Time to Be Grateful…for this ol’ body!

Welcome  I share a common characteristic with many women I know.  This characteristic is a negative behavior, a behavior that promotes self-deprecation while lacking gratitude.  That behavior involves body shaming and physical criticism, not of each other, but of ourselves.  You know the lingo.  I’m so fat.  My hair is such a mess.  This skirt makes my butt look big.  If I could just have bigger breasts.  If I could just have smaller hips.  I hate all this cellulite.  My skin looks so pale and pasty.  On and on, and on, and on, and on, well, you get the idea.  Most of us women have made a solid past time out of berating our own appearances.  Even the women that look the most put-together or act like they have the most confidence take a few shots at their own images.  My husband HATES when I do this.  And I kind of understand where he’s coming from.  I don’t like when he puts himself down, because when I look at him, I see this amazing, sexy man that makes me proud to be his wife.  Well, he says that’s the same way he feels about me.  Hmmm.  Maybe it’s time I, that is WE, start looking at all the amazing things our bodies can do and focus on the features that makes us feel most pretty.

Food For Thought  Back in December I did a Gratitude Challenge.  Many of the days were easy and yet others really made me stop and think.  The day I was asked to reflect on the body part I am most grateful for, I really had to think.  It’s funny how we’re never asked to tell what body part we most dislike or want to change, well, unless you go to a plastic surgeon.  They’re always happy for you to give them a list of your least-liked parts.  But like so many other areas in my life, it’s time to start focusing on the positive, and that includes my less-than-perfect body.  This body that falls short of the world’s criteria for beauty has actually done some pretty amazing things.  I should be thankful and grateful for all of them.  But for today, we’re going to focus on one specific part.  After all, if we’re going to start saying nice things about our bodies, we might have to take baby steps until we get more comfortable with this practice.

Anyway, on this particular day of reflecting in my gratitude journal, I decided I wanted to express gratitude for my legs.  Thank you, God, for these legs.  These short, stubby, thick, STRONG legs.  Thank you for these legs that have run in 5-k’s, 10-k’s, and a half-marathon.  Thank you for these legs that have climbed miles of trails to see beautiful places and scenery, that some people will never have the ability to see. Thank you for these legs that held me up for hundreds and hundreds of days in the classroom, as I instructed young minds in reading, math, and more.  Thank you for these legs that carry me to the grocery store, the post-office, and dozens of other errands that are so easily taken for granted.  Thank you for the legs that have spent hours running back and forth on tennis courts, both in competition and for relaxation.  Thank you for these legs that walked day after day across the college campus and trekked up three flights of stairs to my dorm every single semester.  Thank you for these legs that take me on beautiful walks around my neighborhood so I can enjoy the changes of seasons and take in the fresh air.  Thank you for these legs that give the support I need as I walk around the house doing simple tasks like laundry, vacuuming, and cooking.  Thank you for the strength provided by these legs when I need to push a piece of heavy furniture or simply scoot something out of the way with my foot.  Thank you for the countless other activities I am able to complete on a daily basis simply because I have the support of strong legs.  My legs, ahh, yes I take you for granted.

Yes, my legs require a wider pant leg now, thanks to thicker thighs.  Yes, I have pain in my knee joints from arthritis and years of sports and activities.  Yes, my legs swell because of other health-related problems.  Yes, my legs have cellulite dimples and varicose veins.  But my legs still help me live a full and active life and for that I am very grateful.

What is it about your body you are most grateful for?

Today’s Scripture  1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)  “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord looks on the heart.”

Today’s Recipes  We’re going to do a Fast and Frugal Friday today.  These aren’t exactly recipes, but more like a couple of really quick meal plan variations based off the same basic ingredients.  We all have nights that we want to get a quick dinner on the table, but don’t want to resort to take-out, frozen pizza or chicken nuggets.  We also love a good grocery bargain!  Here’s a couple of meals I prepared this week based off some grocery store sales.  The best part is the chicken, believe it or not.  If you have never used salad dressing as a chicken marinade, you really must try this.  You’ll never think of boneless, skinless chicken breasts as dry and bland again!  (Side note–I am not compensated by any brands mentioned in this post.)

creamy italian chicken
Creamy Italian Baked Chicken Breasts with Cheesy Rice and Vegetables

Aldi had fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts at a very decent price last week.  The package of eight large chicken breasts were just under $11.  With that being said, my family knew chicken was in our future this week.  Now when I say large, I mean for our family of three, I only cook 2 breasts and we still have leftovers.  For the first dish, I placed two of the chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag and added 1/3 to half a bottle of creamy Italian salad dressing.  I zipped up the top and turned the chicken over in the bag to be sure they were well-coated and then placed in the refrigerator until time to cook, about six hours or so.  To bake the chicken, I line a 9×13 baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set oven to 375 degrees and place the chicken on the baking sheet.  Bake for about 35 minutes (remember these are thick pieces), turning halfway through cooking time.  The cheesy rice is 2 Knorr Rice Sides-Butter and Herb Flavor prepared according to package directions, with 2 cups of shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Colby jack, stirred in before serving.  You can mix or match cheeses, so this is a great way to use up any leftover cheese you may have in the fridge.  And yes, that’s a lot of rice, but it makes great leftovers for lunch during the week.  I like to serve it with fresh cracked black pepper.  Speaking of Knorr Rice Sides, they are often on sale for $1 per package at our local supermarket, so I stock up when I see them on sale.  The bags of frozen vegetables were only 89 cents each, on sale, making for a well-rounded frugal meal.

honey mustard chicken
Honey Mustard Chicken, Rice Pilaf, and Sauteed Spinach and Onions

Another meal we had this week is the same concept, just a variation.  This time, instead of using creamy Italian, I used honey mustard dressing following the same procedure as above, allowing to marinate all day.  This chicken is so juicy and flavorful when you follow this procedure!  Before baking this time, I mixed 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup AP flour and dredged the chicken through that breading before placing on the baking sheet.  Again, the chicken will bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.  The time can vary according to the thickness of your chicken.  When I have large pieces of chicken, I am not ashamed to cut into them with a knife to insure they are cooked thoroughly.  I’d rather sacrifice the appearance of my meal than my health!  Anyway, I fixed the chicken, along with a couple of the Rice Pilaf flavors of the Knorr Rice Sides, and saute’d some spinach and onions for our vegetable serving.  Both meals are easy and filling!