When your kid’s an outside of the box thinker…

…and you don’t even think about what’s outside the box.

So I just had an amazing revelation several months ago.  It’s kinda crazy that it took me so long to realize it. 

My daughter (who, at the time was shortly going to be turning 16) was asking me questions about driving while we were in the car.  You see, here in our neck of the woods, turning 16 means that you can get a learner’s permit. Anyways, we were discussing various rules of the road, and she asked me about the yellow lines in the middle of the road. She asked, “if one dotted line means both sides can pass, and a solid line and a dotted line means only one side can pass, then why are there two double lines for no passing?  Why not just one solid line?”

I had no answer!  My initial thought was- “there must be a good reason for it so why even bother asking?”  but even after googling it I still don’t know the answer. It does seem like it would save money if they only put one solid line, doesn’t it?

Ok, besides being a good question, the thing that was so eye-opening to me was, “why had I never questioned that?”

And my answer: because I am, when it comes to things I don’t have control over, a rule-follower and I don’t ask questions.  To me, there is no sense in wasting my energy and time thinking about it because there is nothing I can do to change it anyways. 

My daughter, though?  She has a totally different approach.  She’s got to see all of the options. She’s an out-of-the-box thinker. An interrogater.  Not afraid to question authority (well this one is no surprise!). A seeker of a better way.

I had never realized that this is the way she approaches life. I probably should have!  The fact is that often her questions about my decisions or actions can feel threatening to me (and disrespectful).  But I’m realizing now that in many cases she is not necessarily meaning disrespect but instead seeking. Seeking both to understand more fully and then to see if there’s a better way.

And now, understanding this, I am able to have a different perspective on much of our interactions. 

Seriously, this girl is going to change our world. I love her and now that I’m starting to understand her better, I also love and appreciate her drive and determination to make the world a better place. 

Do you have a child that thinks outside the box? Or at least outside of YOUR box?  How has that realization impacted your relationship?

Simple Teacher Gift: Potted Succulents

 

Teacher Appreciation Gift - Potted Succulents

Teacher Appreciation Gift – Potted Succulents

For teacher appreciation week last month, my daughter and I made these sweet little potted hens and chicks.

 

If you have been in ANY store lately, you’ll see lots of fake ones.  It seems succulents are all the rage!!

So I DIY’d it!  This was easy and inexpensive – especially since I just happen to have a whole bunch of them growing in my garden!  They grow and multiply quickly in my yard and I needed to thin them out. And bonus- succulents are drought-tolerant – so they’re so easy to care for.

What you need:

  • small jars, cups, pots, or bowls (check your local thrift stores – that’s where our beauties came from!)
  • potting soil
  • some small rock or gravel (we found a bag of aquarium gravel that looked just perfect!)
  • succulents
  • thank-you stickers
  • toothpicks

Place a small layer of rocks in the bottom of each glass and then fill almost to the top with potting soil.  Plant the succulents.  Add some gravel at the top around the succulents.

We used some thank-you stickers like these from Michael’s, placing two back-to-back on the end of a toothpick and then sticking it into the soil.

thank you stickers

I was so pleased with how they turned out!

Teacher Appreciation Gift - Potted Succulents

Teacher Appreciation Gift – Potted Succulents

 

 

“Yet I will rejoice”

I’ve had this passage from Habakkuk in my mind since last week.  Initially I wasn’t sure why – it was just a passage I happened across as I was searching for another verse in my Bible.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

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This idea of praising God even when current circumstances look bleak is what has been rattling around in my brain.

Life has been rough lately (maybe I’ll share in a future post) – and yet God keeps gently reminding me to look to Him rather than the circumstances.  To praise Him.  To trust Him.

“Yet I will rejoice.”

I thought the last part of this passage interesting- “…he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”   Like what does this have to do with the part before it?  This part shows up in the Bible three times – also in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18.

The more I think about it and research it, the more I see the two ideas are connected – rejoicing in God in spite of any circumstance, and God enabling us to walk close to Him “on the heights”.  I think the connection piece is the joy.

Nehemiah 8:10  “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

We must choose to rejoice in all things.  In return, God gives us strength to deal with all that life throws at us and to “tread on the heights”.

And what does “tread on the heights” mean?  It gives a picture of living our lives above the din of our circumstances – getting God’s perspective from a higher vantage point.  As I researched mule deer and mountain goats – they live in high terrain because it keeps them safe from the predators that live in lower elevations.  That’s what God wants us to do – to not get caught up in our circumstances (predatory though they may be!).  Through choosing joy and the resulting strength from Him – we are enabled to see life from His perspective, keep our eyes on Him, and walk closely with Him.

Thank you for the hope we have in you, Jesus.    

Trim Healthy Mama Banana Oatmeal Blender Muffins {THM E}

Hey there!  It’s my first THM recipe!!  Now that I’ve been eating this way for 3 years, I feel more and more confident about altering recipes to make them THM-friendly.

(Wondering what THM is?  Here’s more info.)

When I look for potential recipes to try, I have a few criteria.  They need to be quick to prep, the fewer ingredients the better, and I have to actually have the ingredients in the house.

Last week I had some very ripe bananas I needed to use up.  So I went to Pinterest and found inspiration!

I found a non-THM muffin that met most of my criteria, and I felt like I could easily adjust it to make a THM E (energizing) breakfast/snack.

THM Banana Oatmeal Blender Muffins


So here’s the recipe (inspired by the banana oatmeal recipe from Well Plated by Erin):

THM E Banana Oatmeal Blender Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 medium very ripe bananas
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Truvia
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or pink himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup Lily’s stevia-sweetened mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place 12 paper baking cups in a muffin tin and spray well with coconut oil spray.  Put all ingredients except the chocolate chips in your blender and blend!!  (Yes, it’s really that simple!)  After it’s well blended, add the chocolate chips and stir by hand.  Pour the batter evenly in the twelve muffin cups.  Bake for 15 minutes.

That’s it!  You can have one for a snack or have one as an addition to other E foods for a yummy breakfast!

Here are the nutrition facts:

Enjoy!!

The waves and wind still know His name.

Years ago… I sat in my minivan in the Target parking lot and sobbed after a particularly intense battle with a strong-willed child.

Why hadn’t God changed me, made me more patient?  Why hadn’t God eased this constant turmoil?  Why hadn’t God repaired what was broken in our relationship?

“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

That’s what Jesus’ disciples asked him that night they were in a boat with him and the storm was closing in (Mark 4:38).  And that’s how I felt that night in the parking lot.

I have been captivated by this story for several years now.  I think it’s because I see myself and my own story reflected in it so clearly.

Here’s the whole story, told in the gospel of Matthew (New Living Translation):

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Do you have (or have you had) a storm in your life that pulls you down, that threatens to overtake you?

I know I have.  And I’ve often wondered why God has even allowed the storm to begin with.  (or taken it away after I’ve prayed about it the first time, or the tenth time, or the 100th time)

I think this story – and, by the way, it’s told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – has so much we can learn from!  Why did God send that storm?  He’s in control of all things, his son was in that boat and wanting to cross over the lake – so what was the point of the storm?

Four things I have come to understand after reading and praying and pondering:

The storm gives Jesus an opportunity to display His power.

The storm allows us a front-row seat to be amazed by Jesus.

The storm increases our trust and faith in Jesus.

And the storm helps us learn to turn to Him when we are afraid.

One of the things I think is so cool about being able to read this story from the perspectives of three different writers is that there are different nuances emphasized in each.  Mark, for example, says the disciples didn’t only declare that they were going to drown, but they also asked Jesus if he even cared that they were going to drown!

Isn’t that the way it is sometimes?  Not only are we afraid for the outcome (and at least in my life I assume the outcome is going to be the very worst!), but we are also afraid that Jesus doesn’t even care – that he’s abandoned us.

Jesus, don’t you care?

Haven’t you felt that way at some point?

Here’s the good news:  the answer is always yes.  A resounding yes.

We just don’t always see the bigger picture.

But we must cling to what we know is true – God is good.  He is faithful.  He is with us always.  His plan for us is good.  He is in control.  He loves us deeply.  Our knowledge and wisdom is limited, but His is not.

Nehemiah 9:17 “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

and words straight from the mouth of Jesus,

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

May we lean into the lessons he is teaching because we know His awesome goodness, faithfulness, and love.  And may we remember that the waves and wind still know his name.

 

 

 

The Last Week in Pictures

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Tuesday: My youngest turned 10! How did that happen!

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Wednesday: Major windstorm knocked down this beautiful evergreen in our front yard. Thanking God that it only fell on our garage but damage was minimal!

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Wednesday, continued: Can you believe the tree missed Dave’s car by mere inches?

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Thursday: Dave home from China with a cold and a story of a Chinese pharmacy adventure.

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Friday: Rehearsal for first musical! Hairspray! And did I mention this girl turned 16 two weeks ago?

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Saturday:  My niece’s wedding!  A full day of visiting with family – including my two sisters from out of town.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s so wonderful to have us all in the same place!

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Sunday: Hairspray!! Even after missing a few rehearsals because of the windstorm, the kids did an amazing job!

Monday: Tree being removed from the garage roof.

Monday:  The tree getting removed.

Tuesday: Snow day! Deer looking for food.

Tuesday:  Snow storm and another day off of school!  Deer looking for food in the backyard.

 

 

 

51

One day this past week I decided to keep track of how many times I think about my blood glucose level.

I was curious about how much of my brain power / time / energy that managing my diabetes takes on a daily basis.

51.

FIFTY-ONE!!!

And this was on a day when my blood glucose levels were actually pretty stable – no wild swings, no shake-inducing lows or nausea-inducing highs.  When that happens, I’m pretty sure the number would be higher than 51.

I knew the number would be significant – I mean, why else would I be curious enough to count the actual number? – but the total kind of surprised me.  Considering I sleep about 7 hours a night – that is three times every hour that I’m thinking about diabetes while I’m awake!!

I have had diabetes for so long (going on 34 years) that it has become second nature to me – analyzing the highs and lows, figuring out how much insulin I need, etc.  But to really see how often I think about it is amazing.  This disease really does take a lot of time and energy to manage.

Considering that, I think I’m just gonna cut myself some slack next time I forget something.  Ha!