A Real Woman’s “PB&J”

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… a childhood staple for every one of us, I bet. Grape jelly was always my favorite – a burst of sweet against the rich creamy peanut taste. I can still recall the whiff of peanuty air bursting from inside my Wonder Woman lunchbox…. pure joy and pure comfort in the middle of a school day.

While my kiddos still enjoy traditional PB&J’s, this mama doesn’t do the sandwich thing anymore. Not only am I not a big bread fan (which you know), a traditional PB&J just doesn’t power me up. Furthermore, traditional PB&J’s make me feel 12 when I eat them… and, um, let me be honest: I want to feel like a woman! You know what I mean?

So, what to do? Well, look at this:

A Real Woman's "PB&J"
A Real Woman’s “PB&J”

The flavors of a PB&J… but ooohhh, this little concoction will satisfy a real woman’s discerning taste palate!

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DSC03759 Start with 1/2 greek yogurt and a 1/2 cup quinoa… the add a handful of whole grapes, a small handful of spanish peanuts, and a drizzle of honey. Stir it up, present it to yourself in a beautiful bowl… and then close your eyes while you’re whisked back to the sweet innocence and simplicity of elementary school.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

 

Get to Work on the Trees…

You ever feel like you deserve ‘better’?

You ever find yourself wishing you could be healthier, or fitter, or more patient, or more friendly?

You ever look at your life and wish you read more, or loved better, or took more walks?

I do. Not a day goes by where one of these thoughts don’t pop through my mind. The funny thing, however, is that they pop in… but, then I push them out. How? By just taking one step in the direction I want to go in.

That’s it. One step.

That’s the thing about life. We can ‘want’ all we want… but, unless we are willing to put one foot in front of each other and do the work to really possess the life we’ve been given ‘wanting’ is all we’ll ever do.

Another thing I do when I face these thoughts is I remind myself of a great old testament story where the 12 tribes of Israel were being assigned their lots of the promise land. Joshua parceled out a particular area to the decedents of King Joseph, but they didn’t like their lot. Nope, as they looked around at what other people were getting, they complained to Joshua and basically said, “This? But, it isn’t fair! We are better than this! You gave us a bunch of land that requires too much effort to make it something: we have to cut down trees and fight enemies. But, we want the low country where it is beautiful and easy. We deserve it; we are great people and, therefore, we want the land that they have – but, not this.”

(Can you relate? It’s easy to think everyone else has it ‘better’ than us, isn’t it?)

You know what Joshua said?

He said, “Well, okay. You are right – you are great, and you do deserve better. But this is what you get – so, choose to go up and make use of what you’ve been given. Go up and cut the trees, defeat the enemies, and make something of the land you call ‘nothing’. (See Joshua 17:14-17 for the full context.)

What does that have to do with me today in 2013? It tells me simply: what I have is what I get. I get one body. I get one mind. I get THIS life – with this husband, and these babies, and all that comes with.  I can either complain and ‘want’ for more, or I can get to work on those trees that are blinding me from seeing the beauty of what I have – and that are holding me back from making the most of my lot in life.

That is the message I preach to my kids, too – my precious babies who are daily battling a culture that says what they have isn’t enough; that says they need ‘more’, and ‘better’, and ‘different’ to be happy.

Because here’s the thing: whether we like it or not, life is not fair. There will always be someone who travels more than us, who has better hair than us, who is taller, who is more petite, who has more friends, who can knit better, who can cook better, who is happier, who is healthier, who wins more, who laughs cuter, who has a ‘sweeter’ husband, who has nicer legs. Always.

Always. Always. Always.

So, instead of getting caught up in this cultural focus of what we don’t have and what we could use ‘more’ of, I try and always bring them back to what we do have; my message is always consistent and simple: Celebrate YOU and the blessing of YOUR life; your stature, your hair, your gifts, your talents, your laugh.  You have been assigned a lot in life – a lot that is beautiful, and abundant, and needs YOU to bring out the best in it. No one else can fill your shoes! Instead of looking at what other people have, figure out what lies in your possession! Do just one thing today that makes your lot more beautiful: cut down a tree, dig out a rock, plant something new. Do the work to make the most of what you’ve been given. 

It’s what I tell them… but, it’s also what I tell myself – all the time. It’s a constant reminder I feed into my spirit – the reminder that my lines have fallen in pleasant places… and, life only grows more beautiful when I’m actively working the land.

So, today, be encouraged… and do just one thing, just one!

Maybe you choose water instead of soda today.

Maybe you eat quinoa instead of pasta.

Maybe you choose a book before bed instead of watching TV.

Maybe you go for a walk instead of taking a nap.

Maybe you tell your man he’s lights up your life, instead of waiting for him to say it to you.

Whatever it is, keep walking, sister. Just keep walking… and then, tomorrow, get up and keep walking some more. One choice at a time.

Because what you have is beautiful… it’s just that sometimes what you’ve been searching for is  just beyond the trees.

Rebel on,
Elisha

The Perfect Start to My Morning

When I wake up in the morning, I literally open my eyes to, first and foremost, offer my time for my kids and my man.

I gently rouse everyone from bed with a little back rub, a little neck nuzzle, a little “good morning, Love, it’s a new day.” If they jump up fast enough (which is before I make my rounds through all three rooms), I’ll typically return and give them a little treat by making their bed for them while they dress. I’ll shout out a couple more “hurry now, let’s not be behind this morning…”, and then I’m off to 45 minutes of multi-tasking.

I’m the first one downstairs to bring life to the sleeping home. I put on the coffee, begin making lunches, and wait for my little chicks and my big man to wander down the stairs for their breakfast. We’ll chat as they eat. I’ll stuff sandwich bags, remind them to eat their fruit, refill water glasses… and then at 7:35 – they are off. Out the door they go; my house is quiet.

I breathe deep. I clear the kitchen counters and load the dishwasher with breakfast dishes. I refill my coffee cup and then – then! – I get to make my own breakfast.

I spend my days working from home mostly. It seems ‘luxurious’ to think about… but let me tell you: being self-employed requires more discipline than you think! There’s no one telling you what has to be done; no one keeping you on track. Nope – my time is my own, which is why it’s even more vital that I keep my mind sharp, I stay on task, and I use food to nourish and power me.

My food choices impact how I perform. So, what do I choose as a perfect start to my day?

This:

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  • 1/2 cup precooked quinoa.
  • A handful of fresh, raw spinach.
  • One fried egg on top. (When the egg is hot it wilts the spinach, so I like to lay the egg right on top of the greens for a few seconds before I cut it all up to eat it.)
  • A drizzle of soy sauce and a dash of chili pepper paste.

It takes me less than two minutes to make… and it’s satiating, empowering, delicious. I lay it all in a bowl and then, with a fork and knife, I cross-cross cut through it all until it is a big bowl of easy-to-eat goodness.

I eat this almost every morning – and, let me tell you, it gives me energy I need to get off on the right foot.

I hope you’ll try it…

Rebel on,

Elisha

Something to think about today: You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

 

 

Why I Eat Quinoa.

I eat quinoa in practically every meal. Truly.

I eat it because it’s easy. It takes me seconds to put on the stove and it cooks by itself while I’m making breakfast or dinner. Then, I just store the big batch of it for an instant meal when I’m ready.

I eat it because it’s versatile.  I can eat it warm, or cold. I can put it with my greek yogurt and fruit, or I can make it savory with eggs and spinach. I can replace noodles in my soups with it, thicken vegetable stews with it, and turn it into the base for a phenomenal salad with every vegetable imaginable.

I eat it because it satisfies my appetite. It is filling, sustaining… it satiates me for hours.

I eat it because it makes me feel amazing. I feel light, energized, CLEAN.

Yes, I eat it because it’s ‘healthy’… but ‘healthy’ is hard to swallow if ‘healthy’ brings burden and frustration and confusion. And that’s what most ‘healthy’ trends do these days: burden people with dos and don’ts, calorie counts and carbohydrate components. Most ‘healthy’ talk these days goes against real food and, instead, tangles our mind in the pit of nutritionism, categories, and diet trends.

Quinoa is simple; it’s ancient. It causes me no burden, frustration or confusion.

Eating quinoa is like pulling out my favorite pair of blue jeans and dressing up or dressing down depending on my mood. It’s one of nature’s true superfoods; it was fed to Inca warriors as they headed out to battle thousands of years ago… and it is a prized food of endurance athletes around the world today.

No, I may not be a warrior with armor on, and I may not be running an organized marathon this afternoon. But, as a partner to my husband, a mom of three, a business owner, and a woman who never takes one breath for granted- I am a runner, a warrior, an athlete… and my calling requires physical strength, mental focus, and endurance.

That’s why I eat quinoa.

So this world can keep its diet trends, calorie counts, nutritionism talk, and confusion… I’ll have none of it. Instead, I’ll stick with my best friend, quinoa… and, I’ll be free, and powerful, and fit… and ready to take on the world.

Anyone care to join me?

Rebel on,

-e.

 

Breakfast For the Soul

 

I had breakfast with a beautiful group of my ladies yesterday… and, wow – aren’t good friends sweet for the soul? One of the gals hosted our group of 10 in her home. And, not only did she just open her door, she welcomed us.

She had the coffee set out in a beautiful serve set with cubed sugar and real cream; and, she thought ahead and had hot water on the stove in case anyone was in a tea mood.

She had real napkins, darling little plates that had a spot to hold our coffee cups, flowers on the table.

Then, for everything each of us brought, she pulled out a beautiful plate or bowl to hold it.

The minute each of us walked in we could tell she was not only ready for us – but that she had been anxiously awaiting our arrival. It was awesome.

Being there made me realize the importance of hospitality – of being warm, generous, and friendly when we open our homes. Of putting flowers on the table just because (even if they just come off the bush in our backyard!). Of lighting candles. Of putting thought into the details – and caring more about how our guests feel instead of how long it’s going to take us to wash and store all the cloth napkins they use. Of simply treating others how we would love, love, love to be treated.

As for the food – that just topped off our morning. There wasn’t a sea of prepackaged cakes from the grocery store. No – it was hardboiled eggs, fresh berries, yogurt, quinoa, mango, grapes, spelt scones. It was beautiful. It was fresh. It was light. It was exactly what our bodies really need (and really want!) when we start our days.

Our two hours together wasn’t just breakfast for our bellies… it was breakfast for our soul. Thank you, sweet sister, for having us.

Rebel on, -e.

 

 

Be Intentional…

Be intentional today. Think about what you’re eating before you eat it. Don’t just eat because of a “craving” or because of “convenience”, eat because what you choose to eat is going to get you one step closer to being who you want to be. Right choices are made second by second by second – and never forget: what we put in, we will get out.

Stop. Think. Choose.

 

A Year for Walkin’

Growing up in a gym was an interesting place – especially back in the golden days of bodybuilding. Yes, you had your “novices” that would come and pump iron. But, for the most part, the guys (and I say guys because there weren’t many women that came to my dad’s gym) that came to our place were at the top of their game. They were all super buff, super cut, super in love with the sport.

The thing about bodybuilders that I find most intriguing, however, is their willingness to help others improve. If you had a question about a particular exercise, or if you wanted to train a particular body part a little harder, you just had to ask. There was no judgement, no snobbery, no holding tips and tricks close to the chest. Nope – the truly great bodybuilders wanted to share their wisdom… and they were always eager to encourage you to be your best.

YOUR best.

See -that’s the thing: you have your best, I have my best. Your best will never be my best, and vice versa. This is why I think the guys in the gym never hesitated to give each other a helping hand.

The key for all of us should simply be finding our personal best – the utmost of who we can be.

Our utmost is something only we can discover for ourselves. We can take cues from others and find ideals we’d like to mimic… but we are still who we are. Our natural physique, our habits, our preferences, the season of life we are in all influence who we are at this very moment. Let’s not forget that. Yes, it may be nice to look like J-Lo or a Victorias Secret model or (fill in the blank) – but WE ARE NOT THEM! We are US.

So, with the new year let’s be rebellious together. Let stop looking at others and measuring our “success” (or lack thereof) by them – and let’s simply look at ourselves with honesty and say, “Is this my utmost?”

If you say “yes”, amen! I hope that you’ll email me and share you story with me. Seriously – I could use the encouragement!

But if you answer “no”, which is my answer – then it’s time to do some soul searching, set some goals, and start walking… start doing whatever it takes to create the lives for ourselves (and our families) that we’ve been talking and dreaming about.

One foot in front of the other – walk, walk, walk.

One of my favorite movie quotes if from a movie most people have never seen called Hustle and Flow and it says:

There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, cause they walkin’

Let’s make this a year of walkin’ and not talkin’. Let’s not talk about how we want to eat better, let’s eat better! Let’s not talk about how we want a better marriage, let’s do the work and make it better! Let’s not talk about how we wish we had more time to read, let’s turn off the TV and get to reading! Let’s not talk about how we need to declutter, let’s declutter one shelf at a time!

Walkin’… that’s it. Today – the first Monday of a brand new year. It’s a perfect day for a walk, isn’t it?

Three Empowering Thoughts On Eating…

As you decide what food to provide to you and your family today, think about this:

1. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well  -Virginia Woolf  

It also follows: Our children cannot learn well, play well, or feel well if they have not dined well. Our job is to equip them with the right nourishment that will allow them to go into the world and shine!

2. “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”  -Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, famed epicure and gastronome

This goes back to “you are what you eat”. It’s something to think about: what does the food you put onto the breakfast table, into your child’s lunchbox or on your dinner table say about you and your family – and are you proud of that? If not, today is the day to make a change!

3. Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. – Hippocrates 

The goal for every day eating should be NOURISHMENT. Choose foods that will empower you, heal you, energize you as our Creator intended. This means pick foods as close to the earth as possible as your foundation.

Rebel on, -e.