Inspiration

General inspiration

Look Out

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I hope this post finds you well, though I know chances are, this post will find you challenged in some way!

Of course, there are challenges {trying to get everything done that needs doing, getting in better shape, finishing a class, following through on a difficult commitment…} and then there are challenges that bring life-altering changes, especially the ones it seems we would never choose.

Whatever your current challenge is, be cognizant of the fact that turning inward, either in prolonged thought or fear or pain or insecurity of any kind, can put you in the lonely sphere of one. While turning out, on the other hand, out toward others and their concerns and challenges, toward friends {old and new} and the comfort and companionship they have to offer, will broaden your world, strengthen your faith and put your challenges into perspective.

Yes, you need to consider your options and think through your actions and make decisions and plans, but staying in a self-concerned space for too long puts you at risk.

No matter what your present concern may be, there are opportunities for you to shift your focus away from the exhausting feedback loop of self-absorption. Pray for those opportunities and pray to recognize them when they appear! And you may feel inspired to create the opportunities you need by seeking out someone who is struggling or needing a friend or a hand up, and then intentionally leaning into be their friend. Maybe you will need to allow others to be that friend to you, to serve you by listening to your concerns or by serving you in more tangible ways, like helping with kids or meals or respite of some kind.

We are all in this together! I pray that you will not create or maintain places of isolation and loneliness. Please step forward and allow others to see your heart and know who you really are. You are lovable. You are valuable. You are needed. You are brave. You are irreplaceable.

Even in your extremity, no especially in your extremity, please continue to shine your light of faith and friendship. Others have been where you are today, you are not alone.

Sending you my love,

Jacque

Banana Split Smoothie

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1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1 cup of water
a handful of frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
2-3 Tablespoons Adam’s peanut butter
a handful of flax seeds
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
a large handful of frozen spinach (or other greens)
1 teaspoon Great Lakes unflavored gelatin

This combination lights up my mouth and is a good morning starter. I usually have some raw cashews or pecans on the side.

I heard someone say that smoothies aren’t a big deal nutritionally. Seems to me they must have been talking about something you can buy at the grocery store that has been sitting for days or worse, has be pasteurized.

Fresh juice and fresh smoothies are packed with nutrition and are supportive of healthy digestion. {Beware of recipes that call for additional sugar such as sweetened yogurt or other refined carbohydrates. Hopefully you downloaded the kids smoothie booklet when you subscribed to this blog! There are some wonderful recipes there that the whole family will like!}

I hope this day finds you well.

Take good care of yourself!

Jacque

Six Thrifty Hacks

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Are you a thrift shopper? I didn’t know that I was until I needed shirts to wear when I was employed at a paint store. The first time I walked through racks of second-hand clothes, I have to admit I felt a little embarrassed and self-conscious. {Bear in mind, this was long before thrifting was “in” as it seems to be now.}

Since that first experience, looking for t-shirts that would become paint splattered, I have grown to love thrift-shopping and I’ve learned a lot about the art in the intervening years.

So, I thought I’d share a few things to consider if you need to stretch your family’s budget or if you just like the thrill of a hunt and a good deal!

1 Look for quality. Items from clothes to furniture are going to serve you better and longer if they are high quality. Cameras have so many clicks, fabric has so much wear, zippers have so many zips and then things wear out. It’s unfortunate if you buy something second hand and then have it wear out too quickly.

Look for quality in the weight and wear {is it already worn out?} of fabric; make sure that buttons and zippers are all there and function well; inspect things inside and out and make sure there are no damaged places beyond what you are capable and or willing to repair. I’m pretty scrappy and I often don’t mind scrubbing or polishing or sewing or sometimes even, sanding and staining or repainting, but if you’re not into doing those things, or if it would take an inordinate amount of time to get your purchase in working order, you’re probably better off leaving it at the store.

2 More is not necessarily more. Just because they have 10 of something you like doesn’t mean that it would be beneficial for you to buy and have 10 of anything! It’s easy to become a “collector” and that seems to defeat the purpose of thrifting in order to have a nice home or office or wardrobe. On occasion, you may run into something you feel is such a great item for a great price that you decide you’ll store it away until you need it, and that’s ok. But certainly be picky about what you buy, especially if you don’t have an immediate need or use for it.

3 Look for a good fit, when buying clothes. Particularly for growing kids, you don’t need to sacrifice well-fitting clothing even if they’re sporting hand-me-downs or second hand purchases. Paper boxes work well as storage containers for clothes that are too small or not fitting yet. Mark the boxes with the size and keep them in the top of a closet or under a bed. Then if you find something that is high quality and a great price, you can stash it away in the appropriate box, and have it easily accessible when you need it in the future. Or, if there are younger siblings coming up, you can find the clothes the older children have worn that have stayed clean and in good repair when you need them.

{And just a note about cleanliness– it counts! Kids of course need clean clothing, but also, they need to be clean as well. It speaks volumes to children to know that their bodies are respected and cared for. How wonderful for a child to feel the care of a parent when they respectfully wash and groom them. How wonderful for a child to greet the world with a clean face and combed hair and clean and well-fitting clothes. I don’t think our kids need to be in name brand clothing or dressed so nicely that they can’t play and have fun, but having the basics of cleanliness and clothing goes a long way in instilling confidence and self-respect in a growing mind and heart.}

4 Think flow. When you are decorating or working on a functioning wardrobe, consider taking something “out” every time or often times when you buy something “new” to keep things rotating, uncluttered and in good repair. There isn’t much that is as energy- sapping as piles of stuff that are no longer needed or no longer fits or works for whatever reason. And there isn’t much that is as energy-giving as airy spaces in rooms and closets and cupboards! It’s a heady thing, not to mention, restful. Employing some kind of rotation process means the difference between becoming a collector-of-stuff and being a super-savvy shopper.

5 Give back. Get into the habit of regularly giving to the thrift store of your choice. Take a few minutes to put an elastic band around shoes so that they stay mated; wash clothing before donating; put jewelry into ziploc bags so that they stay together and don’t get lost in bigger items; volunteer at clothing and food banks and support efforts to send goods and necessities to places where people are in need. Nothing brings perspective like participating in relief efforts for those who are less fortunate or in harms way.

6 Give thanks. Even in our leanest times, raising a family on one income, we have been abundantly blessed! Focusing on what we have {though some moments that is a real challenge isn’t it?} versus what we don’t have, makes a massive difference in how we feel about our lives. Which in turn makes a massive difference in how we treat ourselves and others and ultimately how we function in all our relationships. Also, allow yourself to appreciate and count the bounty and beauty of nature as part of your wealth!

I hope that you are feeling blessed today and that you will enjoy your home making efforts! Whatever your style or budget, being able to make a beautiful, clean and happy environment for your loved ones is a great privilege. 

Love to you,

Jacque

P.S. Sometimes I write a blog in my mind throughout the day, and then when I sit down and write it out, it feels like I’ve written it before…but today I’m really not sure if I have already actually written on this topic and posted it before or not or if it’s just been simmering in my head for awhile!? If I am repeating myself, I hope you were able to get some inspiration out of this post too!

Oh and P.P.S. It’s wonderful to make a list of the items you need before you thrift shop! Know the measurements and general dimensions of the window or room or person you are trying to dress. This preparation helps you to adjust your eyes to recognize the item you need when you see it and then to be able to make an informed decision about buying it.

Also, to go along with planning, having an understanding of what styles and colors you like best makes shopping so much faster and easier, especially if you are looking through racks of clothing that are stuffed! Knowing what you and your family each prefer cuts out a lot of time trying things on or buying and then regretting your purchase!

P.P.P.S. As soon as I hit “publish” I’ll probably think of one more thing I want to say on this fun topic! But I will refrain, unless someone let’s me know they’d like to read more. {You know you’re passionate about something when you can’t stop talking….!}

Having Fun!

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Do you ever find yourself waiting for the right circumstances to come along so that you

can enjoy yourself and have some fun? Waiting for a break from an average day? Waiting for a birthday or graduation or relief from some daily burden?

So what makes life fun anyway?

Is it when you feel relaxed and happy and at ease with yourself and the world? And doesn’t it include an element of humor and graciousness? And don’t all of those things come from inside, actually independent of our circumstances?

I have spent time with people who can make most any day and any activity fun…even those we call work!

Maybe then, with a quick shift in outlook (if need be), we can turn most situations into enjoyable, maybe even fun times. We can relax. We can choose to smile, and let life and its complexities come and go.

And when there are difficult moments, we can remember that when our behavior is kind, gentle, respectful and firm we will get further than venting our frustrations on others by demanding, scolding, chastising or belittling them. {And we can get back to enjoying life much faster too.}

Even if it’s a regular day, I hope you will enjoy it to the fullest!

My love and best wishes to you,

Jacque

 

In The Middle

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When we’re in the middle of creating something, or as in the case of several young mothers I know, someone, life can feel like an unbalanced dance.

Some things are on hold while others are full-tilt, and even while you’re taking the steps that need taking, you know that soon, everything will shift around another way!

Is it comforting to know that everyone is in some sort of limbo? They may appear to be settled or at ease, but somewhere in the life of every person I know, is an issue waiting to be resolved. Maybe it is even more than waiting, it may be a time when they are in constant prayer and thought about how to solve a problem or to accept a change or to have the courage to make a positive change.

Is this observation true for you? Do you know anyone who is sitting pretty without a care or heartache of any  kind? Me either.

So, maybe we can all take a deep breath in……..and then in acceptance of where you are right now…….let it out.

The moment you are waiting for will come; the decisions will be made; the help will show up; you will ride out the storm if need be. And through whatever comes, you won’t ever be alone!

You are a treasure my friend.

Please take good care of yourself today.

Love,

Jacque