Monthly Archives: May 2016

What I’ve Learned: Lazy Meal Planning, treating Hashimoto’s


I love learning.

I like learning about myself.

I like learning how to make my life better.  It’s encouraging to put into words every month what I’m learning.  Self-awareness is so helpful, because it’s discouraging when life isn’t working.

Linking up with Emily Freeman for another month to share what we’ve learned.

pillsVitamin and mineral supplements plus dietary changes works for treating Hashimoto’s.

Since I found out I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I changed my diet by going gluten-free and added supplements. My headaches have almost been eliminated.  I also having been drinking kefir more in an effort to heal my gut.  I have seen an increase in energy, although I’d love to see more improvement there.

I’ve added iron pills and liquid zinc to my supplement routine.  Wow, is liquid zinc nasty.  I’m going to have to be really convinced that it’s helping or I won’t be able to keep up with it for long.

Make Over Your Evening with Crystal Paine.

This is the first time I’ve ever bought a course like this.  I watched all the videos in the course and read the ebook, but didn’t do all the homework.   Even though I petered out towards the end, I implemented two tweaks (#3 and #5) that have made a huge difference.  One thing I loved about this course was the time spent evaluating and assessing before coming up with a new evening routine.

Five things I’ve learned about making over my evening routine:

  1. Count the cost before purchasing a course.  This means money.  This means time.  This means focus. Honestly, I got my money’s worth with Make Over Your Evening.
  2. I’ve learned from other people’s stories:  Sarah Wright at the Orthodox Mama has impressive discipline and daily routines.  Victoria at Snail Pace Transformations has been insightful and encouraging too, especially when my blog didn’t grow as fast as I’d hoped it would.letters
  3. Little tweaks make a difference, but sometimes you have to do them with a lot of understanding. One thing that emerged was how much I hated the paper clutter on my counter.  Mail tends to stack up there and I can’t ever seem to get on top of it.  Two simple changes have made all the difference: processing mail in the morning instead of the evening plus setting the timer for three minutes.   I just don’t have what it takes to deal with the mail in the evening.  It’s too overwhelming.  Instead, I set my timer for three minutes while my eggs are cooking in the morning. (I turn down the eggs so they cook slower).  I use that time to process the mail and put away paper clutter.  Presto!  What an easy solution, but one that has eluded me for years.
  4. I also pinpointed a frustration and a resolve to change it.  It bothers me when my environment is not beautiful.  Especially when I don’t have the energy or resources to change it and I just have to put up with it.  Just identifying this frustration has helped.  Slowly I can make the changes.  One small thing at a time.
  5. Another thing that emerged was that I wanted dessert to be part of my evening.  When life is overwhelming and getting supper on the table and cleaned up is all that you can handle, dessert gets nixed.  But, my work hours are changing for the summer: I’m getting off earlier.  So, I’m planning to invest that time in making supper and dessert.  Healthy desserts, of course.  This a plan I can get into.

Get Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Evening course here.  (Affiliate link–at no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site)


How to do the laziest meal planning ever:

I’ve been struggling and failing at meal planning for months now.  I used to be good at it.  I used to enjoy it.  But, lately, I haven’t been force myself to do it at all.  So here’s the compromise:  I got down our big wall calendar and wrote down the meat or protein for every supper of the month.  Then, the next day, I got out all the meat for the month from our chest freezer in the laundry room and arranged it in the bottom section of our refrigerator freezer.  Now, when I leave for work in the morning, I pull out the meat to thaw.  I don’t always know what to do with it when I get home, or what my sides will be.  But, in a pinch, I can fry it on the stove, add rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables or salad.  Boom.  Lazy meal planning.

What are have you learned this month?

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The Echo in My Head

canyonI’ve been racking my brains this morning trying to come up with some encouraging words to send to a friend who is struggling. When I’m down and discouraged I try to remind myself of truth, even when it doesn’t feel true.  A phrase that often comes to mind is “You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  I couldn’t remember where this scripture was located, so I googled it.  Which is our default method of finding out anything, right?  Come to find out, Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Hmm.  Where are the everlasting arms?  More googling.  Aah.  The echo in my head is Elisabeth Elliot’s tagline.

I woke up a couple times this week with a song from Sunday stuck in my head– Lead me to the Cross.  Love it when that happens.

But, the truth is, the echo in my head can often be a downer.  “Figures.  Just my luck.”  Really?  What is my luck?  What is the truth of the situation? That I am loved by God, but someone just pulled into the parking spot I was headed for?

So, how can we turn around the echo in our head?  Part of it has to do with what we put in there in the first place.  Part of it has to do with reciting truth, whether we feel it or not. Part of it has to do with habits and thought patterns.  Repeatedly thinking the same negative thoughts doesn’t help. Consciously putting in “whatever is true, good and lovely” helps.

The truth is we can change that echo.  God help us.

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What I’m Reading May 2016

whatI'mreading516Although we’ve had a few days of sunshine, May has been mostly cool and rainy here. Since I turned 49 this month, I got out the time capsule to send messages back to my younger self:  advice to my 19-year-old self, my 29-year-old self and my 39-year-old self.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and May’s Quick Lit.

PenderwicksinSpring Buy now on Amazon

The Penderwicks in Spring

Number four in the Penderwicks series is not as light-hearted as the first three.  But I felt the more serious themes were handled well and the characters were just as charming and engaging as the rest of the series.  Thumbs up for Jeanne Birdsall and the Penderwicks.

FatalGrace Buy now on Amazon

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

This is my third Inspector Gamache mystery and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two.  I’m not sure if there was more language in this one or if it just bothered me more.  Lots of twists and turns, good complexity of human nature, but I’m not sure if I’ll keep reading this series or not.

MyNameisLucy Buy now on Amazon

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Quick read.  Very literary but kind of depressing.  It did get me thinking about family relationships, though, especially about dysfunction and marriage and inter-generational relationships.  I guess any book that gets you thinking has some redemptive qualities, right?

BoysintheBoatYoung Buy now on Amazon

Boys in the Boat, Young Readers edition, by Daniel James Brown

I originally checked out the print version of Boys in the Boat from the library to read to my 16-year-old. When that had to go back, I checked out the e-version.  When that was returned, there were no more available copies of the book.  So, I checked out the young readers edition.  I liked it even better than the original.

A huge takeaway for me from this book was the critical element of trust in teamwork.  I already believed it.  But it was re-inforced in a new way.

BetterThanBefore Buy now on Amazon

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

There are two types of people in the world: those who divide everyone up in groups and those who don’t.  Rubin definitely does her homework.  The groups she divides people up into rings true.  I find myself wandering through the store thinking, “My husband’s an overbuyer and I’m an underbuyer.”  She has influenced my thinking.

Priceless Buy now on Amazon

Priceless by Robert Wittman

Our family loves watching Psych, Sherlock and the Mentalist.  I’ve wondered how true detective stories stacked up again the fiction.  In Priceless, Robert Wittman chronicled his years as an FBI agent pursuing international art thieves.

Of course I love that Wittman is a devoted family man.  I liked reading the behind the scenes and true life stories.  I liked the psychological aspects–the good guy being the con man to entice the villain in.

My favorite part was the congratulatory email Wittman received from a man he put behind bars.  They had come to like and respect each other, even when it was discovered that they played for different teams.

Bread&Wine Buy now on Amazon

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

This has been on my TBR list for months.  I snagged it on a $1.99 kindle sale, which pushed it to the top of my list.

Each short chapter has a reflection on hospitality, life around the table or friendships and ends with a recipe.

Even though I don’t have the gift of hospitality, the idea of food and cooking as a way to build friendships resonated with me.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to relate to Shauna’s life, but I found that I did.

So glad I finally got around to this book.

What are you reading this month?

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links: at no extra cost to you, a small portion of your purchase goes to support this site.)


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Birthday Series: Advice to my 39-year-old self

Since I turned 49 this month, I got out the time capsule to send messages back to my 19-year-old self, my 29-year-old self and my 39-year-old self.


It’s okay to pursue more of your own interests, since the kids no longer need you 24/7. Revel in the work that makes you feel alive.


Extend grace to yourself when you can’t get it all done. There’s more rubber balls than glass.  It’s okay to drop a few rubber ones.

Your children will forgive you for mistakes.  Don’t hesitate to ask.

Differentiate between “my child did a bad thing” and “I have a bad child”. Communicate that difference to your child.  Let them know that a one time offense doesn’t define their character.  They can make better choices.

Weekly dates and family night are your lifelines.  Fight to protect them.

Enjoy your new house.  You will miss it.  Appreciate the moment and the blessings of today.  Each season has it’s advantages. Don’t live in the utopian future.


Take charge of your physical health.  Doctors don’t know everything.  Trust your instincts.  Educate yourself through reputable sources.  Don’t stop looking for answers until you’ve achieved optimum health.


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Birthday Series: Advice to my 29-year-old self


Don’t roll your eyes when someone tells you, “They grow up so fast”.  It’s true.  The days are long but the years are short.

Don’t forget you are making one of the most important investments in your life: be patient with the short humans.

Take lots of pictures.  Okay, you can go overboard on this one.  Don’t forget to enjoy the moment, too.

Accept the fact that you can’t get it all done. Make peace with routine.


You won’t always be so tired. Nap when the kids are sleeping.  You need it.

Thank God for guardian angels.  A mother of multiple children cannot be in two places at once.  You need help.  Don’t doubt that you are a good mother.

Don’t mop the floor the day you get home from the hospital.  Leave it dirty.


Small children sap your social energy.  As an introvert, you need time to refuel.  Say yes to books: they will be your lifeline.


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Birthday Series: Advice to my 19-year-old self

Don’t worry about paying your school bill.  It will work out.  Eventually all your school loans will be paid off and you’ll be grateful to have a top notch college education that will serve you the rest of your life. Financial stress is debilitating.  Learn now how to budget, be content and be grateful.


Go to counseling.  Seven bucks a session is a steal.  You’ll never get a deal like that again.  Your emotional health is worth the investment.  Everyone has issues.  Start working on yours now.

Sign up for Biola Israel.  It sounds like a lot of money, but this is another opportunity you shouldn’t miss.  You’ll regret it later.  Some day you’ll be tied down with jobs, school loans and mortgage payments.  This is the time to travel and learn.

Don’t skip chapel.  Some day you’ll miss the great chapel speakers.  Take advantage while you can. Profound points from chapel speakers will echo in your head for the rest of  your life.  Feed the echo.  Let God speak to you.  This is a critical time in your life when you’re making important decisions about your future.  Build your credo from the best materials.


Don’t neglect your girlfriends.  It’s easy to want to spend all your time outside of work and class with your boyfriend.  But you need some girl time, too.  Your investment in friendships is a wise use of resources.

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What I’m Into: Make Over Your Evenings, The Dave Ramsey Show


Today I turn 49.

Twenty-nine years ago today, Pete and I got engaged.

This year’s anniversary is bittersweet, because I lost my diamond last month.  It forces me to think about what really matters in life.  Ultimately, it’s not a rock, but the relationship: the partnership that birthed four humans and launched them into the world.  (Okay, we’re still launching . . . but getting close to “launched”).  The tangible ring is a symbol of the intangible: a marriage.


Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

We rarely give up on a movie in the middle, but this one felt like a horror film meets Groundhog Day, so we turned it off.  I liked the first Maze Runner movie, so this was a disappointment.

BoysintheBoatYoung Buy it now from Amazon

Boys in the Boat, Young Readers Edition

I originally checked out the print version of The Boys in the Boat to read to my 16-year-old. When that had to go back, I checked out the e-version.  When that was returned, there were no more copies available of the book.  So, I checked out the young readers edition.  I liked it even better than the one written for adults, at least for reading aloud.

A huge takeaway for me from this book was the critical element of trust in teamwork.  I already believed it.  But seeing it played out in real life, it was re-inforced in a new way.



Make Over Your Evenings with Crystal Paine

I love what I’m learning about myself in this course.  I love that it only takes 15 minutes a day.  I thought I couldn’t add new habits to my life till I got a good foundation with the other ones.  But, I’ve discovered even hit and miss has it’s advantages. Thinking things through and changing mindsets has made a difference for me.  Organization has not been as much a time issue as an energy and motivation issue.  Challenging some of that thinking has been good for me.

Of course, it helps a lot that I’m feeling better and have more energy.  Lethargy does not help in getting things done.

Since discovering that I have Hashimotos, I’ve made some changes in my diet.

I’m so thankful to see an improvement in my health.  It’s wonderful not to be having the headaches I was having before.

Izabella Wentz and Josh Axe have published quite a bit of nutritional advice for dealing with Hashimoto’s and I’m benefitting from their advice.


The Dave Ramsey Show

Dave cracks me up the way he interacts with his guests.  He almost has a Dr. Phil approach to stupidity.  But, I love his principles. I think Dave has a lot of good answers.  I believe it’s hard for us to change our beliefs and the way we think about money.

People in general don’t make good decisions about money because they let other influences cloud their good judgement.


(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

What are you into?



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