Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bloom Where You're Planted

Do you ever get that nagging feeling that something is missing?  Or the little green monster pops up unexpectedly at the worst times and reminds you of all that you're missing?  He compares your meager and measly life to the thriving ones of your friends and family, convincing you that you're never going to achieve your dreams and that life is just a drag - well, a drag for you anyways.

Believe you me, I'm well aware of how quickly and deeply that little voice pierces your soul.  And you catch yourself focusing on all the things you don't have yet and may never have rather than on all the blessings in your life.  There's a saying: "Bloom where you're planted."  And honestly, that's the answer to your jealousy and sorrow.  For better or worse, God has placed you where you are right now for a reason - maybe to test you; maybe to prepare you for trials ahead; maybe to give you blessings you don't even realize.  And that little monster talking about YOUR dreams and YOUR wishes?  He's trying to turn your attention away from God's plan for your life and make you focus solely on your own idea of what should be happening.  And then making you feel like crap when that isn't the reality.

Of course, blooming where you're planted doesn't mean you shouldn't be working towards those dreams as long as you aren't trying to go against God's plan.  And knowing what that plan is . . . well, that's a tricky business.  But if you pay attention, He'll show you.  Blooming where you're planted often means making the best of the situation you're in . . . focusing on the positive and learning the lessons you need to learn.  And oftentimes, being stuck in a situation far from your ultimate dream can help you discern what that dream really should be.

Your life isn't going to change with a snap of your fingers.  You have to make it change.  And if you keep trying and trying and hitting roadblock after roadblock, then either you're not trying hard enough or God is perhaps giving you a sign that you should try a different path.  Or maybe the devil is working against you.  Regardless, with discernment and reliance on God, you can figure out your path in life (at least for a few years down the road) and can then set about adjusting your present to prepare for the future you want.  If you want something, you're going to have to work for it.  The hard part is figuring out how.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recipe Corner - Zucchini Lasagna

As you probably know, I'm supposed to be wheat, corn, and potato free . . . and rice noodles tend to be pretty nasty.  Which means that if I want any type of noodle dish, I need an alternative.  For a while, I've been using my kitchen contraption for turning zucchini into noodles . . . and those are really good.  But it's nice to mix it up every once in a while . . . even if you're still eating the same food.  This dish was inspired by a recipe I found for making enchiladas with zucchini.

First, I sliced the zucchini very thin with my mandolin.  I found mine on Amazon, and I absolutely love it!  It's perfect for slicing anything . . . including apples to make apple chips!  

I cut two zucchini in half, both across and long ways.  Then I sliced them with the mandolin fairly thin and placed the first layer in my greased 8x8 pan.  Since it's just myself and my husband, this was the perfect size dish for us.  But since it ended up so tasty, I'm planning on making it in the full-size pan next time.

Next, I cooked up 1lb. ground beef (I'd use more if you're using a bigger pan) with a little seasoning and mixed in spaghetti sauce.  I then alternated zucchini and the meat mixture until I was out of meat sauce.  I placed a layer of mozzarella cheese on top and baked it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

And voila!  This really was tasty AND low calorie AND gluten-free.  You could also make it dairy free by removing the cheese or using dairy-free cheese.  I'm planning to experiment with this more . . . maybe substituting shredded chicken for the beef.  Or making an enchilada-esque lasagna.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

As sanctity and holiness decline, energy declines.

First, a brief synopsis of this particular talk:
"Work hard."  To be happy, we have to do more.  Most of us live below the level of our energy.  Do all that you can!  Work to the limit of your abilities.  

Our world suffers from indifference.  Is it possible that our Lord suffers more from our indifference than He did in the crucifixion.  Don't be bored with life.  When you're in love, you'll do anything.  

Waste yourself on others - give yourself to others.  When we save things only for ourselves, it becomes sinful - lust (our body); avarice (our money); pride (our knowledge).  

When anyone asks you to do things, be prepared to do more!  Energy is renewed if we love.  "As sanctity and holiness decline, energy declines." 

"Believe the impossible, and you can do the incredible!"  If you have faith, the impossible things can be done.  

Be generous with yourself!  "As we give, we get.  As we pour out ourselves, God gives us strength."
So often we find ourselves caught up in the drudgery of daily life, focusing on all the things we must do and all the things we wish we could do if we only had the time.  We begrudge our aid to others in our lives, especially those closest to us.  We want everyone else to help us out and make our burdens less.   

I'm absolutely guilty of this myself.  Of relying on my own strength to accomplish everything and failing to increase my reliance on God, Who alone can truly give me the strength I need.  So waste yourself!  Give all of yourself through God to others, and He will give you the energy to keep going.  And if we all did this . . . if we all wasted ourselves on others, surely others would take care of us.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Whirlwind Almost Adventures and the Beauty of D.I.Y.

Over the weekend, my dear husband and I decided to go house hunting, found a place, made an offer, but eventually rescinded the offer.  Yes, this all happened in 48 hours - start to finish.  But we learned some valuable things, and we got a better handle on where we're heading down the road.

Why the sudden urge to move?  Partially a good market.  But mostly the immediacy came from my spring fever and desire for a project or a change.  I used to rearrange my bedroom every 6-12 months for a change.  I was feeling a little stuck in our current home, and I wanted a change.  But as we pursued moving and discussed all of our options, we came to the conclusion that it would be more responsible and prudent to continue living where we are and save money rather than taking on a mortgage and doubling our current payments.  However, since we're staying where we're at, we are going to invest a little in some home improvements - and I'm excited!  These projects will make our current place much more OUR home, AND they'll tackle my spring fever.  

As these projects progress, I'm sure I'll be posting about my varying success with DIY projects.  The current list includes:

  • Removing the wallpaper in the kitchen.
  • Painting the kitchen.
  • Painting the kitchen cabinets (since new cabinets are not an option right now).
  • Painting the bathroom cabinets.
  • Framing the mirrors in the bathrooms.
There are many more projects that may come after these, but I'm excited to begin.  There's a part of me that sees these improvements as tackling a "Love It or List It" of my own . . . putting some love and time into making our place our own.  Blooming where we're planted.  Being content with what we have.  And saving and preparing for the future, whatever that may be.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Catching Up

It's been three weeks since my last post . . . I guess I failed with my "once a week post" resolution.  But that's ok.  I can get back up and start again.  Plus, I'm pretty sure that taking time off to study for the Multi-State Bar Exam is a valid reason for forgetting things like weekly blog posts.

Speaking of the exam, I have absolutely no idea how it went.  Nor do I particularly care.  Obviously, it would be nice if I passed.  But my ability to practice law is not a deciding factor in my future.  Even if my husband and I decide to start our own firm, we only need one licensed attorney (and he's already got that.)  I can help with the work without being licensed, as long as he is the one with final say.  Besides, we've got our whole life ahead of us . . . and God only knows where He's leading us.

The past two weeks I've been home studying/out of town taking the exam.  And they've been heavenly . . . even with all the studying.  It was a nice confirmation that my ultimate vocation is truly as a wife and mother (hopefully).  Whether that's near or far in the future, I know that's where God's leading me.  And that makes getting through today and the present much easier.  Because there must be something He's trying to teach me or show me where I'm at right now - if I would but open my eyes and see.  

Lent begins today (Ash Wednesday), which means it's time for Catholics to renew their New Year's Resolutions. ;)  In all seriousness, I really love that the Church gives us this period of time to sacrifice and work on ourselves and our relationship with God, keeping our earthly life and our heavenly goal in perspective.  And one of my Lenten works is trying to focus on the good in each situation rather than complaining about all the little, annoying rubs.  With God's help, I'll be able to find joy in my daily sacrifices and draw closer to Him.

May you all have a blessed Lent!