Monday, March 30, 2015

Accountability In Marriage.

Let me paint a picture of a Christian woman trying to keep her husband "accountable" and "point him to Christ."

She spends a lot of time thinking about what Christian leadership should look like in the home. She then gets annoyed when her husband doesn't live up to those expectations. She then gets even more annoyed when he messes up or does something not honoring to God. (Never mind her mistakes, because, grace). She makes suggestions in a nagging tone. When her husband does decide to open up about a current struggle or something weighing on his heart, she asks in an annoying tone, "Have you prayed about it?" (Never mind all the venting she does before even thinking about praying about situations that come up in her life). She constantly questions her motives and feels guilty for how she often responds to her husband.

Not ideal, right? Unfortunately, all of these things listed are what I have struggled with, or am currently struggling with. I think accountability in marriage is essential, but I'm learning what it looks like for Alex and I.

I'm praying to be a wife that can love and serve Alex well. I'm praying to be a wife that PRAYS for Alex regularly. I'm praying to be a wife that will listen to him when he is going through a hard time or needs to vent about something. I'm also praying for a loving way to point him to Christ in these times. I'm praying to be a wife that can encourage and lift him up, but can also gently call out sin in his life in a grace filled way. I'm praying for other men to come in his life that will encourage and lift him up as well. I'm praying that regardless of how broken and messy we can be individually, that we would have a marriage that honors Christ. I also pray that individually we can have lives that honor Him as well.

I began this post talking about a "Christian wife" because I wanted to show that even while following Christ, I let myself get in the way. I have to pray for conviction and a broken heart towards all of my sin daily so that the One who loves, forgives, and restores can replace more and more of that ugly stuff with His beauty.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

At Least I Can Admit It

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the kitchen doing dishes and Alex was in the living room messing around on his computer.

After a few minutes of contemplating, I said "Hey Alex" and he was like "Yeah?" and I responded "I'm feeling a little unreasonable right now." Like the smart man that he is, he did not respond, he just let me be unreasonable for a little while.

I am convinced that there are certain days of the year that are designated as "National Ignore Kelsey Day" because literally any and everyone I try to contact doesn't answer their phone or respond to a message I send. Sometimes, I contemplate every conversation I have and wonder if I have offended anyone to cause them to ignore me. And then sometimes I let Alex know I'm feeling unreasonable and may or may not cry about some over-exaggerated or over-analyzed situation that really does not exist.

But, like I said, at least I can admit it.

Stupid PMS.

P.S. Don't ignore me.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Some Words About Words.

This morning, I read James 1-3 during my quiet time. I always ask for the Lord to reveal more of himself to me and to convict me when there is a part of my life I hold onto. 

This morning, I was reminded of how I hold onto my words and how I choose to use them. 

On one hand, I will openly talk about God's grace, His love and redemption sent through Jesus, and the joy and peace I have been given through Him. On the other hand, I will openly complain, criticize, and can sometimes be just plain mean with how I choose to use my words. 

I often allow frustration to consume me and let it control how I speak.

I often allow the temptation to compare myself to others and then criticize them to make myself feel better (it doesn't).

I often let circumstances control my outlook and speak accordingly. I allow anxiety and assumptions to dictate my outlook and opinions about different situations or people. 

James 3 then goes into a few verses about wisdom from above. James 3:17 "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." 

This morning, my prayer was that Christ could use my words to encourage others and bring them to Him (in spite of myself). I asked that the same mouth that can cause so much destruction and negativity would seek restoration and to show grace to others. I asked for forgiveness for how I often choose to speak. I asked that my words would be filled with thankfulness and joy. I asked for a mind set on Him and to be convicted when I start to speak and act selfishly. 

Lastly, (and this is one of the hardest parts) I asked for women who would encourage and point me to Christ when my words don't reflect Him. I choose myself instead of Christ more often than I'd like to admit. The church needs women (and men) who will encourage each other and lovingly point them to Christ during times of frustration, struggles, and/or disagreements. (I've noticed that my words often are associated with what I am currently dealing with in life.) 

I would love and appreciate it if you could pray for me today as each day is a new day to use my words to bring Truth, or to bring destruction and hurt. Please let me know if there is anything you need prayer for. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Love You, Honey

I don't know how this happened, but every meal I planned for this week has honey as one of the ingredients. These are all new recipes that we are going to try, so I hope they are good. (But if honey is involved, I'm sure they will be ;))

I would like to point out that while these recipes look and sound delicious, I have a feeling this may be tempting on one of those nights I don't feel like cooking. Winnie the Pooh knows the right way to eat honey.

So, here's our honey-filled menu:

1) Honey Balsamic Chicken Tenders by Budget Bytes. This recipes looks super simple and I like how they have all the ingredients labeled by cost so I can see just how much the meal costs per serving. I think it's a good reminder that I can't always justify Chik-fil-a or going out to eat. ;) We have a whole bunch of frozen veggies in our freezer that I may serve with it. That or salad.

2) Savory Stuffed Cabbage Rolls by Zoe Dawn. I'm not sure how this one is going to turn out. It looks simple enough, but I'm really bad at rolling things and trying to make a "stuffing" fit inside of a vegetable, especially something like cabbage. Wish me luck.

3) Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes by Paleo Newbie. I have a couple of sweet potatoes and a couple white potatoes, so I will probably make both and see which one I like more.

4) Garlic Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" by Nom Nom Paleo. This is more of a side dish, but I reallllly want to try it. (Alex, not so much) I don't really know what we will eat them with....maybe the cabbage rolls? I don't know. Please let me know if you've tried them and if they are worth making!

This is how I decide what to make for the week:
1) What meat/ingredients do I already have? (We have 2 lbs of ground beef in our freezer right now so that's why this week is ground beef heavy)
2) What sounds good? (Usually the answer is pizza, but I have to fight through it and really think)
3) Does this recipe use mostly whole/natural ingredients?
4) What are the current food trends? (I am super impressionable and always want to be eating what the "cool kids" are eating.) Just kidding, this isn't real. Maybe more like "what is currently in season?"
5) Can I justify eating a whole pint of ice cream after this meal? (If the answer is yes, it's on the list)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-A TV Show We Can Both Agree On

Okay, before I start, take a listen to the intro of this show. It is CATCHY and I love it.

Shows that Alex and I both like (and watch together) are few and far between. We typically watch crime shows that are pretty serious and involved. This show is hilarious, light, and ummm hilarious.
Here are some reasons we enjoy this show:

1) It is a Netflix original. I am convinced Netflix does not allow anything sub-par to carry the "Netflix Original" stamp in it's title.

2) Ellie Kemper is amazing. The awkward and goofy girl we remember from The Office and Bridesmaids is back, but this time, she is also amazingly strong and independent. It's a refreshing mix and she is hilarious along the way. (I really like the word hilarious)

3) The plot line is unique (yet all too familiar). It centers around Ellie Kemper's character, Kimmy Schmidt, and her adventures after being released from a bunker after years of being told by an opportunistic pastor that the apocalypse occurred and she (and 3 other girls) were the only survivors. The other girls are pretty funny as well.

4) Tina Fey is a producer and has a small part in the show.

5) Jon Hamm is involved.

6) They are shorter episodes so it's impossible to feel guilty after watching 5 or more episodes in a row. ;)

Check it out! I really doubt you will regret it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Healthy Recipes We Love

(BEFORE I BEGIN--I say they are new healthy recipes we love, but I am basing that on different factors than most would use to consider a recipe as "healthy." The listed meals all fall under Paleo guidelines, but what we like the most about them is that we know every ingredient in our meals)

We are in no way perfect "clean" eaters, but we are trying.

We recently started going to a local store to find grass fed/organic meats. We haven't banned grocery store meats, but when (and while) we can, we want to eat the higher quality stuff. (I say while we can because who knows what will happen to our food budget once we have kids---NO I'M NOT PREGNANT).

So, if you're looking to eat healthier, or even if you want to try new recipes, I hope that if you decide to try these recipes, you like them as much as we do. Also, if you've already mastered some of these cooking techniques/methods, I ALWAYS love advice to make things easier/tastier/etc.

1) Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops by Nom Nom Paleo I still have dreams about these things. I'm not kidding. Thinking about them right now makes me want some. (We are making them again this weekend :)) The only ingredient I did not add was the fish sauce. I also used organic butter instead of ghee. Seriously, these are delicious. I know bacon is controversial in including this as a "healthy" recipe, but we were able to find grass fed/no sugar/no curing bacon, so for us, it's not so bad. Also, the apple balances out the bacon. ;). Alex even said the apples on the pork chops are better than serving the pork chops with applesauce. (Is that a mid-western thing?) I served them with baked potatoes.

2) Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie by Cook Like A Cavewoman Seriously.....this was so hearty and delicious with ZERO regret afterwards. It's filling, healthy, and yummy. Can you really beat a recipe with those three adjectives? I accidentally shook a whole lot of cinnamon in there, so it did have a pretty strong cinnamon taste, but I think next time I will add different spices as well as the CORRECT amount of cinnamon. :)

3) Zucchini Noodles with Seasoned Chicken/Marinara Sauce. I used Nom Nom Paleo's method to prep the zucchini/cut the noodles and this recipe to actually stir fry them (I doubled the water because I used 4 zucchini instead of 2). I did end up draining the noodles before serving them. They only take about 5-6 minutes to make, so that was my last step. Beforehand, I baked chicken with Italian seasoning in the oven and then cut it up and mixed it with some marinara sauce on the stove. I usually just buy a jar and look at the labels to avoid sauces with sugar added and any other ingredient I can't pronounce. ;)

4) Bacon-Jalapeo Burger Balls by The Clothes Make the Girl I know I talked about making these in this meal plan and I was nervous to try them. They.Were.So.Good. Alex made them and the Awesome Sauce (no relish this time :)). He used regular mayo/ketchup for the Awesome Sauce. That Awesome Sauce really is awesome. And it was amazing on the burger balls. I know this recipe doesn't sound "healthy" either, but in it's truest form (her recipe), it is a meal that allows us to have control over 100% of the ingredients and know what is in our food.

We were going to do the Whole 30 for all of March, but then I started obsessing over ingredients/food quality, researching non-stop, and having nightmares about food. I realized very quickly that this was COMPLETELY missing the point of the Whole 30. It's supposed to help me create a healthy outlook towards food and my diet instead of what I was doing. I'm going to keep experimenting with different meals that can be eaten on the Whole 30 and hopefully actually do one sometime this year. Also, we need to figure out how to meal plan/prep in a way that fits our budget and also doesn't leave us hungry all of the time.

Let me know if you decide to try any/all of these recipes! I know they are all pretty meat heavy, but I am looking for good vegetarian recipes to add to the mix as well.

(Here is the hidden section of the blog that reveals what else I eat-including the massive amount of the desserts I ate last weekend and for the first few days of this week. Also, it fails to mention my love for pizza and that I ate 3 pieces of it today for lunch and didn't even feel bad about it.)

Monday, March 9, 2015

To My Younger Self

I've seen a "to my yourself" tag going around on YouTube. I've quickly figured out that I'm much better at rambling in a blog format than a video format. (At least when I ramble in my blog, I can put my ramblings in coherent and linear sentences).

So, I am going to write a letter to my younger self and post it on the internet for anyone to read. Since, you know, my younger self can't read it nor would she fully grasp what I am trying to say. My younger self is much like my current self in a lot of ways, but MUCH more stubborn, head strong, and i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t. So here goes nothing.

Dear Younger Kelsey,

I remember a time when the future looked so fun. Pretending to be whatever type of career woman I felt like that week--veterinarian, teacher, or scientist. Knowing that "someday...when I'm bigger...." the possibilities were endless. Thinking that I was really going to marry one of the Backstreet Boys and that the Disney Channel was forever going to host my favorite shows. Hold on to that. While there is so much "unknown" regarding the future, that unknown is filled with hope and excitement. 

As you grow older, though, the unknown still holds a little bit of excitement (I know your love for adventure and "planned spontaneity" (you probably don't know what that word means, but you'll act like you do), but it can also be very scary. Things will (and do) happen that will make you have to shift, redirect, and significantly alter your own life plans. Please know that it is okay to feel scared. It's okay to let down your guard and let others in during these times. It's okay to trust that those in your life are looking out for the best for you (more on that later...). But above all, lean on the God who loves you when all of that feels like it has been taken away.

Allow others into your life. Pray for friends and family that will support and encourage you, but always be looking for opportunities to support and encourage them as well. Don't let yourself get too caught up in being busy and "important," but make loving and serving others some of the most important "jobs" in your life. At the same time, it is okay for others not to like you. Not everyone will. It. Is. Okay. If others don't like you, though, make sure your conscience is clear. Remember when dad told you "it's okay if people don't like you, as long as you didn't say or do something to give them reason not to." You're not always going to get it right. You will hurt others. But learn how to apologize. Don't apologize for other people's "perceptions" or "misunderstanding of your intentions." Own up to the fact that you can and will say and do hurtful things to others. Regardless of intention. 

It will be a forever struggle to not find your identity in a guy. From the first time a boy shows interest in you, to the day you say "I do," it is hard to not look to a guy to find affirmation and purpose. No one on this earth is capable of being 100% what you need 100% of the time. At the same time, it is much more fulfilling to pray for opportunities and the capacity to love and serve your husband instead of complaining about what he may or may not do that doesn't love and serve you. (I don't think you will ever 100% perfect this, but thank goodness for forgiveness from God and from my spouse). 

Lastly, people will say and do things that will hurt you. I know you, your first response is typically to find the sharpest dagger and hit them with it. (Not literally....but, you know, find the thing that you know would hurt them the most and say it.) DON'T DO IT. Also, while cutting people out of your life may seem like the most "logical" situation in the midst of your hurt and frustration, it is typically the most damaging. It damages how you view friendships. It reduces your ability to love and forgive. It makes it harder to reach out and say "I'm sorry." It's okay to communicate, even if it is minimally. I know you like to think through things and come up with a conclusion, but let people know that is what you are doing. Don't assume people just know what is going on. 

Please also know that in a life full of unknown and struggles, there is also so much joy and peace to be found. There are times of non-stop laughter and goofiness. There are days when all you will want to watch is a Disney movie. You will still love fruit snacks and Skittles. Snow days are still the best kind of day off. And you will never stop learning and growing. I may have more of myself figured out now, but I can assure you as time passes, the idea of "younger" becomes a little bit older, and I will always have new things to learn. Throughout it all, be exactly who you are because regardless of what you think the mirror says, you are beautiful.

Older (but not necessarily wiser) Self.