Are you in full swing for the New Year already? I’ll be honest, I’m a little on the slow side in taking down our Christmas tree;
This live Christmas tree and it’s ornaments representing our life’s journey…
The year Randy and I were married:
Our goofy family Christmas cards (“Silo Knight”):
The year we moved from St. Louis to Memphis, MO
Celebrating our empty-nest status:
And I’m a wee-bit reticent to give up the great memories of the old year for the challenges of the New Year. Last year, Randy and I saw both of our daughters get married to terrific guys at our family farm:
AND, our son also became engaged to a wonderful lady!
But the New Year is here, so it’s time to get to work! But before we dive in, let’s take just a couple of moments framing the “why’s” of getting our personal house in order for the New Year and attacking those goals we sometimes put off. I’m not talking about short-term goals here like losing 20 pounds for your upcoming High School Reunion. I’m talking about reasons for LASTING changes we need to start working toward with urgency:
I. Don’t Worry, be Active!- I ran across an article about a young woman from Australia that had just died from a virulent form of cancer. She was just 27 years old. What Holly Butcher left was a poignant Facebook post about what really matters in this short life we have:
I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great,” she wrote.
Let’s single the word WORRY out of that paragraph. Ask yourself, how much time do we spend worrying about things that truly don’t matter?
Do you worry about your lack of likes on Facebook? Or that you don’t feel as beautiful as you did in your youth or even that the scale is going to register a huge number that you can’t deal with now that you are going on your traditional “after the holidays” diet? I used to stress over that. Afraid of the dreaded “weigh in”, not anymore though! Or maybe you are worrying about bigger things, like the possibilities of harm that can come to your loved ones or the total lack of direction for a bright future that some young people have.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about this when he was teaching his disciples, Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
The BEST antidote to worry is ACTION:
If you are worried about your lack of popularity, start reaching out to people, FACE TO FACE!
If you are worried about your clothes not fitting and your constantly rising scale weight, make a commitment to a program that you can follow! I actually made such a commitment this past fall after our two daughters were married this past summer. I was coming out of being in a constant state of Mother-of- the-Bride “stressoutness” and my food choices reflected that and so did my body. Even though my life’s work is centered around nutrition, I felt I needed a wakeup call on my lifestyle choices! So I decided that I needed to make a 100% commitment to a healthy lifestyle program that made me accountable, had me track my food and included a shake-up of my old aerobic routine. So I signed up with my daughter’s new company Sammi Gregory Fitness (instagram.com/sammigfit):
And…. I’ve had great success! The program elements are a great “fit” for me (pun intended!): daily weigh-ins, weekly photos and measurements, email check-ins and techno-friendly methods to both help me track my food and assist me with the weight lifting routine I knew I was missing! I’ve lost weight, gained muscle and best of all, have a better handle on my eating and exercise pitfalls so I can make lasting changes! The old me would have just stewed about it, but I tell you, action really gives you power and it just snowballs into more focused and meaningful locomotion on your part!
If you are worried about the health of your loved ones, that truly is in God’s hands, however, you can be sure to check on and visit them on a regular basis!
If you are worried about the lack of direction of the youth in your community, get involved with them! My husband and I started a nonprofit, Midwest Ambassadors for the Culinary Arts (MACA) for culinary education and awareness because we saw such a need in our community, for the skills to make healthy food taste inviting, and for some, turning those skills into a lifelong career! This is an example of a worry turned action. With our regular events that engage young people, it has the potential to be an avenue for a positive professional direction!
II. If We Don’t Model What Good Behavior Is, Who Will?- Unfortunately, in 2017, one of the really serious cultural memories is the surfacing of abysmal behavior involving sexual harassment at the highest levels of many industries. Now you know that bad behavior in general has been with us since the beginning of time. What we should be concerned about is the effect of observational learning. Research shows that people tend to observe and then repeat the behavior they see in high profile personalities. The same goes for us: what we model in our daily lives has a way of spilling over to our kids, friends and community! So we need to keep our moral compass at true north for their sake, having clear lines of what is right and what is wrong.
However, it’s not only for our human counterparts. Enter the advanced technology age of self-driving cars. :
To create a computer conscience for these cars, scientists use a simple “value of life” model and then input the algorithm in the computer. You can guess when the problems come in for these computers: when they are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas like the decision of either hitting 5 people or swerve and just hit one. But, this isn’t just another scruples round. Lives are at play. I raise this next technology frontier because who will have the right moral framework to know what are the absolute rights and wrongs, to make THE principled decisions? You can also look for robots to be managing your care at a hospital near you in the very near future. Will they model Judeo-Christian virtues or something else more utilitarian that has threatened healthy relationships and families?
Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven.”
III. The Roots We Nurture Today Will Yield The Forest of Tomorrow- This is a picture of the Willow tree our daughter Shannon and our new son-in-law Tracy planted at their wedding this past fall.
If the tree is watered and fertilized properly in the beginning, it’s roots can grow strong and the tree will be healthy, yielding shade and cover to animals for years to come.
So what can we learn from this little tree? It’s analogous to us making focused time in our busy schedules for the things that REALLY count, like your friends, family and community. These are the relationships that grow into that strong Willow tree and later a forest of Willow trees when you reach an older age. I am personally facing the big number “60” this year so I can’t help but reflect on what is really worth my time. I’ve had to shed some of the immaterial time-eaters, like wasting time worrying about what people think of me. I finally figured out that if you are doing your best to do the right thing, with God as your guide, that is truly all that matters!
With that I say good-bye to the 2017 Christmas tree…
So with this framework, go ahead and tackle those LASTING changes you want to work on for not just the New Year, but for the worthy enrichment of the rest of your life and all those around you!
Psalm 1:3- “He will be like a tree planted by streams of water. Which yields it’s fruit in it’s season. And it’s leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Planting Your Tree of Life For the New Year Recap:
I. Life is Too Short To Sweat the Small Stuff
II. If We Don’t Model What Good Behavior Is, Who Will?
III. The Roots We Nurture Today Will Yield The Forest of Tomorrow
The meal I’ve included for you below is perfect for a cold winter’s night. The deer tenderloin is a really simple preparation, yet it remains one of Randy and my favorites! Just make sure you have the fire roaring like we did and, if you choose, serve this with an earthy glass of red wine (Zinfandel is a great choice).
GRILLED VENISON WITH LIME BUTTER
ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH LEMONY UMAMI YOGURT SAUCE
GRILLED VENISON WITH LIME BUTTER
1 lb. Boneless, trimmed venison
½ tsp. whole peppercorns, toasted
1 T. Lime Juice
Salt to taste
2 T. Butter
¼ tsp. peppercorns, toasted and crushed
1 tsp. grated lime zest
¼ tsp. lime juice
- Select a piece or pieces of venison suitable for broiling and slicing in the manner of London Broil. Make sure the venison is well trimmed of silverskin.
- Rub the meat with peppercorns. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt. Let marinate 30 minutes.
- Soften the butter and mix in the crushed peppercorns, lime zest, lime juice, and salt. Refrigerate until needed.
- Grill or broil the venison until rare or medium rare. Remove from the heat and let rest for a few minutes.
- Cut on the bias, across the grain, into thin slices, like London Broil.
- Arrange the slices on plates. Top each portion with a small slice of lime butter, about 1 tsp.
*Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen
Nutrition Information: 231 cal, .3 g. carbohydrates, 12.45 g. fat, 24.3 g. protein, .1 g. sugar, 126.25 mg. sodium, .05 g. fiber
ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH
LEMONY UMAMI YOGURT SAUCE
1 ½ pounds broccoli
1 T extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
6 T non-fat Greek yogurt
1 T mayonnaise
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
2 T freshly grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the center rack and allow to heat for 10 minutes (this allows to the broccoli to do an even better job caramelizing once it hits the oven).
- Cut the broccoli into 1/3 inch thick “steaks”. Trim the “steaks” so they lie flat on the baking sheet.
- Toss the broccoli with the olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Lie them down on the baking sheet cut side down. Roast for 20 minutes, turning them halfway, until they are tender and golden.
- For the sauce, mix yogurt, mayo, garlic, zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the broccoli to plates and sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with yogurt sauce. Enjoy!!!
*Recipe Adapted from Food & Wine
Nutrition Information:125.5 cal, 11 g. carbohydrates, 7.1 g. fat, 7.3 g. protein, 3.35g. sugar, 124.05 mg. sodium, 3.8 g. fiber