goals + recipes for the week of 5/25

Happy Sunday, friends! First off, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my beautiful friend Chidelia! Happy birthday, sweets! I love you!

me and chidelia

I also want to send love and prayers to everyone in the UCSB and Santa Barbara community… I am heartsick and horrified over the tragedy that happened in Isla Vista on Friday night. It hits very close to home to me personally, as Santa Barbara is just up the 101 from my hometown. Both my parents went to college there {that’s where they met} in addition to my cousin Melissa, a number of my friends and many of my high school classmates.

ucsb solidarity

It’s been a quieter weekend than last weekend around here, which has been nice. Yesterday after teaching I came home and caught up episodes of New Girl before hitting the sack early. This morning, Allyn came to church with me and then we had a lovely lunch together at Lettuce, one of my favorite salad/sandwich eateries in Walnut Creek. It is beautiful and H-O-T here today!

Before I move on to goals, a quick shout-out to my blogger friend Sarah @ The Pajama Chef for her wonderful, insightful review of my dad’s book Wooden & Me. Thank you, Sarah!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
– write ten pages
– send out three query letters/submissions
send acceptances for new young writers project
read up to page 400 in Wolf Hall
– go to two yoga classes
– connect with two friends

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write ten pages
– send out two query letters/submissions
– complete final students evals + certificates
– finish reading Wolf Hall
– go to the gym twice
– complete my 27 random acts of kindness for my 27th birthday!

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
– coconut brownies via Two Peas & Their Pod
– italian tortilla roll-ups via The Pajama Chef
– crockpot freezer meals for the summer via Money-Saving Mom
sugarless homemade granola via Recipes Happen
– rhubarb walnut muffins via It’s Progression
– funfetti cookies or cake {my current birthday front-runner}

bday cake

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

year of kindness challenge: week 15

year of kindness button

It has taken me a while to write this post because I am just heartsick over the terrible tragedy that happened in Boston. When acts of hatred and violence happen, the impulse can be to sink into fear and despair. What good do small acts of kindness really serve? What are flowers and thank you notes and cookies and free cups of hot chocolate in the face of bombs and guns?

But I think, in moments like this, kindness matters more than ever.

It was difficult watching the footage from the Boston Marathon today — the blood, the smoke, the confusion and fear, all those innocent people who had come together to celebrate and support one another. But then my brother pointed something out to me — he said, “Did you notice all the people who ran TOWARDS the explosion, going into the fray to help?” And once I noticed that, a scene of intense despair became an incredibly moving portrayal of heroes.

Then I came across this on Twitter:

boston heroes

And these two articles about the amazing acts of kindness and love committed by everyday heroes in Boston:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/04/15/boston-marathon-blast-help/2086273/

http://www.businessinsider.com/inspiring-images-from-boston-2013-4

In the midst of so much sadness and horror, my heart swells with gratitude and wonder at human compassion.

One of my friends on Facebook posted a note that really struck a chord with me — and touched on the whole purpose of this year of kindness challenge — so I wanted to share it with you, too:

I think that we can’t let ourselves be made powerless by acts like this, and we need to use this as a reason, if we didn’t have one before, of stepping up and helping someone else. Even if you don’t live anywhere near Boston. Go to your local Red Cross and donate blood; go to your local soup kitchen and spend some time helping those who are less fortunate than we all are; go donate books to a library; go donate your time and your considerable skills to help someone write better, sing better, paint better, sculpt better, whatever.

 

I don’t have a lot to offer, but I’ve got blood, and I’ve got a head full of poems and stories and some words that mean something to me, and hopefully that can mean something to someone else, too. Days like these are such a stark reminder of how fragile life is, so if our time here is so short, shouldn’t we use at least a little bit of that time to go out and help out other people?

 

mr rogers quote

I was thinking how the most precious thing we can give to others is our time. So the kindness challenge this week is to simply spend meaningful time with someone else you otherwise might not see. Call up an old friend and make a lunch date. Invite your neighbor to go on a walk. Ask that shy coworker if they’d like to grab coffee. Spend some time this week reaching out and connecting with someone else.

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

In love, hope & kindness,
-Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
– week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
– week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
week 14 challenge: donate books

saturday upsides: grieving

saturdayupsidesbutton

After the horrific shooting that happened yesterday in Connecticut, it seems difficult {or maybe even trite} to write about an “upside” today in my life. Then again, maybe it’s more necessary today than ever. I thought of Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project {review still coming soon on here, I promise!} and her recurring question/nagging fear: “Who am I to talk about happiness when everything in my life is fine?”

Grieving the tragedy yesterday, while also hugging my family close and thanking God for their safety and health and all the love I am so blessed to have in my life, I remembered one of the responses Rubin received on her blog: “Remembering that joy exists is tough when you’ve been traumatized. Joy is a big concept and utterly unbelievable when we are in the depths of catastrophe. But happiness … happiness is more accessible. We can be miserable and then find ourselves laughing, even if just for a few seconds. It reaffirms the will to live, and from there we can branch out. Happiness, and the belief we have in it, is the foundation for survival.”

Tragedies like the Connecticut shooting make us pause in the hectic flurry of everyday life and reflect on what’s important. For me, these are the questions running through my head:

  • How can I give more to others?
  • How can I spend more time doing what I truly love?
  • How can I bring joy to those around me?
  • How can I remember and refocus on what truly matters?
  • How can I use my blessings to make a difference for others?

I’ll be pondering these questions more in the coming weeks. I already have some ideas that I am hoping to implement and share with you here on this blog, and start a conversation with you about your own reflections. What matters to you? What do you hold most important in your life?

With love and prayers for you and your family,
-Dallas