Gratitude for a busy week

It’s been a busy and frankly very stressful week but I am taking a few moments to be grateful for it. There were moments I really, really didn’t enjoy but I choose to dwell on the positives and opportunities in these situations. Such a powerful practice. Here’s my quick gratitude list:

1. Saturday morning sleep in. Very much needed and appreciated.

2. Delicious breakfast. Breakfast really is my favourite meal of the day 🙂

3. Giant spider emerging from my bookshelf at work yesterday reminding me that: a) I am surrounded by supportive people who take me seriously and help when my arachnophobia rears its ugly head and b) I probably shouldn’t have gone to work on my day off!

4. Great conversations with colleagues and even greater conversations with some very dear friends.

5. I SAW MY SISTER IN PERSON ON THURSDAY! She is finally home from her epic 2 year round-the-world adventure and even though it was very brief, I was SO excited to see her and her husband and his mum within hours of them arriving back in the land of Oz. Love you sis 🙂

6. House buying process is happening….slowly and stressfully but surely. Yippee 🙂

7. Date night with my fiancé: delicious food, fine conversation and enough local knowledge to help the tourists at the table next to us with their weekend plans.

8. My all natural bi-carb deodorant. Don’t laugh, I know it sounds incredibly hippy, but it WORKS! It has been extremely hot this week, and today and tomorrow will be hotter still, and this stuff really does work. It also smells great because I added some beautiful essential oils. And it doesn’t have any nasties 🙂 Will post a recipe soon.

9. Crinkle! She is so cute.

10. Toowoomba Writers’ Festival is today and I’m going. Feeling nervous and excited all at once.

11. The lingering sense of wonderment and awe that I still feel from witnessing a bushfire very close to home this week. It was frightening and beautiful all at once. Thankfully it was controlled and as far as I’m aware nobody was injured and no property was damaged, but I was on alert the night it was within blocks of my house. It was truly awe-inspiring to see the beauty and power of nature so close.

12. Podcasts! I just love them so much 🙂

13. Hope for the future. I have some big plans and it’s nice to feel excited about them 🙂

14. The fact that my thermostat seems to be built for heat. Not extreme heat, granted, but heat none-the-less, which means I am less affected by 38 degree days than some of the people around me.

15. That said, I’m also very grateful for air conditioning! I will not be overusing it but I anticipate putting it on for a couple of hours this afternoon to cool down the house so that it is more comfortable when Stuart gets home from cricket (who plays cricket in 38 degree heat???).

 

What are you grateful for this week?

 

What is the life you want?

So tonight I’m feeling pretty fired up. I have had an interesting day at work and had a bunch of great conversations with people, and also some disheartening conversations about people who are begging for help but taking no responsibility for it themselves. This is called playing the victim. It basically means putting all the responsibility for making your life good/you happy/the result you want onto someone and something external to yourself. One of the greatest things I have gotten out of this coaching journey is really internalising the idea that it is me and me only that is in control of my thoughts, beliefs, actions and decisions, and in turn, my life. If things aren’t going well in my life then I can either change what’s happening or change my attitude. Either way, the power is 100% mine. This is something I am really, truly passionate about.

In saying that, though, I have also learnt that you can’t MAKE somebody understand this concept. As frustrating as it is to be a bystander to the process, you can only support people on their journeys and help them understand by being the example as someone who does take responsibility.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with my boss about why I want to continue working part time in Toogoolawah, living in Toowoomba (mostly) and driving the long commute between the two several times a week when surely I could just get a full time job in Toowoomba and not worry about driving. Well, the answer is simply because I don’t want to do that! Firstly, it’s a very pretty highway drive and I actually LOVE it because I get to listen to all sorts of podcasts and audiobooks and recorded webinars and fill my brain with stuff that really lights me up inside. And secondly, because the person (and cat!) I want to live with is in Toowoomba, and the job I am happy with is in Toogoolawah. I don’t want to get a job in Toowoomba. I like the job I have now. I don’t want to work full time as a teacher because I believe that it is detrimental to my health (and to many other teachers’ health too but that’s a story for another time!). Even though there are people in my life (my boss, my mother) who believe that this lifestyle I have chosen is perhaps not right for me, they are wrong. It is my life and I am the one responsible for deciding what is the right choice and what isn’t. I know in my heart that this is the right choice for me right now. And like I said, I’m not actually unhappy with it at all, that’s their stuff that they are projecting onto me.

So then after these interesting conversations today, I jumped in the car on my long but wonderful commute home to Toowoomba and was excited to press play on this week’s episode of my favourite, the ‘Up For A Chat’ podcast. And low and behold, the guests on the show were a couple named Tim and Ness who were talking about pretty much the same thing! They spoke about how people get so stuck in being unhappy with where they are in their life, but do nothing to change it. This remarkable couple talked about a number of ways they have made changes in their life so that they can live their dream, and I just found it so inspiring. I also know that some people listening to it would launch immediately into thoughts of ‘oh well, that’s alright for THEM,’ and ‘well I can’t do that because….’ in order to make themselves feel better about the fact that they are not taking responsibility for the life they want. That’s victim thinking. Sure, maybe you can’t live the life Tim and Ness live. And that’s good, because it’s their life. What is important is figuring out what is the life you want.

How do you do that? Well, you have to take responsibility for the choices you make in life, whether they are moving you towards or away from your goal. And the first step is simply asking the question and being very, very honest about the answer.

So, what is the life you want?

 

Easy Friday night recipe: Roast Chicken and Warm Pesto Salad

Last night’s dinner was ah-mazing! Stuart made a delicious roast chicken with his usual recipe. I was given a huge bunch of fresh basil from the school agricultural farm yesterday so I wanted to make pesto. I decided to experiment a little by combining a few different recipes and it worked out really well! Since going gluten free, I have enjoyed making my usual pasta recipes with zucchini or carrot sliced up (usually in long, thin slivers like ‘spaghetti’) and lightly fried. So I decided to adapt that and add some pesto….and it was delicious, especially combined with the yummy roast chicken. I teamed this with my favourite summer drink: soda water and fresh lime. Scroll down for the recipes 🙂

Chicken with warm pesto salad

Stuart’s Yummy Roast Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • large chicken

Method

1. Mix the paprika, cumin and salt together. Sprinkle over the top of the chicken.

2. Roast chicken for 1.5 hours in convection oven, or as long as you usually roast a chicken for in whatever kind of oven you have 🙂

3. Carve and serve with warm pesto salad, or whatever kind of salad you most enjoy!

 

Warm Pesto Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
  • big bunch of fresh basil (maybe 1 – 2 cups?)
  • 3/4 cup shaved parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Method

1. Cut the top and bottom off the carrots and zucchini. Feed the carrots through the food processor with the ‘chipping’ blade on, or cut them into rough chips about the size and shape of penne pasta (except without the hole through the middle). Place into a bowl. Do the same to the zucchini.

2. Put the carrots in a fry pan on low heat with some olive oil to begin to soften.

3. Roast 1/4 cup of nuts in the oven for a few minutes. We didn’t have any pine nuts so I used almonds and they worked beautifully. Let the almonds cool for a few minutes once done.

4. Once the carrots have been on the heat for a while, add the zucchini to the frying pan. The zucchini take far less time to soften and will go mushy if heated for too long.

5. In the food processor with the blade in, place the basil, nuts, garlic and parmesan. As Jamie Oliver says, ‘waz it up’ until it is like green and white crumbs. With the processor still going, slowly pour the oil into the top until it all combines. I actually used about 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup avocado oil, just for fun. You could do this too, or stick with straight olive oil.

6. Add the pesto to the pan of carrot and zucchini ‘penne pasta’ style chips. Mix it around an allow to heat slowly.

7. Serve with the delicious chicken and a glass of something bubbly and delicious 🙂

 

So what do you think? Do you every experiment in the kitchen? I’m normally a strict recipe follower and Stuart is a chronic ‘make it up as I go’ type. He constantly astounds me with his knack for getting flavours right, even though he never measures anything! There have been some memorable disasters when I tried to model this and just guess-timate how much of each ingredient to use. Nevertheless, I persist in modelling the attitude and I am learning to be more adventurous in my cooking (while still using measurements!). Tonight’s experiment was a success. Try it and let me know how it works for you!