With the hubbub of the holidays behind me and an all too sad return to work, I figured I'd share what I've been up to, including a few recipes I yoinked from other bloggers that turned out GREAT.
I have joined a workout program (movement) called Tone it up. Tone it up was created by two awesome, goofy, and motivated ladies who wanted to inspire other women to be healthy and be proud of their bodies. Right now they're doing the 6 week #loveyourbody program, which promises to get you super sexy in time for Valentine's Day. I have been mostly following the plan since January 1, which is a lot better than the nothing I was doing before. I like that the workouts require hand weights or nothing to complete them and that there are thousands of other ladies following it and lending their support to each other. It's sort of lovely to see so many women supporting each other instead of dragging each other down. If you're interested, it's totally free. You just sign up and get started. There are recipes and nutrition advice too.
In that vein I made no bake energy balls and granola the other day. They both turned out AMAZING. The energy balls can be found over at Gimme Some Oven. I used maple syrup and milled flaxseed. They taste just like oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough! Except you don't have to worry about potentially getting salmonella from the uncooked egg! Yay! My only complaint is that the flaxseed sticks to the roof of my mouth. Totally worth it. The granola recipe is over at Bless This Mess Please. I did heat up the honey a little so that it mixed in better. I added slivered almonds and dried superfruits! OH! Also, I used gluten free flour. The beany mix from Bob's Red Mill that doesn't taste beany at all in this granola. Others who tried it said it tasted just like store bought, which I take as a compliment.
And now for something COMPLETELY different:
Finally, I've been actively working on becoming a more spiritual person in my religion of choice. I feel called to Paganism. I feel very strongly about reverence for the earth and it's creatures. I feel a very female spiritual presence and I don't relate to the notion that there is one male God, somewhere far far away, watching us and judging our deeds. My Gods(esses) are much closer to me. Through the little research I've done so far, I feel an initial call from Druantia. She's the Goddess associated with Beltane and trees. She influences fertility, knowledge, creativity, passion and sex. She is also referred to as The Queen of the Druids, which you probably gathered from her name. I know this kind of thing may seem strange to some, but I've been searching for a spiritual path for a long time. I was raised Catholic, which I rejected as a teenager because my particular church was not.....friendly to people of different backgrounds. I sought out other denominations of Christianity for awhile, but nothing ever felt like it fit. Not that I don't like Jesus, I very much agree with his teachings and his philosophies, but many of the tenets of the Christian church do not jive with what I believe is morally correct. I don't believe one person is better than another for any reason. I don't believe the Bible is the Word of God. Men wrote the Bible and I find it hard to believe that they weren't at all influenced by their own prejudices while they were writing it. I don't presume that any human can interpret to ANY degree of certainty what God wants or desires. I'm also not keen on the idea that there is, in fact, one God. I feel like people, in many cases, have turned religion into a vehicle to oppress people who are different from them. I'm not down with judgment, or shaming, or tearing people down. I'm not down with forcing people to agree with me. And I'm not down with hate. Up until recently, I hadn't found any kind of spirituality that made me feel closer to the divine. I just felt lost and discouraged. I felt like I was potentially missing out on lifting myself up out of the muck, but I didn't know how to get there. I'd always been a bit interested in Paganism, due to my Irish heritage, but, like others, I had a skewed perception on what it meant to be Pagan. Many people think it means you sit at home in a robe and cast spells and sacrifice goats in your backyard or something. None of which I do, by the way. Nor do any other Pagans I know. Initially I was reluctant to come to Paganism because of the stereotypes. I'm a little sad about that because I missed out on feeling better about my heart, soul and environment for quite some time. It's about time I finally sat down at the table and owned what I believe. So, I continue to read and learn and feel better about the state of my heart and mind. Isn't that what religion is supposed to be for anyway? I don't expect (or care if) others agree with what I've said or believe, but I wanted to put myself out there. I think I'm done now.
What has everyone else been up to? Any resolutions? Changes? Thoughts? Respectful/witty banter is always welcome.