blogging madness, Humility is important, Uncategorized

Honestly Inconsistent.

Show me a person who is sure, certain and comfortable with everything they ever think or do and you’ll show me someone I am not particularly interested in spending very much time with.

Honesty and inconsistency are actually not strange bedfellows.

I can read two posts here on any given day and find thoughts or ideas which seem to conflict with each other. I used to be slightly alarmed by this, particularly when there was a hit to a link that seemed to clash with an idea I just posted; almost as if someone was looking for it.

Once I took the time to think about it, however, the concern dissipated. It dissipated because anyone who is honestly striving, working, and occasionally stumbling on the journey of life will sometimes fall short of their ideals. The spirit is always warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit. Toss in the natural *stuff* that goes on in my very feminine psyche, and if I didn’t know me, left to judge based only on posts on my own blog, I might think I was a little bonkers.

Or I would, if I hadn’t figured out that best behavior Elspeth and not-so-best behavior Elspeth are both still Elspeth. The me who is full of myself one day is the same me who is humbled the next by the love of God or my husband, or the difficulty of trying to properly educate two children with very different personalities.

I once heard this from a mostly forgettable preacher, except he said one thing was pretty unforgettable. He talked about what he called “The Four You’s”, even though he followed it by rattling off five categories. They are:

  • The you that you think you are
  • The you that others think you are
  • The you that you want to be
  • The you that others want you to be
  • The you that you really are (and whom only God really knows)

Every one of us, whether we realize or acknowledge it, are navigating our lives through the prisms of these versions of ourselves. As we grow and mature, their intersections should be frequent and the tensions should gradually fade into one another. To those in our inner circles, these are almost seamless. The farther you pan out, however, the more the distinctions emerge; sometimes out of a necessity that is good and healthy, and sometimes without us even noticing.

The things we do, the way we speak to others, the decisions we make about what we will and will not do? These behaviors should be externally consistent, and for most ethical, moral, honest people, they are. None of that however, diminishes the internal tension, the struggles, the questions, the *stuff* that we all wrestle with on the inside.

When I look back over the things I’ve written, I am at ease, for example, with the contradictions between my internal feelings of mundaneness and the oft-stated expression of others that I might be in some way extraordinary. The “me that others think I am” or the “me that others want me to be” don’t cancel out the “me that I think I am”, or the “me I want to be”.

All of those Elspeths are reflected here. These words are an outpouring of the ambiguity that is the struggle between being, doing, and finding the balance. Maturity, I am learning, requires a fairly high tolerance for ambiguity.

Despite my many imperfections, there are some things about me that others have found commendable. These are simply two parallel truths[1]. One of the great regrets of my tenure writing this way in this forum is my naivete regarding the ability of people (including me at times), to appreciate nuances and unspoken realities that I assumed went without saying. I now know, and shall never forget, that nothing does.

There is only One Good, Perfect Being who has all His spit together, and I’m fine admitting that it ain’t me.

“…if you haven’t stood before God and been confused, you’re probably not standing before the real God”~ Steve Brown

[1] My favorite theologcal quote concerning the realty of truth in parallel lines can be found here.

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Uncategorized

Video killed the radio star

So much to say, so little time. This is worth every second of your 5-6 minutes. Trust me. Read, be blessed, go live.

Outside the boxes.

Hearth's Rose Garden

One of the questions that always bugs the modern is, “when did we stop dressing properly?”  My dad had the answer for this one, he said it started when TV came along.  At that point, our fellow humans were no longer our entertainment source, the box in our living room was.   He says he can remember the change, and how quickly it began.

I’m not on a rant about entertainment and socialization, because I use my glowing boxes as much as the next person.  But it’s interesting…. and what interests me is the division in our society between the Viewer and the Viewed, and how it’s crept into so many parts of our lives.

One of the things that I get when I go out in a long, full skirt is someone coming up to my shyly to compliment me on my “dress”.  That’s nice, of course… but when I…

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Uncategorized

How we can enjoy what we do, no matter what it is.

This was originally published in 2009. Our youngest was still an infant at the time. It has not been edited to account for life changes or time lapsed.

This morning, as I was on the elliptical machine for the first time in over two months, praying that I could get through the intense workout without experiencing cardiac arrest, I was thinking about a conversation I recently shared with a friend. We talked about how hard our husbands work to take of our families, sometimes doing work that they wouldn’t choose if making enough money to provide for growing families wasn’t their primary consideration. I started to contemplate this rather modern way of thinking: that one has to love his or her job in order to be happy doing it.

In times past, when life wasn’t as convenient, and working the land was an integral part of survival, I wondered how often anyone stopped to consider whether or not they enjoyed their work. If they spent long hours agonizing over their wasted talents or if they were simply thankful for the health and strength to do what needed to be done. We live in a media savvy, technologically advanced society, constantly bombarded with images of everything we don’t have, haven’t done, or might accomplish. A world where the idea of NOT doing something that we love is almost tantamount to being oppressed. I should rephrase that. I should have said we live in a world where not getting PAID for doing what we love is tantamount to being oppressed.

But what if life really is all about doing what we need to, even if it isn’t glamorous? Can we experience joy in the common, daily doings of our lives? Much of my life is characterized by doing the same thing day after day, several days a week. I woke up this morning, read my Bible, prayed, started the coffee maker, exercised, showered, dropped off the big kids, greeted the husband, made and served breakfast, dressed the kids, kissed the husband goodbye, cleaned the kitchen, made the bed (which the littles promptly jumped up and down on), read to the kids, looked at elephant photos and colored elephant pictures (E is the letter of the week), went outside to play, came back in, cleaned up toys, prepared and served lunch, cleaned up the mess, put the littles down for nap, etc. You get the picture. Barring some unforeseen event, the first half of my day will be exactly the same tomorrow, with a few slight variations. To feel the joy in the dailyness of life is a necessity for me, wouldn’t you agree?

I am grateful to be at home serving my family and raising my children. I believe it’s what I’ve been called to. I love it- most of the time. But some days, it’s hard. An introverted book lover with a houseful of kids can feel overwhelmed from time to time. Many of the things that interested me when I was younger have been pushed aside as I am in the trenches of wife and motherhood, where most of my time and attention are directed, and rightly so. Should I feel like life is passing me by?

I wonder how many of us have embraced dreams, desires, and aspirations, telling ourselves that they are no less than the will of God for our life. God wants us to be happy. He wouldn’t want us to neglect our talents and sacrifice our dreams on something as common as duty. We are supposed to be living our best, purpose driven lives now. In my case, and this is probably the case with most believers today, we have clung to our personal dreams, desires and aspirations for so long that we aren’t open to the possibility that they may not be what God destined for us at all. We have taken our demands to God in prayer and said, “This is what I want to do God, work with it, please.” The clay is telling the Potter what it is and is not willing to become.

I am a dreamer. I still dream of writing a book someday. I have dreams for my children, my family, and my future. I am not discounting the power of having a passionate vision. If it seems that I am saying we should kill our dreams, I’m not. That isn’t my intent. Dreams are wonderful, when they spring from the right heart.

Psalm 37 is a fascinating passage of Scripture. In a world where everyone is trying to sell us something to make our lives better, where the mantra of dissatisfaction screams at us from every billboard, magazine cover, and TV and radio advertisement, this passage offers the antidote to the problem of chronic discontentment. The morale of the passage is not to be fooled by the prosperity of those who rail against the truth. The key to finding peace of mind is to corral our thoughts. In the midst of all the admonishments is encouragement concerning the desires of our hearts, and how to receive them:

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

In recent years I have come to view this Scripture very differently from the way it has been traditionally been recited and preached. Most times the verse is ripped out of context and applied to any and every earthly, material vision we have for our lives: When we delight ourselves in Him, God will give us the desires of our hearts. I think it might just as easily or more accurately mean that God will literally give our hearts the desires they should have. He will give us the desires of our hearts. When our desires are given to us by God, and we delight ourselves in Him, we can be happy doing anything.

I believe that God is glorified when we do even the mundane things as unto Him. And certainly He is glorified when we use our gifts and talents in service to Him, whether we get paid for them or not. If we can get paid for them, so much the better. The most important thing is the motivation of our hearts.

family life, wife stuff

How to Stay Happily Married (most of the time)

This is the first of the best-ofs, from 2013.  I recently linked it somewhere, but it is no longer visible at the original link, so I’m putting it here. I left it unedited so all pertinent imperfections remain. If I left out something important, leave it the comments.

We have a young family friend who married very recently. She’s a lovely girl and I recognize many of her characteristics as I was similar at her age.  If I could give a young newlywed  bride advice this is what I’d say. In fact,  I’m already planning  to print this and give it to her.

  • As a Christian committed to Christian marriage, resolve to set aside your ambitions in favor of your husband’s. Yes, you’re smart, and yes, you could do great things, and yes, I know you had a plan for your life. However, you are a wife now. This means you are no longer leading the dance of your life; your husband is.
  • Part of submitting to your husband is not bad mouthing him to your family. The worst thing you can do when you’re angry with your husband is talk to your mother about it. Unless there is a very serious marital breach to address, your family should know nothing about your internal squabbles, as most of disagreements aren’t worth the drama of letting outside observers know about them.
  • His family is your family now. Be respectful, always. Learn and love his family as your own no matter how difficult it may sometimes be.
  • Keep your eyes on your own paper. One of the main reasons wives have so much to nag and complain to our husbands about is because we labor under the deep delusion that we are perfect. That everything we do is the right or best way. There are two problems with this way of thinking. The first is that we are not perfect. Imagine that! And the second is that even if we were, it doesn’t change the command from God that we respect and submit to the authority of our husbands.
  • Don’t be afraid of the word submission. A wise husband appreciates his wife’s intelligence, gifts and talents and wouldn’t consider refusal of such a valuable resource. A loving husband knows that his wife needs this from him as much as he needs her strengths and talents. It doesn’t diminish you in the least to trust God with control of your life and marriage. Submission is a signals to your husband that you trust him. The more you demonstrate faith in him, the more he will demonstrate faith in you.
  • Most of your girlfriends and female family members have no idea what a happy marriage looks like. At your age, most of your friends are still single. They can not offer you relevant marital advice. Be careful who you listen to.
  • Never use sex as a weapon against your husband. Not only is it sinful,  it’s unloving, disrespectful, and indicates that you care very little about the state of your marriage. Don’t do it. Ever. Contrary to popular modern opinion, it is good and right for you to do it even when you don’t feel like it at first. You’re married. You don’t set the terms of intimacy as you will.
  • Do not let yourself go. When you’re young and beautiful, this hardly registers on your radar screen. However, marriage is a long haul. Babies come, you get tired, you eat junk, and you get lazy. Develop healthy habits now. The bloom of youth keeps at bay what it will not a few years from now without some work on your part. Your husband will appreciate the effort.
  • For the unequally yoked: Your outward expressions of faith don’t make you any better than your husband.  I realized that mine actually made me look worse. The church girl who marries the heathen is hardly in a position to judge him, is she? Always have a measured and honest appreciation for who you really are, faults and all.
  • This is your husband until death parts you. Do not entertain divorce fantasies of your own, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to plant seeds of doubt. The grass is not greener on the other side. If your grass is brown, oh well. God expects you to tend to it, water it, and green it up. You’re not allowed to hop back over the fence. You will be utterly shocked at how much you’re willing to concede and overlook when you accept that this is your life. For better or worse were not just words you uttered. God expects you to keep them.
  • Laugh a lot. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Marriage is not the vocation for a woman overly obsessed with her dignity. Self-actualization? Forget that. It’s feminist speak for “put your husband and kids on the back burner and charge forward in search of your own happiness.” Selfishness will never make you happy.
  • The kids are his too. The fact that you were the incubator doesn’t make them anymore yours. Don’t ever forget that.
  • Laugh a lot. Yes, I know I already said that.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, I know I already said that too.
  • Sex… Yes, I am repeating myself again, but I should add that it’s fine, preferable even, to enjoy sex with your husband.
  • Don’t be a martyr. Have some fun, and be fun to be around.
  • You’re not done growing or changing. Enjoy knowing that this is not the end of your journey. Keep learning, keep your mind and heart and hands busy. Learn something new.
  • Enjoy being in love, and don’t be afraid to show how head-over-heels you are with your husband. There is nothing wrong with a woman who loves her man. Let him see it, let others see it. Praise him in front of others, show your respect for him in front of others. Have his back, and bless him with your loyalty.

If I’m forgetting any important pieces of advice, I trust someone here will remind me.

blogging madness, healthy living, real living in a virtual world

Okay, I lied.

I said I wasn’t going to write before next month, and with the exception of this little explanation, I’m not going to write. But this counts as writing, so…

What I am going to do is run what I would consider my “best ofs” for the next six to eight weeks, posts I have written over the past 7 years that I am particularly pleased with. After that, I need to get back to what I really want to do, which is read books, write book reviews, and write my own book on a topic that I feel very strongly about.

I started Cal Newport’s Deep Work yesterday, and it is already reverberating in my mind in ways I never anticipated. In addition, it is my firm conviction that the extra things we add to our lives, the things that our lives can do without, are things that we should re-examine, change, or abandon when they cease to add real value to our lives or anyone else’s. That isn’t to say we should only do things we enjoy, but those things which add stress without any corresponding value are things best left behind.

During a season when this particular enterprise was adding value to me intellectually as well as offering encouragement to other people, I (along with some other really smart chicks) wrote some interesting stuff. I call them my “best ofs”, and the next several weeks this space will consist completely of those pieces. Mostly for posterity.

To some of you who have been folwoing me a long time, it’ll feel like re-runs, but I hope they’re the kinds of re-runs you don’t mind enjoying again; kind of like your favorite old movie.

To those of you who haven’t read them before, I can only hope they were as good as I think they were.

 

Common sense, family life, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, Uncategorized

Monday!!! – or – the week, on purpose

This is a good reminder and strategy for moving forward after the holiday madness ends. So I’m reblogging it.

BAY boxwood

Happy Monday!  I hope you’re well and off to a great start this week!

We had an active weekend – I use “active” on purpose, because we weren’t merely busy, we were doing fun things, running kids to different activities, hanging out at the house, discussing Thanksgiving plans, cooking a slow Sunday supper.  It was good – loosely planned,  edited as necessary.  Way better than busy – in fact, I detest being busy.  I enjoy active, though.

I don’t do particularly well with a rigid list of to-do’s, particularly since I’m a recovering over-scheduler (read: busy work maker) and even after 20+ years in Houston, I do not have a grasp on the reality of the relentless traffic.  Every hour is rush hour, here, and somewhere between errands 3 and 4 things go off the rails, timing wise.  Still, an outline is necessary, because I have goals, and people who…

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el's rabbit trails, family life, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, real living in a virtual world, things that make me go hmm...., Uncategorized

Parting Shots…

I’m going to take a holiday centered break from here beginning November 1st until after the Thanksgiving break. I fervently hope to be able to enter the Advent season with a relaxed mind and a focus on commemorating Christ’s advent into the earth. That means a lot of planning and shopping need to get done now so that I have the freedom to do that.

This is similar to a Frivolous Friday post, but in a more stream of consciousness vein.

~ Growing up:  This past Saturday SAM and I attended the homegoing celebration for the widow of a man from his childhood neighborhood. This man, an electrician, noticed when he was a little boy that SAM had a unique sense of how things worked, and a mechanically inclined mind. He would take him with him to electrical jobs and show him the ropes. Incidentally, we have lived in this house for a long time, have never called an electrician, and not because we’ve never had an electrical problem. The man’s door was always open to SAM and his brothers, and they came and went in his house, and this woman’s refrigerator just as if they were her kids. Her children had the same freedom at SAM’s parents’ house.

The interesting thing about occasions like that one is how strange it is to see people you haven’t laid eyes on in 20 or more years. Many of them I knew from the days pulling my beat up powder blue ’89 Ford Escort up to SAM’s parents’ house at the beginning of our relationship. It’s funny how people you think you’ll be connected to forever sort gradually fade from view as you build a family and grow into a separate person than the one you were when they knew you when. It has a surreal quality to it even as you are so happy to know that they are all alive and well. I can remember when I used to wonder how I lost touch with so and so. Now I know it’s just the way life is.

~ More surreality: I am not a person who hears from God directly as some do, but I had an eery experience recetnly.

I have tiered friendships. There are the couple of women I speak to on an ongoing basis. The ones I immediately pick up the phone to call or shoot a quick text to ask for prayer. There are others I see weekly (and have for years) as a result of our kid connections.

Then there are the friends I connect with maybe a few times a year: holidays, birthdays, etc. I can literally go months without speaking to them and out of the blue one of us will call or text the other and say, “Just thinking of you, friend. Love ya.” I woke up Saturday after having a dream about such a friend and her family. I hadn’t connected with her with since March. I didn’t call her right away, but I did pray for her. I was pretty busy so I shot her a text Sunday, to which she replied, “Oh my gosh…this was right on time!”, and preceded to tell me what challenging blow her family was dealt just last week.

It was definitely one of those things that made me sit up and take notice.

~ Brazen: I shared a story with Hearth (and another friend) the other day which sent us off on a very funny text conversation about a subject that isn’t particularly funny. Namely, the realtively shameless way many women comport themselves for the attentions of married men.

It’s not particularly shocking to me, since I don’t live under a rock, but it certainly puts to death this notion of the so-called sisterhood that feminists and masculinists try to put forth as a real thing. What sisterhood there are between women are not about being of the same sex. If it was, certain things wouldn’t be a thing at all.

I have a much greater respect for the woman who said to my husband a couple of weeks ago: “I know you’re off the market, but if you have a brother -or even a friend- who is available, set something up for me. I know your circle must some good men in it.” His circle does have some good men in it. Most of those old enough for her are already taken, though.

~Another day, another diet: So I’ve been flirting with the idea of the keto diet off and on for months. I haven’t been able to bring myself to bite the bullet on it, though, mainly because it’s the kind of thing for which there are no margins. I like margins. There is such a thing as too wide margins, and I know something about those as well. But NO margins? That’s daunting.

Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a go. I, as usual, could certainly stand to lose a few pounds. I’m always wrestling with the same 25. Up and down, up and down. But one of my overwhelming reasons for considering this is the pain I have been battling since I injured myself in late summer trying to impress the man with the heavy duty work I could get accomplished. He was impressed, but unhappy with my lack of priortizing my health.

Apparently something about keto affects the body in a way that relieves pain. I’ll let you know next month how I do with it. My bullet proof coffee this morning was delicious.

~App-oholic update:  So the man got me a new phone, because he just figured I needed one. The old one wasn’t broken. It just had a crappy camera and was always notifying me that I was about to run out of space.

The space problem was more about music, un-deleted text streams, and the myriad pictures and random kid videos that I never bother to transfer, but compared to his phone with years of information and 5 times as much music, mine was a relic. So he replaced it.

About a year ago, I went on right here about my increasing dependence on apps for things I would have found ridiculous a couple of years ago. Ahem. Since I got this phone, my app usage has gone up, not down.  Not only do I have the apps I mentioned before, but I’ve added even more: a HIIT trainer, parallel Bible app, and a put my WordPress app back on there. Oh yes, my Target Cartwheel app. I get a perverse pleasure out of that little cha-ching sound they text me when I combine a cartwheel discount with my red card savings. My husband added Spotify and Letgo because I need a classified app on my phone, I guess?

In other words, I’m wading in apps again. I figured I should confess it since I feel a little wormy about it. And I don’t even have Facebook!

So…this is the view from the rock bottom of app-oholic mountain.

I’ll be around a bit because wordpress app, but I don’t anticipate posting anymore before December. If you’re already well underway with your holiday preparations, do share!

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, family life, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, wife stuff

What is the point of our work?

Has God indeed said that we are to “work hard”?

I read this and it pierced me, because I can be so possessed with efficiency and fulfilling lists that I regularly find myself out of steam.

I set ambitious goals for all the *stuff* I want to accomplish, frustrating myself when I inevitably fail to get it all done. This striving continues for several days, and then crash and revert to doing the bare minimum. Usually on Mondays. I just need to try harder, I tell myself. Be more organized. Eat better and get more sleep so I will have more energy. Pray for more focus and concentration so I can get more done. The Protestant work ethic gone sour. Joshua Gibbs questions these notions for homeschoolers, but his ideas are easily transferable to the life of the home in general:

The idea of finishing a certain task in “a more timely fashion” was meaningless, for Adam and Eve had no expectation they would ever run out of time. Efficiency places value on time as a limited commodity, but for deathless beings, time is endless. Adam replies to his wife that man was made delight, for the love of God and the service of God’s friends, and that work exists that man might love God in his work. Work has no value in and of itself.

Granted, we do not live in such a world anymore. We do not have unlimited resources of time at our disposal, and it is possible for a man to run out of time without accomplishing all he needs to do. However, the imposition of time on our lives does not change the fact we were made for delight in God, not for work. Work is not the point of work. When a man obscures the love of God with his commitment to work, he becomes a slave. A slave lives in fear, as St. Paul suggests in Romans, for the slave is commanded from above with coercive threats. If a man neglects the knowledge of God in his work, he has been reduced to a chattel, for he regards himself as purely physical object.

My husband, ironically, is always encouraging me that I am doing fine, that I don’t need to be stressing this stuff all the time even as I insist that I am just trying to be a good wife to him. He says I am already a good wife; excellent even.

This begs the question: If God doesn’t want me to work purely for the sake of working, and my husband is happy and more concerned with his family’s overall quality of life than a perfectly executed checklist, where does this pressure I put on myself come from?

 

el's rabbit trails, How to pick a guy, wife stuff

Relationship compatibility, redux.

I’ve mentioned this before, but was reminded of it again after walking in on the tail end of a lengthy phone counseling session between SAM and a protégé. It occurred to me how much of the counsel being offered was -or should have been- garden variety. A culture which prize feelings above all would undoubtedly find his advice to this young man offensive:

  • When you’re wrong and you know it, apologize sincerely, but stop the groveling. You’re sending the wrong message.
  • If she says she wants or doesn’t want something and doesn’t mean it, call her bluff. Every time. Don’t help her perfect the habit of lying.
  • The pattern you  now is a precedent set when you marry. Is this how you want to start your life together? [my husband is BIG on precedents and patterns]
  • Stop allowing her to use your actions to justify her wrong behavior, and don’t ever use her actions to justify any of  your wrong behavior.
  • Women play on your emotions and hit you where it hurts when everything else is failing. Don’t get sucked in to that. You’re getting distracted from the real issue.

None of this offends me even when I am on the receiving end of it. I suspect it’s because I don’t come from a family dynamic where love was treated as synonymous with coddling. Love was patient and love was kind, but it also insisted on truth. This is also a bedrock principle in our home. Tell the truth- to yourself and to each other. It underscores every piece of advice I have ever heard my husband dispense.

I was reminded -again- of why it is important when couples marry, that they do so with a clear understanding of the commitment they’re entering, and in touch enough with themselves to know that the person with whom they are joining is someone they are equipped to adapt and adjust to.

There are general truisms about male and female nature which hold up in aggregate. However, within those are various personality types, family histories, strengths and weaknesses which affect individual relationships in unique ways. Generalities are not absolutes.

For example, among our adult daughters, there is one with whom a gentler man who wishes to please his wife would meet an equal sensitivity and eagerness to please. It wouldn’t occur to her to view him as weak, but loving. Being a loving soul herself, his nature would be rewarded so long as it is balanced with confidence and protectiveness.

Another daughter, however, probably won’t do as well with anyone less than a man who meets her father’s strength of personality. She is very aware of that reality. A man she could lead around by the nose is one whom she would make miserable. She would be miserable with him as well.

The third is mature, analytical, and highly adaptable. A highly sensitive man would be turned off by her reserved nature (and she by a heart on his sleeve), but she doesn’t need a man as dominant as her father in order to follow his lead. She could handle that kind of dominance and even enjoy it, but would have no problem submitting to a man who leads from a more laid back position.  He would, however, have to be an unapologetic leader.

None would be able to tolerate micromanagement because that’s not what they have grown up around, and it’s the antithesis of confident leadership. They need to be able to breathe freely.

Each of those examples serve to illustrate how our individual makeups matter in our relationships. Marriage and family are a delicate balancing act; an intricate microcosm of emotions, personalities, and traits which meld together beautifully when done well. They can be equally difficult without honesty, spiritual growth  and character development. Character growth is often uncomfortable, and we need someone who will help us persevere righteously through those periods of growth.

Attraction, shared faith, and shared values are important things, but they are not the only things. Intangibles are also important.

 

 

el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Kitchen tips, Uncategorized

Breakfast of champions

20171025_072917
You have to try this!

I thoroughly enjoyed our quick and delicious breakfast this morning so I thought I’d lighten things up by sharing it here.

I visited with my sister this weekend and when I arrived there was a show on the Food network where the hosts were sharing new, different, and delectable things to mix into your morning oatmeal.  One of the ideas was titled “Carrot Cake Oatmeal”, and I was inspired to try it. I didn’t use the recipe of the television chef, which you can find here, but it was my inspiration. This recipe served 8.

I prepared 3 cups of old-fashioned oats using the standard 2:1 water to oats cooking method, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the water. To the oats I added:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded

3/4 cups chopped pecans

chopped candied bacon (optional)

vanilla yogurt (optional)

I cooked the oatmeal with the carrots maple, and spices in it, then topped it with more carrots, the pecans, chopped candied bacon, and a dollop of vanilla yogurt. Not everyone in our house eats bacon, or wanted the pecans or yogurt, so I did what we generally do here, and lined all the toppings up on the counter for each person to top their yogurt the way they liked. A couple of people added butter and brown sugar as well since I made the recipe to suit my husband’s preference for “not too sweet”.

There are lots of ways to spice up your oatmeal, and since the temperatures are dropping, there’s no time like now to liven up your oats.