Welcome We always have all this advice we would like to go back and tell our younger selves, ideally saving us from much embarrassment, hurt, heartache, and worry. But have you ever given any thought to the things we achieve as adults that our younger selves would just be, well, proud of? Today I’m going to share a reflection on this idea from my March self-love challenge. And, I get to share the recipe for what was probably my very favorite meal as a youngster. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Food For Thought We all have bad days, days when we feel down, and days when we just feel as though nothing is going right in our lives. Come on, I know I can’t be the only one that has days like that! That’s why these little self-reflection challenges can be so beneficial. Instead of spending time journaling about all the things going wrong or all the things I wish were different (there’s a time and place for that, too), I get to spend some time reflecting on things that are going well or have turned out right in my life. It’s enlightening, and gets me off my pity party, to think about the successes I’ve had and I’m, in fact, not always a failure.
One day in March, I spent some time reflecting on the things my younger self would be proud to know about me today. You know, all those things we worried about turning out right when we “grew up.” It may be a personality quirk of my own, but I can tell you I spent many hours worrying as a kid how my adult life would turn out! I haven’t evolved much since then, as I’m still worrying about how things will turn out for me and my family down the road. I’m working on that “cast your anxieties” directive in 1 Peter 5:7. Well, upon reflection, I think my younger self would be very pleased with some of the things I’ve managed to accomplish in my life. Here’s the “top 8” from my list.
1 My younger self would be proud to know that I could complete a half-marathon, a half-dozen or so 10-K’s, and over a dozen 5-K’s. My younger self that struggled with severe asthma and allergies and was overweight so I could barely run a lap around the gym in PE. My younger self that envied the girls that could run track and cross-country with little effort. My younger self that loved to play sports, but struggled through conditioning. My younger self that was called “fat” and various other things that meant I would never be pretty enough to be popular or have a boyfriend. I can tell you there were many runs that included an inner monologue of “I’ll show you!” and “Take that!”
2 My younger self would be proud to see all the amazing places I’ve been. My younger self grew up in a poor family that barely took any vacations and the ones we did take had to fit the finances as well as the diverse interests of the rest of the family. I can promise you that hiking was not on my dad or brother’s agenda, ever! My younger self would tell my grown-up self, “You’re so lucky! You get to go to the beach and the mountains and see amazing sites in so many states.” I hope other people remember to tell their younger selves how important vacation time is!
3 My younger self would be so proud to see that I married a great man and I have an amazing daughter. This was a BIG worry for my younger self. I never seemed to be able to get a boyfriend and was told in a variety of ways that I never would because I wasn’t pretty enough. Even after going to a Christian college, and the insults stopped, I just couldn’t quite find the right guy. In my early 20’s, as I watched all my friends get married and have babies, I really began to think a husband and family wasn’t going to happen for me. Oh, me of little faith! Do I have the exact family I pictured in my youth? No, but even better, because after all I’ve been through in my life thus far, I know I have the exact family God wants me to have, as I am blessed by their presence every single day!
4 My younger self would be proud of my “suburban lifestyle.” This is pretty ironic, because now I want something different, but when I was younger this is the life for which I dreamed. My goal was to live in the typical suburban subdivision with the SUV and big deck and yard with trees and down the street from my kid’s school and driving to various activities. Well, I don’t have a car full of kids and we can’t grow grass in our yard to save our lives, but I pretty much got all the other stuff I wanted. This is a pretty big deal to sit back and think about this. I reflect and think, “Yes, God, thank You for bringing me the desires of my heart.” (Psalm 37:4) How can I say God doesn’t answer prayers with this type of acknowledgement?
5 My younger self would be really impressed by all the “stuff” we have acquired in this house. I know, I know, we aren’t supposed to store up earthly treasures (Matt. 6:19-21). But I’m talking about impressing my younger self, here. Like I mentioned earlier, I grew up in a poor family and there always seemed to be things I wanted, for Christmas or birthday or just in general because “everyone” else had them. But, no, I had to wear clothes from Wal-Mart and Dollar General. Our family went several years without a television. We didn’t get a VCR until the 90’s! I didn’t have a computer to work on and there were no video game consoles. When I got my driver’s license in 1994, I also got to drive a 1978 boat-car! Everything in our house seemed old and hand-me-down, even our appliances and furniture. As an adult, I can really appreciate how hard my parents worked to provide for us, never asking for hand-outs, and we always had what we needed, even if not what we wanted. But as a kid, I really wanted stuff!
6 My younger self would be really impressed with my recent gains in technology knowledge. As I said, I didn’t even have a computer of my own until I was married. I didn’t have a cell phone until after my daughter was born. Even having access to computer technology through college and work didn’t keep me current on all the tricks and trends, so the idea that I would ever be able to design and run my own website would have been laughable. I would tell my younger self not to fear learning new things, you just might amaze yourself!
7 My younger self would be pleasantly surprised with my love, or borderline obsession, with nature and spending time on the hiking trails. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always had asthma and allergies, and let’s face it, there are MANY things to induce these conditions once you step outside. Growing up, spending much time outside, especially in the fall and winter, would leave me miserable, so I didn’t seek out activities outside on my own. But not wanting to be left out of others’ adventures and good times, I learned how to balance my health needs with time outside. Lots of medications, awareness of serious triggers, and a stubborn attitude have all allowed me to continue my quest for some of the most beautiful places in nature, whether local or across the country.
8 My younger self should be proud to know that I have held true to my values and morals, even when it’s been hard or made me less-than-popular. This is important, because our younger selves sometimes wonder if doing the right thing ever really pays off. I think it would be next to impossible for anyone to say they have absolutely no regrets, but at least I can look back on my life and not regret sacrificing what I truly believe in and stand for. And that’s something to be proud of yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
Take some time to reflect on what your younger self could be proud of about your adult self today. You may just be amazed at all you have truly accomplished.
Today’s Recipe My younger self loved my when mom fixed Navajo Tacos for dinner. This was the selection chosen by my brother and me for most of our birthdays. I still love Navajo Tacos, but my Fry Bread is not like the bread my mom fixed as I was growing up. My mom received her recipe from a friend that had lived in Arizona. Its texture was like that of a tortilla that had been inflated with air pockets and bubbles. They were large in diameter, perfectly round, and you could still manage to fold over this outer bread shell and eat it “taco style.” My recent attempts at Fry Bread are still yummy, but in a different way. My bread is smaller in diameter, but thicker, puffier, and more dense from using self-rising flour. Also, we layer all of our taco toppings on the fry bread and serve it more “tostada style” than folded like a taco. But let me tell you…this BREAD! Puffy and golden, yet still airy, almost like a fried donut. My family just LOVES them! I admit I’m not from the southwest and I cannot tell you what “traditional” Navajo fry bread is supposed to be, but these are worth a try, even if they might not be authentic.Navajo Tacos (makes 8 servings)
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- additional flour for dusting hands and work surface
- vegetable shortening for frying
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 pkg low-sodium taco seasoning
- 1 can low-fat refried beans
- desired taco toppings, such as shredded cheese, chopped green onions, chopped olives, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.
For the fry bread, combine flour, water, and salt in large bowl. Refrigerate and rest for 30 minutes. While dough rests, begin to brown hamburger. When cooked through, drain off any fat or grease, and then stir in taco seasoning. Heat beans according to directions. Melt enough shortening in large skillet to cover about 1 inch of the bottom of the pan. Pinch dough off in golf ball size pieces. With floured hands, roll and flatten into disks as thin as you can make them without going tearing through the dough. Drop disks into hot oil to fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes or so, per side, but watch closely because cooking vessels can vary. Once bread is puffy and golden in color on both sides, remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat the process with remaining dough until all breads have been cooked. Depending on the size of your skillet, you will likely only be able to cook one or two breads at a time; do not crowd pan!
When ready to serve, place one fry bread on a plate. Take a spoon of the refried beans and spread over the bread and then add some of the taco meat. Add any desired taco toppings, and serve with a fork.