Tag Archives: productivity

A New Era of Health and Happiness

Strangely enough, I have entered an era in my life where my happiness seems directly related to something that I am purchasing on a regular basis. Now we all know that happiness can’t be purchased. But health? Health is largely dependent on the food we eat.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

In the last couple months, I have been using Instacart religiously. I have been waiting for it to come to our area for quite some time now. You see, I had all of these hopes and dreams of what my life would be like – how it would improve – if only I had access to Instacart.

Usually, the fantasy versions of our lives never quite match up with reality. The grass is always greener and all of that. However, I was actually right this time.

Here’s how Instacart has benefited our lives (and no, they aren’t sponsoring me or anything like that – life really has improved, and I’m wanting to share the reasons with you, in case you want to try it out for yourself.)

  1. We are healthier. The minimum order in my area is $35, so I order fresh food two times a week. This is twice the frequency that I used to do my shopping, so we eat a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables. I only order 3 or 4 days worth at any given time, and we make sure to eat it all up before I place another order (or plan the next day’s meals around what’s left). Therefore, I’ve barely thrown any food away since using this service.
  2. We are happier. Health = happiness in a lot of ways. When we eat better, we feel better. Our minds are sharper, we don’t need as much sleep, we don’t have as many sugar cravings (because we’re meeting our nutritional needs), we feel better about ourselves because we aren’t as wasteful as we once were, and we look forward to each and every meal because we aren’t eating out of boxes as often. Oh, and the kitchen usually smells like a restaurant. Happiness! 🙂
  3. We are spending quality time together. It’s been way more fun to cook together lately. There really is something to be said about using fresh ingredients – it just seems…right…somehow – authentic. (I once read that when boxed cakes first came out, they contained powdered eggs, etc. All a person had to do was add water and bake. However, after a while, companies caught onto the fact that people like to be more involved in their food – we want to feel like we are actually responsible for what’s on the table. We want to be able to say, “I baked a cake!” Not, “I added water.”)
  4. We are more adventurous. We’ve been trying a lot of ethnic dishes – at least one or two new ones each week. Turns out, it’s a whole lot easier to rely on someone else to find the more obscure items in a store. I think that’s what had been preventing a lot of experimentation in my kitchen.
  5. We are more productive. I can get my shopping done at 6am, at the very beginning of my day. The Instacart shopper is the one that has to wait for ALDI to open, by which time I’m usually already teaching. Also, I don’t have the excuse of procrastinating until the weather warms up or until I have other things marked off my to-do list. I can shop first and just forget about it until the delivery person shows up at my front door.
  6. We are coming out ahead financially. On the surface, the extra costs of Instacart service (driver tip, price differences, and either delivery fees or yearly membership) seem extravagant. However, I really do believe we are spending less money on food nowadays. Maybe that requires some explanation:
    1. We almost never eat out anymore because I plan out my meals in advance. And because we’re incorporating so many fresh meats and vegetables into our meals, we can’t really skip a meal that I’ve planned without worrying about food going bad. (Last time my parents invited us to dinner, I took what I had been planning to make, and cooked it at their house. We had a feast because they made food too!)
    2. We are also eating our leftovers for lunch the next day, every day. That way, I can have an empty fridge before I begin cooking the next meal. Since we are so careful to do this on a daily basis, almost nothing goes bad.
    3. Since our health is improving, we’ll also see a reduced cost of doctor’s visits and medicine in the future. In fact, we have already had better luck staving off sore throats and the common cold.
    4. And last, but definitely not least – no more impulse purchases. This is the one benefit that I had been looking forward to all along – the one I needed in my life. I had actually hired my sister to shop for me a few times for that reason alone – which worked out until she got too busy. She wasn’t going to see a box of cookies and put them in the cart thinking, “Amy would really want these!” Guess what! My Instacart shoppers don’t do that either! If I wanted to, I could totally plan out my weekly calories in advance too, and have a better chance of sticking with it.

Okay, so that’s just a run-down of the benefits that I’m seeing. Does anyone have anything to add? Have you tried Instacart or Walmart Pickup? What do you think?

The Me I Want to Be

Ok, tomorrow I’m intend to do the following three things, and I want you all to help make me accountable:

1. Get up at 6:30am and stay up for the rest of the day.

2. Go for a run up to the high school and back.

3. Avoid sugar and food additives like The Plague.

PhilippiansThere are so many changes I’d like to make in my life, but I just can’t find the will-power. I keep thinking “I can do all things through Christ which strentheneth me (Philippians 4:13),” but I’m just so used to caving into my own desires that I never make it very far.

The me I want to be is the following woman: healthy, fully in charge of her eating habits, active, productive. I don’t want to be a slave to food, sleep, television, social media, etc. I just want to be me! Is that too much to ask of myself?

Would you all benefit from an accountability partner? If you had one, what challenges would you make yourselves?

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44037580@N08/7490433460″>week five – austin m. d.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

So I Think I Am Going to Write…

It’s weird. So I got a job and started working. My life was already so packed that I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit it all in. Driving to radiation in the mornings, five days a week, an hour from where I live. Homeschooling my 10-year-old son. Teaching the local homeschool choir and showing up to Tuesday homeschool activities. Performing in a band that rehearses once a week. Playing the piano at my church three days a week. Then, of course, there were the people. The ones who make everything worth it. Teenagers and family and church people that my husband and I simply love hanging out with. How was I ever going to fit a job into all of that? But I really needed one, so I filled out an application at Applebee’s, had someone pull a few strings, and here I am. Bored to tears.

I find myself constantly looking for something productive to do. Mainly during the last hour or two of the day or while my son is working on homework. I wander over to the computer and look up ways to be productive, or ways to earn money from home, or anything that gets me out of the FaceBook world and into the real one.

I guess perhaps it’s because I am so busy that I don’t want to waste any downtime I have doing absolutely nothing. Netflix? Xbox? FaceBook? These are the things I would normally spend my time doing, but not lately. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever. So, I figured, perhaps I should do some of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but never had time for. Extra time? Ha! It had always seemed like a fictional concept to me.

So what is it that I really want to be doing? Well, it’s more a question of what I want to have already done in my life. Second language. Fitness and nutrition expert. AuthorTypewriter. I’m not sure I have the discipline to pull off the first two, so here I am shooting for the third. Now, I have written a lot in the past. I have even had a few articles published in a magazine. But to sit down with the anticipation of completing something that is more than a couple thousand words long? I’m not sure where to start. So, I think I’m just going to sit down and ramble for a while and see what pops up.

It occurs to me that there are thousands of devotionals on the market. Probably even thousands that are aimed at women. Since I am a woman myself, should I choose to write a devotional, my primary audience will probably be women. Now, I am tempted to narrow the audience to women who are experiencing a terminal illness. But that may very well be so narrow as to not pick up any sincere readers. Who in their right mind would want to spend their last year reading someone else’s thoughts about the last years of a person’s life?

So for me, perhaps this is just part of my own personal journey. Perhaps no one will ever read what I am writing right now. But then again, perhaps they will…

Problem number two with writing a devotional: most of what I have written is not there to make anyone feel good about themselves. It’s mainly to draw attention to the fact that we need to stop making excuses and just go for it. Go for what, you may ask? Our Christian duties. Loving people. Serving God. Abolishing sin from our lives. So this exercise is not aimed at making women, or anyone for that matter, feel good about themselves. Therefore, I am not likely to ever be published anyway, even if I finish what I start. Which maybe I will, for once.

So what do I usually write about? That would be a good jumping off place, in my opinion. A good place to start a full-length devotional, if you will. The articles that I have written for my own blog are the ones that stand out to me the most. They are the ones that truly came from the heart. The ones I was motivated to write out of a desire to get my perspective out to the masses. I have written about:

Why we should not allow our weaknesses to prevent us from serving God in the capacity in which we are called. (See “Not Real Good with Words”)

Why my own little world would still not be perfect had Eve never eaten of the forbidden fruit. (See “Eve’s Mistake, My Mistake”)

Why homeschoolers have such a bad rap with non-homeschoolers (See “Why Do People Hate Homeschoolers?”)

The difference between intentional sin and non-intentional sin (See “The Difference between Peter and Judas”)

The first two are my favorites, which ideas I have shared again and again, both personally and on my blog. I know the second two are things that people struggle with because they are the most searched for and most read blog posts that I have to date. Even though I haven’t posted anything new since I was diagnosed with cancer back in January of 2013, people are still finding and reading my articles in an attempt to answer the questions in their own lives.

That’s another thing I should address. Why haven’t I posted to my blog since my diagnosis? Not because I don’t care. Not because I don’t still have a million ideas. And no, not because of a lack of time, although that’s the reason I gave myself for a long while. In retrospect, I think the reason is because I didn’t want the blog to be all about me. I didn’t want a hundred people feeling sorry for me and worrying about the fact that I have (or had?) breast cancer. I wanted to maintain the focal points of God, homeschooling, and creative writing. Odd mix, I know, but those are the things that interest me, and the things I think I may be able to help others understand more completely.

So why am I talking about it now? Well, I believe that the new perspective that I have gained from having a potentially fatal disease will help me help others. And that’s what I want to be about. Not making money or marking things off my bucket list, but a true, innate desire to lift up our Savior so that others can see Him.