“Mommy, are we rich?”IMG_0762“Yes, honey, we are.”

“But we’re not REALLY rich, are we? I mean, not REALLY ACTUALLY rich?”

“Actually, we are rich honey, really actually rich.”

The children looked at me, bewildered. The pile of bills that I stuffed in a drawer, the dated paneling on the walls, the broken lawnmower, the nearly dead laptop, and the ugly mauve carpeting on the living room floor disagree wholeheartedly as they beg for my attention and dollars, taunting me, how can we be rich?  How can we be rich when we don’t take annual vacays to Disney or drive new cars or remodel our house or have our yard professionally landscaped or pay for karate or tuba lessons or mani/pedis or shop at the mall? How can we be rich when our budget is small and we have to be creative and inventive and not waste food and not waste clothes and not waste anything at all? How can we be rich?

What a brilliant moment of teaching gratitude, an opportunity to instill thankfulness, to help our small ones understand the gifts that God has given us, to count the blessings we overlook and take for granted each and every day and realize how very, very rich we are. In my county alone, there are over 46,000 who don’t always have enough healthy, nutritious food to eat. 46,000 who sometimes go to bed hungry,  who don’t have all the groceries they need to feed their families and fill their bellies so they can learn and grow and be healthy and strong. My family has a lot of little tummies to fill, but I don’t have to send them to bed hungry. We are rich.

And my church, it collects underwear for the children in the school district because too many little children just don’t have enough, or any, IMG_0754to wear to keep them clean and safe and comfortable at school. And my children have more clothes than can fit in their dresser drawers and stuff in their laundry bins and my laundry is always overflowing and I can’t seem to get it put away because yes, honey, we are rich and we have more than enough.

And my husband and I discuss the bedroom situation, because how can a house with 5 bedrooms not have enough rooms for everyone to sleep and have space and room for all their clothes and their things and a special space for them just to be themselves? And how can such a big family live in a house that is smaller than the average house in the state where we live?  And most of the world lives in just one room, or maybe two, and how can we complain when our bedrooms might be bigger than so many people’s entire house and not because they want a tiny house because all they have and all they afford and all they can muster is just a tiny little house that is as big as just one room? Because, yes, honey, we are rich and this house is big enough.

And maybe we have stacks of bills that need our checkbook’s attention and maybe our budget is tight and that’s not very fun at all and maybe we don’t have every toy or pair of jeans or the newest gadget or the prettiest color carpet but we have a house and a yard and more than enough toys and food that fills our bellies and clothes to keep us clean and comfortable and space for everything and everyone and chickens, and a cat, and we are blessed and yes, we are very, very rich.   And we have enough and more than enough, and often more than we really really want so let’s just pause and say thank you, God, that You have given us so much and made us so very very rich.

And better than clothes and food and toys and space and chickens we are blessed in love and we are blessed in laughter and we are blessed with education and we are blessed with choices and we are blessed with clean air and we are blessed with peace in the hard times and hope in the dark times and lots of children and giggles and joy and best of all we are blessed with Jesus and there is none richer than the one who knows Him as Lord and Savior.

So, honey, we are rich in so very many ways and let’s learn together how we can be thankful for just how rich we are.

 

532191_10202661568880888_954482986_nI have a confession to make. Puh-lease, please please pretty please with 
sugar and a giant tasty cherry on top don’t yell, criticize, make fun of me, or- worst of all- tell the healthy police. Because I am not proud of what I did.

Yesterday, I ate an Egg McMuffin.

Seriously, it was a weak moment. I was starved. So starved my ribs might have been sticking out a little (well, ok, maybe that’s just a tiny exaggeration, I haven’t seen my ribs for quite a few years and I really don’t plan on seeing them poke out again). And my kids were having those fluffy, carb-laden, chock-full-of-horrible–gluten, sugary, deliciously made with white flour McD’s pancakes. I couldn’t bear the temptation. I had to have it and I needed it right now. Can you feel my agony? Sympathize with my starvation? Well, at least I mustered the strength and courage to pass on those perfect pancakes and chose an Egg McMuffin instead, because, well, at least it had protein. Right? I mean, I gotta eat healthy, right?

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Gratuitous chick pic

[insert sigh of defeat here]

As soon as I bit into the hot, tasty goodness I knew 2 things: my stomach would suffer later (about 24 hours later) and I had totally derailed the day’s eating. But only 1 of those things turned out to be true. Here’s why.

I am normally an all-in, perfectionist, do it right and do it all the way kind of a person. If I’m going to do something, it’s going to be 110%. Full steam ahead. Jump right in feet first without checking how deep the water is kind of a person It’s sort of my MO to pick a project and give it everything I’ve got until I either fail or get bored and move on to something else. It’s not a very attractive character trait, I believe. It’s kind of how I ended up with 31 pet chickens (who I really do love and adore), a garden so big I couldn’t fill it (but I will this year), and more than a few stints as a direct sales agent (not so good at sales, here, people, I’m not gonna lie). And it’s happened with

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100 percent FitBit

my health and fitness. I’m talking diet plans, exercise plans, gym equipment – been there, done that, and I don’t even have the  t-shirt to go with it. So what normally happens when I start off the day eating poorly, I give up and stuff my face with whatever crap is just laying around the kitchen, especially if it contains sugar, flour, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Please, tell me you can relate. At least humor me here, k?

This time, it’s different. Because I’m making a conscious effort not to be 100%. Is that crazy? Maybe. My goal is to eat paleo friendly fare 80% of the time. And you know what? It’s working.

I give myself permission to snag a goldfish or two from my kiddo’s snack bowl. I give myself permission to eat a half a donut for breakfast, along side some farm fresh eggs or a banana. I give myself permission to indulge in the church pancake fundraiser – once in a while or (ack) hit up fast food when I am exhausted after a long day of schlepping a plethora of kids around. I also give myself permission to mess up – to eat (gulp) pizza during a trip to Chuckee Cheese, or (gasp) indulge in an Egg McMuffin without beating myself up. But I have to stop at 20%. It’s a balancing act, for sure, but it allows me to fail but not derail, indulge but not bulge, treat myself a little and still get healthy, lose weight, and best of all – not feel tired, sick, and disgusted with myself. I’m only 80% in, but it works. I feel healthier, stronger, thinner, and happier than I have in a long time. I pulled a dress out of my closet with the tags still on, because a year ago it was too small. Now it fits like a dream. And even when I’m totally wiped, I can hoist that fully loaded infant carrier up over my head and into my giant passenger van. It’s working, so I’m going to keep going all in 80% in.

Recipe for the weekend: Paleo friendly coffee creamer

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Gratuitous coffee and theology pic

Normally, I like my coffee black. Bitter is better and I love it dark, rich, and very very black. But I came across a coconut oil coffee recipe that I cannot wait to try in my no-longer-black coffee. Coconut oil is said to help you burn fat (apparently, this healthy fat has magical properties) as well as a host of other benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and potentially, anti-aging (we won’t discuss my need for anti-aging, it’s a sore sore subject). So eating 2 tablespoons daily will help the pounds fall off, if that’s your goal. Whether it works or not, I don’t know, but I love coconut oil for all kind of things and this recipe sounds delicious!  Check it out here and let me know if you like it!

Gratuitous workout selfie.
Gratuitous workout selfie.

Healthy Food House Coffee Creamer

And if you need to give your health and weight loss a little boost, try this

system from It Works (yes, I get paid if you buy it. but you know that sales is not my forte and I will never pressure you)

Have a fun, fit, food-filled Friday!