As a working mom in part-time ministry (with full time hours), a military wife (who is learning some crazy flexibility), and a mom of a cancer survivor (which requires being on the road often for follow up doctor visits three states away); scheduling our home life can be challenging.
Recently, I have taken a good look at our life and have found a number of inconsistencies to our faith. They were unintended and easily overlooked under the guise of being busy, but none the less, now that they have been brought to light I can not ignore them.
First and foremost, I have not been treating my body with the respect it deserves. While ministering to others and taking care of family first I’ve let my own health slide. In doing so I have not been teaching my children the value of our bodies. God gave each of us only one, we should treat it as the gift it is. Darci Escandon asks in her blog entry How Clean is Your Temple “How can we expect to be able to help others when we have let ourselves go?” Not taking care of myself only adds to the exhaustion that comes from everyday life and ministry. Unintentionally this neglect has led to a greater inconsistency. Though unintentional it is the sin of poor stewardship. God has given me some great gifts, gifts of time, finances, and health and slowly I have been squandering them.
Leaving work exhausted, I would drive thru the fastest window (as my son loves to say, “can we just get dinner at a window” a sign we do it way to often) for a $30 quick meal to feed my tiny army of 5. You might be thinking, “So what?” Let me break down why I see this as poor stewardship and ultimately a sin in my life.
- I am teaching my children bad nutrition, and instead of teaching them how to battle family medical traits that will more then likely be passed down to them I am instead setting them up for failure through my example.
- I am being a poor steward of our money. For a fraction of that $30 I could have provided a full course meal for the entire family rather than a couple fried tacos each and no veggies in site.
- A quick $30 grab costs me 3 hours of work. If I had simply headed home an hour sooner I would have still had the energy and time to cook dinner.
- I don’t know about you but “window food” makes me sluggish and grumpy where a good sit down dinner energizes me. And when momma ain’t happy…. Well we all know how that can affect the mood of the entire household.
Basically, a little planning would make me a better steward of my finances, time, and my families overall health and happiness.
So, like anything, I attacked this area of my life with a little research. Along the way I found some things that work for my family and some things that don’t. Here are a few things that have worked for us, some seem to be working but are still being tested out.
All it really takes is a few minutes a month to sit down and plan out healthy family meals. I have found some sites that have made this much easier for me.
Once a Month Mom has step by step directions on how to cook, you guessed it, once a month. While this isn’t do-able for me, cooking once a week or once every two weeks is. I especially love the crockpot recipes that don’t require cooking ahead. Tonight we are eating the Chicken Spinach Burgers found in the Diet June 2012 Menu. I used to be in a group that would meet once a month, some of us would cook together and others at home alone, then swap the premade frozen bags. It was a lot of fun. But honestly I enjoy doing it on my own or with just one friend as it makes it easier to tweak the recipes to my family’s tastes and requires less demands on my time. When I make a new meal from this site, if the family loves it, I print it off and add it to my notebook. You can save a lot of time by going directly by her instructions as it comes with a premade shopping list and detailed steps of how to make everything all at once, or you can adapt it as I have done to fit my family’s picky taste buds. Another great aspect of making meals in this way is whenever there is a family in the church in need, a baby born, or a surgery and meals are planned for the family I already have one prepared in my freezer and ready to go.
Another site I have recently found and enjoy is www.theyummylife.com My daughter and I made the overnight oatmeal yesterday. While we enjoyed the banana/peanut butter and the blueberry, eating cold oatmeal is an experience the rest of the family shuddered at. So while two of us can enjoy this, the others will be content with cheerios. While not all her recipes are high up there on the nutritional site, she does have quite a few that are worth checking out.
Truly, my husband is the chef in the family. We actually met while he was working in the Olive Garden’s kitchen. Everything he touches is divine. Right now he is working on his own cookbook. I can’t wait to be his tester!
In the process of trying to avoid over processed foods, an overabundance of lunchables, and that “window” again for lunches; I have fallen in love with the blog 100 Days of Real Food. For myself, I bag 5 salads on sun night to take to work throughout the week or fill small mason jars with home made soup. On a side note: the youth group has always teased me about being old, and soup was part of their proof. By far my favorite thing to order at restaurants is soup. It never seems to disappoint.
Interests/Blogs/ Inboxes/ Newsletters
I’ve also taken a series interest in the nutritional value of food. My family has a predisposition to high cholesterol. Recently an article was shared with me that hypothesized that the processed foods slowly corrode our blood vessel walls which then causes the cholesterol to get stuck.The theory made sense and stuck with me. (just google cholesterol, processed foods and you will find a wealth of information) So I began to reevaluate what was in our kitchen cabinets. I have no desire to destroy the body God gave me, deliberately or otherwise.
I’ve also subscribed to newsletters like the Joy Fit Club and FB pages like MotivateHopeStrength (honestly I couldn’t resist the name on that one), Joy Bauer and TheDirectionDiva (who also has a great blog Daily Direction Moments by the way, it’s not all about health but it has some great tips on reducing stress and living life to the fullest). My goal is to keep my inbox and newsfeed filled with positive motivators to drown out the little voice in my head telling me to give up and give in.
Yes I know it’s important but honestly it is the most difficult aspect of staying healthy for me. On top of a busy work schedule I have 3 children who will not sit patiently on the couch or even (and yes I’ve tried) join in while mom does her aerobic video. About the best I can do is Dance Party and I usually get booted out by one of them.
I needed something bigger then just a daily routine, so I set a goal. A BIG one if you know me. In February, I will be joining my friend in a half marathon in Austin. Yes I’m scared, but fear is also a great motivator. Right now I’m walking, soon hopefully I will be jogging, and then who knows eventually I might actually run!
I’m not a big pill taker. I’m terrible at remembering to take. However I’ve been learning the value of supplements, recovery drinks, and just how difficult it is to get all the nutrients our bodies need in a daily diet especially when on a low calorie intake or in a region where fresh fruits are not always available. My new friend is Shakeology. This is a great yummy drink that is packed with nutrients and doesn’t require any pill taking. You can learn more about it at my friend Evy’s site. The chocolate is scrumptious and a great meal replacement or morning snack.
So we avoid the “window” now. I’ve learned on those nights that there just isn’t time (because no amount of planning can completely eliminate late nights) a bowl of cereal or appleslices with PB2 leave me more energized and with less guilt then a fried taco. And besides, what kid doesn’t love the joy of cereal for dinner!
So that’s a few of the steps I’ve taken to be a better steward of my health, finances, and time. I would love to hear a few of yours! I’m always looking for ways to honor God more fully in all I do! In short, I believe it comes down to just being intentional and taking stock of life around us. I don’t want to just make it from point A to point B, I want to live the fullest life possible!