the way the movie, Groundhog Day tickles me. We want our days to add up to something.  To learn, however gradually.  But man it takes repetition doesn’t it?

I have found myself thinking, didn’t I just have this problem yesterday and now I’m trying to figure it out again?  This daily-ness is teaching us something all of the time, over and over until we get it!

Part of what we learn has to do with our body’s daily need for sustenance. It is having to deal with food.  Every meal. Every day.  And when you are the person who does the cooking (and shopping and planning, etc.) that can be a pretty big part of life.  Understatement huh?

Add to the relentless hunger of a growing family, the political/social climate we live in where every month (or more often than that) there is a new study on what is “good” and what is “bad” to eat, what the new findings from X university is showing, or what government funded research (that may coordinate with a government subsidy that may want to encourage people to buy and eat certain things…) and we find we have real confusion about what IS best to eat!

I remember reading an article that claimed that carrots were now on the “bad” food list. That was almost 30 years ago, and when I stopped trusting “the latest research” as a good source of dietary information.  Common sense has got to factor in somewhere doesn’t it?

I love this dietary mantra from Michael Pollan; “Eat food.  Mostly plants.  Not too much.”

That appeals to me so much!  Partly, because I am witnessing levels of confusion that lead to a great deal of OCD-type behavior around food, and for some, a complete paralyzing shut down when the code seems too hard to crack!  I had a dear client who had stopped cooking and was stocking her freezer with frozen burritos that the kids could eat whenever they were hungry because she had heard so much conflicting information, she couldn’t think of anything to cook that wouldn’t be “bad” in some way!

That is quite a hopeless feeling.  And what a travesty to miss out on the wonderful array of taste, culture and creativity available to us! In many ways, food is life!  We just can’t afford to miss out on that!

But I think we can all relate to the frustration to a degree, can’t we?

So, here are my two bits.

If i’ts real, and your body can handle it, find the highest quality you can afford and eat it without worry!  And for heaven’s sake, enjoy it!

What do I mean by real?  I mean if it grows and is part of the natural world, eat it.  I hear people say they don’t want to get fat so they don’t want to eat avocados or nuts. (Know that the “fat makes people fat” trend is over.)  Be concerned if it is refined, man-made, food science-d, chemical laden, artificial flavored or colored.

If something can sit on a shelf for months or years and not get rancid or grow bacteria, it isn’t food.

Good rule of thumb; shop the perimeter of the grocery store and you’ll be getting more “realness” than in the middle where the cans and boxes with commercials printed on the labels reside.

Go for fewest ingredients possible, and those you can pronounce.

Make your own bread or find a simply made brand.  (For fun count the number of ingredients, and do your best to identify what they are, in a loaf of commercial white bread.)

Put butter or olive oil on your steamed veggies, and enjoy them!

Garnish and flavor food with meats and or make meat servings small and not part of every meal. A little goes a long way.

Get good at cooking beans and legumes and rice and keep some on hand.

Eat regularly and prepare meals before everyone is in starvation mode.

Snacks aren’t usually necessary but consider four meals a day for little ones if that makes sense for their needs.

Prepare and serve the same meal to everyone.  Grind little people’s servings in a baby food grinder so that they can break it down (without too many teeth.)  Kids don’t need separate meals of packaged macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly if they are given the opportunity at a young age to eat and appreciate real food.

Model eating and enjoying real food to your children!  They are listening and watching and learning from your habits!  Do your best not to have hard fast rules about what you do and don’t like.  Give them the freedom to like things without feeling that you won’t approve. THEY WANT TO BE LIKE YOU.  Yes, this requires broadening out your own taste buds!  Experiment! Open up and take a few eating risks!

Get curious about new tastes!  I was in my late 20’s before I tasted coconut milk with peanuts, cilantro and curry, and wow, what a joy!

Learn to make nutrient rich desserts and make them beautiful too!  It is wonderful to know that there are “treats’ to look forward to eating that will help you celebrate special days and events.

We’ve got to shake loose from the worry and crazy-making rules regarding our food.  And in order to do that, it seems to me that our society has got to shut off the marketing and hype, tie on an apron and make friends with real, nourishing, family-bonding food.

I wish you every good thing!

Love,

Jacque

“I love myself.  I take the time I need to cook for my family.  We love eating together.  I simplify this part of my life by planning what we will eat each week.  I love real food!”