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Grow Where You're Planted

Life is like a garden and is filled with both flowers and weeds. It can be a beautiful. It can be unpredictable. Grow where you're planted.

Grow Where You’re Planted

Have you ever noticed that there are some plants that can grow anywhere? No matter the soil, conditions or amount of tending, they thrive. They produce, they grow and they are beautiful. They are resilient.

Life is a bit like a garden. There are times when flowers and life abound. Everything is right with the world and we feel proud of who we are, what we’ve done and how great the scenery is. But there are also times that no matter how hard we try, the weeds still make their way in and they begin to take over. When we watch it from a distance or let things ‘happen to us’, life’s weeds become a mass of chaos. But when we jump in with the right attitude and begin to tend it, we can manage the chaos and bring back the order and the joy.

Over time, I have realized that it is our reactions to life, not the distractions, that really matter. I am not talking here about major events like death or disease (these are horrible); I am talking about the day to day challenges that life throws our way. Seeing the flowers through the brambles and seeking out the positive in each situation helps us to focus on what is really happening and what is really important.

This sounds cliche, but I have found that if we keep the mindset that ‘everything happens for a reason’, we can seek out the best in any situation and we can ‘make it work.’ Actually, we can do more than ‘make it work’. When we learn to grow where we are planted, we can thrive. We can bloom, we can grow, and we can be beautiful.

This blog is my vehicle for sharing how relishing in life’s happy moments and seeing the good in life’s challenges help us to create the garden we desire of our own life.

Life is truly what you make it – grow where you are planted.

 

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Featured post

Hiking For Health, Friendship and Sanity

Recently, a few friends of mine decided we would take time out on the weekends from the daily grind of work, school, carpooling, sports, Scouts, homework, kids, etc. to enjoy some local Los Angeles area hiking. The reason is two-fold – we are doing it for personal health and mental sanity! Okay, maybe those are one in the same! As mom’s, our lives can get so chaotic that we tend to focus more on everyone else than on what we need personally. We are generally up with the birds anyway, so sneaking away for an early morning hike is easy and we can generally be back before anyone notices (well…almost no one, anyway!). Hiking allows us to physically burn away stress while building friendships and personal connections. There is something about being outdoors and connecting with nature that renews the soul like nothing else can do.

As a surprise, I scoped a bookstore for some local hiking guides. I bought 4 different guides and gave one to each friend and kept one for myself. Now, armed with our guides, we will set out onto the trails! Reading through all of the hikes is kind of like planning a mini-vacation of sorts…learning about the area, anticipating the event, and getting excited about time spent away (even if it is only for a brief few hours!).

I am a Scouting mom, but by no means an experienced hiker. And, I am NOT in shape! But, again, one of the purposes of these little ventures is to get into shape while enjoying time with friends, out in nature, and without having to hit the gym.

The guides I purchased for myself are:

Trails of the Angeles, John W Robinson

Afoot and Afield: Los Angeles County, Jerry Schad

At some point, I will make an effort to rate these books. But for now, I need to use them and determine their value.

Hiking is an outlet that I enjoy. Find your outlet…find your stress-reliever. We’re moms and we need to find these small treasures in our own lives so we can be gems to our families.

 

Gluten Free Banana Bread (Bread Machine)

Gluten free and DELICIOUS! This bread rises nicely and has a very soft and light texture with a crispy crust. This could probably be made without a bread machine, but if you own one, why not use it?

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3 Large Eggs, beaten

2 Bananas (1 cup), mashed

6 TBSP Butter, melted

2 TBSP Coconut Oil, Melted

1 TSP Vanilla

Place wet ingredients into bread machine baking pan.

2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

3 TSP Baking Powder

1 TSP Baking Soda

3/4 C Granulated Sugar

1/2 TSP Salt

Mix dry ingredients with whisk, then sprinkle on top of wet ingredients in bread pan. Ingredients will float on top.

Use “Cake” cycle on bread machine and let it do its thing! This loaf was made in the Hamilton Beach Bread Maker. The cycle ran for 3 hours.

*Optional: 1/2 C Chocolate Chips or walnuts.

When beep sounds before last knead, add desired add-in.

 

 

 

The Search for Health – Gluten

My son is highly sensitive to gluten. His symptoms include stomachs aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, irritability, moodiness, anxiety, difficulty writing (truly…it was actually diagnosed!), and SO much more. Needless to say, we avoid gluten and wheat products like the plague. Unfortunately, he is still having some of these issues despite the removal of all things gluten. So, we are on the search for other triggers that might be causing his discomfort. Sadly, we are beginning to realize that one intolerance may be indicative that there are many more hidden ones lurking behind the scenes. Recently, we discovered corn might be a culprit. Because being GF isn’t hard enough for an 11 year old, right?!?!

Anyhow, in this search for hidden culprits, I found this great chart on the multiple effects of gluten (which we already know first hand) that others might benefit from reading. I know that “internet medicine” isn’t necessarily the way to diagnose health issues; however, when the pediatrician tells you that “he probably isn’t having as many issues as I think” (which he IS!), we have to turn to the community who will listen…and sometimes, that means the internet!

 

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Mason Jar Window Garden

Cooking with fresh herbs is a delight and having them on hand is even more delightful. I needed somewhere to put a basil plant I had just purchased at the grocery store, so I quickly put it in a Mason Jar I had on hand. I fully intended for this to be a temporary solution and planned on transplanting it later. But if flourished! It grew so quickly, that I decided to rescue a few of the herbs in my backyard that my dog kept pulling up and I started a Mason Jar garden for my windowsill. Incredibly, each one has grew rapidly (the cilantro grew more than 2 inches in a week!). Fresh, convenient and beautiful!

Bullet Journaling – Organization for Creatives

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am forever trying to figure out how to stay more organized. While I LOVE organization and truly desire to be the type of person who has a tidy desk, clean house, and uncluttered purse, I am just not organized by nature. So, I have to work hard at it. Very hard. I have tried binders, sticky notes, calendars, ecalendars, etc. But there never seems to be one method that is a catch all for all of life’s going-ons.

I gave a tour to a prospective parent the other day at my preschool, and when I presented her with a few dates to come in for her visitation day, she pulled out this very nifty little journal. She opened it up and jotted in the appointment. I began to investigate and ask numerous questions about this little book she had. It had dates, notes, calendars…and even an INDEX! WHAT?!?!? She was eager to share about her “Bullet Journal” and even sent me the link on how to create one for myself.

That night, I looked up the video link she sent, and then went off on the bunny trail of endless YouTubes on the subject of “Bullet Journaling.” It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I think it is definitely something that will appeal to many of you creatives out there. This is an analog system (pencil and paper) in an age where most things are digital. I work in a preschool, so everything we do is about hands-on experiences and creativity. Using the Bullet Journal system, you can organize, doodle, draw, track, make appointments, set goals, create collections of ideas, and so much more!

Check it out for yourself:

Click here for the original Bullet Journal video. (This is about 5 minutes)

Click here for another link to a more creative, colorful, and truly beautiful journal. Both a great…just different. (This is about 20 minutes…and there are ENDLESS links to others on the side bar!)

Again, this isn’t for everyone, but I know a few of you will be as interested as I was. For me, this is an opportunity to grow in an area that challenges me. Happy investigating!

A Celiac’s Infographic

Over the past few years, my son experienced several frustrating symptoms that we attributed to a plethora of maladies: tummy aches (he must be eating too much or is playing sick to avoid going to school), feeling sick after eating milk products (he must be lactose intolerant), a resistance to writing (could it be a processing disorder?), moodiness (that must just be his personality…well…except for the fact that he is a fabulous and joyous kid…it didn’t mesh), lack of focus (better get him tested for ADHD), headaches (hmmm….is his eye prescription okay?) and more. I began to read a lot about the possible correlation between ADHD-like symptoms and consuming gluten. I {finally} decided to take him off gluten to see if it would make a difference. Magically, these symptoms disappeared (or were at least significantly reduced)…immediately…like within 24 hours. WHAT?!?! He is more focused and alert in school, he has a newly discovered “can-do” attitude, and he didn’t have a tummy ache for weeks! We are just in the very beginning stages of this new discovery, but so far, it has made a believer out of me (and most certainly out of his teacher!).

Now, we are still investigating whether my son is Celiac or simply has sensitivities, but in my research, I found this fabulous infographic outlining the symptoms of Celiac Disease on glutendude.com and wanted to share it with anyone who is also facing a variety of symptoms that they can’t seem to explain. In some people, the effects of gluten reach farther than most people would ever expect.

Gluten intolerance was so new to us that we didn’t see the writing on the wall. We didn’t even know what we were looking at or what to look for, for that matter. It took personal research, time and thinking ‘outside the box’ to finally figure out why he was suffering. Not once did the doctors “hear” what we were saying nor did they recommend any courses of action related to changing his diet. Most everyone else (including ourselves) jumped to inaccurate conclusions about why he was feeling the way he was. At times, we need to solve our challenges using our own devices. Think – research – probe, then grow.

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Happiness in Small Moments

My son loves birds, so for Christmas we bought him a bird feeder. After weeks of rain, we finally had a chance to hang it. We set it in a place where we could see the feeder from our family room couch.

In the quiet of the morning, before everyone was up and the activity of the day began, my son and I watched several little birds bouncing back and forth from the tree to the feeder, enjoying a morning snack. We giggled together as they enjoyed the feeder and had fun trying to figure out what types of birds they were. We even found a great website for bird identification and enjoyed learning about our local birds.

In the moment, I realized just how much these little moments count. Create them, cherish them, remember them. Happiness can be found in small moments.

 

Live, Learn and Journey On

Over the years, “Keep Calm and Carry On” has become a motto of sorts. I also live by old adage that there is a season for everything and a purpose for everyone. I am a wife, a mother, and an educator. This blog is definitely a reflection of my here-and-now, my own experiences in education and in raising kids, my ‘what’s trending’ now, school days, parties, fun and pain. It is a reflection that how we react to life is greater than what life throws at us.

Though this journey called life provides enough fodder to fill many pages of this blog, the main reason for starting this blog was the realization too many times we get caught up in the little stuff and let it take over the big stuff. People often ask how I can stay so “calm” when the bigger challenges come along. Simple – I see the forest through the trees. I look at the big picture and realize that there is a reason for everything…even is we aren’t privy to that information yet.

A few years ago, our school principal told me that we may want to consider ADHD meds for my son. I was not totally opposed, but the thought of him being on meds for the rest of his life was a tad devastating. As a last ditch effort, we tested out removing gluten from my son’s diet as we suspected that gluten was exacerbating some of his symptoms. We took him off gluten and he had a profound transformation. Not only did his focus improve (somewhat), his stomach aches went away (he was throwing up several times per week), his mood improved, he was happier and the spring in his step returned to his life. His instant transformation was so profound that it made me step back and think how one challenge led us down a path to discovering a food sensitivity that had been negatively impacting our lives for YEARS. In the end, this challenge ended up improving our quality of living and it restored emotional balance, health, and happiness in my son. Living gluten-free presents its own challenges, of course, but the blessing of health and happiness outweighs that struggle by leaps and bounds. We found the flower amidst the weeds.

 

 

Monkeys Can’t Swim

I love animals because their talents and gifts are instinctual. Fish swim, monkeys climb, and cheetahs run. We accept animals for who and what they are. We don’t expect to mold them into something they are not

Yet, we expect all children to conform to the highly “left-brained” educational system we currently provide. Those who can’t conform, can’t succeed. As an educator, I love this video because it reminds us, in no uncertain terms, that kids are unique, and should be valued as such. It is hard to meet the needs of every child in a classroom, and asking students to glean a common knowledge of all subjects helps to provide a rounded society, but at what cost? Do we continue to jam square pegs into round holes or do we seek alternatives for the square pegs to be built into architectural masterpieces? The face of education is slow to change; so for now, simply remembering that each child has a special and unique gift that should be praised and fostered, will help bring forth their value.

Animal School Video

 

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