Black-Eyed Peas and Other Resolutions

No. No recipe here for black-eyed peas.

More of a recipe for the new year…

 

I get giddy about January.  I love the thought of a fresh start, goals to strive for, and opportunities that await.

I’ll admit, some years I am discouraged.  Only human, I hope to achieve this or that and end up in a complete opposite space by January 3rd.

This year I was a little bit slow to make my list of resolutions.  I was {and still am (and probably always will be)} a bit unsure of where life is going.  As December slid out of my hands, I was lackluster when I considered the future.

It has always been in these times of waiting and drifting that I learn and grow the most.  But even as unconcerned as I tell myself that I am, because I know something golden will come out of this season of life, the planner and dreamer parts of me are running haywire.

I once heard the perfect analogy for my life.  Coincidentally, this piece of enlightenment came to me in one of my life’s many waiting and drifting periods.

“Be like a duck.” — Staying calm on the surface but paddling frantically underneath.

beaduck

This can mean many things to different people, but it always seems to cycle through my mind when I’m more or less “stuck.” Trying to keep my demeanor in check when really my questioning and anxiety are out of control on the inside.  The duck idea comes up other places in my life too.  I tend to want a lot of projects on my plate at once, making me, again, strive to appear cool and collected when really I bit off more than I could chew.

January 1st knocked on my door, and I still didn’t have any resolutions to hand over. What is wrong with me this year? I wondered.

I sat down on the couch with a notebook, a computer, and a pen and tried to plan.  Tried to dream up some vision or goal or hope or intention for 2017.  I visited some websites with lists of ideas for the new year, you know the kind: “Get Organized in 60 Days” and “A Workout Plan That Won’t Feel Like Work.”  Normally these would be super appealing to me, but instead, I just kept scrolling.

Suddenly, on the screen in front of me I saw it– black-eyed peas.  

Gross.  If I search my mind, I cannot uncover a memory of tasting black-eyed peas ever in my life, but I have..right?  And they’re gross..right?  I mean some people like them, sure, if they have just always grown up eating them.  If you’ve had something since childhood, then yeah, you’d have to just like it.  But otherwise? Gross.

2017 just clicked.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT BLACK-EYED PEAS TASTE LIKE!!  Why don’t I know?  What else of life am I missing?  And why am I not out there?  Doing and trying and tasting and knowing?

The stars are aligning as I write this, so-to-speak.  As 2016 dwindled down, I had been praying for God to make me bolder.  Not only in my faith, but also in life.  And with this black-eyed-pea-epiphany (or, e-pea-phany if you will 😛 ), 2017 has been given direction.

I don’t know what opportunities will arise, but I will take them.

I don’t know what surprises are around the corner, but I will happily greet them.

I don’t know what foods will present themselves in front of me, but I will taste them.

I don’t know what sorrows I will face, but I will accept them.

I don’t know what lessons will be taught, but I will be sure to apply them.

I don’t know where God will lead, but I will follow Him.

I don’t know where life is going, but I will stay calm as I paddle like hell to keep up.

 

 

10 Things That Should Be On Your Summer Bucket List

With a heavy heart, I have to admit that summer is winding down.  July will be running on fumes by the end of next week, and once August hits, school will be back in session before we know it.

For the past several summers, I have made a “Summer Bucket List” in which I list all the places I want to go, chores I need to accomplish, people I should catch up with, projects I hope to try, etc.  While cleaning the other day, I found these lists from the last two summers.  I lovingly gazed through the items on each list and my mind filled with fond memories of the summers that once were.

This year, I did not make a formal list, but I scribbled down a few intentions of mine (one being to start this blog-check!) With the end of my summer vacation in sight, I decided to come up with a condensed version of my summer bucket list to help make the most out of these next several weeks.

10 Ways to Squeeze the Last Bit of Life Out of Your Summer

Get Outside – This one should be obvious- there are SO many fun activities to do outdoors during the summer.  Sand volleyball, a walk to the park, bicycling, rollerblading, sun-tanning, gardening-whatever you’re into, do it outside!

Get Wet – Another obvious one; it’s 90 degrees!  Find some water!  I don’t know if we’ll make it to the lake this year, but our family is all about spending time at the Splash pad. We have found a few of these local spray parks, but if all else fails, you can just hook up a sprinkler in the back yard.  Here’s another fun activity for the kids that we tried earlier this summer.  Fill containers with water, add food coloring, and hand out spoons and cups and let your kiddos pour, scoop, mix colors, and explore!13256580_922249897883440_1853070564_n

Get Together – I have a running list of people in my head who I don’t see often enough during the school year, or that I know I need to make more time for, and my summer break is a wonderful opportunity to play catch-up.  In such a fast-paced world, we have to make extra effort to plan out time to see everyone.  I try to keep balanced and schedule with people in these categories: time for family, play-dates for my daughter, girl-time with my close friends, and date (or double date) nights for my husband and I.

Get Away – What? A vacation is not in the budget? I feel ya.  But getting away doesn’t mean you have to go far.  Explore somewhere that you’ve never been before.  Experiencing something new and out of the ordinary helps you feel recharged and refreshed as opposed to going through the same motions everyday.  Check out a new hiking trail, park, or beach (Free).  Try out a children’s museum; the zoo; a local winery ($).  Travel to a state park, enjoy a concert, stay overnight at a spa in the city ($$) Whatever your budget, you have options!

Get Cooking – This is my fave.  (Maybe I should also create a summer bucket list just for cooking?! 😀 ) I cook no matter what, but the freedom of summer allows the time to cook more complicated dishes as well as breakfast and lunch options; whereas, during the school year, I’m typically just making dinners as fast as humanly possible (or not making dinner at all – don’t ask my husband about this one).  One thing I wanted to start this summer is a Sunday brunch.  Go to the early service at church, get home, and create a series of culinary masterpieces which fit in the breakfast and lunch categories. It hasn’t happened yet, but last Sunday I made a few pancakes..So by the end of summer, I should be able to get this mini-tradition together.

Get Eating – Well, if you cook, you’re going to eat what you make, I would think.  But, what I mean here is something a little different.  Try a new restaurant in town, invite friends over to enjoy a meal together, pack a picnic and dine amidst nature. My hubby and I have decided to visit the restaurant we used to frequent in college on our next date night, and our family is going to venture out for a picnic before summer ends.

Get Reading – I try hard to “read for pleasure” during the school year, but with (close to a million…okay maybe not quite that many) papers to grade, among other job-related literature I have to keep up with, it can be hard to find the time.  Extra free time in the summer months is perfect to check out a new best seller, a magazine that peaks your interest, or subscribe to a blog that you can’t get enough of.  Curl up with your new read in a lawn chair and ahhhh…life is good.

Get Creative – One way I get my creative juices flowing is writing for this blog, but creativity comes in all fashions.  Cooking, painting, building, playing, dancing, designing, whatever you are gifted with-go for it!  Set a day or two aside to explore your interests.

Get Cleaning – This item probably wouldn’t make your bucket list, so I made sure to put it on there for you. 😉 Besides the normal vacuuming and toilet scrubbing, it is nice to get some deeper cleaning accomplished.  I am good at coming up with organization projects, but not so great at executing them.  I’m sure you have piles of stuff on your counters and in corners of your house that need a forever home, but if you have trouble deciding which dust bunnies to escort to the garbage first, check out this handy cleaning checklist  I have pinned here.  And, if you want to enlist the help of your children, try the age appropriate chore chart pinned here.

Get In The Zone – By this, I mean the relaxation zone.  After all, it is summer.  There is a lot to be said about saying “No” and deciding not to over schedule yourself or your family.  Take the time to just be.

There you have it!  (Or if you like a more visual format check below.) Take what you need and add your own ideas and saturate the rest of this summer with memories.

Summer Bucket List

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?  Leave me a comment below!