An unconventional coping mechanism

How do you handle: Loss? Pain? Discomfort? Anxiety? Grief? Fear?

Or just an ordinary day that goes from bad to worse?

I am probably going to sound totally off my rocker when I share my thoughts here in a bit. And there’ll probably be several nay-sayers in the crowd. And I must say this “coping mechanism” must definitely be handled with great care. But… then again, what I have to say could be the very thing someone really needs to hear.

So back to the question above. How do you handle stress?

Journaling? Yoga? Meditation? Reading Scripture? Prayer? Working on a hobby? Music? Video games? Essential oils?

Several articles I’ve read suggested common ideas like: limit caffeine, get involved in physical activity/exercise, get more sleep, try relaxation techniques, talk to someone, keep a stress diary, manage your time, learn to say “no”, etc.

These really are fantastic ideas. Probably lifestyle habits we should regularly be investing our time and energy in with or without stress/anxiety/pain. They truly lead to a balanced, happy life.

But may I suggest a little something else that may be just the trick to quickly soothe your frayed nerves and wrecked mind?

This coping mechanism has been SO shamed in the media and by our culture. And it’s really sad that this is so.

Want to know what I think is an excellent and almost immediate calmer of the mind and body? Something you easily have in your home right now this minute? Something most everyone can afford?

I warn you. With this strategy, there is most definitely room for abuse/taking it too far. It needs to be approached with great caution. More on that in a bit.

So what’s a simple, quick way to feel better?

Food.

Ok, here comes gasps and boos and what-have-you.

But I stand by it. I truly think God gave us food to help take the edge off crazed/hurt emotions and mental distress.

When you’re hurt, angry, and overwhelmed, doesn’t it make you feel better to eat a piece of hot, freshly baked bread with a pat of melty butter? Mac-n-cheese? How about a hearty bowl of soup? A bowl of ice cream? Cookies? Donuts? Chocolate?

BUT, quantity is everything here.

1 slice of baked hot bread with butter. Not a whole loaf/stick of butter.
1 bowl of mac-n-cheese. Not the entire pot.
1 bowl of soup. Not the whole pot.
1 dessert bowl of ice cream. Not the entire pint.
1-2 cookies/1 donut. Not a baker’s dozen.
1-2 pieces of chocolate. Not the entire bar.
Moderation is key here! Absolutely key!

Only take a small amount to take the edge off. Go slowly. Savor. Focus on the taste and feel of what you are eating. Experience the nuances of flavor.

They call it comfort food for a reason!

And it’s OK. I’m telling you– it’s ok.

For so long, we’ve been told that using food for comfort is bad, wrong, going to make us fat, etc. Then, when people do turn to food (because it works almost immediately), they instantly feel guilty. Which just adds more fuel to the inner turmoil they’re experiencing.

I’m telling you– it’s false guilt to feel bad about turning to food for a bit of comfort! It’s not real. Shake it off and let it go.

Food is ok! It’s not sinful!

Most can agree with me that after a stressful event/season, a comfort food taken in moderation and savored slowly gives the mind, body, emotions, and soul a “sigh”… a breather… a must needed break and calm. It literally “takes the edge off”. And it does so pretty darn fast.

It allows the body to relax for a moment so that you can think clearly and plan and figure things out, or rest/sleep. It gives you the “ahhhh” needed to make good and right decisions. And it pairs beautifully with the many other coping mechanisms mentioned earlier in this article. No one single strategy is going to be the fix-all. Food alone isn’t going to “fix” the problem. It’s going to have to be done alongside other strategies.

But I want you readers to know that using food is a-ok to take the edge off your hurt. Just use moderation and care. Shake off that unnecessary guilt you may be experiencing. Add to your plate other calming techniques, too.

And remember this: say you *want* to over-do it in the comfort food department because you are REALLY upset about something. Know this: if you decide to binge, you are only punishing yourself and your body. And the problem or stressor hasn’t been solved. It’s still there. And now, the guilt you are feeling IS real. You overdid it. You lost self-control. You abused your body. You are making your body suffer unnecessarily. Even if someone did something horrible to you, and you are SUPER upset– a binge is a punishment on you alone, and not on the other person. This may seem harsh to hear, but it must be said. It’s never ok to overeat or to drown your sorrows with food. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t clear up the mind. It doesn’t calm the nerves. It hurts you. It makes things worse. The original problem has now been compounded even further. It can also set some people up for a future food addiction if they repeatedly do this to themselves.

So please, when I say “try comfort food to calm down”, I am NOT advocating over-indulgence at all.

Moderation.is.key.

So enjoy that cookie. Enjoy that piece of cake. Enjoy that bowl of mac-n-cheese. Go on and take the edge off. While you’re at it, try some yoga or journaling, too. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. And don’t wear that unnecessary guilt associated with using food for comfort. It’s ok.

Hope that helps. Hope you can now try releasing that white-knuckled grip you may be hanging onto that “food for comfort is bad”. It’s not. It’s good. Enjoy it. Feel a little better. Let go of false guilt.


There’s some “food for thought” for ya. 😉

Blessings to you!

~Momma Duck

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Today’s musings

1. I SO want these made for my birthday!

Flamingos are my absolute FAVORITE bird. In fact, during the warmer months, YES, I have a few plastic pink flamingos decorating my front yard. They are just adorable. They make me smile. 🙂 Wonder if my little 11 year old baker daughter could make these… hmm…

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2. This article: http://life.ca/blog/mindful-learning/

Though I don’t adhere completely to the Unschooling movement, I do agree with many of the ideas they promote. Mindful learning. Life learning. Relax. Enjoy kids where they are developmentally right now. Lots of learning is in fact occurring during play. As a parent, model being a “lover of learning”– kids will follow suit. Learning happens as a by-product of living. Don’t over-commit to activities (either for ourselves or the kids). Look after/make time for ourselves in order to avoid burnout.

Just a really good article.

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3. Silly pranks.

We had friends over for the evening yesterday and our oldest daughter made brownies for dessert. Get it? Brown-E’s? LOL. They seemed to appreciate our humor.

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4. Drawings from a child in the Sunday morning class I teach at church.

The church we attend recently opened. It has been an incredible blessing to our entire family!!! A couple times a month I help teach the elementary grades class. One of the first weeks we were open, this adorable little Kindergarten girl came into my classroom. She was super quiet and reserved. Hardly said a word. She was wearing a pink t-shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it. Being a Francophile, I began telling her how much I loved her shirt. She still didn’t say much. But as the Sunday’s keep rolling by and I keep spending time with her in class, she has truly come out of her shell and has been kinda like my little buddy. This past Sunday, she gave these pictures for me to “take home and hang in your kitchen”. Melt.my.heart. She is just the sweetest thing. And you can bet these two pics are hanging in my kitchen right now! It’s just such an encouragement. I love being able to make an impact for Christ with these precious little kids!

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5. I love chocolate. Yes, yes I do!

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6. On the topic of chocolate…

We didn’t have real brownies for dessert (LOL), but we did have chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Be still my heart. My 11 year old daughter who loves to bake make these for us and our company. It was wonderful.

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7. My homemade chili… aka “Mezzo Farte”.

For anyone with music training, you’ll appreciate the name of my chili. 🙂 Back when I was in High School, our choir had a chili cook-off competition. I won 3rd place for my chili, Mezzo Farte, with many a snicker to boot. It’s a family favorite and super easy to make. We always love our chili poured over rice, basmati is best. Try it and let me know what you think!

Mezza Farte Chili
-saute one onion in a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown
-add 1/2 lb of ground beef, cook well, drain any excess oil
-add the following: 1 large can (46 oz) of tomato juice, 2 (16 oz) cans of kidney beans (drained), 1 T + 2 t chili powder, 1 t salt, & 1/2 t ground black pepper
-stir well, bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for 1-2 hrs or until thick, stir occasionally
-doubles perfectly!

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Savoring the ordinary, enjoying the here and now…

~Momma Duck

Prancercise

Prancercise

Not quite sure why I was thinking about Prancercise this morning. Perhaps it was my own giddy gate as I “pranced” around the kitchen making coffee that shook the memory loose. Mornings are my absolute FAV time of day. I’ll get up at least an hour before the rest of the family just to soak in the aloneness that’s all mine. I’ll even forfeit sleep to have these moments of quiet. It’s.the.best. I get AM adrenaline surges that literally make me go “eeeee” and make my hair stand on end. My husband, aka “the corpse”, is my exact opposite. Our kids seem to (thankfully) be a happy middle ground between our extremes.

Let’s face it… I “prance”. Esp in the mornings. Or to 80’s pop music. Or to fantastic summer breezes blowing in my windows. Basically whenever everything is right with the world and I’m overcome with energy and happiness. I “get” this Prancercising lady.

Do I prance in public? Uh… no. I guess that’s why I kinda envy the boldness of Joanna Rohrback. She’s so genuine, so true, so… herself. Looks like she could give a flying flip about what anyone else thinks. She gets to walking. She gets to listening to some music. She gets to jamming. And then she just lets herself get lost in the moment to the music. Does her movement look like everyone else’s? Not at all. But that’s ok. That’s how SHE rolls. And I TOTALLY appreciate that. I LOVE that. She is who she is and she does what she does regardless of what other people say and think of her. She put herself out there and shared from her heart, probably in hopes of encouraging others to free themselves from the shackles of what others think and to embrace their own inner beat. To get fit while having fun.

But boy, she’s been made fun of for doing so. Lots of parodies and jokes and whatnot out there bashing her for being so weird/strange.

Anytime anyone puts themselves out there, they risk the chance of being made fun of. Actually, it’s a guarantee… they WILL be made fun of or ridiculed or bashed, etc.

It’s a shame really. And with social media, people can hide behind their anonymity. They say things online that they’d NEVER say to someone’s face.

There’s def an art to learning how to let crap like that roll off your back and not let it affect your heart. I liken it to bullying. The very mental flow of a bully is this: 1) the bully feels like crap inside (for whatever reason), 2) they see someone else that’s “better” than them (or that has something good going on), 3) the bully feels even yuckier (& prob threatened), 4) so they say or do something mean in hopes of tearing that “better” person down to their level (or lower), 5) their wounded ego (temporarily) gets stroked, and 6) they (temporarily) feel better. It’s primal and requires very little thinking. But that feeling of ok-ness only lasts a for a little while. Then they have to repeat the process again in order to re-feel better about themselves. The only thing that will REALLY heal a bully is for they themselves to work on/through their issues. Bashing other people is not a permanent fix.

But anyways, back to Prancing. Joanna Rohrback is prob a truly happy person. An energetic person (obviously). And this prancing… it’s from the heart. And if I had to bet, there’s prob a LOT of other people out there that, if stripped from the cares of what others may say, they too would prance in public. Even on a fitness level, that added movement incorporated with regular walking probably does indeed burn more calories!

Though I may not “prance” in public for my exercise routine, I do genuinely appreciate Joanna’s staying true to who she is. That’s a technique we should all be learning to do in our own lives– a lofty goal we should all be attempting to achieve. It’s taking that risk and putting ourselves out there. It’s sharing our life, thoughts, experiences, successes & failures… to help others, touch other people’s lives, encourage them, and to better someone else (even if it’s just 1 person). It’s standing tall regardless of the ridicule.

For more on Prancercise, Joanna has a YouTube channel. You can also read up more about it on Wikipedia.

In closing, I hope you my reader are learning to care less about what other people are thinking about you. I hope you’re taking that risk and putting yourself out there to reach and touch other people’s lives. I hope you are learning to listen to constructive criticism but to let hurtful criticism roll off your back (and to have the wisdom to know the difference between the two). In your life, do your own form of “prancing”– be & do what you were created to be & do.

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A Whole Day Out, Didn’t Spend a Dime on Food

Yesterday was a BUSY day for us. Unusually busy. Like, we’re rarely that busy.

  1. I had to go out of town (40 min drive) to get some blood labs done.
  2. I had to nurse the baby before we left for home. So while I fed the baby, and since we had gorgeous weather (high 60’s in mid Nov!), the kids got their wiggles out at this super cool park:

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    SO fun!

  3. Ran into Aldi to get some pecans for a Thanksgiving recipe.
  4. Rushed home to meet my husband. We had to take our son to the Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment. He had an accident/head injury in October and needs to have a couple check-ups.
  5. And the long drive home through a crazy thunderstorm.

Basically, we were in the car all.day.long.

It would have been SO EASY to buy food and snacks for everyone while we were out.

But, with proper planning, we didn’t spend a dime on food while we were out.

 

What we did yesterday:

  1. Ate breakfast at home before leaving to get my labs taken.
  2. Packed several canteens of water and water bottles for everyone for our AM outing.
  3. During that quick stop at home for lunch, we:
    1) packed several non-messy food items for lunch & snacks: peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly), deli ham, swiss cheese, peanuts, raisins, chips, protein bars, and apples.
    2) Literally threw in the crockpot a fryer chicken, some water, and some herbs/spices.
    3) Got the rice cooker going (it automatically turns off when done).
    4) Refilled canteens and water bottles.
    5) Hubby and I grabbed a pop each, just for us.

We had plenty of food and drinks for the car ride. And when we came home from the hospital, dinner was 80% ready. I simply threw some frozen veggies on the stove, and voila, dinner was served in a jiffy.

I’m not gonna lie, that quick trip home at lunchtime was a tad crazy. But I assigned everyone with a job and we were able to get stuff done in an organized, very fast fashion.

When I menu-planned for this week, I took into account this crazy day. I knew we were going to be gone most of the day. So I specifically made sure we had quick and easy food items on hand so we could just GO.

I had the fryer chicken previously thawed and waiting in the fridge, because I looked ahead at Friday’s activities the day prior.

With proper planning, trips out do NOT need to be costly.

Sure, it would have been EASY to run through McDonald’s and buy food for everyone. But I’m telling you, with a family of 9 (well, 8, because the baby is nursing), we could easily spend $40-$50 at McDonald’s. Convenience has a price.

But with proper planning, looking ahead, and some prep work, you can save money by not eating out on those super busy days. Especially if you KNOW those super busy days are coming.

Sometimes the unexpected occurs and you can’t plan ahead and you do have to eat out. I get that.

But if you know, just be prepared. Save yourself a wad of cash. $$$

I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Thoughts and Meditations (for birth) Part 5 (final)

#5- God will guide the midwife (or medical staff). RD will support and encourage what is best for baby and I.

a. Ex. 14:14~ The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
b. Rom. 15:13~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

*The Lord is my strength and my shield; He will protect me.
*You direct my thoughts, Lord. You show me the way to birth my child.*Lord, You designed me a woman and You direct the way this labor should go according to Your design.
*I rest in You in the days leading up to our baby’s delivery. I rest during and in between all contractions. I am still in Your presence because I know You fight for me.
*Your plans are holy and perfect. I surrender my hopes and plans and desires to follow Your plan for this birth. You make Your presence known and guide every person facilitating this birth. You are glorified and Your name is revered.
*You fill me with joy and peace as I trust in You and continue to do so during labor. What can man do to me? You sift everything through Your perfect fingers and I trust that You will lead the midwife (or medical team). You do not overlook any detail of this labor and have it all planned perfectly. I surrender to Your plan and am protected by Your Holy Spirit against all enemy attack and distraction.

 

… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us… Rm. 8:37

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