making things happen monday : rest

Want to know a surprising key ingredient to making things happen?

Taking a break from making things happen.

For real.

It sounds counterproductive. How can you make things happen if you aren’t spending all of your time and energy making them happen? It’s something that sounds soft and lazy when in the context of “work,” but isn’t it true in every other area of life?

Can you run hard for 12 hours straight without stopping for fuel/water/air?

Can you use your cell phone for days and days without recharging the batteries?

Can you drive your vehicle for weeks at a time without stopping to fill up on gas?

Clearly, you can’t do any of those things. You can’t run for 12 hours without stopping. You can’t leave your cell phone off the charger for a few days and expect it to work. You can’t drive indefinitely without eventually needing to stop for gas.

So why do we think we can – and should – work, work, work, without ever stopping for a real break?

There’s a reason why God created the whole world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. There’s a reason why keeping a sabbath, one day to do nothing but recharge and reconnect with the Lord, is a priority all across scripture.

If God rested, and if He commands us to rest as well, why do we feel so guilty about it? Why does it seem like a luxury, not a necessity?

Perhaps in the healthy spirit of entrepreneurship, our culture has gone one step too far. Perhaps we’ve taken a good thing (hard work, big goals, big achievements) and turned it into an object of worship, an identity. There seems to be a certain pride associated with being busy and exhausted. If you are neither of those things then you must not be working hard enough, or so it seems.

This conversation isn’t meant to be an indictment. Trust me, I’ve been the president of this club, and sometimes (too many times) I still sit on the board of directors. But I know that for me, when I find my identity in how many hours I work and how spent I am, my priorities are way out of line. When I find worth in what I can do in my own strength, not what the Lord can do through His strength, I become self-focused rather than God-focused, and that just messes everything up.

Taking a true rest is an exercise in humility and faith for me. Do I really believe that if I honor God’s commandment to take a break once a week that He will provide the time and resources to get all my other “stuff” done? Do I think that I am wiser than God and can more effectively expedite in 7 days what He can do in 6 days? Do I really want to surrender my time, my schedule, my to-do list, my life to Him?

This is why rest is so important. It’s so much more about surrender than anything else.

But it’s also important because humans are not robots (insightful moment of the day – you’re welcome). We can’t continually move at full speed ahead without burning out. There is so much truth in this quote:

“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid

To really make things happen, you have to take regular, beneficial breaks from making things happen. Daily, it can be scheduling time for a walk outside or connecting with a friend. Weekly, it’s taking one day a week to truly rest. Monthly/yearly, it’s about getting away from your surroundings and refreshing your perspective with a new place or experience.

This weekend, I took this theory to the bank. It started out unintentionally, but I ended up spending most of the weekend recharging from a long couple of weeks. Here’s what that looked like:

dinner with lauren at this month’s new Rochester restaurant – post (and rave) coming soon!

saturday morning breakfast with the gilmores

fueling my fire for color by spending some time creating palettes on colourlovers.com

getting my favorite ice cream (bruster’s graham central station!) with smash

buying this season’s first strawberries (!!!)

watching the best thing in (non-NFL) sports : game 7

spending sunday afternoon in kitchen productivity, mass producing meals for the rest of the week

taking multiple long walks around my beautiful neighborhood in the perfect almost-summer weather

Not pictured but equally beneficial: catching up on my favorite blogs, reading bits and pieces of a few magazines, spending time with the Lord at church and on the drive to and from, connecting with people I love on skype, pouring buckets of sweat into P90x workouts, listening to new and old music, just all around loving life.

And you know what? I feel abundantly better than I did a few days ago. It’s the miracle of rest. Give it a try and watch it work wonders!

ALSO!

Have you signed up for The Challenge?! If not, here’s your chance!

1. Comment here or on ANY Making Things Happen Monday Post to let me know that you are doing The Challenge.

2. DO The Challenge! It’s a 10 Step process that will set you up for success in every area of life.

3.  During The Challenge, you will receive email encouragement from me and a nice surprise in the mail when you successfully complete all 10 Steps (and you will successfully complete all 10 Steps!).

4. One lucky duck will win a prize package, announced at the completion of The Challenge.

Time is starting to run out, so let’s get moving!!!

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good things : fire and backflips and joy

Things that are literally setting my heart on fire this morning:

this breakfast

this photostream

this website

this song

this band

these pins

this conviction

Bursting at the seams. There have been squeals of pure joy and happy dancing involved.

(If you need me, I’ll be running out some of this enthusiasm in laps around the neighborhood for awhile so I don’t blow a fuse. Oh my word.)

(OH MY WORD!)

good things : weekend peace

:: 1 ::

{ Friday Night Light }

There’s almost nothing in the world I crave more than time spent sitting outside on warm nights, reading magazines and listening to good music. It’s magically restorative.

:: 2 ::

{ Truth }

“Whatever we focus on, whether it’s positive or negative, tends to come true for us. That doesn’t mean if we expect to win, we’ll always win. Or that everything we fear will eventually happen. But there’s a general pattern: when we focus on what not to do, we often end up doing that. But if we can envision what we want to do, we have the motivation and the faith to see it through until it happens.

We need to discipline our thoughts to accomplish the things we dream of and the things God has called us to do. He wants us to do our best and use the gifts He has given us to achieve extraordinary results. In order to do that, we have to believe what He believes – that we can. It’s hard, if not impossible, to achieve what we dream while focusing on all the reasons we can’t. When we focus on the obstacles in front of us, they seem to grow larger and larger until we give up. But if we focus on what God can do through us – and on His promise that if we delight in Him, He will give us the desire of our hearts – we become confident and able to achieve whatever we were designed to achieve.”

The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker

:: 3 ::

{ Breakfast }

DIY Chocolate Greek Yogurt // Sliced Strawberries // Oatmeal // Golden Roasted Flax Seeds // Cacao Nibs // Cinnamon // Agave Nectar

good things : stories of hope

This morning, as every Saturday morning, I started catching up on a week’s worth of backlogged Google Reader items. While reading Big Mama’s Fashion Friday post, I clicked on her link to Paige’s blog. While reading Paige’s blog, I clicked on her link to her Story of Hope. After viewing her story, I clicked on the link to see more stories and found all of these.

(This beautiful trail is the reason why I love blogging. Because 89% of the time I’ll wander a linked path to Target to look at color-coded shoe organizers. But 11% of the time I’ll end up somewhere I didn’t know about before and have a grateful, refreshed perspective to show for it.)

What I learned from these stories:

1. God’s wisdom > my plan.

2. Life is short.

3. Hope is real.

It’ll take you less than 5 minutes to watch these videos. A miniscule price to pay for something that is guaranteed to set your weekend on the right track.

Have a wonderful Saturday. And have HOPE!

beka stays real : kitchen productivity

Oh, Mondays.

Like the rest of the world, once Monday afternoon hits I am in a constant whirlwind of movement until Friday afternoon arrives.  Downtime? What downtime?! Preparing thoughtful, healthy meals?! Psssssshhhh, get out of town.

But over the summer when I was in a constant whirlwind of movement all of the time, I discovered a secret. Do the work once, just once!, and the week will go much smoother.

Case in point: this Sunday.

I usually break the 5 Things rule on Sundays because there is ample time to be productive after church so I try to make the most of it. I do things like returning all calls/texts/emails, paying bills, cleaning, and tidying up in general. Those things all set me on pace to have an effective week. There’s nothing worse than starting Monday in a mess.

But probably the most important thing that happens most Sundays is preparing food for the rest of the week. This makes healthy meal choices so much easier. If When I’m running out the door I don’t have time to put together a huge salad with homemade dressing. I’ll grab a Luna bar and a banana and bolt to work. But by making and packaging huge salads with homemade dressing on Sunday, all I have to do is stop by the fridge on my way out the door and I’m good to go.


See?

Those would have taken at least 10-15 minutes to prepare individually. Which, multiplied by 4, means I’d be working for an hour as opposed to 15 minutes. Not to mention I only cleaned one mess instead of four. Not to mention that during the week I wouldn’t have had time to clean up any of the messes in the first place which is why when I don’t do this on Sundays, my kitchen looks like it needs emergency relief from the Red Cross on Fridays.

Yesterday I spent about 2 and 1/2 hours in the kitchen, start to finish. It wouldn’t have taken quite as long if I wasn’t simultaneously watching the Ravens/Texans game, but hey, at least I had good entertainment. Here’s what I made in that time span:

1. Olive Oil Granola

Alterations: I only made 1/3 of the recipe, substituted apricots for figs and cherries for craisins, and added large flake coconut. Result: AMAZING. I think next time I’ll tone down the oil and agave just because it was a little too heavy for me, but all in all I’m totally enamored by this recipe. If you’ve never made your own granola I’m throwing down the gauntlet: you HAVE to try it! Seriously, it’s so much better than pre-packaged, so (SO) much cheaper, and infinitely healthier (in most cases). Plus, you get to pick all of the ingredients. Win-win-win-win! It’s like we’re living in a dream world!

2. Mixed Berry Lemon Oat Bars (Not Meatloaf…Which is Kind Of What This Looks Like…)

Alterations: I pressed the date mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan, then folded it into itself in thirds to create a rectangle, therefore making bars instead of squares (to-may-to, to-mah-to). I’ve done the strawberry topping (as suggested in the linked recipe) before and loved it, but since I already had a bag of Wegmans Frozen Mixed Berries in the freezer I decided to get a little crazy and make a simple compote:

Mixed Berry Lemon Compote:

Simmer until reduced by half. Cool, then spoon on top of bars.

Making your own compote is so gratifying. In addition to being healthier than most jams, it makes you feel like you’ve totally conquered the “I’m An Amateur Cook And I Usually Have No Idea What I’m Doing But Hey This Is GOOD!” world.

Then, to store, I just cut the parchment paper into lines where the bars were laying and folded the long ends over the compote to prevent sticking. I popped them into a container and stuck them in the fridge for a sweet accompaniment to these guys…

3. Avocado Wedge Salads

I decided I was making these salads while perusing the produce section and finding heirloom tomatoes and 3 for $5 avocados! Thanks, Wegmans! Here’s what’s in the mix:

Avocado Wedge Salads:

  • 1 (generous) Cup Wegmans Organic Mixed Field Greens (in bulk)
  • 1/4 Heirloom Tomato
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons Grain Salad Dressing (Cooked Wheatberries, Corn, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice – quantities to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon Hummus (I used Sabra’s Roasted Pine Nut)

4. This Week’s Dinner Challenge…here’s a sneak preview!

So in 2 and 1/2 hours I made 4 dinners, 4 lunches, 6 snacks, and enough granola to last me for at least a few weeks if not a month. I now know that I’m going to be eating well all week long. It just makes me happier on Monday morning and all throughout the week.

(Another proactive kitchen task that makes me happy on ANY morning: setting the coffee delay and my alarm for the same time. Smelling the coffee brewing keeps me from hitting snooze 18 times. I know it’s better to grind and brew instantly, but this method gets me out of bed in the morning, and really, that makes up for any flavor disadvantage.)

Like the idea of weekend kitchen productivity? Have some tricks up your sleeve that help maximize weekday meal efficiency? Please do share!