Becca's Fab Five- June Edition
I LOVE the Human Body with all of its mysteries and intricacies. New products and science are always coming down the pipe and it's hard to know what to read, where to spend your dollars, and when to focus your energy. I thought it would be helpful to show you just FIVE things I'm loving each month. Maybe a recipe, or a book, or an exercise or stretch..... Maybe a product, or a podcast, or a restaurant or venue. I'm giving you ONE THING in each of the areas of our Four Cornerstones or Health, plus a bonus. I hope you'll try them in your life and find a benefit for you!
Summer time in Florida. That means it is HOT AS HELL.... and THAT means it can be decidedly difficult to motivate yourself to jump in the kitchen to cook up some grand meal. My solution? Don't. More often than not, dinner at our house is embarrassingly simple. We might have a nice plate of good quality salami, some organic cheese, an olive medley, some avocado and carrot sticks with guacamole.
I can't encourage you enough to just keep it simple. It's tempting to feel like you "aren't doing enough," but just set that thought aside and keep it easy. Cold chicken, sliced tomatoes, avocado, fine cheeses, pesto, smoked salmon, capers, boiled eggs, fresh berries.... platters like this are perfect for summer's long days and fun outdoor activities. Top it off with a smoothie pop and you are good to go! I'm making my smoothie pops these days with high quality Coconut Milk, some berries, Great Lakes Collagen powder (the orange bottle), and Navita Pomegranate Powder (<--- this stuff is a flavor explosion). Add some honey if you have a sweeter taste. Then freeze them up in some cool reusable popsicle molds.
Lately, I've gotten back into running more. For me, the freedom of running is just the pinnacle of enjoyable exercise. My favorite running is the kind that's on a super challenging trail deep in the woods right as the world is waking up. To be clear, I also love this as a hike when I don't feel like running. The reality, though, is that this perfect run is hard to coordinate. More typically, I end up running one sidewalks and roads and it often involves pushing a stroller. Minus the beautiful sounds of nature, I go for the second best option: podcasts and books on tape. I devour knowledge through this medium and make my run a double dose of good stuff. Now I am no techy person. I honestly do not know ANYTHING about ANYTHING that has to do with technology. But Jake showed me his handy dandy bluetooth headphones and I thought "Man, those would be sooooooo much better." Turns out they were also sooooooo much more expensive. Then I found THESE!! Jake insisted they would suck, they'd sound terrible, and be difficult to use. But so far, I am in love, and at such a low price I don't constantly worry. It is likely that at some point these will get eaten by a dog, dragged through the yard, or used in a manner that is not the original intended use. As far as a review, they were super easy to connect, they fit snug in my ears (which is near impossible), and I have not had any issues with sound (as far as books and podcasts, maybe different if you are a music lover?).
We all want to make a difference in the world, to be a positive influence in the lives of our friends, coworkers, and family. In the book The Self Driven Child (see the bonus section below) the authors state, "Our anxiety is seeping into our kids. Children don't need perfect parents....a parent who isn't tired, stressed, worried or angry is much better equipped to do a world of good just by not freaking out. Managing your own stress is the most important thing you can do for your child." This is in the section about STRESS CONTAGION, which I'm sure you can figure out means that STRESS IS CONTAGIOUS. It's contagious at work, It's contagious in a traffic jam, and it's contagious in your house. Just as you can do a world of good for your kids by simply not freaking out, that same idea applies to your place in the world around you. It is crazy hard to be the steady stable presence, though, when you aren't caring for your own mental and physical health. Meditation seems nearly impossible to fit in, but the benefits are clear. If you're like me, you have no idea where to even start, what to do, how to sit, and how not to feel weird. I need guidance! I seem to have found just that in a new phone app called CALM. It's a paid app, but it's very inexpensive. You can listen to daily talks ranging from 7-20 min to help you focus in on self esteem, gratitude, mindfulness or any number of topics. There is also a "sleep stories" section where you can listen to bedtime stories (it has ones for kids too!) and then your phone automatically turns off sound and light. For the days where you just need some relaxing music, there are beautiful and calming selections of that too. So far, I am incredibly pleased with everything on the app and I really appreciate this space being one (the only) space in my life where I don't have to be in charge. It just tells me what to do and I can relax and let it all go. I think you'll like it... let me know!
*** Be sure to use volume limiting headphones for your littles :-)
As a parent, my job is simple. It's just two important roles. This is true of being a wife and a friend, too.
* Love unconditionally
* Be a story teller and a story catcher
Stories have long been a critical part of humanity- sharing knowledge, experience and wisdom while connecting the story teller and the story catcher in a unique shared experience. Each day, we share in our family our Story of the Day. I am often amazed, and sometimes shocked, by what incident or moment locked itself into the minds of my littles or what stood out in my husband's mind when we leave an event. Story Catching is a special time at our house. Listen, ask thoughtful questions, be wide eyed and excited for a glimpse into the mind of another human.
The other day on our hike, we came across a dead wild hog. It was maggots and flies and vultures... The whole nine yards. I already knew the Story of the Day. I already knew I had a wonderful opportunity to discuss life and death, to knit together my own beautiful story of how it all works. Story telling. It is how we make sense of the world, how we share passion, how we highlight beauty and how we create closure. Through story we can create beauty out of difficult situations and drive home lessons without preaching. Ask your family for their Story of the Day tonight. Use these stories as clues to what motivates and excites the people you love.
This month I am just going to put a few books here that I am loving for me and for my kids.
* The Self Driven Child - If you are a parent, get this. You need to hear it. I have really enjoyed the audio version. Confession: I have the hardback version, too!
* Rainbow Crow - This is a Native American story of courage and sacrifice is a great conversation piece. While highlighting sacrificial love, you can drive home more nuanced themes like using your talents for the good of all, bravery, and the power of fire.
* Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli - A super fun book to read at the dinner table.
* The People Could Fly - It is with caution that I put this one here. This is an old African American folk story and it gets VERY real. I believe we guard our children too much and that they are capable of talking about hard topics and making hard decisions very early in life. If you have a culture in your home for this type of thing, this book is beautiful.