On New Year's Day, my family has a tradition to go out to breakfast on January 1st together. This year (and the past several years) it's been just my parents and I! My brother's are off doing their own thing with their lives in different states. This morning we decided to go to one of our recent favorite dining spots -- an adorable, little, but oh-so-popular and hoppin' brunch place called Half & Half. I got the Veggie Hash, which is a super hot skillet that doesn't cool down for you to eat out of it for a good 20 minutes, filled with pan-fried potatoes, brussel sprouts, onions, and spinach with two sunny side up eggs on top! It was bomb. And I left the restaurant feeling really satisfied and not overly stuffed like usual (which is something I've always struggled with). Here's a picture of it:
My dad brought up a cool question that was the topic of our discussion at the table this morning. It got us thinking. The question was...
"What are 3 words you want to focus on in the new year of 2016?"
Only 3 Words?! I don't know if I can do that!! Usually I hate these kinds of questions that limit my words because I can rarely come up with one that I'm satisfied with and fits what I'm wanting to say. But this time 3 words immediately popped into my noggin:
Let me explain.
First of all, love. This is a word that can go in so many different directions but this is what I'm getting at with love. Love a huge theme in the Bible centering around the love that God gave to us by sending his only son, Jesus, to save us by dying for our all of our sins so that we don't have to. The Bible talks about God's unconditional love for us, and that is SO amazing and incomprehensible. I know I will never fully get it, but I really don't think I understand this incredible love of God that he has for me and his children. I know that understanding it more and more will keep radically changing my whole life in every single part of it. Knowing God's love is what will make me be able to love other people around me SO much better seeing them through God's eyes.
Also, understanding God's amazing love will help me be able to love myself too. This is something I have not been good at in my life, and I know for a fact there are so many people out there who feel the same way. Loving your whole self (your personality, your body, your flaws you see in the mirror, etc) is challenging, but the only way to truly love others and yourself is to know the DEEP love that God has for you. He made us so beautifully and intricately and uniquely and just the way He wanted each of us to be. Sometimes it's hard to accept the way we are or the way we look. I get it because I feel that way all the time. But bringing it back to a broader, bigger context and stepping back to see yourself and others through the lens of God is what will change our views of ourselves and others. Our lives WILL transform when we get God's love for us. So my first word, love, is about God's love. It's something I want to dig into and learn to understand more and more in 2016, so that I may love Him more, love others more, and love and accept myself more just the way he's made me.
My second word is friendship. I listened to a sermon on friendship by Tim Keller this past fall 2015 and it struck some chords with me in MANY ways! I almost felt too convicted while listening to this sermon! Practically every other sentence he spoke I was either thinking to myself, "Shoot...I don't do that..." or "Dang...I've totally been doing that to my friends my whole life..." Better late than never to learn about friendship right?! Anyways, I won't tell you all the points that stuck out to me, because this blog post would be approximately 50000000 words long, and no one would probably read it. I highly recommend listening to it tho! It's on the podcast app FYI.
My point about friendship though is that I just really want to strive to be the best friend to people I can be. I want to be the kind of friend that I would want to be a friend to me. I want to be a good listener to my friends and give them my full undivided attention and caring heart. I want to understand God's love so I can learn to share that love with my friends and be a light in that way. I want to be available for my friends when they need me. I have definitely fallen short of being a good friend in the past because of selfish reasons, like not wanting to go be with someone because I'm too tired or if I already had planned out my day ahead so I didn't want to mess up my plans whatsoever. I think being selfless and loving are two big things that are tied to good friendships. It's something that I am going to keep in my prayers because I know I'm sinful and am not going to be perfect at this by any means! I definitely need help and that help will come from God first through prayer. I can't wait to keep learning about what it means to be a good friend in 2016.
And finally, my third word is plants. This is a very simple one. My first semester in college was definitely not what I was expecting in many ways, but one of them being eating. I dealt with incredible amounts of stress with school, injuries, and lots of mental stress in general about life, which led to stress-eating and overeating, most of the time on things that weren't the best for my body (don't worry, none of it was alcohol...I hate the taste of alcohol and never want to drink!! :P ). However all of this overeating led to unwanted and unnecessary pounds and left me feeling icky all the time about my choices. Seriously stress and food can impact our bodies so much. It's kind of amazing how our bodies respond to these! Anyways, I didn't feel like I had as much energy for school work or people, I hated to see my body changing from overeating, and I just felt sluggish.
Towards the end of my fall semester and on Christmas break, I began to learn more and more about eating whole foods and plants as the majority of your diet in order to just be the healthiest you can possibly be. From articles to documentaries, I learned about all the great benefits of eating mostly plant-based -- less risk of disease and heart problems, longer life, more energy, better blood sugar, etc. I truly want to make a change in my diet for the better by challenging myself to incorporate more plants into my diet because I want to give my body the best and healthiest fuel. I want to care for my body and respect it by feeding myself with foods I will thrive on most and will impact my whole life as well. Overeating and stress-eating is not a good way to care for my body. I'm not regretting what happened my first semester in college by any means because it's all a learning experience and I can make better decisions now because I know what overeating and stress-eating does to me. But I really cannot wait to see how eating more plants this year and years to come will affect my body, my mood, my energy levels, and so on.
At the same time though, I am not going to put a label on myself as a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc., because having a balanced diet is everything. Yes I'm still going to eat meat and chicken (we buy HAPPY chickens by the way because we like to support local farms and I don't like the way many chickens are treated either just so you know) I just won't consume as much as I used to. And you know I'm all about that Oreo ice cream life and dark chocolate life :) Treats every once in a while will NEVER be off limits! I want to be able to have fun in life and go on spontaneous ice cream trips and eat a juicy filet mignon at a restaurant with my family. Strictly sticking to one of these food labels I feel like is too restrictive when it comes to being free to go out on fun foodie outings with people you love. The motto that my parents and I have been repeating recently and are going to challenge ourselves to is... "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." Simple as that.
Let the plant-eating begin!
Recap: Love. Friendship. Plants.
Thanks for reading about my three words! Think about your three words to focus on in 2016 and leave a comment because I want to see what you come up with!