The Importance of Rest

I have a theory. It’s not that unique or originally, but I think it’s important. And I think it’s applicable to a variety of people at all different stages of life.

I think we all just need to take a nap.

But even typing out those words I feel guilty. As someone who has lived in the Midwest my entire life I feel a deep need to be productive. And by productive I mean busy. Because idle hands are the devils playground and we wouldn’t want that. There is an assumption that I work hard to combat. That taking a rest or not constantly working on something means I am being lazy. But I’m crying foul.

I have noticed that the more I focus on all that needs to be done, the more overwhelmed it becomes to me. I run around trying to take care of all the stuff and I become more and more like a hamster stuck on a wheel. Just going around and around. Always working on things but never getting them done. I try to pay attention to everything and yet focus on nothing.

But then if I take a step back and just decompress, it helps bring life back into perspective. Sometimes taking a day off from the frenetic pace of life is a necessity. It gives me some time to calm down and focus on what needs to be done. This could mean taking an afternoon and watching my favorite shows or reading a book. Sometimes it means taking a literal day and going to a coffee house and relaxing. It takes a little bit of forethought and planning, but I promise it is worth it.

How do you step back from life and get perspective?



The plan, part 1

The idea of meal planning is something I have heard about since my older kids were little. Probably one of the first MOPS meetings I went to was about meal planning and prep. But it’s never been something that would stick with me. But here we are in a new year, and it is time to start a new routine. Combine that with a desire to eat healthier and save more money, meal planning is the way to go. Last week I saw a post from $5 dinners. The post was her shopping trip to Costco for $150. That inspired me to get on Pinterest and actually look at all those pins I put on my boards last year. The meals ranged from creamy casseroles to Paleo inspired dishes that featured elk meat. I knew my family wouldn’t want anything extreme so I aimed for recipes that were in the middle of the healthy spectrum with a few meals that were more and less healthy to expand our pallets.

A few things you should know about my methods before we begin.
1. I don’t coupon clip or shop adds. If I see a good deal at the store I will stock up on it, like canned tomatoes or beans. For the most part, I don’t use coupons. I figure any meal we don’t eat out is saving us about $25 dollars a pop, so that’s where I’m saving money.

2. I will try a few new things once in a while, but I tend to stick with what our family likes. Which I’m sure most people do.

3. I do subscribe to Mperks, which are digital coupons for Meijer stores. If you’re grocery store offers something similar, you should sign up. It’s a super easy way to coupon without keeping track of little pieces of paper.

4. I shop once a month for everything, with a smaller run later on in the month to stock up on snacks or basics like milk.

5. Some of the recipes I use come from the ones that I have tested over the last ten years and our family likes. Some are from the websites, Graciously saved and still others are from the Gracious pantry.

6. I don’t make a lot of bread because three-fifths of our house eats gluten-free. I occasionally will make gluten-free biscuits or corn bread, but not usually.

The Process

1. Take hunks of meat or fish, beef, chicken, ground beef or whatever else your heart desires and combine them with sauces and vegetables in a one-gallon freezer bag.

2. Lay flat in your freezer so it stays thin. This allows for the bags to not take a bunch of space in your freezer. You can stack them on top of each other like so.

3. If you have a deep freezer, then take the frozen entrees and put them in your deep freeze.

4. After reading online, I have found potatoes don’t do well in the freezer, so I usually cook them, or other starches like pasta, rice or quinoa, when I am ready to prepare dinner.


It’s really that simple. Tomorrow I will have the actual meal plan and recipes for you.





Just a quick note

Random tidbit: As much as I love my sweaters and jeans I like the lighter laundry loads of summer.

It’s been awhile. Things happen, life happens. Please know that I haven’t given up. I’ve just been on a little sabbatical. Summers like that for us. Relaxed and laid back. There is space in summer for reflection and light and long meandering conversations about nothing.

There are overnights at grandmas, Family vacations you need a vacation from. Sometimes we go to church, other times we don’t because of various reasons. This is our time to relax from the busy time of the school year. With the programs and homework and activity that never ends.

We smell like sunscreen and sweat. The boys are brown like the bark of a tree. Our little miss has a continual rosy pink on those fair cheeks of hers. We stay up late and most of us sleep in. All except that little miss.

It’s a slower rhythm and we like it.

We have had some big heart lessons that have been learned this summer and all of us have grown up a little bit more. Those stories are to come. But for now it’s cheese and fruit for breakfast, Popsicles for lunch and burgers for dinner.

How is your summer going?


It’s been nice

Random tip: My oldest can run faster than me. He’s eight. And I was trying.

I could tell from the babies earlier start and the big kids late one that today was going to be a sick day. We all had dealt with some degree of cough over our mild winter, so I guess it was just a matter of time before we all succumbed to a fever.

It’s not often that illness hits our house. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe cause I’m a good housekeeper? Doubtful. Maybe we eat healthy, cold repelling food? Not sure the Micky Ds meal we had for dinner tonight qualifies as ‘good for you’.

Whatever the reason, sickness doesn’t often hit our house. So when it does, it comes in hard and fast, like a summer storm. Like I said this morning, the signs were all there. I was even dragging my feet this morning. So when I took the first boys temp, I was relieved to see it was higher than normal. And when the second kid also had higher temp i did a little snoopy dance. . Is that awful? I just didn’t have the energy to cajole everyone out the door, make the lunches, make sure we were in the car line when we needed to be. That perfect balance of not to early and not to late was just beyond my capacity today.
So it was kind of nice that we just got to stay home. Nobody had to check the knees of their jeans for holes or make sure the unmanageable cow lick was tame enough so no one made mention of it on the play ground. I didn’t have to worry about packing a balanced lunch for each of the older ones.
We just stayed home. We watched Sesame Street and x-men evolutions. We took some time to rest and read books. We made popcorn and caramel corn. It was all nice and laid back.

Of course things got a little stir crazy as the white blood cells and fevers burned off the infection. And all that caramel corn brought some spikes and valleys to the blood sugar that had to be navigated with care. Over all, it was nice.


Lazy Bones

Random tidbit: I don’t often get to sleep in, but when I do, I can sleep til nine AM.

With three kids and a husband life can be hectic. When you throw in time commitments and personal goals, that doesn’t leaves lot of time in the day. So I get up early. It’s my favorite time of day when the sky is dark and the house is quiet. I have found it sets a nice tone to the rest of the days activities. I am more focused, i get things accomplished.

Every once in awhile, I will be able to hit snooze.

I climb back into the still warm sheets and pull than back over my goose pimpled flesh. I tuck my head into my foam pillow and its back to dream land.
This sets a different tone to my day. It’s a slower day, a relaxed day. A day I have time to think and ponder. These days are nice.

They remind me to rest. They remind me of enjoyment. Their is no guilt in extra snuggle time with my pillow. Sleep is a part of life. We need rest to restore. To energize. So take your rest where you can.


Distraction, Distraction Everywhere

Random Tidbit: Wendy’s fries and I are no longer friends. We had a falling out. It’s to hard to talk about.

Ahhh, It’s Wednesday! When did that happen? I feel like I just woke up and it was Monday. Needless to say, this week has been full of stuff for our family. I also skipped my work out the last three days and that could be why the week feels out of whack.

When you throw a wrench into my routine I don’t always get over it. In fact, you could say it stalls me completely and I am left scrambling to find the pieces of my former plans. Am I the only one in this? I feel like I’m not. At least per my friends on Facebook. It takes me a while to get back into my swing. To find the motivation to bring the big picture back into my day to day. I have to reset my anchors and kind of build my day around those things. These anchors hold down a large tarp. They are spaced out and allow the tarp to billow up like a giant balloon. I am underneath the tarp and can see this big picture if I look up to the tarp. But when I don’t make sure to keep working on these goals, it’s like one of the ropes holding the tarp down has come undone from it’s anchor. And it’s easy to lose sight of that part of the picture. Sometimes there are a lot of distractions that keep me from tying down that part of the tarp and the sun and rain of life can wash away that part of the dream. Sometimes that happens for different reasons. Like it’s just not the right time for that particular dream or goal. Or maybe God wants me to go in a different direction than what I originally thought. But until I hear otherwise, I am going to keep tying my tarp ropes down so I can keep the big picture where I can see it.

What are you talking about, K? You may ask. I mean finding the two or three things that need to happen in a day so that I can have time to do what needs to be done for the home, family, marriage and still have time to work on the big goals I have to write and blog and become a better person.

Everyone has different goals, and therefore everyone has different anchors. For me, my anchors are working out, blogging and participating in a community Bible Study each semester. These help me keep a hold of my three big goals of being able to run a half marathon, building a web presence and maybe write a book and finally growing closer in my relationship with God. If I lose hold of these three things, than I often am left running from one fire to another just trying to keep things above water. Dave Ramsey and Jon Acuff both have great books that help you learn more about this. I would recommend them. The books are Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey and Quitter by Jon Acuff. When I am running around scrambling, that affects the day to day of life as well. Then everything is chaos and the crazy train comes into town.

So this week kind of got away from me. I skipped out on one of the anchors for my week and have been running around trying to tie the ropes back down so I don’t lose sight of the big picture. And here I am. Tying down the ropes and moving closer to the dream. Thanks for reading and the encouragement.