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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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September 24, 2020

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year. The Great Pu

September 17, 2020

Creating Space…in Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Life

Lately I’ve noticed that I have the need for more space—physically, mentally, digitally, and when it comes to my schedule. And no, I do not want a

September 10, 2020

Standing in the Doorway of September

We’re standing in the doorway of September. Summer days still linger, yet autumn is inching its way into our lives—and wardrobes. It’s one more

September 3, 2020

Sometimes I Eat My Feelings

Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I eat my feelings. How about you? We feel sad, so we eat food that soothes us. We feel like celebrating, so we

September 2, 2020

Carob Brownies

(This recipe first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients:  1/2 cup all-purpos

September 1, 2020

High-fiber, low-fat legume adds the flavor without the drawbacks of chocolate

(The following article first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version Most pe

August 27, 2020

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready? Or are you waiting for the perfect time to…                             …learn a new skill? …write the book? …ea

August 25, 2020

Gluten Free Pie Crust

This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crusts. 2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend (Namaste and King Arthur are brands I’ve used)  1/2 teaspo

August 20, 2020

It’s Tomato Time

As I was caring for my tomato plants, I had the memory of my father teaching me about cutting off the suckers–those shoots that show up between

August 13, 2020

Enjoy a Bit of Sabbath Today

Today, take some time to lighten things up a bit and do something you really enjoy—for about an hour. Warning: this may take some discipline. Monks

Consistency, Perseverance, and Toasted Almonds

‘Tis the season to be jolly. So…what if you’re not feeling it?

Some days I’m not. Some days I’d rather stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

Sometimes our lives don’t mimic those happy Hallmark Christmas movies with the seemingly perfect endings. Happy couple, cute dog, every light working on the tree.

Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could sometimes rewrite our movie script?    

It’s tough when along with the joyful festivities of the season comes loss; loss of a loved one, job, relationship, pet, health, identity. The list goes on.

The stress of December takes a toll. It can be a challenge to persevere when instead of sending a bowl of lemons, life sends a gigantic lemon tree. But wait. The commercials tell us that we are supposed to be HAPPY!

This is when it is easier to be consistent. It is easier to show up each day and simply do those tasks that are habit—the ones you don’t need to think about.

Recently, in dealing with one of those lemon trees, I felt consistently sad. There was nothing I could do to cheer up and make that old-fashioned lemonade we hear about in the cliché. I just needed time.

It was in this consistent bummer of a mood that I chose to persevere with routine. My logic: If I could get through those things that I didn’t need to think too hard about, perhaps one day I’d get to the other side.

It worked. I trusted the process of consistency and perseverance, and I’m happy to report that I am in much brighter spirits. Falalalala. And, thank you for the prayers.

I know many people who are in a sad place due to one or more of the aforementioned reasons, and the holidays only make it worse.

During this season of Christmas, may we be consistent in showing loving kindness, whether it be to the clerk at Kohl’s, the driver that cut us off, or the friend who lost their loved one.

We may be helping them exchange that lemon tree for a Christmas tree—even if it is the Charlie Brown variety.

 

Toasted Almonds

In a large skillet over low heat, melt about 2 tablespoons of unrefined, organic virgin coconut oil. Add 2 cups of raw almonds. Sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Watch closely so they don’t burn. You will hear some popping as the almonds are toasting. Remove from heat and put on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the oil. Salt to taste. With all the flavored salts on the market, you could have fun experimenting. For chocolate almonds, after salting, sprinkle some cocoa or cacao powder on while still warm. Stir to coat. Once the nuts have cooled, store in an airtight container. Caution: the chocolate almonds are not sweet.

Tip: When buying large bags of nuts, store in the freezer so they don’t become rancid. Keep smaller quantities in the refrigerator for snacking.

 

“Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

— Oren Arnold, American novelist

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness.

It also reminded me of a book I’d read years ago, “Be Quick—But Don’t Hurry!” by Andrew Hill with John Wooden.

I can hear you now, gasping for air because there is SO MUCH TO DO. Relax. Breathe. Slow down. You’ll get more accomplished.

How many times have you been rushing and set the car keys down, only to forget where you put them? Or, you had your cell phone just a minute ago, where is it now?

In our haste to hurry or speed up, we waste precious time.  

 This also happens to me when I don’t do a simple task (taking 5 minutes or less) in the moment that it shows up. I’ll spend more time thinking about it than if I had just done it immediately. I’m practicing the “Do It Now” principle. (Fold the laundry, sort the mail, write the thank you, etc.)

I’ve also been distracted in the kitchen when measuring an ingredient, hurried, then wondered if I’d measured correctly. UGH!

Need I go on?

The more we hurry, the more stress and anxiety we experience. The result is poor sleep, hormone imbalances, a lack of energy, frustration, cold or flu, and sometimes—a few extra pounds.

Slow down. Spend a few moments in quiet solitude each day. You will be calmer; you will have more clarity about what is most important; you won’t appear crazy, even if you have doubts on occasion. (We all do.)

You will experience more joy and fulfillment because you are taking the time to enjoy each moment. This goes for the decorating, choosing that special gift for each person on your list, and even eating your favorite holiday treats.

The season of Advent, these four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time of waiting. We wait with hope  for Christ’s coming. Children wait impatiently for Santa to deliver the goods. Adults can’t wait until it’s over. ‘Tis the season! 

Take a few extra minutes today and slow down. Be quick in knowing what it is you need to be attentive to, then methodically go about getting it done–But don’t hurry.

Make your plan. Work your plan. Have fun, doing the best you can.

“Keep calm and enjoy Christmas.”

 

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not doing them at all.

It is about now that the seasonal roller coaster ride begins. It lets up, oh, sometime in February—or July. What often accompanies this roller coaster ride (also known as “real life”) is what one of my mentors, Dr. John Berardi, refers to as “pause-button mentality.”

Examples of this phenomenon go something like this:

*”With all the parties in December, I may as well wait until January to start my health and fitness program. It will be one of my resolutions.”

*”I’ll go to the gym once my job settles down, the kids finish their __________ season, and I get my mom moved into her condo.”

*”It will be easier to eat better meals once the holidays are over. With all the baking, card writing, shopping and decorating, I have NO time.”

*”I was going to start eating more vegetables this week, until I remembered it’s my Birth Month. So many of my friends like to take me to lunch, I can’t possibly consider doing such a crazy thing until NEXT month!” (I’ve used this one before…can you believe it?)

Do any of these stories sound familiar? Okay, perhaps they aren’t exact—you get the picture. For the record: I am guilty of playing the pause-button game. Also for the record: It doesn’t work very well.

We all like to start over, begin again, and erase the slate clean. So do I. The problem: Hitting the pause button delays us living our life and playing full out.

Say your “ideal” routine includes nicely balanced meals every evening, your favorite workouts 5 days a week, quiet prayer/meditative time daily, 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and a good dose of family and social time mixed in with work. Perfect!

We all know that what we plan in life and what happens are usually not the same. We have to take the good stuff along with the not-so-good stuff.

Short term, we can stick with a regimented plan, which is why there are lots of 30-day programs. Life may allow us to get away with a fairly “perfect” 30 days. Then what?

Here’s an alternative to hoping for perfect. Always do something. Pausing the button on various aspects of our life when things get out of whack only leads to regret, and sometimes a more difficult road in the future.

If you are unable to get in your typical workouts, take a 10-minute walk at some point in your day. It will bring mental and physical benefits. Can you get to the gym at least twice a week instead of five? Stay for thirty minutes instead of an hour?

So you can’t get in your wonderfully balanced meals every evening, eat a salad once a day and do the best you can. If you must resort to drive-thru, skip the soda and fries. Practice doing just a little bit better. A little bit better is awesome!

And all those holiday parties? Choose a few of the “healthier” options, drink lots of water, and go for those decadent treats only when they are AMAZING!

Living your best life is not about having lots of willpower, or constantly denying yourself the fun of parties, friends and great food. This game is about developing the skills to hang in there and do what you can, even when you really want to pause. It’s knowing that life is always going to happen, no matter how well you plan.

Embrace the imperfection of doing something. Always.

“Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life. We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human. If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.”—Dr. John Berardi

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I know. Fried food is not a healthy option. My boys come home to celebrate and it’s their favorite. We fry the turkey, and it’s AMAZING!

We enjoy this delicacy once a year. I advise you to do the same with whatever your favorites are. Thoroughly enjoy them. Our health walk is not one of deprivation. It is one of abundance and choice.     

So many times we eat because it’s time. We eat because it’s there. We eat because we’re bored, stressed, sad, lonely, just because. We eat too much, and it’s not even that good. 

This Thanksgiving, how about we eat because we are enjoying every delicious bite with gratitude. How about we eat slowly, stop BEFORE we are bursting at our seams, and focus on our relationships.

That being said, here are a few safety tips in case you’d like to attempt frying a turkey this year.

  • Place your fryer away from any buildings to avoid a fire.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance from the frying area.
  • Have your turkey at room temperature and dry off any moisture.
  • Make sure your oil is the correct temperature to fry the turkey.
  • SLOWLY lower the bird into the hot oil, and wear gloves. My husband spends several minutes lowering the turkey into the oil, so it doesn’t spatter or cause the oil to overflow.
  • Check your time. Frying a turkey is a very quick way to cook it.
  • Allow the turkey to rest once it’s cooked. By doing this, you don’t loose the juices.

Whatever foods you enjoy this Thanksgiving, I wish you the best. In case you’re wondering, we eat pumpkin pie too!

Thanks for reading and following my blog.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” –Meister Eckhart