Posts tagged ‘encouragement’

February 3, 2014

Life Is a Feast

Do you need a little happy in your life? If you do, you can borrow some of mine for a bit—but only until you find your own. I found this talisman of my joy (at least the beginnings of it) at Office Max—who knew?!? Check out my Happy Kitchen Board below:

Just makes me smile!

Just makes me smile!

My Happy Kitchen Board makes me grin whenever I see it. It’s a bright, beautiful representation of my spirit settled happily in my kitchen, the center of our home. It also serves as a visual shortcut to my own brand of happiness, reminding me to stop and savor when I run too ragged and forget. Now I want you to zero in on that rabbit near the flower pot: “Life is a feast.”

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Love this little guy.

There’s so much power packed into that tiny phrase!  Life should be savored, shouldn’t it? With joyful abundance and possibilities unbounded, conjuring up gifts freely shared. Recently, I was blessed with an actual feast for both the body and the spirit–double win! In case you don’t know, I work at a magnificent retirement community, Juliette Fowler Communities, and one of the sweetest parts of my day is Morning Devotions.

Dear friends: Amp and Ruth, and their helper, Tracy

Now, how many people can say that they begin their workday in a place overflowing with love and respect, spending time with treasured friends, sharing coffee and treats, and exchanging stories of how God moves in their lives? Not many! The group of residents and staff members that gather for this morning time together are very dear to me. I swear I’m doused in love and happiness by the time we say goodbye.

Sweet ladies: Hazel, Wanda, and Carolyn

Last Thursday, however, was extra special. My sweet friend and Director of Life Enrichment (the most perfectly named department I know) Marti Miller planned a bountiful, healthy spread for our residents. A quick trip to Whole Foods later, and we were set. Here’s what we enjoyed:

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  • Fresh mandarin oranges
  • Iced mocha (made with almond milk, coffee, and natural cocoa)
  • Activia yogurt
  • Fresh papaya and mango
  • Fresh green juice
  • Cranberry juice with natural ginger ale
  • Hail Merry macaroons
Two of my very favorite people: Marti Miller and Deborah Armstrong

Two of my very favorite people: Marti Miller and Deborah Armstrong

The food was excellent, and the company even better. That delicious morning meal with my friends was a perfect reminder for all of us to keep enjoying this glorious feast of life. Have a super week!

Bon appétit, and God bless!

Brooke

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November 27, 2013

Holistic Holiday Nourishment

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‘Tis the season to pick up an inspiring, captivating book about 100 successful, goal-oriented women who overcome hurtful, heartbreaking and, in my case, life-threatening obstacles to achieve their personal and professional goals. Aspiring toward a position of influence is the driving force behind most young ladies who compete in pageants. In chapter 45 of the new book, Real Talk, Real Women, I discuss the ups and downs of competition and how entering a stressful environment with a foundation of self-esteem and confidence is imperative. Without first defining who you are and what you stand for, competition can consume you like a hungry lion, without mercy.

ImageLearning how to properly nourish my body propelled me into a healthier level of, well… life, quicker than I could say, “super foods!” I’ve never looked back.  Now, although I’m still fine-tuning my internal domestic goddess status, I enjoy creating healthy alternatives to some recipes. With a little creativity, I think I’ve created a good mix of healthy and favorite holiday fare for my family. Here are two dishes I’ll be making this Thanksgiving, and I’d like to share them with you. Tweet me @LaceyWPruett and let me know how yours turn out. It’ll be like we’re celebrating Thanksgiving together, from a far.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan 

Ingredients

            12 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)

            1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

            1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

            2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

            2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

            3 garlic cloves, minced

            1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

            2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

            1/2 teaspoon salt

            1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place cauliflower in a large roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with oil; toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme, tarragon, and garlic. Bake 5 minutes. Combine cauliflower mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples

Ingredients

            1/2 cup diced apple

            8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

            2 tablespoons apple cider

            2 teaspoons olive oil

            1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

            1/4 teaspoon salt

            1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine apple and Brussels sprouts in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish. Add apple cider, olive oil, minced fresh thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper; toss well. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until sprouts are tender.

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On stage during swimsuit competition at the 2012 Mrs. United States Pageant in Las Vegas, NV.

It wasn’t until I ran for Mrs. Texas United States title that I felt I was a healthy pageant competitor. I guess it worked to, because I won the title on my first try, and went on to place 4th runner up at the Mrs. United States pageant. Learning to nourish my body, mind, and spirit is probably my greatest educational experience to date, as without it, I may not be alive. This was the motivation behind obtaining my certification as a holistic wellness coach. I want to continue helping other young women understand the importance of looking inward to achieve overall beauty and success. It was also my main motivation behind leaving my 12-year corporate career to pursue a full-time career as a spokesperson for health and wellness. Now, I joyfully remind people that: “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” It’s not that food is the enemy, but in a world consumed by emotional eating and corrupt body image, it’s a kind reminder that no food item can fill an emotional void or need. Being mindful of this fact is one of the healthiest ways to celebrate the holiday season.

For more about my story and perspective on the healthy side of competition, check out the book at http://www.realtalkrealwomen.net/lacey-pruett/ and order your own copy this December on Amazon.com. Pre-sale opportunities and digital copies are available now at the link above.  Happy healthy holidays! Lacey

July 3, 2013

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

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“But Lacey, it’s scary to change the way we eat.” These are words a great friend spoke recently at a catch-up lunch date. The words resonated with me long after I cleared my plate of fabulous quinoa salad and hummus. (You do not have to clean your plate, Lacey… repeat!) As we chatted life, kids, work, fashion, and yes, nutritional advice in the sunshine on the patio at Nick and Sam’s Grill in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t immediately hear the fear in my friend’s voice. I figured that, like most people, she was sharing that her hurried life, differing preferences and personalities of family members, and list of professional and personal obligations left no room for preparing healthy food at home.

For the sake of time, I’ll share that the lunch date came and went without any action plan or new revelation to make implementing healthier choices easier or more convenient.  The evening, I finally heard my friend. She called a little after 8:00 p.m. to share that her evening was filled with yelling, crying, and bitterness, all stemming from a meal she prepared, with love, for her family. Something can’t be right… so much anger and fearful emotion over food? Are we making things too difficult? I stopped my inner-questionnaire and listened to her story.

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She was four weeks into a new fitness plan, and became interested in the way I balance my nutrition. As her coach, I saw much improvement with our workouts simply because, before our work together, she didn’t workout at all! This is a passion of mine—to get sedentary people moving. Success! Once she saw the difference in her physique, she wanted more. She became eager to see what her body was capable of if she fueled it with optimal nourishment. Heck yeah—I’m excited to show her! Full speed ahead… until the evening of the somber phone call, that is.  Her words; her story:

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After work, I made a quick stop at Sprouts (a neighborhood farmer’s market shop) to grab something to make for dinner. I got the good chicken, the good bread, and the organic produce for a nice salad. I even got hummus and the good crackers for an appetizer, I thought we could enjoy as dinner finishes cooking. I even got a bottle of organic wine, which we never opened because the evening went south. I got home and got to work in the kitchen. The kids weren’t letting me concentrate, so I got short with them a few times.

They started bickering the minute (her husband—no names necessary) walked in. He put his things down right on my salad prep area and asked, “what the heck is going on here?” I didn’t love his tone. He grabbed a light beer before I could even show him the wine. Frustrated I went back to the appetizer tray. I proudly called everyone to the table and presented the appetizers, but nobody was interested. Strike two in my book, after the chaos my husband walked into. When we sat down to dinner, everyone’s facial expressions summoned tears to well up in me that I sucked back in time to ask, “What?”

Dinner looks boring… where’s the gravy… is this it… comments and questions shot out like bullets. I was done. I told everyone they didn’t have to eat it if they didn’t want to but that I wasn’t making anything else. The kids disappeared, and (her husband) asked why I was making such drastic changes.

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It occurred to me that we all find our “nutritional ah-ha moments” at different times, and that pacing change is best for long-term success. A former business leader comes to mind when I reference The Golden Rule: Treat others we you would like to be treated. Who wants to immediately and abruptly change what you eat and drink? Who wants to be told they can’t have something? My friend was trying to make too many drastic changes all at once, too quickly, and without any notice and very little helpful resources. I would have definitely given her my copy of, “How to Make Your Family Read Your Mind.”  Although her heart and intentions were in the right place, her delivery needed some work, and she needed a sprinkle of my creativity dust to encourage the household transformation along in a positive manner.

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Together, we realigned, reorganized, and re-energized her effort and excitement for implementing positive nutritional changes for herself and her family.  I want to share some of my favorite tips, in case you find yourself in the same spot as my friend, or if you’re ever the recipient of a good-intentions-meant chicken breast with a side of not-a-chance-I’m-eating-these kale chips in the future. Enjoy, and remember to find your own happy pace with a fit and fun lifestyle.  –Lacey

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  1. Make it fun! Implementing nutritional changes (or any changes) has to be fun, or most won’t be interested, much less excited. For example, add a fun salad side or a favorite dish made with a healthier recipe. No need to announce until everyone mentions how yummy it was.)  Decide to have a vegetable at every meal and let a member of the family choose the veggie each night.  If you’re going out, announce that everyone will be sharing, and ask them to pick a buddy to sit next to and share with. Use your imagination and tailor ideas to your family’s personality.
  2. Make it Flavorful! Use spices, herbs, and healthy oils to create flavorful sauces, dressings, and toppings. Seeds add a crunchy punch to veggies and meats. Trying to pass off mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes? Adding Italian herbs, garlic, or Greek yogurt and sea salt can help your effort. Who knew how yummy cinnamon is on spinach!?  (Simply shake spinach, a little olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon in a freezer bag and POOF!)
  3. Communicate! Send your family members an email, text, Tweet or Pinterest board of options for dinner and ask them to select three favorites. Implement these into dinner so they have an investment in the change. Special note to moms (and step-moms): I’d refrain from posting anything on their Facebook wall, or sending photos of food options to Instagram, or otherwise communicating with them in public, on public forums… even if you think you’re hilarious, which, I’m sure, you are.
  4. Take it Slow! Implement healthy options a few times a week, then have a healthy meal each day, and soon you’ll be able to incorporate healthy options at every feast. We have appetizer night to reduce portions, make creative finger foods, and have the freedom to take dinner outdoors or to eat while playing a game together. Celebrate each week’s healthy changes!
  5. Theme Days! Who doesn’t enjoy a great theme party or costume party. A great way to introduce chickpeas, new greens, alternative protein options, and other healthier alternatives is to make it “Mediterranean Night” or “Asian Evening” or by enjoying another culture’s fare. What a great way to share the world with your family and educate them on other countries and foods. Did you know that breakfast in Egypt is often purchased and consumed at a street stall, and that it’s usually bread wrapped around assorted fried vegetables: eggplant, beans, tomatoes, and peppers? (Nobody would know if we grilled ours…) Also, according to folklore, pretzels were initially created as a gift to children who recited prayers correctly.  The pretzel shape was supposed to signify arms folded across the chest in prayer. One or two with almond butter could make for a great incentive for young children!
June 25, 2013

Little Fighters

Hello regret. Hello defeat. Some days, my mind plays tricks on me and tries to convince me that I’ve got it all wrong. My outfit doesn’t match, I’m out dated and fatigued, and I surely won’t hit my goal by my deadline. What a beat down! Before you start to hear violins in your head, Pollyana is on mission with this blog, so you’re in for a treat. So, chin up rock star, and read on…

My husband and I are different. I’ll pause for your shock and amazement over that statement. We actively try to get on the same playing field before throwing any balls; however, I’ve been known to try to shoot a football on the 7th hole with a baseball bat, and he’s still on third base waiting to bring it all home for us both.

With music, I prefer pop hits to contemporary Christian artists, and he will sing every word (with a complimentary air guitar) of songs by hair bands with albums spanning from 1982 to 1995. (For the younger readers, album = CD.) We come together on good ol’ country music. On a recent road trip, he shared a favorite gem from the band, White Lion, called Little Fighter. He mentioned that this was a “grab the world by the… hand, kind of song.” I appreciate a good motivational speech, so I listened.

Has anyone heard the tales you tell?

Or the scars you wear?

I don’t think we do a good job of sharing our stories with others. They get the insta-photo or under 130 letters status update, but so much gets left up to interpretation. I can’t help but think that if we took the time to genuinely share more often, our relationships would be more meaningful and misunderstandings would subside. It makes me want to bring back afternoon tea, or slumber parties! I know nobody has time for that, but could we say some guiltless no’s to make room for some good story time and relationship building?

One of a kind, one who would never give in;

Even when they put a price on your head.

It stinks being the recipient of gossip, judgment, or slander, doesn’t it? It leaves you angry, sad, or bitter, and none of the three uplift your spirit or promote inner-peace. People can say, “oh what do they know?” but you’re still tender. At one time or another, we all have a target on our head that says, “attack!” Be prepared by remembering you are an original, and it’s okay if someone doesn’t understand. You’re not in charge of their education, nor will you change them. You’ll never know what road they are on, so love them from a far and move on being you’re one-of-a-kind self. I do know this… you are the expert at being you. Nobody can do it better, so own your role as boss.

Rise again little fighter and let the world know the reasons why

Shine again, little fighter, and don’t let them end the things you do.

You were born for a time such as this. Seize the day, and carry on your mission. Don’t let circumstance steal your joy. They are as fleeting as human emotion and the weather. Find the goodness in every situation, in every person… even if you can’t see too far past your current circumstance due to fear, pain, or anxiety. Be still and get lost in your own glorious, powerful soul. Believe in your unique self and get to know that fabulous being—you are so interesting. Everything that happens to you, glorifies your purpose, whether or not you are clear about what it is. You’ll know soon enough. Nobody can take your purpose, your skill, and your character from you—unless you let them. Don’t.

Without a weapon in your hand, you came to fight a war.

They took your life but didn’t know that you’d never die.

Tough days will happen, and you’ll feel hurt, pain, and other sadness. Remember, Pat Benatar told us that love is a battlefield. Though this is a given, seek out the joy and find strength in knowing that the pain is temporary. The sun will rise again; a smile awaits you not too far away. You just have to get up and let yourself be seen and heard.

You and I may have different specifics with our life story; however, I hope you give Little Fighters a listen and remember that you’re one of a kind, a shiny, precious gem, and a fighter! Nobody can take that away… it’s your inheritance from someone who loves you bunches. If you don’t feel so loved, message me and I’ll tell you where to find such unconditional love.

For me, I’m going to start listening to my husband more. He may be more of a conversationalist than I think. Or, he just may have great taste in music. Either way, I have to run… he’s home.

http://youtu.be/DaT8is6b3QA

Here’s a blast back to the ’80s hair band days when you were rockin’ your way to who you planned to be. Enjoy and cheers to you, friends!

–Lacey

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