Living Well

Love Well–Live Well

This is an area of life that requires so much intentionality (and I think I’m only barely scratching the surface on understanding!), so I wasn’t really planning on writing on it just yet. However, I’m choosing today to at least start the topic of loving well because I’ve been thinking over this quote a lot over the past couple days.

“Do small things with great love.”

I had a bout of motivation to start hanging decorations on the walls of my apartment this past weekend, so I wrote the quote out and framed it to hang above the kitchen sink. Since we don’t have a dishwasher, I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time standing there thinking about the quote!

I should back up a bit though. In my life, loving well involves loving in two spheres: those I know and those I don’t know, and those both can look pretty different. In loving within my relationships, I have been learning that I am only able to love people from a place of wholeness.

“We love because He first loved us.”

The profoundness of that “simple” verse from 1 John 4:19 has eluded me for years. God loving us in a crazy, radical, sacrificial way–so much so that He came to us through the person of Jesus to bring us a full, whole life. To experience Christ’s love brought an unprecedented healing and wholeness to all those who accepted His love. And from that place of wholeness, they were able to see Jesus for who He was (and is) and love Him in return. But that place of wholeness also allowed for true love to everyone around them. When you are receiving love from Christ, you have the abundance to love unconditionally, without jealousy or unforgiveness or selfishness. You’re free to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

Loving within my relationships means I,  first and foremost, need to be spiritually healthy and whole, and then I need to follow Jesus’ lead on how to care for, understand, champion, and support my friends and family.

For those I don’t know or at least don’t have deeper relationships with, loving has more to do with small things done in great love. It still comes from that same root source of God’s love and healing of my own heart, it’s just played out differently. I don’t get a free pass on loving people because I don’t have the relationship to be able to walk through all the intimate steps of life with someone. I have to choose to put extra effort into the small things, the small ways I am able to interact, and love greatly and deeply and sacrificially through those things.

This week has been exhausting for me, as we’re in the middle of several time-intensive and mentally draining projects at work and I have not been sleeping well lately. After 4 straight hours of meetings this afternoon while under a throbbing headache, all I wanted to do was come home to sleep it off after work. However, I had already made an appointment to visit a local refugee family to work on ESL with them. I would have loved to cancel, or at the very least, make the visit as quick as possible. But, thankfully, I’ve been looking at my newly framed quote all week and chose to do this one small thing with the greatest love I could. Prayers were involved, the visit went great, my headache even went away. Truly–glory to God.

Great love in the small things is a sacrifice, often unnoticed, maybe even unappreciated.  Loving from wholeness–selfless love–may not be returned. But I’m learning that in a very strange way, loving well has more to do with me and my heart than anyone else’s response to it. It’s an act of worship and a refining of my heart to become more like the One I love. Because He loves me.

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Living Well

Eat Well–Live Well

Since I’ve already admitted to my stubbornness in my last post (the post that started this “challenge” for myself to write daily… even when I forget about it and procrastinate and stay up past my bedtime… on the first day of the challenge… ), I’ll admit that one opinion on which I don’t think I’ll ever budge is that eating well is not too expensive, too much work, or not appealing/tasty.

As my interest and concern in my general physical health and wellbeing has increased over the past few years, I’ve put together some best practices:

1. Listen to your body. Obviously, at some point I have to tell my body who’s boss (for example, if I’m just being lazy or wanting to each cookies all day long), but typically, I think my body knows what I need pretty well. When I feel like I just need lots of fresh foods, I load up on salads and fresh veggies. If I feel low on protein, I’ll eat some meat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat as much; if I’m feeling extra hungry,  I’ll eat more.

*And now is probably a good time to note the photos you are about to see aren’t the greatest quality–I apologize, but I don’t have time for editing tonight!

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I take great pleasure in entirely homemade meals. Pictured here is a homemade whole wheat roll, cherry jam (made with local fruit from my neighbor), apple slices from CSA, homemade peanut butter. And of course–coffee. I guess you could call that semi-homemade?

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I probably take too many pictures of veggies mid-cooking prep. But they are so beautiful.

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How creative was God with all the vegetables?? This cabbage was too great to not snap a picture.

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Kale is the darling of health foods. Rightfully so, in my opinion!

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Just one more. Candy beets and red cabbage. !!

2. Balance. My typical diet consists of whole grains, fresh produce, and legumes. I try to keep refined, processed, or high sugar foods low; but when I’m craving something cold and creamy–there’s only a couple blocks and a small bit of change between me and my Culver’s mixer (mini, vanilla custard, peanut butter mixed in, choco. chip cookie dough on top, please). I don’t feel bad indulging when I know it’s not an everyday occurrence.

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Example of an indulgence. But besides the herbs, oil, cream and bacon–it’s all local and natural! Oven baked parsnip and potato fries, with pork chops and a leek creamy delicious herb sauce.

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Another example of an indulgence: Mini chocolate pecan pies in phyllo crusts.

3. Support your environment and your community. This has less to do with my personal health, and more to do with the general lifestyle that’s important to me. Buying local food is not only healthier for my body because I’m getting fresher produce in me (which equals higher levels of the nutrients I need), but it’s beneficial for the environment and my local economy. *Shameless plug: If you’ve never given CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a try–I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s great to support a small business in your community and get lots of great farm-fresh produce each week. And an added bonus is that you’re likely to get new foods you haven’t had before and will have opportunity to experiment in the kitchen!

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Again: beautiful, healthy, local, seasonal food. So good.

4. Enjoy the process. Personally, I love to cook. So a big part of eating well is enjoying the entire process–learning about what foods are beneficial, learning how different ingredients taste, learning about various ethnic cuisines. Food can be so enjoyable when you celebrate the diversity of produce and flavors and cooking traditions. AND, one thing that I really love, is preparing food for other people. Gatherings at the table are often overlooked in my generation of fast food and freezer meals (and I’ll admit eating on the go is sometimes the only way to get a meal in), but I do believe something special is shared when gathering with others over a meal.

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For the times I do need to grab food and go, this is the ideal lunch. Purple and orange carrots, kale with lemon tahini dressing, best lentils ever, and brown rice.

I don't qualify this as a meal on the go, but it's a great breakfast or snack. And SO easy. Cucumber, apple (remove seeds and stem), and beet--into the blender or processor. So refreshing. This was with a candy beet so it turned out light pink. When you use a regular beet, the color is unbelievably beautiful.

I don’t qualify this as a meal on the go, but it’s a great breakfast or snack. And SO easy. Cucumber, apple (remove seeds and stem), and beet–into the blender or processor. So refreshing. This was with a candy beet so it turned out light pink. When you use a regular beet, the color is unbelievably beautiful.

So: go and fuel your bodies well!

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Living Well

Living Well

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve taken too long of a break from blogging. I’m pretty sure I even missed two monthly reviews. Oh well!

To review:

The phases have been incredibly optimistic, extremely overwhelmed, gradually apathetic, stubbornly determined.

We’re in stubbornly determined right now.

I’ve been doing a good bit of thinking lately; just sort of ruminating over some different themes for a few weeks now. And I’ve concluded that while not part of the original plan, this does apply to learning and growth and general “adulting” (post on that here)….and is therefore blog-worthy.

Basically, I believe intentional living is a key to living well. So I am committing to finding ways to incorporate intentionality into certain areas of my life. They build on each other, and will continue to evolve as long as I continue to work on them. The blogging challenge for myself is to outline (concretely, outside my own thoughts) each arena where I have been thinking about building this discipline of intentionality into my thinking–every day for a week.

Yes, I’m stubbornly determined. (And naively hopefully this will kickstart me into consistency.)

We’re starting tomorrow with (perhaps) the most essential–eating well! (And also/sort of/mainly because I have some yummy pictures to share…)

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