Life is Hard…But I Want Easy

I was thinking about this on the way in to work the other morning. I brought my gym bag to work again…for the bazillionath time, I might add, but the odds of my actually working out are slim to none, if we’re judging by my workout schedule of late. What has my workout schedule been of late, you ask? Well…pretty nonexistent.

So as I was walking in to the building I was thinking about going to the gym sometime during the day and I felt that little pang of excitement you sometimes get at the prospect of something new…do you know what I’m talking about? Anyway, I had that little burst of excitement and then almost in the exact same instant I felt fear and anxiety and said to myself, “it’s going to be really hard to do a workout today.”

Hard. It’s a pretty small word – but it’s so powerful, isn’t it? As soon as the thought crossed my mind I lost all sense of excitement about working out. Why do we do that, I wonder? And why do we let our minds psych us out so easily? And is it just me?

I look at other people and I wish I could be as motivated or as determined as them. We watched the movie “Moana” the other night (for the fifth or so time), and I found myself wondering what it would be like to jump on a little canoe sailboat thing and just take off. Ok, well not that necessarily, because I don’t know how to sail, I get motion sick, and I have a slight fear of open water…but what about just learning a new skill or hobby? Or taking a new assignment at work doing something I’m not familiar with? Or something much easier, like just getting back into the routine of going to the gym?

All my life I’ve taken the easy route…every time I’ve been faced with something potentially hard I quit. I had the opportunity in college to study abroad in Germany – I put in the application and was getting ready to go, but at the last minute some of the requirements changed and the cost went up. Instead of knuckling down and figuring things out, I backed out and never studied abroad.

I’ve been good at a lot of things – but I never had the desire to study just one thing hard enough to be great at it. I could have graduated college with honors, but it was too hard to study every night and so I simply just graduated. I have a talent for learning foreign languages but I didn’t want to put in the maximum effort required to actually strive towards fluency in those languages. I love to write – I adore it, really – and I think I’m pretty good at it…but because it’s “too hard” to make time to write and I’d rather sleep than stay up late or wake up early, I just tend to whine about not having time to write.

The thing is – life got pretty hard for my husband and me shortly after we got married…and honestly, it hasn’t really stopped. Every time I think we might be pulling ourselves out of a stressful situation, something else seems to hit us and knock us back down. We’ve dealt with it – but I wouldn’t say successfully. We manage. We survive, but we don’t thrive. And despite us having talked about this multiple times over the past few years, I don’t know what it would take for us to thrive. Life is hard…but I want it to be easy. I want to not have anything to worry about. I want to not have to work so hard. To quote Bing Crosy in Holiday Inn…”I want to be lazy”.

I know that’s not the answer. Lazy is boring when you do it for too long. The trouble is, I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve been praying about it – praying for direction, praying for guidance, praying for motivation…and once I thought about it for a bit, I realized that’s the best thing I can be doing. And I realized I can’t be the only person who struggles with this. So will you join me? Will you get down on your knees before God and pray for the desire to accept the hard? To not wish away life while you’re dreaming of easy?

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NCV)

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Meal Plan Monday Edition 3: 24 April – 05 May

I know what you’re thinking. 24 April – 05 May? Wait a sec, Beck. That’s two weeks! Well yes, yes it is. I thought I’d spice things up a bit by posting two weeks worth of meals and a more comprehensive shopping list, since that’s more realistic to my life. What I mean by that is this – I’ll frequently buy family packages of meat and free half, only to pull that other half out sometime during the next week for dinner one night. So in theory I may spend $125 on groceries for one week, thus overspending my grocery budget; I’m only spending $75 the next week, which evens out the budget.

I could always just adjust my budget…but this seemed easier. Let’s just go with it.

Note: I’m still only posting meals for the week, since weekends tend to be a free for all in our house and typically consist of leftovers.

Week One: 24-28 April

Sunday Prep Work:

– roast and shred one chicken

-Cook 1.5 lbs turkey meatballs (Greek or Mediterranean seasoning)

-Shred/Chop lettuce and salad vegetables

Sunday Dinner (23 April): Tuna Casserole

Monday, 24 April:

B: HB egg, tomato, and avocado

L: leftover tuna casserole

L2: ham and cheese tortilla roll-up, mini apple, chips, granola bar, milk and capri sun

D: pork tenderloin with rainbow slaw

Tuesday, 25 April:

B: overnight oats

L: leftover pork and slaw

L2: chicken dipper lunchable, clementine, granola bar, milk and apple juice

D: Shredded Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

Wednesday, 26 April

B: scrambled eggs, 1/2 avocado

L: Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

L2: chicken apple sausage slices, clementine, chips, granola bar, milk, capri sun

D: Turkey meatballs with greek inspired rice and broccoli  (15 minute meal if meatballs are pre-cooked!)

Thursday, 27 April

B: HB egg, tomato, avocado

L: turkey meatballs with rice and broccoli

L2: ham and cheese roll-up, apple, chips, granola bar, milk and juice box

D: Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks, salad

Friday, 28 April

B: overnight oats

L: leftover chicken and salad

L2: chicken apple sausage slices, clementine, chips, granola bar, milk and apple juice

D: Homemade Pizza Night

Week One Shopping List (items for both weeks are noted with an *)

Protein

*Eggs, 4 dozen

*Pork Tenderloin (family pack)

*Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage (1 package)

*Ground Turkey, 3lb family pack

*Chicken Drumsticks, family pack

Rotisserie Chicken, pre-cooked (or one roaster chicken)

Produce

spaghetti squash

*cherry tomatoes, family pack

*Avocado, 4 pack

*Mini Apples (4)

1 bag Rainbow Slaw

*Blueberries, 2 pints

*1 bag shredded kale

*1 head napa cabbage

*1 head iceberg lettuce

*.5 lb brussels sprouts

*clementines, one bag

Dairy

*1 tub plain greek yogurt

*1 bottle Siggi’s brand plain yogurt drink

*3 bags shredded mozzarella cheese

*1 jar tzatziki sauce

Deli

*.5 lb deli ham

*.5 lb sliced cheese

Frozen

1 bag peas and carrots

Other

*Chicken Dipper Lunchables, 2

*1 package flour tortillas

*party pack frito lay chips (for lunches)

*3 jars pizza sauce

3 packages premade pizza dough (Trader Joe’s)

Approximate Cost (using local Wegmans): $141.00

 

Week Two:1-5 May:

Sunday Prep Work:

-Make cauliflower Rice

-Brine/Grill 2 chicken breasts

-Cook 1.5 lbs ground turkey

-Chop any additional salad veggies

-Make Frittata (egg, kale, cherry tomato, sausage)

Sunday Dinner (30 April): Cauliflower Rice with Ground Turkey

Monday, 01 May:

B: frittata, strawberry slices

L: Grilled Chicken Salad with Tzatziki

L2: Chicken Dipper Lunchable, mini apple, granolo bar, milk and capri sun

D: Balsamic Glazed Chicken with Carrots and Parsnips

Tuesday, 02 May:

B: overnight oats

L: leftover balsamic chicken and vegetables

L2: chicken apple sausage, clementine, carrot sticks, granola bar, milk, apple juice

D: Shrimp Stir-Fry

Wednesday, 03 May:

B; frittata, strawberry slices

L: cauliflower rice with ground turkey

L2: ham and cheese roll-ups, mini apple, granola bar, chips, milk and apple juice

D: Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with roasted green beans and apple sauce

Thursday, 04 May:

B: HB egg, tomato, avocado

L: leftover pork and green beans and applesauce

L2: tuna snack, clementine, carrot sticks, granola bar, milk and capri sun

D: Paprika Chicken Drumsticks, roast potatoes, salad

Friday, 05 May:

B: fritatta or overnight oats

L: leftover chicken, potatoes, salad

L2: chicken apple sausage, mini apple, chips, granola bar, milk and juice box

D: Homemade Pizza

Week Two Shopping List (Items with * will be used next time!)

Protein

1lb italian sausage

*Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (family pack)

*Boneless, skinless chicken  breasts (family pack)

Produce

1 pint strawberries

*2lbs carrots

1lb parsnips

1lb green beans

3 white potatoes

**before you shop, check if you need to purchase any additional salad vegetables!

Other

1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables

3 packages premade pizza dough (Trader Joe’s)

Approximate Total (prices based on local Wegmans): $50

Uncomfortably Honest

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.” (NCV)

I read these verses the other day and immediately my heart turned to someone in my life with whom I am currently struggling. “Oh Lord,” I prayed, “please speak to this person and let them humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways and return to you.”

But halfway through this prayer for this person to “turn from their wicked ways”, another thought popped into my head. Should I be focusing this prayer on myself instead?

In this situation where I believe I am being wronged, and I truly believe I am following God’s ways in this particular situation, shouldn’t I be praying for the other person’s eyes to be opened to the situation at hand? Shouldn’t I be praying for them to turn from their ways and turn towards God?

Maybe not.

Maybe what God is trying to tell me with this verse is that I need to not focus so hard on the other person, but instead turn that spotlight inward, towards myself. Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (NIV) What wicked ways do I need to turn from? What are those black spots in my mind and on my heart that I need to confess to God and allow Him to clean me up from the inside out? What are the areas in my own life where I need to humble myself to God and pray and seek His face?

Anger/Resentment: my feelings of being wronged and feeling like I am the victim will not only turn to anger if I don’t confront and confess them, but eventually could turn to resentment, hurting nobody but myself

Doubt: doubting God’s plan for my life

Envy: I’ve struggled with various forms of envy my entire life

Fear: instead of trusting in God, I’ve found myself crippled with fear over all the things that COULD happen, instead of focusing on what GOD will make happen and trusting that whatever that is will be what’s best for me

Looks like I have enough of my own things to confess to God, to humble myself before Him, to seek His face and to pray and to turn from these wicked thoughts which are not from God.

Dear Lord, I come to you humbled and broken, a sinner in need of redemption. Please help me to turn from my sins and turn from the things that are not from you. Please forgive me and help me to remember that you are perfect and you are in control. Forgive me for my anger, my doubt, my envy and my fear. Please fill me with your peace and your love and help me to live as an example of you. Thank you for these words and this reminder. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

uncomfortably honest