Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Eat healthy! Bestowed's October Box

Can someone please tell me HOW October is almost over? This month flew by! A few weeks ago, I received the super special October Bestowed box and I’m finally getting around to catching up on my blog posts and sharing what was in the box! Better late than never, right? This month’s box was extra special because all of the snacks were GMO-free. GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. Just that sentence sounds gross to me. Unfortunately, they are found in many common snack foods and soy-based products. You’ll often find GMOs in products that are boxed, canned or bottled.

This month’s Bestowed box was jam-packed snacks that were not only GMO-free, but healthy, tasty and easy to toss in my purse and bring with me.

In this month’s box…

UNREAL Peanut Butter Cups: “candy” founded by a 13-year-od boy looking to mix sweet treats with no junk. These have {unlike the popular Reese’s candy} no hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, GMOs or artificial colors and flavors. {originally $4.49/12 individually wrapped cups}

Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix: gluten-free, non-GMO, nut-free trail mix. I LOVE trail mix, so this was an awesome alternative to skip the nuts and have a healthier version. {originally $14.16/6 pouches}

FiberLove Cinnamon Raisin Bar: 48% of your daily fiber in one 130 calorie, delicious bar. Major yum.

The Good Bean Smoky Chili & Lime Chickpea Snack: I’ve been making my own crunchy chickpeas for awhile, but these are such an easy, healthy alternative. Bonus! These come in three flavors, including Sweet Cinnamon {MUST try!} and Sea Salt. I’m currently snacking on these as I type this…{originally $16/6 pack}

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Plant Based Protein Supplement: a perfect post-workout recovery. I don’t love the taste of protein powders, so adding this to a smoothie or oatmeal to mask the taste and get a great an awesome protein boost. {originally $29.99 for 16 oz.}

Nature’s Path Love Crunch Dark Chocolate Macaroon Granola: zero words for the goodness of this bag. INSANELY delicious and I will definitely be purchasing this granola next time I find it in stores. There’s 13 whole grains per serving. I also love that Nature’s Path donates the equivalent amount of food to a food bank in America for every bag purchased. {$18.99/3 bags}

Ultima Replenisher: swap out your afternoon coffee with energy powder {all you have to do is mix in cold water}

Way Better Snacks Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips: seven simple ingredients in these tortilla chips including flax, black beans and quinoa. Pairs perfectly with hummus, salsa or guacamole. Yum, yum, yum. {originally $27 for 24 1.25oz. bags}

As you can see, I received a TON of snacks for the low monthly cost. Pretty awesome considering buying some of these snacks alone would cost the same as one Bestowed box. Plus, I would have never even know about some of these products if it wasn’t for Bestowed.

The best part is that you can get your first Bestowed box for almost 50% off {$10, instead of $19}. You’ll get a huge box packed with healthy snacks for the cost of like, four coffees {or two if you live in San Francisco…}. All you have to do is use the code HELLOTEN103 at checkout. This code is active through 11/20, but if you sign up now, you’ll be receiving the super awesome November box {stay tuned for more details on that!}. For those of you who love healthy snacks, but are sick of your same old hummus and crackers routine, I highly recommend Bestowed to discover new, tasty, healthy treats. xo!

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Inspiring Women, Part 7

I couldn’t be more excited to feature my mom in today’s Inspiring Women post! I’ve shared about her several times on my blog and am so thankful for her unconditional love and her contagious energy and optimism. She is not only my #1 cheerleader, but someone I look up to for advice when I’m confused or feeling down. She always has the perfect thing to say. When I was a freshman in college, my mom went back to school to get her Master’s degree in counseling. After extensive internships and 2+ years working in public health counseling, she is now opening her own business in my hometown. I am SO proud of her and excited for what’s next in her life and business. Check out her website here for more information about what she’s hoping to do…

Here’s what Momma had to say…xo!

1. What story is your life telling you today?
I am in the process of opening up a private counseling practice that has been the culmination of a dream and passion to help others. It involved a three year Master’s program, a rigorous licensure process which included an extensive internship, two national comprehensive exams, and 3,000 supervised hours practicing in the mental health field. My life story is telling me today that “Everywhere you go, there you are.” That is good—in that I can continue to use my training, desire and abilities to help others. I can continue to benefit from lessons learned and changes both internal and external that have been made. It is also bad in that I have been struggling with insecurity and the “ditch of inadequacy,” or fear that I am not up to the job at hand. I remembering feeling that way as a young mother. “What in the heck was I thinking?….I have no idea what I’m doing.” I remember feeling it the first time I counseled someone alone, and had the client tell me afterwards that I had been clutching a stone in my hand rather tightly throughout the session! I haven’t lived anywhere near the ditch of inadequacy for years. Occasionally, I visit. But this new venture—with new things like accountants, and marketing plans, and city zoning—–and having to sell myself—–and taking money out of the savings account with no money coming in…..brings me right back to the ditch. I find myself struggling with this whole ”fear of inadequacy thing” again. So the question was “what story is your life telling you today?” I have to go back to what the story of my life has been telling me for several decades—- that God is a good and loving God and fully trustworthy. He was with me through each and every one of those times. Why would He get me this far and then bail?

2. What woman inspires you and why?
I have been thinking about Ruth in the Old Testament. One of my daughter’s best friends recently married an Australian and one week after the wedding packed up and moved across the ocean to live down under for a period of time. I have been thinking a lot about the opposite of “ruth” which is literally “ruthless” or total disregard for anyone else in pursuing your own goal and agenda. I have been thinking about how much true love requires real sacrifice and a continual laying down of oneself. Ruth declared, “Your people will be my people, and your God, my God,” and how much building a lifetime marriage and providing a loving and godly heritage for generations to come involves a commitment (and continual re-commitment) to personal sacrifice. Yikes! That is hard. In the story of Ruth, you see God’s faithfulness in honoring Ruth’s commitment to loving well. In the end—–following some hardship, change, sacrifice, and hard work—-you see the beautiful picture of a loving and faithful God who took care of His own and honored Ruth and her sacrifices. “Ruth” the opposite of ruthless— was indeed true to her name.

3. What are three things you’re thankful for?

Biggies:
God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
God’s daily presence in my life.
My family and in particular four beautiful daughters that although distinctly different each bring tremendous joy to me.

Small things that accumulate:
A good book.
Coffee.
Cooking for people who enjoy eating good food.

4. What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?
I have learned that trying to control other people leads to manipulation and does not produce good fruit. Genuine love never manipulates. Sometimes in the past I have justified manipulating by saying that what I want to accomplish is something good and right for that other person. But, truly manipulation violates “the law of liberty” which points to the idea that each person is responsible for their own choices and actions. We can make choices for ourselves and also choose what we are willing to put up with—-but we must allow others’ the ability to choose (rightly or wrongly) and to deal with whatever consequences result from their actions and choices. Ouch! This is a tough thing for the parent of a teen and several young adults. This is a tough thing for people in relationships where they may be trying too hard to pick up the slack for the other person. The law of love demands that we allow people freedom to choose and to sometimes make mistakes that are harmful.

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7 lessons

I’ve noticed I’ve been sharing A LOT of articles and lists lately, but I’ve been feeling inspired and empowered by so many awesome words lately that I just can’t help it. Today’s comes from Brain Pickings, another one of my go-to sites for inspiration on creativity and life advice, where the founder shares 7 lessons she’s learned in 7 years running the site. I was totally obsessed. Enjoy!

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.Cultivate that capacity for “negative capability.” We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
  2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. As Paul Graham observed, “prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.” Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night — and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards.
  3. Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.Most importantly, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking momentdictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?
  5. When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
  7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.

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reckless hearts

I’ve read Mary Schmich’s 1997 graduation speech at least one hundred times. I just love it. The speech is full of honest, real and raw advice, but there’s one piece that has stuck with me for years. It’s one line, two sentences and something that I remind myself time and time again.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately in my own relationships and interactions with people around me. We have the responsibility to not only guard our own hearts from people who are reckless and hurtful, but to treat other people’s with the same respect and dignity. The advice is two-fold, but I seem to always start with the second half. If you are being treated any less than the magnificent, wonderfulness that you are, you need to take a step back. People who treat your heart with recklessness have no business being in your life, but you must be proactive to not put up with it. I’ve been there, trust me. I’ve also seen so many of my girlfriends stay in toxic, painful and reckless relationships because they didn’t think they deserved better or that they would find someone else. Don’t be like that, sweet friend. Have the strength, dignity and self-respect to walk away from anyone who treats you recklessly.

The first part of Mary Schmich’s advice is starting to become more and more important to me as I get older and truly learn to appreciate the value relationships with people, whether that’s friends, family, significant others, etc. Unfortunately, as frequently as I’ve seen friends get hurt by people, I’ve seen some of my favorite people be careless and negligent with other people’s feelings. I hate to say it, but looking back, I think I’ve been reckless with other people in the past and for me, it’s so important to move forward differently. We have the responsibility to guard our own hearts from recklessness, but an equal responsibility to not treat other people this way. We should be treated everyone, and most importantly those we love, with honestly, respect, support and grace, every single day.

This quote is definitely on repeat for me alllllll weekend. Enjoy your Friday! xo

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Thursday Thankful List

Part of being and staying thankful at all times is reminding myself the reasons why it’s important to be thankful, what other people say about thankfulness in their own lives and knowing the shift in my attitudes and actions when I’m focused on appreciation. I discovered this article last night and loved the author’s simple, yet profound words. She reminded me just how possible it is – and important it is – to approach each and every moment from a posture of thankfulness. EACH AND EVERY. Yep, that means the bad hair days and the “I majorly messed up at work” days and the sick and painful days and the “What am I doing with my life?!” days. I’m learning that the more I am thankful for each and every thing in my life, both lovely and not-so-great, the more of those lovely, words-can’t-just-capture-the-goodness moments come by. That reason alone is a reason to always be appreciative.

“I wonder how our lives might look and feel if we took a deep breath and gave thanks each day for all that we

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have? How might our lives be different if we approached each moment of every day, both those which are beautiful and uplifting and those that are disconcerting and make us squirm, with an attitude of thankfulness?”

Here’s just a few things on my list this week. What are you thankful for?

Hearing my neighbor play piano at 10pm
Weekend trips to Seattle
Coziness
The friendly barista at my new favorite coffee spot
Remembering that life is more than just our jobs
Hopefulness
Ice cold water first thing in the morning
Bright yellow leaves on trees
Sailing
Deep breaths – in and out
Vulnerability
Pumpkin pie
This reminder: “your way of living art is one of the million little ways God wants to show himself in the world.”
Productive days
Prioritizing the important over the urgent
Laughing
Fancy cocktails
Re-discovering a good song
Not-so-awesome days {that eventually lead to good ones!}
Vanilla candles
Integrity {thanks for the reminder Jill!}
Crisp fall mornings
Sleeping during a flight
Catching up with a good friend
That tomorrow is Friday!

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Inspiring Women, Part 6

I discovered Natalie‘s insanely awesome blog a few months ago and it’s quickly turned into one of my favorites to read daily. Her site, Thoughts by Natalie, is a go-to source for inspiration, whether related to style, travel, body image and self love and just about everything else. Her #choosebeauty link-up is so encouraging, as Natalie brings together passionate women each week to share their stories about self-esteem, body image and beauty that flows from the inside out. I couldn’t be happier to feature her as a part of my Inspiring Women series and think you’ll love what she has to say. Thanks, Natalie! xo

Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter too!

1. What story is your life telling you today?
That the important things need to take priority over the urgent things. I wrote about this recently, and it is certainly the theme of my life lately—I left a pretty cool job for the sake of investing more in my marriage, my community, my writing and creative work in general. I’m so quick to focus on urgent tasks, because I love to check things off my list. But when life is all about to-do lists and minor accomplishments, I miss out on the things that really matter—quality time with my husband and dear friends, quiet time to read and fill my soul with inspiration, a trip to the park with my sweet and scruffy dog Maggie, a trail run that fills my day with energy, or an hour of focused writing at my favorite coffee shop. Yes, urgent things still need to get done. But I should make important things my focus and my top priority, or I fear I’ll have a lot of regrets by the end of this life!

2. What woman inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by so many women in my life, but I suppose at the moment I’m feeling inspired by Brené Brown. I’ve been reading her newest book, Daring Greatly, and have probably highlighted every other sentence. She is brilliant, funny, honest, and of course, vulnerable. She is teaching me so much about what it looks like to live an authentic, wholehearted, fulfilled life.

3. What are three things you’re thankful for?
My family, friends who are like family, and the season of fall :)

4. What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?
Beauty is more than what we look like. I feel like it’s my mission in life to unpack lies we’ve been told about beauty and how that relates to our identity and worth. I personally yearn for beauty in my life, but I often see that play out through self-criticism, feelings of not being good enough or comparison. That being said, more and more I see that my yearning for beauty is God-given, and that I simply have the definition of beauty mixed up in my head. Beauty is about who we are and how we interact with the world around us. It has to do with character qualities, not external appearances. Each year I learn more and more about true and lasting beauty, but for now I know one thing to be true: we need to change the conversation our culture is having about beauty and start living lives that are truly, authentically beautiful ourselves.

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A Life Less Predictable

I discovered recently that my one of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, often guest blogs on Donald Miller’s Storyline blog. Given I get enough of Shauna’s wise, inspired and loving words, I was over the moon to uncover more on the site. One of her posts in particular jumped out to me and it was all about embracing a life less predictable – in other words, being okay with uncertainty. I love the analogy between life and sailing – comparing being ruled by the engine (staying in control, preparation) vs. being ruled by the wind (uncertainty) and reminded how vital it is to always be open to whatever comes next. That’s a truth and life lesson I’m trying to live out right now. Enjoy!

Sailors are crazy when it comes to wind because the whole venture depends on it. If you’re a power boater, the wind means almost nothing to you. It might make things wavier than you’d like. It might make your guests spill their drinks. But for a sailor, the wind is everything, the most important thing, the center. If you want certainty, you don’t sail. If you want to be in control of what’s happening, you don’t sail. If you want certainty, you get a powerboat, and you stick to engines instead of wind.

I can feel that tension in myself right now: the tension to trust the wind or control with my own engine. I want to be a sailor. I want to trust the invisible power that’s moving all the time even though I can’t see it. I want to be patient, grounded, faith-filled. But in my fearful moments, I can feel the impulse to fire up an engine and create some motion, to pick a spot and head there fast, to burn some fuel instead of waiting around for the wind to do its powerful but invisible work.

I’m a firstborn, a planner. I’m a saver, a list-maker, and I already have a running scrawl of restaurants I want to try on an upcoming trip to London. In 2014.

Planning and preparation are my jam. Except for one little thing. Except for the fact that I’ve decided for the rest of 2013 to be guided by prayer and listening, instead of planning and preparation. I’ve decided to learn my way into the future instead of planning my way there. In this season I want to live by the power of the wind and not the engine.

During these last seven years I was often tired and a little overwhelmed by the amount of things that had to get done in a day, a week, a month. But I didn’t find myself asking those fundamental question: “What am I here for? What am I made to do?” I knew, at least temporarily, the answers. I had a path. And I powered along the path, and it kept me temporarily safe from those questions.

But now for the first time in a long time, I don’t have that path. I don’t have that certainty. I’m intentionally choosing to not know what’s next. I know it’s the right thing for me in this season. It feels a lot like going back to my childhood, being willing to drop everything for the wind. For the last several years, I was too focused on working out the details of my plan to drop everything for the wind. I was a power boater. I liked the safety and predictability of it.

But I miss the rush, the freedom, the feeling of letting the wind take you wherever it will. I’m ready to drop everything for the wind again, to leave a mess, to walk away from the plan for the day—for the year, for my life, maybe, in order to feel the wind again.

This is what I know, both on the water and in my life: the wind is where it’s at. If you’ve never sliced through the water on a boat powered only by wind, you can’t even believe how oddly quiet it is—the only sounds are hull slicing through water, wind humming in the shrouds. You have a sense of getting away with something, almost, like creating something from nothing. It’s exciting and calm at the very same moment, which I find is true in our lives as well.

When you trust the wind instead of pushing through with an engine, when you wait for life to lead and unfold in its own timing instead of shouting out your answer, when you create space for uncertainty instead of pushing for a plan, the feeling is the same: exciting and calm in the very same moment, one of the best feelings in the world.

And this is what I know: you can trust the wind. The wind takes us places we’ve never imagined, and it often knows us better than we know ourselves. It brings us to futures we longed for but couldn’t even say out loud. I believe God is that wind in my life, that he’s working all the time, and that he’s good and loving. I know that spiritual journeys are circuitous and personal, and that God’s presence can look all sorts of different ways in all sorts of different lives.

I also know how scary it can be to give ourselves over to that beautiful terrifying wind, how hard it can be to trust the journey, but I also believe that it’s worth it, that when you do, you’ll feel alive and free and you’ll want that feeling over and over for the rest of your life, like a drug, like falling in love.

When people ask me what’s next these days, as they often do, I tell them it’s all about the wind and not the engine. I tell them I’m practicing not having a plan. I tell them I’m trying to re-learn how to not know, how to wait for the wind, how to trust the silence. It’s awkward, and it’s great. For me, these days, it’s all about the wind.