The ugly truth is life is hard. And at each stage of life, it gets harder. I asked my grandmother how she coped. Her answer? "I've learned what's important to me and I don't worry about the rest."
Note she said what's important to her. I'll get back to that in a minute.
I've been reflecting a lot these past few days. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I'm always reflecting. Or ruminating. Or worrying. Or just thinking too much in general. But I digress...
I've been specifically reflecting on what I want out of the next five years of my life, what I want to accomplish, and what specific, measurable goals I need to set. This is hard for me because while I like to plan, I've learned that when the first shot is fired, most battle plans go out the window. And then I stress a LOT about not following the plan exactly. Ugh.
And the best career and life decisions I've ever made were spur of the moment and out of the blue opportunities. Did I want those things to happen? Had I been working toward making those things happen? Had I set goals and trudged through arduous days to achieve those opportunities? The simple and somewhat disturbing answer is no. No, I did not.
So that leaves me with a dilemma: okay, so if I do all this planning and goal setting and painfully dig through my innards to reveal my "truth", will it make a damn bit of difference? I mean, will it move me closer to my dreams or will it rob me of my sponteneity, and when I'm lying on the floor wheezing, will it kick me in the ribs and spit in my eye?
I know all the buzz phrases and new age spiritual talk about visualizing what you want, creating your own luck, repeating mantras, and sending out your intentions to the universe. I am one of those annoying people who posts that stuff and fills up your news feed with cosmic pictures of positive energy. Are you ready to barf yet? If not...wait for it...
I believe this crap. I do. I hear you wretching. But as I said at the beginning, the ugly truth is life is hard and all the platitudes in the world don't change that. What does? And should it be different? I sometimes wonder if the endless toil is necessary to mold us self-centered brutes into something other than entitled, bratty bores. Or is the endless cycle of life's battering waves meant to do something else? Something like a cleansing process? Or a purge?
And then I remember what my grandmother said, that she figured out what was important to her and stopped spending precious energy and time on what others thought was important. And I remember her answer to my follow-up question: How'd you figure out what was important to you?
"Missy, you'll know it when you lose it. And if you're lucky enough to ever find it again, you'll never let anything steal the time and energy you have to spend on it."
One of my go-to healthy dinners is Stir-Fry. I have all kinds of variations, but this has got to be the tastiest version. How do I know its the tastiest, empirically? Because my family calls it "spaghetti good" and leaves nare a morsel behind. When I get that official stamp of approval, I know I've hit the jackpot.
Some notes on how to make this one a family favorite:
First, make sure you get a good quality, thin-sliced steak. The type I use varies depending on what the local Croftburn Market has on hand, but this time I used eye of round. Slice the meat into thin strips. This is crucial. Cut the meat too thick and you end up with tough, chewy worms. Blech. Make sure you slice against the grain.
Funny story: when my daughter was three-years-old, she asked what the meat was. Being the smart-alecky mom that I am, I said "worms from the garden." She smiled and said, "Cool. I've never had worms." To this day she swears she believed me and every time I make this dish she re-tells the story.
Second, balance the savory, spicy, and sweet. Too sweet and its not as good. Too salty and forget about it. Half your master piece will be left for the dog. Frankly, she won't eat it if it's too salty, either, as she shouldn't. For a little sweetness, I prefer Agave nectar. It doesn't mess with the flavor and I prefer Agave nectar over table sugar.
Last, vary the vegetables to get a good balance as well. To keep it easy and quick, I use bags of frozen, pre-sliced veggies like a trio of bell pepper strips with onion, green beans, a can of bamboo shoots, and whatever I have a half-bag of: green beans, broccoli florets...you get the idea. I sometimes add a handful of frozen corn kernels just for the sweet factor.
If you are vegetarian, substitute the beef for tempeh. I prefer tempeh for its nutty flavor and texture. This is mostly a gluten-free dish, as well. Leave out the Worcestershire sauce, and its totally gluten free.
1 lb. thin sliced steak, cut into strips
2 tablespoons gluten-free baking flour
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Steak Seasoning
2-3 tablespoons peanut oil (avoid canola as it smokes at high temps)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bag frozen bell pepper strips with onion
1/2 bag frozen green beans
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1-2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos (soy alternative)
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
1/2 cup of raw almonds, chopped
4-6 servings rice (your choice: brown, jasmine, etc.)
Start the rice. While it cooks, heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Slice the meat into thin strips and toss in the flour and steak seasoning. Heat the oil over high heat and add meat, stirring constantly to keep from burning. When the meat is still pink in the center, add the veggies. Because they're frozen, a lot of liquid will form. This is fine, just keep stirring.
Next, add the Bragg's Liquid Aminos, chili garlic sauce, and Agave nectar. Stir, stir, stir. It is a stir-fry, after all. When the sauce thickens and all ingredients are hot, turn off the heat and serve immediately with rice and almonds as a topper.
What is your favorite stir-fry recipe? Share a link! Tried mine? Let me know how it turned out. Did you make any changes? Let me know. I'm always looking for new ideas. Check out other recipes on my Pinterest boards. I have them categorized by Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dishes, Fun Foods, and my Perfectly Balanced Meals, for those looking for well-balanced nutrition in a quick meal.
As always, feel free to share and adjust to your taste and dietary needs.
Ever get hit in the head with a ton of information at once? After seven days away from home and three days of convention sessions and workshops, I feel like crying. I'm not sad, I'm overwhelmed. I'm also out of my comfort zone.
I'm not in control and I feel at the mercy of others. From when I can eat breakfast to where I can put my feet up, I am no longer the master of my domain. It's only temporary and there's a lot I can do to make myself comfortable, but it's not the same. Can you relate?
Then there's all the information I've gathered from other professionals in the industry here at the Romance Times Convention. Most of what I'm hearing conforms to the many real-life publishing lessons I've learned the hard way--by publishing. But there are a few precious gems that I absolutely must take action on. And I could just cry, again, because I'm so tired just thinking of all that needs to be sorted through and put on project status.
But if I've learned anything it's this: (pay attention here because this is super important) there's nothing to do but what needs to be done and I better be passionate about what I'm doing because there is NO WAY to succeed without that fire in my belly.
How else am I going to work 16 hour days? Because if I'm not falling asleep at my desk, then I'm not doing it right. Yeah, yeah, yada yada, balance...time management...blah blah blah. Whatever. That talk is for others. Not me. Other than making sure I'm spending precious time with my family and taking care of my health, there isn't anything in my life more important than what it takes to make my dreams my realty.
But I still get overwhelmed, damn it. Especially because I know I'll never ever give up. That's just me.
Sooooo, yeah...that happened. While it wasn't a direct puke--it ricocheted off the wall and splashed on my foot--it was still gross. My friend C.G. Powell got it a wee bit worse. :-(
I am in New Orleans, so I understand some party mishaps are bound to happen. The weird thing? It was 4 pm on a Tuesday. Who is out puking on Bourbon Street at 4 pm? Drug addicts? Alcoholics? College students? Over zealous tourists? I can understand it happening at 4 am. Hell, I expect it, but during tea time? Really?
But, what do I know? This is New Orleans. Never been here before. Maybe I shouldn't have been on Bourbon Street on a Tuesday afternoon? And it dawned on me how often I must do things in new cities and places and spaces and am totally oblivious to the local expectations.
And then it hit me: it's not only like that with locals, it's like that with people, period. Some people have different expectations about behavior and conversation. Sooooo, how many times have I judged someone for not meeting my expectations?
That's kind of scary because I like to think I'm open-minded. Huh. Maybe I need to pay more attention to this and work on acknowledging we are all different, with different upbringings and habits and ways of being in this world.
And maybe I should pay more attention to what people are doing when I'm walking down the street. If I want to avoid getting puked on, that is.
And maybe I should give people the space and compassion to be who they are consciously. If I don't want to be unconsciously judgmental, that is.
In which I congratulate other walkcasters for being brave and putting it all out there, get excited about other people being inspired by the walkcasts, discuss learning styles vs. communication styles, and confess I used to work help desk support (don't throw things at me).
In which I talk about not buying into this crap about having to suffer to achieve, using yoga as meditation, being excited about a selfie stick, and how Liz Schulte wants to punch me because I smile while I practice yoga. :-p
In which I figure out how to hold the camera without creating a peep show and talk about happiness, graveling the driveway, why developing a creative habit is important to our health, and how much I love the term "wellness advocate".
I am fascinated with these walking vlogs and podcasts. I first heard about this phenomenon from my co-host and friend, Buddy Gott. He told me about the Walking Dave, a podcast by David Wright that he started to motivate himself to get in shape. Then Buddy decided to do his the Walking Buddy, then I heard about The Walking Rob and before I knew it Buddy's beautiful girlfriend L.M. Stull had uploaded hers. I watched them all and decided to give a shot.
The problem is I am a yoga teacher and former personal trainer and fitness instructor. I spent 13 years in the industry and hundreds of hours taking courses, reading research on fitness and studying how the body works, attending mind/body conferences, etc. etc. etc. And I am currently pursuing my 1000-hour Therapeutic Yoga certificate. Yes, you read that right--one thousand hours. I know. smh. I can't help myself. And I can't help talking about wellness while I'm filming a walking vlog. I can't. I tried to talk about other things, but I couldn't. I just couldn't, man. *sobs*
So...I'm going with it. I hope that my ramblings are helpful, interesting, or at least entertaining and that you come back for more. Check out and tell me what you think. If you do your own walking podcast or vlog, post a link. Let's link up!