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Taking A Pause, Here To Listen

1024 1024 Libby Absten

Taking a break from the blog, to stop and listen. My heart is so heavy and I feel at a loss for words this week. I want to do more than voice my thoughts and post what I stand for. I will never understand what it’s like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin, and I want to intentionally learn and act and pray.

I was so encouraged by these prayers that Chelsea Smith encouraged us to get on our knees and pray:

1) That the broken systems of our country and world will be rebuilt to actually provide “liberty and justice” for ALL.

2) Pray for hearts to truly be changed and all racism, prejudice, and stereotypes to be removed. Have the courage to ask God to show you any areas of your own hearts that need adjusting and for the strength to change.

3) Pray for church leaders to have the wisdom and the courage to boldly declare Jesus as the answer for racism and the only ones that can truly transform hearts.

Let’s love each other well, let’s listen, let’s learn, let’s stand for change.

Now more than ever I believe health starts at home, I wanted to do something for my family to help us learn and grow together. I bought these books for my niece to help her learn and understand why what’s going on is so important, and thought I would share. x

Here is a great anti-racism resource, include articles and books to read, videos to watch, podcasts to subscribe to, movies to see, and so much more.

And, here are some great organizations to donate to at this time as well:

Artwork from @sacree_frangine – Who’s openly sharing her art to help spread awareness.

In The Kitchen: Where and How to Shop

682 1024 Libby Absten

I love how much time have been able to spend in the kitchen lately! I have mentioned this before, but being able to take extra time planning meals and cooking has become a new routine in this season that I have come to love so much. Eating healthy and knowing what I an consuming has always been a big part of my life, but now more than ever I feel like it’s a passion of mine that has really developed with more time to practice it! 

On the blog, I have started a new series called In The Kitchen, and over the last few weeks I have talked about adding new purpose to your cooking routine and have given some practical tips on ways to maximize the life of your fresh groceries. This week I thought it would be helpful to talk about where I shop for my groceries and a few tips on how to shop – Things that I think can so often be overlooked in the day to day of a week spent at home or the craziness and potential fear of grocery environments lately. 

WHERE TO SHOP

One of my very favorite things about this time has been the discovery of our local farm. While Jase and I are so lucky to have one close enough for us to go to, the idea of shopping local and supporting small businesses has been a value instilled in me during this time that I will not leave behind! 

While many of us may have the first thought that shopping small comes at a greater expense, many things like produce, especially fruit and veggies, can actually be cheaper or often on sale and at a better quality, ultimately lasting you longer than your nearby chain grocer. 

Shopping small or local is also a great way to cut out on the stress of the grocery store during this time! When you relieve yourself of the many negative emotions that can so often be identified with a stop at the store, this activity can actually become a cherished part of your routine. I know for me, I love showing up to my local spot and taking time to see what fresh picks are available – wandering up and down the rows (while practicing safe distancing, of course) and taking it all in! This care that I have developed in my routine for where I shop and what I buy has caused me to have even greater care and excitement in what I prepare. I cook based on my inspiration from the ingredients purchased. It has been a game-changer for me!

Another great place to shop, that isn’t so small, can be Whole Foods. While this was often considered not within budget for many families, the new deals and offers that have been extended to Amazon Prime Members (which so many of us are!) makes it practical once again. It’s also a great option for those pantry items that can be more expensive at your local spot. Things like nut butters, canned goods, healthy snacks and treats, or alternative milks are actually similarly priced (or on sale / specially priced) to your opposing chain grocer and oftentimes made with more quality or organic ingredients! Such a win.

HOW TO SHOP

Now that the stress has been relieved from dreaded trips to the grocery store, the need for a detailed list of things to get in and get out as fast as possible has also gone out the window. While I have my routine items I always get – protein options, potatoes, pastured eggs, leafy greens, and nuts – I also make room in my trip to look at what’s freshly available and think of meals I can create using what’s right in front of me! 

A great way to start doing this is to shop for more universal items that can be created or added to anything. Items like sweet or regular potatoes can be chopped into quarters for a tray of roasted veggies with broccoli, zucchini, onion, and asparagus – or cut vertically and baked into fries! Proteins like pastured chicken or ground grass-fed beef can be added on top of fresh greens and healthy grains with roasted veggies to make into a warm bowl or served on top of a crisp salad. Your pantry items like noodles, canned foods, or nuts can be cooked or chopped and mixed into any meal to add a different texture or a more filling variety. And fresh herbs and spices can take any meal to the next level!

There are just so many options, but the goal when first starting is to shop for a variety of versatile fresh foods that can work together and then let your creativity work as you go throughout your week! 

A FEW OF MY GROCERY STAPLES 

  • Pastured eggs
  • Organic almond butter
  • Organic raw nuts for making home-made nut milk
  • Organic spring onions
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Raw butter
  • Siete tortillas and chips
  • Siete hot sauce
  • Organic dinosaur kale
  • Organic lettuces
  • Organic red peppers
  • Organic green beans
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic white rice
  • Organic potatoes – purple, red, sweet
  • Organic tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Organic fresh spices – cilantro, basil, dill, mint, oregano, sage (we grow these in our garden but are a must!)
  • Organic beets

Where are you shopping in this season, and what healthy recipes are you making in your kitchen? I’d love to hear from you! Follow along with my kitchen routine here on the blog or at my Instagram where I often post meals I’m making or grocery items I’m grabbing. xo

Thinking Bigger: New Rhythms and Routines

683 1024 Libby Absten

What an interesting time it has been! I know we have touched so much on this on the blog, but it’s so true. This time has been unlike any other. I recently launched a new series on the blog called Thinking Bigger, and this week I wanted to touch on the idea of new routines and rhythms. 

I think one of the reasons we keep talking about this time is because it has caused us to pause – We’ve paused from our everyday life, from our routines, our appointments, our errands, our offices, classes, and schedules. And that pause has caused us to think. And we’ve been thinking a lot! 

Although some of that thinking can cause fear, much of it has been an assessment of what we used to do every day in comparison to what we’re doing now. Things I used to view as such a chore have now become cherished routines. Activities I used to never have time for are now new staples in my schedule – like planning evening meals and eating dinner with Jase, planting a garden, reading a book, or taking joy and excitement in grocery shopping at the local farm. 

With all this new that has come about in this season, and in light of many of us on the brink of communities opening up again, I’ve caught myself almost sad that “a return to normalcy” would mean potentially losing those routines and rhythms I’ve come to love so much in this time. What will life look like when we are able to be busy again? When those appointments, and errands, and classes, and work will fill our schedules once more?

I think rather than being sad, it’s okay to ask this question, and I think it can be a positive in return. We’ve been talking about this time so much on the blog because I think we’re excited about the opportunity that all this pause has given us to become better. Better at being more present at home, better at implementing routines that are healthy and creating healthy environments, better at being intentional about our activities, thoughts, and how we fill our time

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to leave my new cherished routines behind when all this is over. I want to use whatever I have left of this pause to continue to practice them, and instill them in the rhythms of my every day so that, when I have the opportunity to fill my schedule a bit more, I will still make time for those things I came to appreciate so greatly when my schedule was less full. 

What new routines and rhythms have you begun or been practicing in this season that have made you better? What rhythms can you start now that you can carry with you when this time is over? 

My hope for you all is that you have found practices and activities that you have come to cherish during this time, those that have made you feel whole and healthy. And for those of you who haven’t yet, I hope that you take whatever time we have left in this pause to find what fills you up in that way – So that all of us can leave this time feeling and being better than when we went in. x

In The Kitchen: Adding Life to Your Groceries

485 727 Lauren Kennedy

Last week on the blog I started a new collection of talks around being In The Kitchen. I don’t know about you, but here at LSK we’ve been talking so much about how this time has changed everything for us. Things that we used to think were such a chore have now become a cherished part of our routine, and we’re finding ourselves digging into new passions like never before. One of those passions for me has been spending time in the kitchen – taking extra care in what I prepare, and all the steps along the way.

With things being the way they are recently, I’ve been thinking so much more about what I use and how I use it. This week I want to share a few tips on how to preserve those precious groceries we’re buying and make them last as long as possible in order to reduce waste and save on fewer trips to pick up groceries.

More than ever, I think I am realizing why my mom is almost mentally trained not to waste any food considering the culture during her childhood. I always had no problem tossing certain things, but now I have a greater appreciation for what I put in my straw bag at the farm shop. These times have brought more scarcity than we have experienced in our lives, and I am all about making my produce last as long as possible + for the first time have researched what veggies remain fresh for longer.

I wanted to share some tips that have really helped me. It has been such a new topic to educate myself on!

SHELF LIFE

This article and graphic have both taught me so much!

 

 

WASHING

  • Rinse with water. You can use a vegetable brush on tougher roots.
  • Veggies will hold the longest if you wait to wash them right before use.

TOOLS

  • Swag Bags: It keeps our veggies fresh for up to two weeks + they are made with the healthiest materials.
  • Almond Cow: Jase and I were having a hard time keeping almond milk in stock. It was always out at the grocery store after quarantine started, so this has been an absolute game-changer. And it only takes 5 minutes!

HERBS

  • Your herbs will be happiest standing in a glass of water, where just the stems are wet.
  • Store in the fridge or on the counter.

ROOTS

  • Store in the refrigerator in a container with some airflow.
  • Keep potatoes in a paper bag to minimize light exposure (that is what causes them to sprout!).

GREENS

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • They like a little moisture but not too much. Sometimes it helps to add a damp paper towel into the container.

TIPS

  • If you feel like you won’t use your veggies or fruit before they will get bad, freeze them! Did you know even raw butter and cheese freezes well? Cut, peel, and remove excess from your produce, and store in these biodegradable storage bags.
  • With bread that is going bad, make croutons!

Info source: @wearebrightland

Thinking Bigger: Serving Others and Supporting Small Businesses

683 1024 Lauren Kennedy

Although this time is full of struggle, re-adjusting, loss, learning to homeschool, and bits of frustration or maybe even fear, there are positive ways we can support each other! This time has reinstalled a sense of camaraderie and community. Do y’all agree? Many are serving more than they ever have. It’s a beautiful silver lining to this pandemic. When loneliness sets in, I encourage you to check in on someone else or send a thoughtful note or gift to a loved one; I guarantee it will bring you joy and will only bring comfort to others!

Here on the blog, we’ve implemented a new series of talks on Thinking Bigger. Last week we touched on How Simplicity Changes Everything, and this week I wanted to talk about serving others and supporting small businesses – A topic that has really been on my heart and surprisingly, has also helped me process during this time.

My family lives in Dallas; we are so close, and it was really tough to cancel the trips we had planned to see each other, not knowing when the safe next time will be. One way that has helped me feel so connected is by sending them presents that remind me of them or fun little things for my sweet nieces! And all the while, I order the items from small businesses. You bring a company joy while sending joy to someone you love, and it doesn’t have to be big!

Another long-winded, yet rewarding project we have been diving into is all things home and finishing the furnishing process! With the intension of supporting small businesses, I feel like I have entered an entirely new world of discovering some incredible companies! It makes the purchase that was on the to-do feel much more purposeful.

Fun Ideas

  • Create your neighbor a bouquet of flowers from the backyard.
  • Write a note to someone you are grateful for.
  • Call your grandma.
  • Give to a charity that provides meals to others during this time.
  • Cook a meal or cookies and deliver it to someone it would help.

Gift Ideas

  • Send a bottle of wine from here (it’s organic and biodynamic and delicious!)
  • A toy for your friend’s puppy from here, here, or here.
  • Send something cute from here.
  • This Box of Sunshine that gives 100% of proceeds to Baby2Baby.
  • The cutest organic clothes for kids.
  • For new mamas.
  • Healthy products from here.

For the Home

To follow along with items I’m getting my hands on, or to see how I’m constantly learning and processing throughout this time, stay up to date on my Instagram. x

How can you serve and support others during this time? Jot down a few ideas and try to implement one this week!

 

Shop My Look Here: Shorts, Top, Sunnies, and Shoes

 

This Season’s Word: Comfort

682 1024 Melissa Mayer

With Christmas next week, all the cozy, festive, holiday vibes are in full force. This season is so special and is such a gift for many reasons, but most importantly it marks the arrival of our forever, perfect gift; our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

A word that has been on my heart a lot in 2018 has been comfort. As humans, an intrinsic motivation and desire is comfort. I recently heard two sermons on comfort (here and here) that confirmed what I knew to be true, but after these two back to back messages, the truth really took roots in my heart and mind. Comfort comes from one place and one place alone: Jesus. He is the only source of true satisfying comfort.


If we seek God, we will find comfort because He is our refuge, strength, helper, and place of safety. (Psalm 46:1-3, Psalm 61:3, Psalm 121:7-8 CSB) However, if we seek comfort first, we will find ourselves being comforted by things other than God. This is the tricky place where comfort can quickly become an idol in our lives without us really even being aware that idolatry is sneaking in. We must remember God is our comforter, not people or things here on earth. God is so good and knows just what we need (Matthew 6:25-27), is our great provider (Deuteronomy 2:7), and has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Fear not, He comforts us perfectly daily, including days of affliction…especially those days! We just have to seek Him and run to Him as our refuge!

As we enter in to 2019 shortly, seeking God and not seeking comfort is the direction of my heart. He is our True North, in His wings we find refuge (Psalm 91), and His name is our tower of safety (Proverbs 18:10). Seeking Him and loving Him with all our hearts will bring us comfort that the world can never offer. Amen and thank you, Jesus.

 

Merry Christmas to all! xo.

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