Wednesday, November 20, 2013

7 Things I Learned in November

       I got the idea for this post from Jennie & Emily Freeman. I love the idea of keeping track of random, silly, or serious little things I learn. With "preg-nesia" setting in, I need all the help I can get. Here are just a few of the random things I have learned in the month of November.

1. My choices & self-discipline today will help me be who I want to be tomorrow.
This isn't profound and is actually fairly obvious. It just took me a little longer to believe it.

2. I learned how to improvise with this new recipe.
I've been craving some "homey" food lately. We don't have a pan/dish that I could use to cook meatloaf, so I found a recipe on Pinterest for how to cook meatloaf in muffin pans. I used my mom's classic meatloaf recipe & the Pinterest link's cooking instructions. Montana & I loved them. I'm going to try to cook some of these and freeze them (without the topping) for nights when I am not home early. Yay new freezer meals!

Easy "Mini" Meatloaves 
(makes ~10 small meatloaves)
1 lb ground beef or chuck
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
(add finely chopped green peppers if desired)

Ketchup (about a cup)
A pinch of brown sugar 
(I substituted regular sugar because we were out & it tasted fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat, soup mix, egg, & milk in a mixing bowl with hands (take off your rings!). Make sure your muffin pan is non-stick or greased. Put mixture in the muffin pan (should fill about 10 slots, fill the other 2 with water). Cook at 350 degrees for 30 min. Combine ketchup & sugar in a small bowl. Remove meatloaves from oven and add a tablespoonful of topping to each. Cook for 10 additional minutes. Serve with green beans & loaded mashed potatoes!

As you can see, they're adorable.

3. Becoming a parent gave me a whole new, unique perspective on life. (and my baby isn't even out of my tummy!)
I remember the day that we found out that we were pregnant. The first thing that hit me was that just an hour before that, all I had been thinking about was myself & how life had gotten oddly comfortable & fairly easy. I literally thought to myself, "I can finally hit my 'cruise' button in life" (HA!). Suddenly, my mind had to switch from 'Me' to 'We.'

I don't know much yet, but I have seen one major change. Certain things (issues, questions, cultural norms) that once seemed 'grey' became much more black & white when I gained a parent-perspective. On the other hand, I now judge people less harshly for making mistakes with their kids. I have learned great respect for parents, especially single parents, and I am humbled to realize how little I've known up to this point without this perspective. I can't wait to see what else I learn when I actually have my child in front of me!

4. Our kid will probably have friends with names like...
Declan, Sophia, Emmett, Aiden, Evelyn, Wyatt, Lillian, Henry and every possible variation of Isabella.  I think it is hilarious that there could be so many Declans or Chloes that they'll have to be distinguished by their last initial in school - "Mrs. Smith, do you mean Declan A. or Declan C.?" 

5. I can do seemingly mundane things for the glory of God.
Dishes, cleaning, organizing, planning, reading, writing. I think knowing that your daily tasks have purpose is so important for perseverance & living well.

6. Changing something about yourself takes intentionality. Also, I am approval seeking.
I am trying to choose one thing every couple of months to examine about myself & to change. I had to do this for my counseling class at Southern, and it really challenged and helped me. I realized that changing something about myself doesn't just happen. I have to be intentional about taking steps to facilitate the change process. A plan of change and journaling for accountability help too.

 I've always known that I'm not exactly a people-pleaser, but I do want to make people who are important to me happy. I have learned that many times I want to make them happy because I want their approval more than anything. I feel pressure to perform because I'm afraid of what people might think if I mess up. (Gasp) They'll know I'm not perfect! Thankfully, God has used pregnancy to help me see this quality in myself & to show me what it is like to be free from that struggle for approval. He reminds me of Titus 3:4-5: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." I don't have to do anything to win God's approval. I already have it because of Jesus. That lets me rest peacefully when I make a mistake, when I don't meet standards, or when I disappoint someone. It's a reminder that I'm not perfect, and I shouldn't expect myself or others to be perfect.

7. I learned that about 3% of women today under 25 with a bachelor's degree have children.
So if marrying my high school sweetheart at 21 didn't make me counter-cultural enough, this sweet kid pushed me over the edge. ;)