Faith · Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Heart Check – Thursday

A podcast I listen to starts out with a few questions from one host to another. They call it a “heart check.”

What’s in your ear?

What’s pulling at your heart?

What book is in your hand?

I’ll also add for this post (because I like food)…

What’s in your mouth?

So, Jen, what’s in your ear lately?

–Yesterday, it was my Pandora thumbprint station. I was solo in the office for most of the day, thus almost a completely uninterrupted soundtrack for the day. Eclectic, as is my taste in music, songs range from the last 6 decades and a wide variety of genres. A personal favorite is Ashokan Farewell, but that might be followed up by Rump Shaker (Wreckx’n’Effect), a song from Ray LaMontagne, the Avett Brothers, Meghan Trainor, Amos Lee, Lee Brice, George Strait, or Casting Crowns (among many, many others).

What’s pulling at your heart?

–Of course my kids and family. Anxiety. Worldwide events that are completely beyond my realm of physical connection. How can I contribute to those around me? How can I be a more patient mother, wife, and friend? After a meeting last night…. when will I ever stop being socially awkward?!!!! 30 years of socializing hasn’t made me a social butterfly. Still inept at the art of surface-style conversation.

What book is in your hand?

–I truly love my 5:30am quiet reading time. I am awake to see the sun rise quietly and peacefully. The past month, I’ve reread three Anne of Green Gables books: 1, 3, & 4. Apparently somewhere in the last 25 years, book #2 disappeared. My devotions in my study Bible are out of Psalms. This morning, I finished “365 Thank You’s” by John Kralik. Focusing on gratitude, he turned his life around one thank you note at a time. Inspiring!

What’s in your mouth?

–Like all people vainly trying to shed the winter carb-fest padding,  focusing on better food choices, I’ve been packing a bountiful amount of fruits and veggies in my daily lunches at the office. Due to my MS med, I have to hit the carbs first thing in the morning to settle my stomach. Therefore, I make my lunch vegetable based instead of building it up from bread or pasta. Almost all my veggie-based meals feature the previous night’s protein choice, aka leftovers. Makes for a lot of variety! Yesterday’s masterpiece:

Mixed baby greens (thank you husband for buying a super large container of these at an amazing discounted price!)
Fresh Mushrooms
Leftover BBQ Chicken
A handful of French fried onions (the ones without whey)
Balsamic Viniagrette (I only use vinaigrettes, no dairy! But if you go this route, be sure to make your own or read the labels.)
I wash and re-use this Subway salad container daily. It’s the perfect size for my lunch bag.

That sums up my Thursday morning heart check. What does your heart check look like today?

Much love — Jen

Family · Health

Corn Dogs

From the mouth of my five year old at a restaurant this weekend and pretty much every day for the last month…

“Mom, I don’t like meat. I won’t eat that.”

Me reading the kids menu: “chicken tenders, mac’n’cheese, pulled pork sliders, apple slices, mini corn dogs….”

“Corn dogs!!!!”


Ugh. What she means is she’ll turn down every quality type of meat or non-meat option (steak, fish, chicken breast, pork chops, veggie w/ protein-filled option, pork or beef roast) for a mechanically separated hot dog.

*sigh* This is just a phase… Until it passes, do you:

a) keep offering the good stuff but let her eat whatever she chooses?

b) put the food on her plate and make her try it but relent after a few bites?

c) hold firm that she will only eat what everyone else is eating (in the case of me cooking at home)?

I’m all ears. She’s a stubborn one, but I’m also not a short-order cook.


My husband is of the opinion that “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” He didn’t grow up with any options. It was a lot of beans, tortillas and bologna at his house.

I grew up with solid meals but we did the intensive labor behind them in the summer. My mom canned from our garden, so we had fresh veggies in the summer and preserved ones in the winter. Picking and processing cherries and apples from the orchard was one of our summer jobs. We raised cattle and pigs, so meat wasn’t a problem. The grocery store also supplemented our meals.


She’d choose to eat junk mixed with a few oranges all day if we’d let her.

Basically, we are both opposed to regular consumption of corn dogs and the like because we do have healthier options available. So…. how do we navigate this phase?