My January Rest is a fun and challenging tradition. Last post, I shared that my biggest win and biggest failure, both, were based on rest: win—spiritual rest, failure—physical rest. The lack of rest was partially due to copious TV consumption that I hadn’t foreseen. Surprisingly, I received a magical gift, that happened because of my girl’s surgery.
That leads me now, to share more of my wins and fails. Wins: we’ve been using up food in the pantry and freezer. One of the guiding principles is to eat what we have, instead of purchasing what we prefer.
Although we generally don’t buy what we want but do not need, this MJR I’ve made concessions for our post-op girl, like sushi. Who can resist catering to your child, when they aren’t feeling great? After all, it is My Rest, not hers. And it’s not my husband’s either. Years past, he abided by my rules. Mostly. However, I’d catch him sneaking purchases here and there. Essentially, I let him off the hook. Years past, the girl was too young to care much, but we wouldn’t buy chips or other special goodies, when there are already goodies and snacks that still need eaten in the pantry. The “eat what we have principle” still remains! Only now she knows about it and doesn’t like it much!
After a few years of my girl dreading January, the month that I looked forward to, I began to plan some things so that she would still enjoy January, like allowing an extra movie a week. Those were the easy-fix days!
After her surgery, I purchased some special treats, like sushi, and sushi again, and potato chips. There’s a story about the sushi, but first the potato chips. I consider this a win! My girl wanted two things, M&M’s and chips. She said, “I know I have to pay for them, since it is January.” She didn’t expect us to pay!
My husband stopped by the store on the way home. When he came in the door, he had two, very large bags of chips, and a tub of chip dip! He rarely purchases chip dip! That treat is reserved for Christmas vacation. Then I noticed a couple of other treats in the bag. I asked with a smirk, “For work?” and he responded, “Yes.” I gave him the stink-eye, smiled only a little, and left him with his score. I guess that is what I get for delegating shopping, right?
We handed her the chips, and told her they were on us. She was grateful. That helped her recover from the sticker shock of the price of M&M’s!
When she asked for brownies, I found we didn’t have any brownie mix, but I did have a box of cake mix in the pantry. I googled how to make brownies with a cake mix. I added the last of our chocolate chips (11 ounces instead of 10 suggested. Hey, why not!) and added some blood orange olive oil. It was a hit for all who tasted it. Note, if you make this recipe, I had to add more milk and I replaced ½ the oil with blood orange olive oil.
This was a win! I didn’t want to tell my girl, who just had surgery, that we didn’t have brownie mix. Plus, I couldn’t leave her to get to the store. But out of brownies? What?! What that means is that something is broken in our store-to-shelving system, because we always have brownie mix on hand! And, I have a suspicion, who that might be. Now that the girl bakes, sometimes the dedicated shoppers are unaware of what is used up. Right after surgery wasn’t the day to let natural consequences play out. So, creativity plus Google for the win!
Back to sushi. I had to seperate sushi and brownies with a new paragraph. Something distasteful about raw fish ahd chocolate in the same sentence. This fail made me want to kick myself! I stopped by Hy-Vee, with a gift card, to pick up the sushi and I picked out two fresh pears. They were beautiful but pricey. The fragrant smell of fall in January sold me. I reasoned that since I had a gift card, it wasn’t money out of my pocket. When I went to the register, I didn’t have the gift card on me! I had taken it out for Christmas travels. I was ticked: I had to hand over my money.
The Hy-Vee gift card was a December blessing. Earlier that December day, I shared with a friend that I was stressed because of our medical debt. She reassured me that God would provide. And while I believed that, I began to list the expenses to justify my distress. Later that day, I called my favorite radio station. They were having a fundraiser, I donated money. I planned on doing it well before that day. I called twice with no success. Once I got the office when it was closed. A different day I called during business hours and they gave me a different number to call. So I did.
Timing is everything.
When I got through on the phone line, the woman and I started sharing stories, like old friends. We chatted about caring for our elderly family members: we were both in tears. After we composed ourselves, she apologized and said she forgot where we were in the process. I laughed and said I think we were at the point where I give you my credit card number! When I saw that number calling not too much later, I thought they must have forgotten something. I answered. A different woman asked if I knew they were drawing for a gift card when I donated. I answered her, that no, I was not aware. She shared that they drew my name for a Hy-Vee gift card and that I had won!
God is able and willing to provide. Most of the time it’s not going to be by winning something. That evening it was. That evening, overwhelmed and astonished, I let my friend know that God had provided for me in the most unusual way.
The gift card is now in my purse, again. I’m using it to buy extras and fresh things, when I shop. I consider this a win-win!
I’ve loved writing some handwritten notes on some cool stationary with mis-matched, pretty envelopes that I’ve held onto for years. Why? The stationary was pretty. And the envelopes were pretty too. But, they didn’t match. I decided to use them together, anyway! Writing the notes, especially with the hand-made gift, a fountain pen that my friend made for me, brought me joy!
More fails: I have yet to truly do an inventory. I’ve pseudo done one and have targeted and used some of the older food or food products that I rarely use (like the cake mix into orange brownie fix). But, I had planned on doing a proper inventory and a valiant attempt at meal planning. So, what happened? Surgery. I cooked a lot the first week and had the fridge stocked up.
We left for Chicago on the eighth and had a nice meal. I have the mindset of celebrating or compensating. When something good happens, celebrate! First snow, celebrate it by making Snow Pancakes. First tomato out of the garden, celebrate it by making a BLT. Big surgery? Celebrate by making it fun. When something bad happens, compensate. Turn it around. Make lemonade out of lemons.
Going to Chicago the night before the surgery was something to celebrate. The healing that is to follow, after seven months of pain, was something to celebrate!
We had a nice family dinner together: it took some of the stress out of what was coming in the early morning hours. That was a win. And a fail. I “cheated” and had dessert. It’s been years since I’ve been to this restaurant, one of my favorites, and they had a gluten free option. So, I chose to go “off rest” and celebrate with a dessert.
The other sugar infraction was also an outing. After four failed attempts, over a five day period, I tried to get out of the house for some exercise, church, and then my first bible study of the year. All attempts failed, because I was needed at home. Then my friend called out of the blue and asked to take me to lunch on the day my husband worked from home! We celebrated and split a dessert: chocolate sauce, fresh fruit, and gluten free cake bites!
One of the lessons I’ve learned is that for me, some things are easier to say completely no to, rather than moderation. Sugar is generally one of those things. I feel that I’m doing well. I am tempted nearly every day to eat something sweet, and other than the dried fruit (I’ve done this every MJR), the two desserts out (generally don’t do this, but did have frozen yogurt with my dad for his birthday last year as well as some other cheats: he was so sick and it was so stressful. Yup. Guilty of stress eating!), cocoa covered almonds (5g sugar), and some nut clusters (6g sugar), and licking the pudding spoon (that I made to give my girl her meds with). Twenty-four days in and I’ve done well. Cheated some. But stayed the course most of the time.
We haven’t used up as much food because we have eaten out (in Chicago before—our dinner out, and after surgery—oatmeal and a smoothie) And we’ve had friends provide meals. Yay and thank you friends! On the night of our girl’s first outing after surgery, she went with her small group out for dinner. My husband offered to take me out for our once-per-month date night dinner! We went to Hy-Vee Market Place, using my free gift card! Definitely a win!
While I’ve had fails this MJR—as usual—ultimately, I feel like a winner! While caring for my girl, (who’s mostly been in bed on a CPM machine for up to four hours a day, the ice machine, up to three hours of tummy time, and daily physical therapy exercises, plus physical therapy out twice per week) I am grateful for friends who have given me rests. One gave me rest from cooking by taking me out for lunch, three brought meals. One made a special dessert, lactose free for her. One friend’s husband is buying tickets for his wife and me to an special event. Friends and family have stopped by and brought her gifts, shipped gifts, cards, and one friend even shared her gift with us, as she gave us one of her two dozen colorful fresh eggs. And, I’m grateful for all the prayers, well wishes, touch bases, and my awesome husband’s acts of service.
I’ll have a few more wins and fails to report and perhaps a few fixes and flops coming up soon!