Feelin' Chalky

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Hiding Place

Have you ever been called out?  I sure have.  It's kind of embarrassing isn't it - being caught in a lie or an act of hypocrisy or for being fake or making a mistake? Heck it's embarrassing even when the reason you are being called out is funny - crop-dusting at Tar-get, Freudian slips, mispronouncing the word, "tidy," in first grade - someday I will let that one go...maybe.

Have you ever been called out by God?  It's a little more serious than being laughed at by your peers.  And He sure has a way of not letting it go. ;-) I don't remember what I was doing at the time that I felt these words burn into my heart, but they were very clear and persistent: "You are hiding." And cue the first reaction to any instance of being called out - denial.

"I'm not hiding!  I'm putting myself out there!  And anyway, I am just being a good mom and supportive wife by laying low and sacrificing MY dreams. That's what I'm supposed to be doing!"

I don't REALLY remember what my inner dialogue reaction was - but it was something similar.  And I continued to reassure myself that I was doing just fine for the next few days.  But the thought prevailed.    And it is still echoing in my mind as I type.  The truth is, I HAVE been hiding.  Every time I grab the (way) oversized gray hoodie and black comfy pants (that have a hole in the knee) and I throw on my hat and I move throughout my day...I'm hiding.  Every time I doubt a leading.  Every time I choose to stuff emotions way back down inside to avoid a confrontation.  Every time I avoid a phone call.  Every time I say no to something my heart longs to do.  Every time I waste hours in front of the TV.  Every time I roll over and go to sleep without kissing my husband goodnight.  I AM HIDING...I am shrinking...I am giving up on the very reason this journey started.  Living. Fully.

A person who is truly connected to their purpose and is living the life God has called them to is inspiring.  Their excitement and passion is intoxicating.  People can't help but watch to see what they are going to do next.  And people can't help but want, "whatever it is they are smoking."  I have been that person at times.  Have you?

It is flat scary if you ask me.  I'm not sure I want to be there again.  When I was there I felt so naked - so opened up to criticism and judgement.  Who likes that anyway?  Living "out there" means more hurt, more failure, more unmet expectations.  But not living there now after I have been called out...is disobedience.

It's so funny how God can get your attention sometimes.  You know the song that has been playing in my head on loop for the past several weeks (other than the ones I am prepping for on Sunday)? Click below for a listen.  Hilarious, right?

Yes, I am aware that this song has become a sort-of anthem for another kind of "coming out" of hiding, however, I cannot HIDE the fact that it truly has been playing in my head non-stop!  Thank you mom and dad for your old disco records.

So a couple of weeks after the thought (you are hiding) entered my heart, I was awakened at 3 AM with another thought.  Brace yourselves. This one is a doozy.  Write to the Rachael Ray show.  At 3 AM!!!  C'mon!  You have got to be kidding!  The backstory is this: I had seen a tweet from the show a couple of weeks prior that said this:

The day it hit I had a leading to respond, but I very vehemently said, "NO!"  You see...I have lost 100 pounds BUT I have also gained some back.  And I am embarrassed by that and I do not want to publicly broadcast those feelings.  I moved on with my day, kinda forgot about it, and that was that...or so I thought.  I later got an email about it (I'm on the show's email list) and was once again lead to respond..."NO!"  And that brings you up to speed.  3 AM wake-up call.

I continued to argue in a sleepy stupor for close to 2 hours.  All of the worst things that could come from a simple email to the Rachael Ray show played in my mind.  I squirmed at the idea of a lot of people scrutinizing my blog, the thought of what I would look or sound like on TV, and mostly the thought of how it would feel to admit that I lost 100 pounds and gained 30 of it back...when I still had a lot more that I wanted to lose.  But those thoughts were combatted by many positive things mostly summed up by this: My story is real.  People need to hear real stories.  I am still eating as healthy as I can.  Health is not about size.  Health is a daily journey - FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.  I know a lot of stuff...and people could benefit from that knowledge.  So ultimately I said yes and I fell back asleep.  I said yes again the next day when all I wanted to do was hide.  Instead I sat in front of my computer screen and attempted to fit 3 plus years of my journey into a very small space.

And now what?  I don't know.  I did what I was told and have been trying to do what I am told to do each day since then.  I started an amazing 28-day challenge with an amazing group of women and an amazing leader.  I have learned a lot about myself...and remembered a lot of things about myself lately. More than likely...Rachael Ray won't be calling me up...often obedience is just about saying yes when your whole being wants to say no.  I think that obedience is a gut-check to see if we are truly "all-in." More than likely He just wanted to see if I was listening.  But you never know!  Over the years I have learned that God often does the "less than likely."

We shall see!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If You Fail to Plan...

I am a horrible planner.  I mean, I have all of these great ideas rolling around in my head, but to actually put my thoughts into practice is a whole other animal.  That being said, I have become quite the Iron Chef.  You know what I mean, right? Iron Chef, the show?  The show where they hand a box full of seemingly unrelated, unappetizing foods to a chef and in under an hour or so they create beautiful, gourmet platters of food?

Ok, well, it may feel like that in my mind, but in all reality I am not cooking octopus or puréeing dragon fruit...OR using dry ice...but I might as well be on the show.  How impressive is it to have four children screaming, "what's for dinner?" in a continuous, whiney chorus while you attempt to mold a pantry full of random grains, legumes, flours, and spices and a refrigerator full of moldy left-overs, condiments, and produce into a beautiful, symphony of flavors that everyone will love?  I say it is pretty impressive - nay a miracle!  I have had a handful of really great dishes come out of desperation (and a few that LEFT me desperate for a PB&J).

One of my favorite things to make in a pinch that is always a big hit (and is very budget and user friendly) is my Creamy Vegan Potato Soup.  I researched a lot of recipes online to get inspiration and then customized it to fit our dietary needs as well as what I actually had on hand...which at times tends to be not a whole heck of a lot.  ;-)  (Grocery shopping with four kiddos in tow tends to be less than pleasant.)  The beauty of this recipe is that I can pretty much use this basic "skeleton" - which is perfectly awesome as-is - and fancy it up to add more depth of flavor when I have fun extras around the house.

Creamy Vegan Potato Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs of celery (including leafy tops), chopped
3 tsp. minced garlic (about 4-6 cloves)
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves (optional but yummy)
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 c. dry sherry
4-6 cups of diced yukon gold potatoes
water to cover
2 T Earth Balance
3 cups Silk organic, unsweetened soy milk

Easy peasy. Sauté onion and celery in EVOO over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper. Allow veggies to sweat out and soften and get slightly brown.  Rub dried herbs in the palm of your hand before adding to the veg mixture to "wake up" their natural flavors and oils. Cook for another minute and then add dry sherry to pan to deglaze. Cook for about 3 minutes while scraping of any browned bits off of the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon.  Hooray for flavor!

Add diced potatoes and just enough water to cover. Add more salt and pepper.  (Here is where you can swap in a more flavorful product - vegetable broth - when you have it in your pantry). Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook the potatoes until tender. Add Earth Balance and soy milk, stir to combine, and taste for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper as needed.  Using an immersion/stick blender, purée soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  We like it mostly smooth with a few potato "chunks" here and there.  Serve with your favorite toppings!  We like Veggie Sour Cream and green onions or chives.  We have also added Veggie cheese in the past as well as Bacony Bits made by WayFare foods (a GREAT Vegan alternative - but they are not gluten-free).