Everyone Has Something…


(This post was originally posted in 2016)

As a society, we’ve become masters at “labeling.” We know all our disabilities, all our flaws. We’ve given them names and can diagnose them earlier and earlier. But I’m not so sure that’s always a good thing. Sure, early diagnosis can help, even save, a large amount of people. But sometimes giving it a label predestines a person to limit themselves, to limit their life in ways that they may have pushed through had they not been labeled. Because here’s the thing: Everyone has something. Everyone!

Next time you’re in a crowd, even a small crowd, look around. Statistically speaking, EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that crowd has something in their life that they find challenging. A limitation. Sometimes they wear their challenge on the outside and it’s easy to spot. But more often than that, it’s hidden. It’s under their clothes, it’s under their skin, it’s in their brain. And it’s unique to each person.

Even the people that appear to have it all together, they too have something bubbling just under the surface. No one is immune.

One of the most valuable lessons we can give to our peers is to learn to push through challenges. No matter what life has dealt you, you can use that experience to build or to tear down. And everyone has something.

I think our beauty comes from those “flaws,” from those experiences, and from those challenges.

I think it’s our job, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, to help our children and those around us, with our flaws and our challenges, but don’t stop there. It’s our RESPONSIBILITY to show them how we push through our challenges and don’t let them limit us. To show them that even though we have a disease, disorder, or disability, it doesn’t have us.

People watch our every move, our every reaction, especially our children. They look to us for examples of how to handle the stuff that makes up life, both the good and the bad. A parent with a challenge has to shine through their disability, and show their children that it’s not something to stop them from doing what they want in life.

Even when we think our challenge is too big to get over, we can still show our kids what it means to HOPE. But hope isn’t necessarily proactive. Being hopeful can change your state of mind. The lesson is in how we ACT on that hope.

Think about some of our most inspiring people. Why do they inspire us? Usually it’s because they’ve achieved something IN SPITE OF or even BECAUSE OF a limitation. They’ve overcome and made things better for themselves or for those around them.

Everyone HAS something, but not everyone will DO something. How are you going to use your limitation to inspire those around you?


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Second Attempt – Sticking to a Meal Plan

My last couple of posts have been a bit of a public confession: I have a horrible time Sticking to a Meal Plan. Fast Food is my nemesis. I hate to cook. But I’m trying it again this week – I want to prove to myself that I can stick to a meal plan. We’re almost at the end of the week. Only one more meal to make, and like the Little Engine that Could, I’m chugging along telling myself “I think I can, I think I can.” But only time will tell. Here’s how it’s gone so far:

SundayHope’s End Stew was a success! Though it’s hard to mess that one up, unless I just don’t make it. I used cubed stew meat, baby carrots, and russet potatoes, and a new (as in new to us) wine that we found called Hope’s End. I’m not a connoisseur by any means, but I would use the wine again for stew, and not so much for accompaniment. It’s a smooth wine that goes down easy, but doesn’t have much bite to it, if that makes sense. But the stew was yummy and smelled great cooking!

Monday – I made my own version of Pan Seared Pork Chops, Checker’s Frozen Seasoned Fries, canned green beans, mushrooms sliced and fried in the pork chop pan with minced onion. After I’m done cooking all but two of the pork chops and the mushrooms, I then cooked two pork chops for my husband along with the sauerkraut. He is the ONLY one who likes sauerkraut, though my 13 year old son was willing to try the sauerkraut again, but said that Dad could have it all.

Tuesday – My daughter came home from school on Monday with a fever and sore throat, and by Tuesday morning, was in full-blown flu mode. She didn’t have much appetite. I only had enough Leftover Stew for 2 people, and I didn’t feel like going to the effort to boil more potatoes to stretch the stew into enough Hash for 4 people. So, my husband brought home fast food for my son and I, and I reheated the stew for my husband and daughter. I guess you could say I was only HALF successful that night.

Wednesday – I had Bible Study, and my husband had to pick up poster board for my son (that he forgot about until the last minute) on the way home from work, so I didn’t cross paths with my husband before I left for my meeting. Dinner was my emergency cans of Progresso Creamy Chicken Soup and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. He was happy to reheat the leftovers and do the few dishes.

Thursday – Instead of Chicken and Soy Veggies, I opted for Chicken Fritz over mashed potatoes with canned green beans and cottage cheese. At this point, BOTH kids were sick with the flu, and they both asked for Chicken Fritz. In hindsight, Chicken and Soy Veggies would have been much more nutritious, but we did just have the Soy Veggies last week. Chicken Fritz should be made with leftover chicken, but I started from scratch with an uncooked chicken breast. A cooking hint: if you use leftover chicken for Chicken Fritz, make sure not to cook the chicken too long to avoid drying it out and ending up with Chicken Fritz Jerky.

So, Friday is the only day left, and Spaghetti and Ravioli is what I’ve got planned. I can do that, right? I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Another Attempt at Sticking to A Meal Plan

If you’ve been following along this last week, I’ve been trying to stick to a meal plan for a whole week. As I mentioned in the first post, I can make a meal plan, I just have trouble sticking to it as The Results post showed. Fast Food is my nemesis. My relationship with food is a healthy one, relatively, but my relationship to cooking is like dating the wrong guy over and over again: someone is bound to get hurt and it’s not going to be pretty.

After a disappointing trial last week, I thought I’d give it another go. So, without further ado, here’s the plan:

Sunday: Red Wine Beef Stew or as I’ve renamed it Hope’s End Beef Stew after the wine that we used. The original recipe is from The Food Network, though I don’t use green beans as the recipe calls for since my family is not a fan, and I cut the recipe in half as it is a portion for about 10 servings. I only have 4 mouths to feed. With the time change, dinner was on the table a little late, but we made it. Day one? A success! And there are leftovers for later in the week.

Monday: Pan-Seared Pork Chops, Rally’s frozen seasoned French fries, green beans, sautéed mushrooms (for my daughter and I) and sauerkraut (for my husband).

Tuesday: Hash from the leftover stew. I’ve never made this exact recipe before, but it’s similar to the one I usually make, and didn’t include green peppers. I’ve also never added milk to the drippings before, so I may try it. It sounds sort of yummy.

Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken and Soy Veggies. Now I know I just made this last week, but I still have two chicken breasts in the freezer that didn’t get used last week. Besides, everyone likes it and it’s the healthiest way I know to stretch a couple of chicken breasts to feed a family of four. Here’s a helpful hint (trust me, when it comes to cooking, I don’t have many): when you slice up your chicken breast to prepare to cook them, slice the breast laterally first (making two more thin breasts), then slice it up in long thing pieces for pan frying. I’ll do anything to save a buck.

Thursday: Spaghetti and Cheese Ravioli. Nothing fancy here, and no recipe. Just good old boiled spaghetti, packaged ravioli, and sauce from a jar. I’ll probably pick up a baguette on my way home from work to accompany the meal and make some side salads.

Friday: On Fridays, everyone generally heads off in different directions, so dinner is quick, and I usually fall into the fast food trap. But I’m prepared this week. I picked up a few cans of Progresso Creamy Chicken soup that was on special and I’ll make some drop biscuits on the side.

So, with a little luck, and hopefully a lot less chaos than last week, I’ll make it through this time.

Let me know if you try any of the recipes.

The Final Results – Sticking to a Meal Plan

If you’ve followed my last two blog posts, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to follow a meal plan. You can find the first post here where I lay out the meal plan, and the second post here with my halfway through the week update. This post is the final results.

The first half of the week went fairly well. I fought off my weakness for fast food and managed to follow my meal plan through Wednesday.

And then Thursday hit.

My husband hurt himself at work, not seriously, but enough that he went to urgent care. He avoided stitches, but now has an index finger bandaged from knuckle to tip. We have taken to calling my husband “Stubby” because we’re that kind of family.

One of my children also had a situation at school that unfolded through texts between me and said child while I was at work and my husband was bleeding at urgent care. Said child begged to come home from school, but since I don’t drive, and my husband was not available, that child was stuck at school to wait out their circumstances. I felt like a horrible mother. I couldn’t find anyone in my back-up tribe and considered Ubering it to pick up said child. But I wasn’t completely convinced the situation warranted checking out of school early. Plus, I would have had to leave work early, leaving my co-worker to finish the shift alone. Needless to say, I was stressed trying to juggle circumstances that were beyond my control.

So, I caved. Fast food won out on Thursday night.

Then came Friday. I started the day confident and ready to recover from the night before. But my other child had a last minute invitation to a friend’s house for a get-together. Of course, the child’s get-together was for dinner, which meant we would be on the road when I should be cooking. The other child needed something at Target too. So, we piled in the car, drove one child to the get-together, and took the other one to Target. As we were leaving the shopping mall where Target was, it was about an hour past dinner and everyone was hungry. It meant I would still have to cook when we got home, making for an even later dinner. And that’s when it happened: the neon beacon of a fast food restaurant conveniently located at the exit of the mall luring me in to take advantage.

I broke! Fast food TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

But here’s what I learned: I know I can follow a meal plan…until a wrench is thrown into my plan. Then I scrap the whole thing. A lot of it has to do with stress for me. When I’m overwhelmed, thinking about cooking stresses me out even more. I shut down and take the easy way out. I think it’s because I am such a planner, that I’m not the most flexible person. I like things to be predictable, and when they aren’t, I stumble a little and have a hard time recovering quickly.

But I’m not giving up. At least I know why I do what I do.

So, I’m going to try again this week for a meal plan. Only this time, I’m going to plan a couple of quick back-up meals for when things don’t go as planned. Maybe a couple of cans of soup and a can of refrigerator biscuits that can be heated up quickly. Or maybe cook and shred a couple of chicken breasts ahead of time, so that I can throw together a salad.

I’m not giving up. My family’s health is at stake.

What’s your favorite fast go-to meal? Any suggestions?

Update – Sticking to a Meal Plan

My last post was called Sticking to a Meal Plan. I find it easy to make a meal plan, but hard to stick to one.

I know we’re only halfway through the week, but I thought I’d give you a quick update as to whether I can stick to my meal plan.

Sunday – Day one was a success! Minestrone Soup and French bread was the bomb! It was easy to throw together and simmer on the stove while I relaxed until it was time to serve. The meal went well and everyone actually ate it, and I had leftovers for another night or lunch. A side note, the recipe calls for vegetable broth of which I had none, so I substituted with chicken bouillon. It turned out just fine.

MondaySpanish Chickpeas and Rice…I originally had this scheduled for Tuesday, but realized that my avocado (for the guacamole) was ripe, so I moved it up a day. I hadn’t made it for a while and forgot that it works best if you prep everything before you start. So, after turning the stove off briefly after I added the rice to the onions and garlic, I was back on track. I also forgot how good this dish is! Serving it with guacamole, sour cream and tortilla chips is a must. The kids like to use it like a topping for their tortilla chips. That’s fine with me…however it makes it to their bellies.

Tuesday Soy veggies, teriyaki marinated chicken and steamed rice. I don’t normally make rice two days in a row, but I made an exception since they were different styles of rice. The Soy Veggies recipe calls for frozen mixed veggies, but I prefer fresh veggies. I use broccoli, sliced baby carrots, sliced red onions, and tomatoes sliced in quarters. The soy veggie recipe is one of my favorites. I also make them with steak and baked potatoes. They make a great topping for the baked potato. I have to admit, it was my day off, and I was tempted to call the hubby for take-out, especially when my 13 year old asked if we could get fast food for dinner. Fortunately when he asked, the veggies were already in the oven, much to my son’s disappointment. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this one)

Wednesday – I was weak again. It was a long day at work, and I’ve been fighting a cold or something, because I came home from work wrecked. I texted my husband at 5pm asking for fast food, but he didn’t answer my text…or the second one. Apparently, he had a really busy day too. I was hoping that he somehow saw the text before he left work and picked something up. He did not. My daughter had an after-school activity where she had pizza, so she wasn’t hungry. So, we had enough Minestrone Soup leftovers from Sunday’s meal to reheat. I added an extra cup of broth and a cup of pasta, and voila…dinner!

Two more days to go. We’ll see if I can make it!