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?
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?
Yesterday we decided to take school and lunch outside. It was a quintessential spring day here. We sat under the canopy of a big and very old dogwood tree. White petals from the blossoms swirled in the breeze.
Mary Elizabeth, who is incapable of sitting long enough to ever finish an entire meal even a sparse Lenten one, spun around in midst of the whirling blossoms, enchanted. I felt like I was watching her dance in a snow globe – only the snow was velvety-soft petals.
Before venturing outside, we made our traditional Lenten pretzels. This year, however, I used a recipe from A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year, a book revisit throughout the year to make different seasons come alive in the kitchen and around the table. They were delicious. Rachel and Madeline helped twist them into the pretzel shape.
Lent really crept up on me this year. Fortunately, I have a stockpile of resources to help my family and me along my Lenten journey. In lieu of a thought-provoking post, I’m simply going to list some resources, ideas, books, etc. I’ve used in the past, plan to use, or dream of using when my life isn’t such a beautiful, chaotic mess.
I know I’ve missed some great stuff out there, so please feel free to share your own links and/or resources in the combox.
(Oh, and please forgive the funky formatting below. I’ve tried to fix it multiple times with no luck.)
Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Welcome Risen Jesus: Lenten and Easter Reflections for Families by Sarah Reinhard
Magnificat Lenten Companion (it looks like the hard copy is sold out, but it’s available as an app)
Around the Web
Christ’s Journey to the Cross: Lenten Insipiration for Mothers (an old reflective essay of mine)
Lent for Little Ones (an old post of mine, but we still put to practice many of the ideas I included)
Recipes (including lots of meatless dishes perfect for Lenten Fridays)
This is an amazing resource my friend put together. It offers 40 days’ worth of meatless menus, shopping lists, easy recipes, and fun commentary. All the recipes serve 12, so it’s the perfect plan for large families who want to live out the discipline of Lenten abstinence.
Avocado Corn Salad with Tropical Smoothies
Tofu Parmesan (don’t judge it until you try it!)