i is for Insecure and Gratuitous Kid Shots Along with a Shot of Smoothie

I thought about writing a serious post called something like “i is for Insecurity” that discussed how social media can lead many of us (ahem, yours truly) to doubt ourselves and/or to compare ourselves to others. (The little “i” represents all those i gadgets that make it even easier to stay connected and/or feel like total losers.) You know the drill (or maybe you don’t, God bless you): You’re quite pleased with the birthday cake you made for your child until you see the delicious Pinterest eye candy that others have created, or you’re happily enjoying running for the sake of running until you read about someone who ran three miles a lot faster than you’ll probably ever run one mile and you feel pathetically slow. But whatever. Most of the time I’m at a pretty content place and am actually quasi-qualified to give the kind of speeches I do that encourage women to relinquish perfectionism and to accept that they are good enough just the way you are, but every once in awhile I feel like that lonely, loathsome 9-year-old from my past who gets teased on the school bus and instead of counting my blessings I’m collecting grievances against myself. Or I start to compare myself or my charmed life to others and when you compare, no one wins. Either you walk away feeling better about yourself (well, I can’t run that fast, but I’ve had labor au natural and clearly have good endurance. Not that I have ever entertained thoughts like these or actually looked up to see if uber runner girl gave birth naturally). That icky pride thing going on, or the seeds of envy are planted within you and instead of celebrating someone else’s blessings or triumphs, you’re angry at them or coveting them. More ick.

Even when I’m not comparing, too often I start to focus on all that I can’t do rather than paying attention to all that I can stinkin’ do. And, ladies, we do a lot! I find that insecurity and all its ugly stepsisters really start to rear their ugly heads whenever I forget to concentrate on loving others and instead find myself wondering if I’ll ever measure up (in whatever area of life I’m obsessing about at the moment whether it’s mothering, writing, singing, or running). I should desperately want to love rather than deserately want to be loved. That makes for a happy heart. While drying my hair this morning (I get all my magazine reading accomplished whenever I actually take the time to dry my epically-thick mane), I read a quote in Real Simple magazine that really struck me:

The way to work for peace is to be at peace.

Appropriately enough, my spiritual book club is currently reading Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe. I have lots of notes to take.

But now I didn’t want to write about all that. Nope. I really just wanted to share a few gratuitous photos of some major sibling love. These two have quite the time together these days. My baby boy is very good at playing the role of “Annoying Little Brother.” He tugs on her hair, wrestles with her, and chases her around constantly. She’s very patient with him (most of the time), and they’re also extremely affectionate with each other.

How can I not be content and happy looking at this sibling revelry?

Thomas & ME 2

Thomas & M.E.

Thomas & ME 3

Thomas and ME 3

As for the smoothie shot reference, the Vitamix has rocked my world in a good way. I use it almost every day to whip up smoothies of a rainbow of colors. This one looks boring in the cup, but its creamy deliciousness makes the kids think they’re slurping up a milkshake. I don’t use exact recipes per se, but here’s what this one looks like:

About 2 cups of milk
1 banana (use a frozen one for an even creamier consistency)
One apple, cored
2-3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 scoop of vanilla-flavored Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein

Blend together for taste bud nirvana. Feel free to add a few handfuls of spinach. No one will notice.

Any favorite smoothie recipes to share?

Enter the Conversation...

20 Responses to “i is for Insecure and Gratuitous Kid Shots Along with a Shot of Smoothie”
  1. You can tell Thomas totally adores his sister! What great pics! That smoothie does sound yummy. I really need to make them more often.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Precious! Such joy in those little faces.

  3. Nancy says:

    Every summer I try smoothies with my kids — one of them loves ’em, and the other two have texture issues with “lumpy” fruit in the smoothies. Maybe I need to upgrade from my blender to something better . . . hand/immersion blender? I dunno.

    But my favorite thing to do is buy frozen blueberries and raspberries and throw them in right from the freezer — it adds that extra icy-ness.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      We love smoothies with frozen berries. I’ve been craving them lately because we have been without a fridge and freezer for several days. I never realized how I took for granted that everyday blessing!

      I do think the Vitamix is worth the investment. It comes with a hefty price tag, but I use it every day and can put anything in it – avocado, handful of nuts, kale, etc. – to make a creamy smoothie without the lumps. This isn’t to say my kids like every concoction I make. If I’m trying something really unusual or just a new recipe, I don’t make as much at first. However, I’ve found my toddler drinks just about anything I make, and the older girls like 90% of the smoothies. I’ll try to post some more ideas soon.

  4. Terri says:

    We make something the kids call “fruit sauce”. It’s basically just whatever fruit they choose, thrown in the food processor. It’s a staple to eat with french toast or pancakes (not that we have them very often). It’s also great just in bowls. Sometimes we add some fat free cottage cheese to make it a more substantial snack. I try to keep frozen berries which, like an earlier comment mentioned, is nice for making the mixture cool in the summer. The kids also make their own smoothies with milk sometimes. Now that some of the kids are older, they have fun experimenting with different fruit combinations.

    As far as the social media, I have to stay away from it. It’s funny because I know people on Facebook, for example, and then know them in real life. I KNOW that what gets posted online is only the very best, brag-worthy aspects of people’s lives. Nevertheless, it can get me down really quickly. Frankly, I don’t think social media is a good thing. For professional applications, like writers who are seeking exposure of their work, it’s useful. Other than the professional applications, though, I think it’s unhealthy, even disordered (evil). It feeds envy and avarice.

    Another proclivity of mine is to dwell on negative social trends via social media–like reading only about abortion or how the homosexual agenda is aggressively taking over. It robs my hope. So…I deleted my Facebook account (for the second time) and won’t be starting a new one. I get tempted to repoen my account a lot, but then I remember the crystal-clear message God gave me when I was praying for more peace a few weeks ago. The message imprinted in my brain was, “I can’t do anything with you until you get off Facebook. You gotta get rid of it.” I really am a lot happier without it, despite the fact that I have adult children who live out of state most of the year. Amazingly, it’s still possible to maintain close contact by phone/text and email. :0)

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Fruit sauce. I love it.

      I will be discussing some of the very things you mention here about the dangers of social media at an upcoming speech. One of the major deterrents of me not pursuing a second book is because of the push for writers to be be involved in social media. I like writing and things like radio interviews. But blog tours, etc.? Not so much.

      FB has never been an issue for me. I have an account and lots of “friends” but rarely engage in much over there. It’s usually been reading other blogs that can get me down – even the ones that are designed to be very uplifting.

      St. Therese of Lisieux said, “I ardently desire to be forgotten.” It seems just the opposite for our social media society. We want everyone to know every detail of our life. Our FB status updates share that we just worked out at the gym, left for a vacation in Florida, or failed a math test. Nothing is private anymore. Everything we do seems primed for human recognition and glory. So I totally get what you’re saying.

      I do know a lot of people, however, who get a lot from reading blogs and love to keep in touch with old friends via FB.

      The irony about all this wonderful technology is it was supposed to make us more efficient so that we’d have more time to do the things we love and spend time with the people we love. It wasn’t supposed to erode our family time together. Facebook is supposed to make us feel connected, not disconnect us from the real relationships in our
      lives that need nurturing. Technology is supposed to make life easier – it’s not supposed to become our life. It should offer us freedom, not make us feel tethered. The Internet should boost our brain and capacity for learning, but instead it’s zombifying us. I’ve often wondered if the new penchant for zombies – I’ve seen stickers on cars with slogans like “Be kind to zombies” – is just to make us feel for the attention deficit boom we’re living in.

      Now I’m well aware that most, if not all, jobs demand that we are connected at least in some ways these days. Nor do I think no good comes from smartphones or social media sites like Facebook. It’s probably not realistic for us to think we can embrace the leave-it- all-behind fantasy and all become cheesemakers and chuck out blackberries – not unless we have plans to join the Amish. Technology is a real part of our lives. We are living in an iCulture whether we like it or not. And as St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us, all things in moderation.

      I speak and write frequently about body image and overcoming eating disorders and compulsive eating. Well, one of the reasons food addictions are so difficult to master is because food is essential to living and also an integral part of gathering and celebrating together with our family and community. Technology is becoming a lot like food. We need it to be successful, to stay in contact with our children’s teachers and activities, and to raise our children in this digital age, but we should be the ones controlling it, not the other way around. This becomes tough – especially when we carry around a Smartphone at all times. Consider a glutton recovering from a food addiction carrying around a chocolate bar in her pocket everywhere she went. This would demand more self-denial than if she could close her fridge or throw away the chocolate bar.

      I’m rambling here. My upcoming speech has given me much to ponder. I just know that I personally have to be very careful about how much I consume certain types of social media. Like you, I can be sucked into the negativity. Not a good thing. Anyway, thank you for the food for thought.

      (Can’t proof this rambling mess right now, so please forgive any typos!)

      • Terri says:

        The parallels you draw between use of technology and eating is very poignant. Very true. I eat too much rather than too little.

        I hope you speaking engagement went well.

    • Melanie B says:

      I use Facebook mainly to share interesting articles and stories and to chat about them with friends. I also use it to keep in touch with distant friends and family, to keep them up to date with what’s going on with the kids. To share about fun things we do, little and big.

      I don’t think envy has to enter into it at all. Though if it does for you, then I definitely agree you need to get off of it. However, I find that if you enter in with a spirit of generosity, there are plenty of opportunities for Facebook to be the opposite of what you characterize. I can be happy for a friend who just got married and bought a new house with her husband and wants to share the pictures and dream about making it her own. I can be happy for a friend who just got the job he’s been praying for. Oh and another thing. Before he went in for the interview, my friend posted a message to Facebook asking us all to pray for him.

      I find Facebook is a great way of asking for prayers and being reminded to pray. Many of my friends post quotes from saints, little spiritual kisses. It’s also a great tool for evangelization. I’ve got a pagan friend who regularly asks me questions about the Catholic faith. I’ve been engaged in an ongoing conversation with a friend who is a marginal Catholic who is struggling with some aspects of the Church. When my dad had a stroke I asked everyone to pray and when he got released from the hospital after only a few days all my praying friends rejoiced.

      If your eye offends you, pluck it out. If Facebook causes you to sin, get rid of it. But I think that you should be cautious about painting with too broad a brush. Consider that for some people it might not be unhealthy and disordered. Maybe?

      • Kate Wicker says:

        Hi, Melanie. I am sorry if my meandering comment seemed to imply that Facebook and the likes is all bad. FB does connect some people in very meaningful ways, but I also know some sad things that have happened because of the site (including an extramarital affair in a devout Catholic couple). I am usually very careful to not “paint with too broad a brush” as you wisely suggested I be cautious against. We have to know our own temperaments and inclinations and then use our conscience and prayer to guide us in all facets of life. I do think there’s a temptation for a lot of people – and God bless those who are immune to it – to find themselves growing envious of others or simply just to glorify people online. Or there’s the people who glorify themselves and their every move. I openly admit to glorifying my children with only the most flattering photos. I’m joking here, but seriously, my husband once said that Facebook just makes it acceptable for people to brag. He’s kind of right.

        I don’t have this whole social media thing figured out, and I know some of my concerns are more related to my own issues. I know that when I was online more, I was squandering way too much time. But I do miss keeping in touch with some of the real friends I made in social media circles. I love to see happy things about my friends and to celebrate with them, so there’s not always jealously involved. You’re very right!

        Then again, social media can facilitate all of the seven deadly sins, not just envy, in different people. Some people may be guilty of gluttony just because of how much time they spent. Others might fall into sloth because of social media. They may be doing good things online, even evangelize; yet, perhaps they are ignoring their duities or the better part (um, like laundry…that’s what I should be doing right about now!). Lust in the form of “sexting” or looking at online porn or even just someone else’s spouse on FB, etc.

        None of this is to say good can’t and doesn’t come out of social media. I agree the Internet can be an amazing conduit of prayer. Social media outlets have the power to pull together like-minded strangers and forge a sense of community. Like Jen Fulwiler discusses, people may Google their way to God. There are going to be those seeking, so Christians definitely need to be present online (and remember to be charitable at all times and to remember the dignity of the person on the side of the screen or smartphone. I don’t agree with the school of thought that all technology or social media sites are the axis of evil and, in fact, believe we must, as Pope Benedict once urged, give the Internet a soul.

        I just personally have to be careful about my own social media usage, and maybe I’m the only one who needs to be plucking out my offensive eye. However, I feel most of us could use a little less social media in our lives. The only gospel far too many people are reading most days is on Facebook or some popular website.

        And just look at this…what I’m doing right now. I felt badly because my words might have offended someone I respect and admire, so here I am instead of praying or reading a storybook to a child, back online. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with temperance or other virtues as applied to technology. Maybe the seven sins don’t begin to fester because of online activity. Maybe it’s just me. But maybe not.

        God bless.

        • Melanie B says:

          Kate, Sorry I wasn’t clear. Typing in a hurry and forgot to be specific. I wasn’t responding to you but to Terri who wrote:

          “Frankly, I don’t think social media is a good thing. For professional applications, like writers who are seeking exposure of their work, it’s useful. Other than the professional applications, though, I think it’s unhealthy, even disordered (evil). It feeds envy and avarice.”

          Your comments were balanced and fair, but she says Facebook is evil, disordered, unhealthy, and implies that is the case for everyone, not just for herself.

          While I agree that there are potential dangers for everyone– mine tends to be sloth and perhaps as you mention gluttony– I think she’s overgeneralizing and projecting her own temptations onto the medium. I do not struggle especially with envy and avarice on Facebook. It’s just not a problem for me. Nor do I think it’s that kind of problem for everyone, though I do see how it could be.

          I think we end to bring our baggage with us to the medium. I recognize that if Facebook is a time sink for me, it isn’t necessarily the case that it is for everyone. If Facebook tempts me to neglect my duties, I know people who get on for set amounts of time twice a day and never have that struggle.

          Everyone’s struggles are different and I think it is healthy to recognize that the weakness is in ourselves and not only “out there” in the thing that is the occasion for sin. If Facebook tempts you to envy and avarice, chances are you are struggling with those sins in other areas too. If my sloth wasn’t being occasioned by Facebook, it could just as easily be a really good book I can’t put down and, in fact, before the advent of social media that was precisely my struggle.

          I’m sorry my lack of clarity made you think you’d said something that offended me. And to be clear I wasn’t offended at all by Terri’s comment either. I just wanted to point out that I thought it was over general. I do think it’s an interesting discussion and your contributions are as always thoughtful, thought-provoking, and quite valuable.

          • Kate Wicker says:

            :-). I agree with everything you have written, Melanie, and I’m sorry I misunderstood the original comment. Of course, it shows how I, ahem, am prone to take things too personally. Ha.

            The thing about us humans is that we can baptize most things and use them as tools to spread the Good News, to be charitable to our neighbor, and to grow in future, but that stinky human part also means we can mess up things. Preaching to the choir here.

            But I agree that to say Facebook is evil and anyone on it is disordered is too broad of a statement. I thought of logging off because I have friends who have left FB and found peace with that. I, on the other hand, don’t have trouble with finding balance over there and would miss keeping in touch with some of my friends and my big, sprawling family. I get a fair dose of inspiration and humor relief there as well.

            But this isn’t about my personal feelings about FB or any site. It is not inherently bad to be on FB, and we should be careful to suggest so. Back to the food analogy because that’s what works for me: I do not think food is bad or good, and eating potato chips or other demonized food types is not a sign of our morality. But we can pervert food – make it our god or an enemy or whatever. The same is true with anything in this life.

            Thank you for always sharing your wisdom and articulating matters of the faith so clearly!

          • Terri says:

            I’m just catching up on this thread. Yes, I was speaking generally. That’s different than speaking universally. The devil is in the details. (Pun intended.) 😉

  5. It’s always great to read what you’ve been up to and see adorable pictures of your super-cute kids! A while back I wrote a post on a topic similar to the ones you address in this one regarding comparing ourselves to others when we don’t know their whole situation, and thinking of what we can’t do instead of what we can that you might find interesting. The name is inspired by Mary Poppins and that I’m not in any way her (as you might easily have guessed), so it’s “Not Practically Perfect in Any Way” which you can read here if you like http://printsofgrace.blogspot.com/2012/10/not-practically-perfect-in-any-way.html

  6. Sarah says:

    You said:

    I find that insecurity and all its ugly stepsisters really start to rear their ugly heads whenever I forget to concentrate on loving others and instead find myself wondering if I’ll ever measure up (in whatever area of life I’m obsessing about at the moment whether it’s mothering, writing, singing, or running).

    Yep. That. Totally.

  7. Yup, Sarah, that’s exactly what I zeroed in on, too: “I find that insecurity and all its ugly stepsisters really start to rear their ugly heads whenever I forget to concentrate on loving others” … oh, so true.

    Kate, those sibling shots are priceless.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have a Blendtec, which is basically the same as the Vitamix. LOVE it! We make smoothies a lot too. With berries, if I buy them fresh from the store, I keep and eye and if they start to look “smooshy”, I throw them in the freezer right away to save for smoothies. Saves me some money because I’m not tossing fruit and then I always have frozen ones. Same with bananas. I also throw spinach in all mine, or kale. The blendtec is also awesome for making nice, smooth hummus and pesto. Any kind of sauce, really. And glad to hear that Thomas is being all boy!!! Makes this “boy mom” smile!

  9. Laurie says:

    I seriously love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Thank you!

  10. Melanie B says:

    Thomas is getting so big! I just love those pictures. Such sweet love.

    I keep looking at the Vitamix and trying to justify the expense, but I can’t quite get Dom on board, you know? But I think I’d use it.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      I struggled with the price as well. I ended up asking for one for Christmas (my husband complained about how I was so weird because I was a woman who always asked for appliances as gifts!, and I’ve used it almost every day since. Seriously, I used it almost daily so I now feel like the price is worth it. I also know someone who went for a cheaper version of a product that claimed to be as good as the Vitamix or Blendtech. Well, its motor is slowing after about 6 months, and she said her smoothies never taste as smooth as the ones we make it our Vitamix. Sometimes the hefty price tag really does come with more value.


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