CHURCH + CHANGE + COOKIES + CHRISTMAS CARDS

The sermon this past Sunday at church was all about change, a topic that is especially relevant for me this year. Do you have that friend that just keeps having bad things happen to them and no matter what, it just seems to get worse for awhile before it gets better? Well, I have realized it was my year to be that friend. You never quite understand the struggle until it is you climbing the mountain of disasters. Lucky for me I can laugh about it and when my friends have listed my year of grievances, it is comical.

Even my dad said to me the other night that I am a tough lady. I responded that I didn’t have another option. So there I was in church, listening to the pastor discuss change, while I quietly re-lived the last year and a half in my head. By the time we got to communion, my mind was racing. This also happens to me at yoga: the instructor is saying, ‘child’s pose’ or ‘namaste’ and all I can think about are my 99 problems. Jay Z on the playlist does not help… That sermon was a reminder and God’s way of telling me to slow the heck down. Everyone is fighting their own personal battles and I need to be patient and have faith that far better things lie ahead. My resolution for 2016 is to be more intentional and present in the moment. I often try to do too much and stress myself out in the process.

I saw a quote a few months ago that has stuck with me: “You change for two reasons: either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.” I fall into the latter category and my change has been for the better. I’d encourage you to reflect on this sentiment before New Year’s. Have you learned a valuable lesson (maybe repeatedly), but have not put change into action to address this lesson? Or have you repeatedly been hurt and yet you have not done anything to prevent this from happening again? Keep in mind this is easier said than done. The first step is identifying ways to continually improve yourself. I keep a running list of ideas in a notebook that include random thoughts, things that made me laugh, and to-dos. Disclaimer: You should never change for someone else, but you can and should seek opportunities to change for the better. As scary as change is (and most people are change averse), it is less scary when you remind yourself that the guy upstairs knows what he is doing and has big plans for you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.” – Proverbs 3:5

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

On a related note of change, I recently discovered that Panera no longer has the hidden menu hummus bowl. They didn’t remove it from their menu because it was never there in the first place, hence ‘hidden’ menu, so I don’t really understand where it went. I asked if they no longer have the ingredients to make it and the Panera lady said, ‘That’s not it.’ So what’s up with that, Panera? This is just one small example of pondering questions that we may never have answers to, which brings me to another point about change. IT IS OK TO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not; life is 100% about your attitude and how you react. For my MIA hummus bowl of goodness, I asked questions, didn’t get an answer, told y’all about it, and moved on.

Most change will not be this easy and I am someone that cares too much. I recently discussed this with a friend and mentor. We were talking about the ‘I don’t give a F bomb’ people. We both agreed we will never be those people. Actually, I do care. I care way too much about other people, my actions, and the legacy I will one day leave. Your life will be a hell of a lot less stressful if you never care about anything, but what is the point of that? Your purpose is driven by your passions, which you CARE about. Find a healthy balance – don’t sweat the small, insignificant everyday stuff, but do care about the big stuff.

Caring is the only way to create change for the better. Churchill cared about Britain and knew what Germany (and Hitler) were up to. He created the Royal Naval Air Service and modernized the British fleet. MLK cared about civil rights and encouraged Americans to act. Reagan told Gorbachev to tear down that wall! I could go on all day about people that cared, but you get the point.

Onto the third C in the title: COOKIES! I made three kinds of cookies this weekend for a little holiday surprise for my out of state friends. My idea of the perfect gift = a shoebox full of cookies and a note. I made limoncello, oatmeal raisins, and chocolate chip. I have linked to the recipes, with the exception of the chocolate chip. I created that recipe in college and have only given it to a select group of people or recited the recipe when I have had one too many beverages. The Levain Bakery ones are really good and I recommend them for a shoebox sampler. Flourless peanut butter cookies are also a great option if you have a gluten free friend. Gingerbread men, cutout cookies, and shortbread cookies are all holiday classics.

I packed the limoncello cookies in large mason jars with wax paper layered in between each cookie since they are so fragile. I get my clear treat bags from Michael’s or the Container Store for $2-4 a pack. Add leftover ribbon, a little tag and it is the best homemade gift you can give. If the recipient likes to bake, I often include the recipe as well. These are headed to Columbus, Cleveland, and St Louis!

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I also finally ordered my Christmas cards, see below, from Simply to Impress. I have done Tiny Prints, Shutterfly, and Minted in the past, but they were really expensive even with a coupon code. For a little more than $1 a card, I found ones I liked at Simply to Impress. They also promised shipping this week instead of the two week turnaround other sites offered. I went with the headline,’Real is the new perfect.’ I thought it perfectly articulated my year.

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OUTTAKES

I call this one, ‘demure Winnie’

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I have had a pair of lavender and white striped Hanna Andersson Swedish long john’s for about ten years and have always wanted the Christmas ones. I even took them to London with me. I am a 160 in the kids (half the price as the adult) and they only carry up to a 140 in stores. Blasphemy! What if your kid (aka 29 year old) is husky and needs the 160s?

And the Talbot’s driving mocs with a holiday scene embroidered.

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The adorable culinary Christmas ornament from my friend KanesterIMG_7241

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