Daily Rebecca - Page 2 of 251 - dishing up a little bit of everything.

Should

October 22nd, 2014

I’m beginning to notice how much mental energy I spend thinking about what I “should” be doing.

It’s this constant pushing on my heart and mind.  I have become so accustomed to it that I hardly realize it’s even there.

Until it’s gone.

Until I say, “Screw whatever you should be doing and do what you’d enjoy doing instead!”

I know this isn’t always feasible or even wise, but sometimes I think we need to shake off the yoke of SHOULD and experience a little freedom.

Sometimes I think we, as women especially, are held in a choke hold by this big bully called Should.

Should is demanding and relentless and the first one to heap on piles of guilt when we put our foot down and say no.

Should is a thief of joy and rest and peace.

But…

Should is also kind of like air.

It’s everywhere and it’s even necessary for a decent life.

I mean, we should brush our teeth and eat 3 healthy meals and be polite to people and say we’re sorry and shower regularly and floss our teeth.

Life without all of that would be rotten, starving, lonely, smelly and decaying.

None of us wants a life like that.

So this bully called Should isn’t exactly something we can outright exterminate.

But something has got to happen.

At least for me.

Yesterday I woke up feeling incredibly tired.  Despite having gotten a pretty good night’s sleep, my eyes felt so heavy and my brain so foggy.  I just wanted 6 more hours of sleep.

Haha!

Like that can ever really happen anymore with 2 little ones, a bun in the oven, and a full weekly schedule.

So I got out of bed, dressed and fed the girls, dressed and fed myself and managed to get all of us and our lunch/Bible study/diaper/school bags out the door by 8:30am.

Miracles do happen, people.

Tuesday Bible study was fantastic as usual.  The luncheon I had with the ladies at my table was also lovely and my girls did well in the nursery for an extended time due to my lunch.

Preschool drop off was smooth, as was laying Avery down for nap when I got home.

Then it was quiet.

I was tired.

Should was shouting particularly loud in my ear.

You should be meal planning!  You should be doing laundry!  You should be packing Grace’s room for the big move upstairs this weekend!  You should be dusting the living room!  You should be cleaning the bathroom!  You should be blogging!  You should be scavenging the house for things to make dinner with!

Not to mention…

You should be reading your bible! Spending time in prayer!  Doing bible study homework!  Sending a kind note to someone!

Spiritual shoulds sometimes scream even louder and fiercer than ordinary shoulds.

I just wanted to lay down.  To pull back the cozy covers and soft sheets and lay my head on my wonderful pillow.  I just wanted to set an alarm for preschool pickup and lay in peace and rest until I truly had to get up for the next thing.

Well, really I wanted some magical fairy to come along and pick Grace up from school so I could lay peacefully in my bed for as long as my little heart desired!

But this is real life, folks.

No such fairies exist.

You know what I did?

I laid in the bed.  Under the cozy covers and soft sheets with my head on my wonderful pillow.  I set the alarm for preschool pickup and I felt the most comforting, almost intoxicating, peace wash over me.

That weight that pushes constantly on my heart and mind was lifted.

I breathed an “almost prayer” to God for the moment of rest and quiet, and I fell asleep.

Not burdened.  Not guilty.  Not stressed.  Not reluctant.

But free.

Oh how glorious it felt!

Leave should behind
 

That little sip of freedom where nothing else matters but this moment and drinking it in deeply.

That experience yesterday has gotten me thinking.  I’m seeing just how much I’m dragged around everyday by shoulds that aren’t really necessary.

Shoulds that are more about my own expectations and my performance and my worthiness and my rightness and my reputation.

They are not the voice of my Lord.

He is never the one whispering, “Try harder. Do more.”

Never.

He whispers, “Be still and know that I am God.  Trust in me with all your heart.  Cast your cares upon me.”

With Him we can rest.  We can take deep breaths and feel accepted as we are.

No performing.  No striving.  No shoulds.

Any good things we do ought to be motivated out of our love for Him and our gratitude for his great love and mercy.

When we really love Him and, more importantly, know we are really loved BY HIM, the good things will flow from our hearts naturally.

Not because we should, but because we just can’t help ourselves.


Netflix Stream Team

October 18th, 2014

Like millions of other Americans, our family has a Netflix subscription.

AND like millions of other Americans, we love it.

I became highly disinterested in cable TV sometime after Grace was born.  All my favorite channels started to have marathon after marathon of shows I didn’t like.

Any shows that did seem appealing to me were aired at times that I couldn’t watch them and, since we didn’t have a DVR, I just fell completely out of touch with what was on TV.

EXCEPT for the shows that were available on Netflix.

 

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Because Netflix allows me to stream full seasons of my favorite shows commercial-free, I’ve become completely spoiled.

If it’s not available on Netflix, I pretty much don’t watch it.

Commercials drive me bonkers and I don’t have patience for waiting a whole week between episodes of the shows I love most.

Well, except The Walking Dead :)

But even in the case of The Walking Dead, I might never have become a huge fan had it not been for Netflix.  I was skeptical about the whole plot originally (I mean zombies??? Come on!) but because I was able to watch a bunch of episodes commercial-free and then start binge watching them once I got hooked, I became a huge fan.

I know, I know, zombies.

BUT it has an incredible cast and the character development and relationships keep me coming back for more!

I digress…

We are big Netflix fans over here.  Every one of us.

Thanks to their Kids Only profiles, Grace and I can scroll through show options worry-free because I know she’s not going to see anything inappropriate.

Some of her favorites are…

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This one surprised me because she’s such a girly-girl, but she caught pirate fever!  I like it because of all the counting and learning elements.

When it comes to manners, hygiene, and general good behavior, this one’s a favorite of mine and Grace & Avery love it too!

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I only recently learned that Daniel Tiger is a descendant of the tiger on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood which was a childhood favorite of mine.  Mr. Rogers was such an awesome dude.

My favorite outcome of this show has been the “You can take a turn, then I’ll get it back” song that encourages kids to share.  I’ve been singing it rather frequently lately, and I think Grace is starting to understand how true it is!  Sharing is such a battle with siblings, so having an arsenal of things like this jingle is really helpful.

I try to limit the time that both Grace and Avery watch TV because no matter how good the shows are, my girls get whiney and irritable if they have too much screen time.

I also don’t want them exposed to the slew of marketing out there in the form of commercials.  Even the preschool cable channels have tons of commercials ranging from toys to geriatric medical supplies to pharmaceuticals.

Grace gets irritated (like me!) with commercials and just plain doesn’t need to be exposed to all of that advertising.

Netflix is a great solution.  We pick what we want from their Kids Only section and I know the girls won’t be bombarded with ads.

As far as Andy and I are concerned, we love to find a mutually enjoyable show and watch the heck out of it together snuggled on the couch.

Now that he’s in his 3rd year of medical school, his study schedule has become much more manageable.  It’s like we get a little bit of “normal” before he starts his crazy residency schedule.

In the spring we really fell for this show…

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Parks & Rec is hilarious and super quirky.  It kind of reminds me of The Office, but isn’t nearly as cringe worthy.

Amy Poehler is brilliantly funny and lovable and I cannot get enough “Ron Swanson” (played by Nick Offerman).  I mean…

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LOL!

Once we’d watched all of the Parks & Rec that Netflix had available, we began searching for a new show to watch together.  We tried 24 for two whole seasons, but it just dragged on too much for us.  I think it should have been called 12 and covered 12 hours of a day rather than the whole 24! Ha!

After hearing rave reviews, we checked out House of Cards…

house of cards
 

It’s definitely a show for mature audiences and we fast forwarded a few scenes that were outside of what we are comfortable with, but at the end of the day it’s a fantastic political drama.

Kevin Spacey is extraordinarily cunning and the cinematography is beautiful.  There were episodes that actually made me jump up off the couch in total shock.

Both seasons were gripping.  You just didn’t know exactly what to expect.

I could go on and on about more of our favorite shows, but I’d love to hear recommendations from other Netflix addicts!  What are you hooked on?  What have your favorites been?

Let me know and I’ll be back next month with more of our favorite picks :)

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Incredibly Moist Buttermilk Cornbread

October 16th, 2014

To me, fall is the perfect time of year to eat chili.

Something about the cool weather, dark evenings, and football playing in the background just beckons me to eat a big bowl of hot chili.

I love to eat mine topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and oyster crackers.  Mmmmmm.

When I’m feeling particularly health conscious I eat my chili straight up, and this recipe is so very good that it can absolutely stand alone and be eaten plain!

the best traditional chili

 

I know it’s a bold claim…to be the best traditional chili, but in my opinion it is!  Try it and let me know what you think :)

Just as peas are to carrots and peanut butter is to jelly, chili and cornbread are a winning combo.

Not all corn bread is created equal however!

Soooo many cornbread recipes turn out dry and crumbly.  You need a thick pat of butter just to choke down a dry slice of cornbread and even then it leaves you wishing it was so much better.

I think cornbread should be moist, cakey, and slightly sweet.

That’s how I like mine anyway.

Most often I’ll whip up a batch of cornbread using the recipe on the back of the cornmeal canister and it’s always turned out ok.  It’s not terribly dry, but not terribly amazing either.

We slap some butter on it and gobble it up with our chili, which is the real star of the show.

I’ve been scouting around for a better recipe and I think I may stop my search now that I’ve found this one!

Cornbread close up

It’s incredibly moist and cakey with the perfect amount of sweetness (you could reduce the sugar if you like yours less sweet) and it was so tasty we didn’t even butter it!

YUM.

I think it may have had something to do with the stick of butter and cup of buttermilk ;)

This is not a light, low-cal, gluten-free healthy cornbread.

This is a rich and delicious indulgent cornbread and really, why mess around with any other kind?

Another thing I loved about this recipe is that the batter is made right in the saucepan you use to melt the butter! I’m all about saving a dish and having less to wash later.

Without further ado, here’s the simple, yet delicious recipe!

incredibly moist buttermilk cornbread

Incredibly Moist Buttermilk Cornbread
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish/Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup white sugar (you can reduce to ½ cup for a less sweet version)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F and grease an 8 inch square pan with butter.
  2. Melt stick of butter in large saucepan.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until fully combined.
  4. Add eggs and immediately beat by hand (with a whisk) until well blended.
  5. Combine buttermilk with baking soda first, then stir into butter/sugar/egg mixture in saucepan.
  6. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt and stir until well blended.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I recommend starting with 25 minutes and increasing by 2 minutes each time until it's fully cooked...don't over bake and dry it out!)

 

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