Monday, June 27, 2016

Food Fix

Last October, I whined about having to feed my family...everyday.  It's as if it's a surprise they have to eat every day.  It was a plea for assistance because I was having serious anxiety about what I was going to feed my family.  I was hoping that some terrifically with it, full time working parent would have a magical answer for feeding my family that worked in my budget. While I would love to have a personal chef, it is not at all practical as we are working to get out of debt.  

I did have a couple great suggestions, one being to plan for a month or two ahead of time on a calendar, instead of just for the next week.  The idea is sound, but I was having a hard time with prioritizing the planning.  I was so far in the funk of meal planning, I just couldn't make myself do it. Ugh.  Back to square one.  As I was listening to my buddy Dave on the radio (Dave Ramsey), I heard his ad for e-meals again, and decided to give it a look.

I don't normally use my blog as a platform to recommend products or services, but I'm making an exception today because this has been truly helpful to me and my family.  I love emeals.com.  It's an free app on my phone (after I signed up online).  Every week they send me a new menu with different meals.  They have ton of meal plans to choose from.  When I started I chose the Slow Cooker Clean Eating Family plan, but have switched to the regular Clean Eating Family plan (because several of the regular clean eating meals could easily be converted to slow cooker).  You can switch plans anytime.  They have a diabetic plan, a paleo plan, a classic plan, a budget plan, and several more!  It is really simple to add the meals you want to your grocery list.  Here's another feature I love: I can share the recipe with my son or hubby on their phone, so they can have dinner started when they get home before I do.  Hallelujah!!  

 UL robin's egg from http://JSpellman.uppercaseliving.net


If you ask my family, they like it because I cook different meals.  Everything we have tried has been good.  I get to star my favorites.  I'm not stuck with a meal plan if there is something we don't like.  I would simply switch to another meal or plan.  Or choose from our favorites.  Easy peasy.  My most favorite benefit of using emeals.com??  I don't stress about dinner anymore.  Now you don't have to either.  You're welcome.

Thank you for allowing me to derail for a day on my blog.  I share this because a few of my friends have expressed stress about the same issue, so I thought it might be helpful to others.  I do get a $5 credit for each of you that signs up with the links I have provided above.  You will, too, after you sign up and refer it to your friends.  You're welcome, again.  And the first two weeks are free.  You're welcome for that, too.  It is only $5/month for the service, and well worth it for the stress it relieves. I believe my grocery bill is less, too, because I'm not buying a bunch of extra food that I may or may not use.  I hope it helps you, too.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

You can catch up with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk) to see what artsy, talking wall kind of project I'm currently working on.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Disconnected Discipline

One might say I like my clothes stored a certain way...that may or may not seem a bit boxy.  All the shirts need to hang facing the same way.  Pants are hung so there are no wrinkles.  Sleeping/painting t-shirts are hung separately from regular casual wear t-shirts.  Underwear are on a 3 fold system: right side folded in, left side folded over that, then bottom folded up.  They are just happier laying in the drawer that way.  Bras face up and open in their drawer space, so they don't endure needless stretching...and they last longer.  (I'm a bit on the frugal side of things, remember?)  Even my jammy pants are folded wrinklelessly in their drawer.

I'm not spilling my laundry folding habits to you so you can admire or learn from me, or even so you can tell me I'm a bit cuckoo.  Honestly, I don't like to iron and I don't especially like to be wrinkled.  So why am I divulging my weirdness?  To also confess that my office is a mess.  As in, I don't even work in there because it's so bad.  Before you start thinking I'm a hoarder or neglectful, I will tell you that there is a good reason--everything is covered in drywall dust and it just feels gross to be in that space.  The unfortunate part of the office issue is that it's been that way for months...probably close to 6 or 7...ok.  8 months.  I even had a friend that has been a professional organizer come over and help me map out a plan.  I have a plan for this issue!  I will conquer it...eventually.  I can do the work.  I can finish most of it myself.  Hubby will put up shelves, and then all will be happy and beautiful.  So why isn't it done?

 UL Italian Turquoise


I don't always make myself a priority.  I've heard more than one person talk about self-care as a priority.  I need to take care of my needs or I'll burn out.  Guess what.  Self-care is discipline, too.  It's the same kind of discipline it takes to work a side hustle into the spaces around a full time job.  I have to schedule it.  It's the same kind of discipline it takes to get up a little earlier and write instead of sleeping in.  I have to plan it.  Otherwise, I will be 6, 8, 15 months down the road and nothing will be different, and that's not what I want for any part of my life where I want growth.

Decide today.  Plan today.  Do it.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Then pop over to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow me (@JensWallsTalk).  You'll see glimpses of current projects and prioritized disciplines.  Thank you for stopping by and be sure to subscribe for each fresh, new blog post to be delivered to your inbox.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Life at the Stop Light

She looked at me.  She didn't just look at me...she saw me.  And then I completed my turn and kept on driving.  I don't know what to do.  I live in a small town, but we seem to have a growing issue with panhandling.  (I'm sure it goes along with our rank of 8th highest county in the state for food insecurity.  That's not a statistic that we want to be at the top of.) As I sit at the stoplight waiting to turn, I see them almost every day.  It's either a man in his mid-twenties with a sign that says,
"This sucks."
Or it's a girl about the same age with a sign stating,
"Homeless. Anything will help."
The question is, help with what?  If we're being honest, it will probably help with the immediate needs of the day: food, water, cigarettes, a hat.  But nothing past that day, or they wouldn't be there day after day.  This is my struggle.  I just don't get it.  I want to have compassion.  These are people.  They have value just because they are human beings.  They do not have to do anything to have value as a person.  Because they are made in the image of God, it is inherent that they are worthy of compassion and care.  And yet...it is very uncomfortable for me to offer said care.  

We have a fabulous organization in our county that supports the homeless by offering a food bank, transitional housing program (which is much more in depth than just a shelter), financial assistance (when appropriate), shelter housing, and a clothing warehouse.  We support this program financially every month.  I tell you this not to brag, but to explain where I'm coming from on this one.  I want to justify logically that giving financially is enough...but I know it's not.  I have even thought of stopping one day and offering to take one of these people to lunch.  I want to tell them that I will buy them lunch if they will let me interview them.  I want to know their thought process and why they are ok with sitting on the corner holding a sign instead of creating a business.  I want to know what kind of hurt has happened to them that they feel all they are worthy of is holding a sign asking for handouts.  I want to know why they admit their situation sucks, but don't want to do anything to change it.  

 UL shoreline blue & crimson red


When I was preparing for my black belt test, I struggled with a lot of self-doubt in my abilities, but I had (and still have) people that believed in me when I struggled to believe in myself.  With a lot of prayer and practice and encouragement, I did it.  I worked through the fears.  Is that what these people need?  Is that enough?  Do they just need someone to believe in them and to be their voice of confidence until they understand that God made them on purpose?  I don't know.  I don't have the answers and I'm afraid to get my hands "dirty" by engaging these people.  That's the truth of the matter for me.  I give money to the people that are willing to engage in order that I can justify in my mind that I am helping.  I do have an idea that I truly believe would help...but I'm not ready to share yet.  

This is what I'll leave you with today: I didn't look away when she saw me.  I held her gaze for that brief moment and smiled at her.  Not a cheesy, creeper kind of smile, but a smile that I hope conveyed to her that I see her.

I'd love feedback on this issue.  Please feel free to comment below.  Have you been there?  Are you still there now?  This is not an issue that is fixed on a big scale.  It's fixed on a one on one scale.

Choose to make it a beautiful day, friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (@JensWallsTalk).  You'll catch glimpses of current painting and decorating projects.  You can also subscribe to this blog by simply entering your name in the subscribe box.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Remember to Breathe

One would think that since breathing is essential to life, one wouldn't forget to do it.  In fact, most of the time, we just do it without even thinking about it.  It's essential for life--not just recommended or suggested, but vital.  Yet when we have new students learning to spar, it is quite frequent that I have to remind them to breathe.

We spar with each other in a safe, controlled environment.  We know the skill level of each set of opponents.  We wear protective gear.  We have rules and guidelines.  There is not a huge amount of fear in our controlled sparring situations...and still I'm hollering,
"Don't forget to breathe!"
For most people, it's intimidating to spar with another person, at first.  You're fighting. You're hitting. You're kicking.  (You finally have permission to do all the things your mother told you not to do!) It's  understandably a little bit stressful.  And that's exactly when we need to breathe the most.

 Uppercase Living!


I was reminded of that very thing this past week when I was on a phone call with my coach.  Breathe. Stop and breathe.  In Psalm 46:10 it says, "Be still and know that I am God." In a different version it says, "Cease striving and know that I am God." I am in a very busy, growing, striving kind of season right now.  (Can we say crazy?  Selling a house, running a karate school, growing my business, growing & supporting my husband in his new business, designing and implementing a large redecorating job, blogging, working a completely separate full time job, oh, and raising a family--all at the same time.) But I must stop and breathe. I can trust God and know that He is in control.  He will be exalted.  He's got this...and honestly, without Him, I don't.  If I don't lean into Him in this busy season, I will drown.

God is faithful.  I wish I could tell you all the little details He is in, but I can't share just yet.  Just know that He is good.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Thank you for stopping by.  I always appreciate when you share.  You can also visit me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@JensWallsTalk).  See you there!


Monday, June 13, 2016

On Modesty

I am seeing a lot of chatter about body shaming these days, and a prevalent thought seems to be that if you are hiding your body, you must be ashamed of it...so therefore we must let it all hang out. That's a lie.  That would be equivalent to saying that I work out because I hate my body. Also not true.  I exercise because I love my body.  

Here are my thoughts on this whole modesty thing.  I'm not ashamed of my body.  I'm strong.  I'm healthy.  I work hard for it.  I make choices that benefit my body.  I'm not perfect in everything I eat and do, so I also allow myself grace.  If you're leaner or curvier than I am, great!  What a boring world it would be if we all looked the same.  But I don't wear leggings as pants, without a longer shirt.  (Feel free to disagree with me, but this is my blog and therefore, my opinion.  We're each entitled to our own.) They're leggings (and for the purposes of this discussion, let's define leggings as the thin, clinging type of garment).  I also endeavor to not wear tops where my cleavage shows.  I choose to not hang my tush and my top out for everyone to see and here's why:
You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery.  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28
When Jesus said these words, he raised the bar.  It wasn't enough for men to not act on it when seeing a woman he might be attracted to.  Now men were held to a higher standard.  Don't even think it. There's more that goes into that part of this discussion, but that's not where I'm heading today.  Let's suffice it to say that Jesus is telling us we do have the ability to control our thoughts--both men and women.

The reason I choose to keep my body parts covered is because I respect the men I'm around day in and day out.  These men are the husbands of my friends whom I love.  These men are husbands of other women that I may or may not know.  My body is for my husband's eyes to enjoy and take pleasure in...not for every man. (See Song of Solomon if you are more interested in knowing what the Bible has to say on sex...it's quite a bit, actually.  Sex within marriage is a fabulous thing--as God designed it to be.) Because I respect and honor my husband, I choose to not flaunt my body for every man to see. Because I love my friends and respect their husbands and their relationships, I choose to not have my "girls" hanging out.  I don't want to be a stumbling block for another man or woman that I might know.  

 To get your own "True Love Story" expression, go here.


I trust my husband, and he's never given me reason to not trust him in our 17 years of marriage.  But I've seen more than 1 marriage crumble in this fallen world.  I want to do everything I can to grow and nurture my marriage.  I want to do everything possible to honor and respect and love my husband so he can continue to grow into the man God designed him to be.  I'm not doing that well if he is constantly worried about what kind of attention I might be attracting from other people.

One more thought on this issue before I sign off.  Whether or not we choose to dress modestly has absolutely nothing to do with being a victim of a rape or other type of violent attack.  Someone that chooses to violate and harm another human being in that fashion isn't following the rules.  They aren't living within the realm of normal human interaction.  Do not hear me say that because you dress immodestly you are giving someone permission to harm you.  That is absolutely not the truth.  I'm discussing human interaction within the normal realm of human connectedness.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, but let's remember to keep it respectful. EDIT: My idea in sharing my thoughts on this is not to stir up an argument, but to offer a perspective. I choose to not dress in a certain way out of respect for others, not to condemn.  It's food for thought.

Happy 200th blog post to me!  I appreciate you being here.  I'd love to have you subscribe by entering your email in "Subscribe" box.  (If you are reading this on a mobile device,--which most of you are--click the menu bar on your browser and click "request desktop view" to be able to see the subscribe box.) You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk) to see snippets of current projects.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Do What You Have To

I am a person of my word.  When I say that I'll be somewhere, I make every effort to be there.  I might be late on occasion, but I'll be there...even if it means wearing a plastic bag on my head.  Now why would someone go anywhere with a plastic bag on their head?  That's a legitimate question.

A couple weeks ago I finally got to partake in my long overdue hair color appointment.  Celebration! It's therapy time--hair therapy, that is.  While I had allowed myself plenty of time, we got started late and then had to do an extra process...long story made short, I was late for my next appointment and my hair was still processing.  I couldn't reschedule my next appointment and I couldn't rinse the treatment out of my hair, so what's a girl to do?  Put a protective bag/shower-cap-thing on my head and go out the door.  That's what you do.  Well, that's what I did, but I don't think most people would have.

Fast forward to the phone call to my kids on the way home...

Me: Hey, Buddy.  I'm on my way.  Please grab my paint supplies by the front door.  And a baseball cap.
Son: A baseball cap?  I thought you just got your hair done.
Me: I did, but it's not done, so please get my baseball cap and be ready.  I'll be there in 3 minutes, and please don't ask questions when you see me.  Just get in the car.
Son: Okay...

We arrived at our destination.  Kids, paint supplies, me and my plastic bag on my head and a baseball cap.  As I asked my kids to help me carry my supplies, I was surprised when they didn't argue.  They gladly agreed to help carry, but then they didn't follow.

"Go ahead, Mom.  We'll be there in a minute." Laughing all the way to the door, I looked back to see they were true to their word.  They waited until I got all the way inside before they exited the car.

 UL cotton candy & mulberry wine


My point in telling you this story is not to reveal what a wonderful time scheduler I am.  I tell on myself so that you can hopefully be encouraged next time you are running late by knowing that at the very least you aren't going to meet someone while wearing a bag on your head.  Or if you do happen to be wearing a bag on your head whilst meeting with a client, take comfort in knowing you are not the only one that has ever done that.  We do what we have to do to work at our dreams.

Make it a beautiful day.  Don't forget to laugh at yourself.

P.S. The client I was meeting with also happened to be a friend...just for the record.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@JensWallsTalk).  You won't see any pictures of me wearing a plastic bag, but you will see pictures of current projects.  I look forward to catching up with you there.

Monday, June 6, 2016

What To Do When You Feel Disconnected

Keep trying.  That's what you do.  I have beautiful, wonderful, amazing friends.  I truly love them. My core group of friends generally meet once a week for our small group Bible study and accountability.  It's an honest, vulnerable, safe place to share with people I have common beliefs.  I often forget that not everyone has that.  After we gather, I often leave feeling encouraged, uplifted, and renewed in my convictions that I must stay the course in whatever particular struggle I might be having that week.  So what happens when our crazy schedules are crazier than normal, and we just aren't able to gather?  A funk.

I've said on more than one occasion that I am an introvert that has learned to be extroverted.  I'm sure there is a more technical and accurate description out there, but I'm not familiar with it.  Growing up I thought I was shy.  I've since overcome that and learned that I just actually like to be by myself sometimes, doing my thing to recharge...reading, painting, writing, studying, praying.  It's not that I'm avoiding people.  It's just how I recharge.  However, I need the other side of the teeter totter.  I need people.  

 UL Cherry blossom


God created us to be in fellowship with other human beings.  We were not designed to isolate--retreat on occasion, yes!  But when we completely isolate ourselves, we end up in a weird place that isn't reality.  It's too easy to believe the lies we hear when there is no one that loves us affirming truth to us.  

Do you have a safe place to be vulnerable?  Have you pushed people away that were honest with you in a loving way? Time to suck it up, Buttercup.  Don't isolate yourself.  Be honest with yourself.  Be honest with someone else.  It's difficult...but I'm guessing you'll be glad you reached out.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

The Dichotomy of Kidness

My son is 13.  He'll be 14 in the fall. It's a tough time.  He's managed to avoid some of the pitfalls of being a middle school guy, thus far.  No serious girlfriends yet.  He's realized that the majority of his classmates are lacking in maturity, which is to be expected.  He also knows that driving is not too far away and that he'll have to pay for half of his car.  He knows that he's not old to have a regular job, but that he still needs money sometimes.  On the flip side, he built a tarp "fort" in the backyard last weekend...in hopes that he and his friend could sleep outside.  The only thing he didn't "take into account" was the random, wandering bear in our neighborhood. He wants to be a kid.  He wants to be care free and without responsibility, and at the same time he wants privileges.  

He isn't alone in his struggle.  I believe most adults are still caught in the pull between youth and adult.  There are days when I'd rather skip work and go play, but there is a satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, a building of self-respect that comes with working...with adulting, as it's commonly referred to now.  Now how do I get my kids to understand that?  I offered my kid a job.

 UL electric lime


Before you start thinking I'm violating  child labor laws, he did have the opportunity to say no...and he'll only be working about an hour a week.  I offered him a job as my social media content creator.  It's something I know I need to do better, but I literally don't have time to do it.  I've given him guidelines and I have final say on everything before he posts it.  He won't be spending his whole summer creating Instagram posts, but it gives him opportunity to learn a lot of things that I'm really excited for him to learn.  He'll learn time management because he's working as a freelancer with deadlines.  He'll learn to use his time well because he's only getting paid a set amount.  He'll learn about design and color use--which he actually has a pretty good eye for already.  He'll learn to take correction, which he also does pretty well, but we can all get better at that one.  He will have goals and specific things he needs to do.  I'm really excited for this opportunity for him...and it helps me a lot.  It's like the learning money management while you're still at home.  He gets to learn and make mistakes in a safe environment.  He gets to still have time to be a kid and have fun, while learning to adult.  And I get to learn to step back and delegate.

What do you need to delegate today?  Whom do you have the opportunity to help when you do?

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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