No More Putting Off the Cure for Perfectionism

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I wrote this post at 11:30 last night. I could give you a list of reasons why I just didn’t have time until then – and, thanks to years in public relations, I could make it sound real convincing – but the truth is I just procrastinated.

Like I do.
All the time.
ALL THE DANG TIME.
Because I’m a procrastinating perfectionist.

{Did I mention this was a review of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life?}

When I learned that Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp were writing a book about perfectionism, I had a couple reactions. First, I was disappointed. From the sounds of it, they were writing the book that I wanted to write. Second, I was annoyed. Not because they were writing “my” book – but because I knew I’d have to read it and then God would probably try to change me and THAT IS HARD.

Clearly I was not – and AM NOT – ready to write a book about fighting perfectionism! And, to be completely honest, I haven’t even been ready to READ a book about it, either.

I’ve had Cheri and Kathi’s book for weeks now. It’s got an adorable cover – the kind that makes you want to open it and read. And I really like Cheri and Kathi. And you know what else? This book is full of personality tests. I LOVE THOSE THINGS! Oh, and you know what else (again)? They sent me a hot pink highlighter with the book, with a note encouraging me to mark it all up.

Well, that is just too fun!

So, of course you know I devoured this book the day I got it…right?

Except…no. I didn’t. I’ve held it a lot. I’ve skimmed it a couple times, sure. But the part where I sit down, kids in bed and TV off, highlighter in hand and heart open? Um, no. I haven’t done that yet.

You know what’s funny? One of the early chapters of the book gets to the bottom of perfectionism by explaining that perfectionism is rooted in fear. And the subtitle of the book is “Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver.”

And yet…I’ve been afraid to dive into this book. So – to come full circle – I’ve put it off. Like I do so many things.

Kathi and Cheri talk about four major instigators of what they label “Try-Harder Living”: Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism, Procrastination.

Huh.

I’m off the charts on Perfectionism and Procrastination (with occasional bouts of People-Pleasing and Performancism). Strangely enough, when I took the quiz to discover what kind of rebel I am (as in, what’s my personality type and how does it relate to Try-Harder Living), I had equal high scores for being Analytical and Driving – which do not correlate directly with Perfectionism and Procrastination.

I’m so complicated.

Except – not really. Even if my personality test results aren’t textbook, THIS BOOK still identifies, understands and addresses head on the things I struggle with most. Which is why I’m not putting off a serious read any longer.

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I’m going to start reading – REALLY reading – The Cure for the “Perfect” Life this week. Will you join me? I’d love to hear what you’re learning from this book as we read it together!

And I’d also love to give away a copy to a fellow perfectionist.

To enter the giveaway, tell me which of the Try-Harder Living instigators you struggle with most. And for an additional entry, take the Rebel Quiz here and tell me what kind of rebel you are.

This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. only {sorry, international friends!!!}, and it will close on Friday, September 5.

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26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or BBQ

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck




Picnic.
Barbecue.
Cookout.
Grill out.
Hamburger fry.
Potluck at the park.

What do you call an outdoor gathering with food? I usually go with barbecue, although since I live in the (FINE. one of the?) BBQ capital, that can be a tad confusing.

Anyway.

Three of my friends and I have been trying to coordinate our husbands, children and schedules to get together for the first time in a long time. We’ve been trying to coordinate ourselves for weeks – and still, we don’t have a solid plan yet.

Full disclosure: this is mostly my fault. We had a plan for this weekend, and then my schedule got changed and got in the way. *SIGH* But before I messed it all up, we were debating between Mexican and burgers for the menu. And I was so excited for burgers. Because I was going to make a new salad for my friends!

[My friends love it when I try new recipes on them. Or maybe they don't. But they act like they do. They're good friends like that.]

Anyway. Again.

While I might not be making a new salad or attending a barbecue/cookout/picnic this weekend, YOU might be. And if you aren’t this weekend, then you definitely might be the week after – Labor Day weekend. So now’s the time to gather up some of those recipes to try, right?

I went through my favorite recipes – and my Pinterest boards, and then I asked a few friends for their favorite recipes for a picnic. So now without further ado – or additional anyways, here are more than 25 recipes for your next picnic or barbecue!

(And if your coming weekends are low-key, no problem. Just pin this for later!)

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck



For the main dish:

  • Bacon Burgers with Bacon Jam – If you’re of the opinion that bacon makes everything better, then these burgers are for you. And if you’re not, well, I don’t really know what to say to that.
  • Baked Chicken Taquitos – Hey look, we don’t HAVE to choose between Mexican and picnic menus! Seriously, though, these are delicious – and finger food is always good picnic food!
  • Meatball Skewers from Goodeness Gracious – These look so good! And, oh hey, it’s always a good thing to add some veggies to the mix, right?
  • Taco Salad Bags – I’ve linked to Dana’s taco salad bags before, because I think it’s such a great idea. And especially for a picnic with kids, this would be a great meal! (And yes…I do realize that I combined Mexican food and picnics again…it can’t be helped!)
  • Chicken Bacon Sub Sandwiches – My family members are picky enough that I would never presume to make the same sandwich for all of us (or one big one that can be cut up – those always look fun). But if I needed a main dish for a potluck picnic, I imagine a basket of these sandwiches from A Slob Comes Clean (or one of those big ones – hoagie, sub, what do YOU call it?) would be perfect.
  • Picnic Chicken – Because what’s a picnic without some fried chicken?
  • Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork – I’ve tried this and it IS really good. Grab a bag of buns, and you’ve got sandwiches!

Corn Casserole with Bacon



For the side dishes:

  • Loaded Baked Potato Salad – Hello? What is a potluck or picnic or cookout without a potato salad?!
  • Bacon Deviled Eggs – Ditto for deviled eggs, but why not add bacon? I hear it makes everything better…
  • Flag Fruit Kebabs – Why only make this for the 4th of July? Fruit is pretty and delicious any day of the year, you know!
  • Corn Casserole with Bacon – My brother’s recipe is perfect for any gathering. I mean, you wouldn’t want to make it for a small dinner of four. You’d be forced to eat it all. And that would just be … delicious … terrible. So make it for your barbecue. (Just make sure you’re at the front of the line!)
  • Beautiful Veggie Tray – It doesn’t take much extra time to arrange your veggies by color. I’m partial to the one I served at Annalyn’s Veggie Tales birthday party, but Pinterest also has tons of rainbow veggie trays for inspiration.
  • Watermelon on a Stick – Best. Popsicle. Ever.
  • Deviled Egg Pasta Salad – This is the recipe I was going to try. So it’s also the one I’m hoping to find a reason to try it soon anyway. {Who has a barbecue invitation for me?}
  • Ranch BLT Pasta Salad – This one from Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice looks really good, too. And what a delicious twist on the usual pasta salad!
  • Lemony Vegetable Quinoa Salad – Veggies and healthy grains? Well, yes, I do think this salad from Jessie is the perfect balance to some of these heavier dishes.
  • Slow Cooker Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans – I do love a touch of sweet in my baked beans, and Cris has a great recipe for making them in the Crock Pot.
  • Creamy Crock Pot Mac & Cheese – Recipes That Crock has a ton of great slow cooker recipes – and this mac & cheese would be perfect for a picnic or potluck.
  • Blue Ribbon Amish Dill Pickles – Shannan promises that a) you don’t need a canner and b) everyone will love these. I’M IN.

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck



For the desserts:

  • Mini Fruit Pizzas – It’s a cookie. But it’s covered in fruit. Can you say “guilt-free dessert” … and “just one more”?!
  • Pink Lemonade Cake (or Cupcakes) – They’re pretty and tangy and sweet and fun. What more do you need?
  • Monster Cookies – I love these flourless cookies for any get-together or gathering. Or breakfast.
  • Eclairs in a Jar – I know I just made s’mores in a jar. And I promise I’m not going crazy with this food-in-a-jar trend. But … eclairs … IN A JAR! I’m definitely making these soon.
  • Butterfinger Cake – Jessie shared this recipe a while ago, and I completely forgot about it until I looked at some of my Pinterest boards. I’ve already re-pinned it so it’s at the top of my board and my memory!
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Campfire Burritos – It’s like a Reese’s. From the grill. In our mouths. Y-U-M.
  • Anything to do with S’mores – Of course.

What do you like taking – or eating! – to picnics?

A List of Things to Tell You

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You guys. It has been non-stop drama – or, as I tried to reposition it for my six-year-old ADVENTURE – around my house lately!

And [side note] I’m not even talking current events. Obviously, the things that have been blowing up all of our Twitter feeds and nightly news reports over the past couple of weeks are tragic and confusing and polarizing and devastating in so many ways. From ebola, persecution of Christians, mental illness and suicide to the horrifying events taking place across my state in Ferguson, our world is obviously suffering from things worse than my grandma’s broken hip and poison ivy on my face again.

But the reality is that, heavy as these things are on my mind and heart [and THEY ARE], my everyday, in-my-face life has had some hiccups lately, too. And I feel quite a bit more qualified to tell you about those things today. So here goes.

1. Yes, I have had poison ivy on my face. Again. For anyone keeping track, that’s the third time in three years. And it is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS! I pulled weeds in my front yard for a whopping 11 minutes, and what do I get in return? Three (or more) weeks of suffering. Three (or more) weeks of looking like a leper and wanting to hide in my house – not because I’m embarrassed by the rash covering so many visible parts of my body. No. Though that has embarrassed my almost-seven-year-old this time around, I’m actually not too upset by it. I want to hide in my house TO SCRATCH IT ALL OFF. Both the visible and not-so-visible parts.

The rash on my face is actually almost gone, and the OTHER affected parts of my body (the ones that will remain unnamed, AHEM) are slowly but surely itching less. At least enough to stop the high doses of Benadryl.

Also, in case you’re wondering, YES. I have learned my lesson. I will never, ever again engage in any kind of yard work. Really, I should just stay inside at all times. This seems like a good plan.

2. Unfortunately, my grandma did break her hip last week. She’s 82, and she’s my last living grandparent. And seeing her in the hospital over the weekend, a bit muddled and obviously in quite a bit of discomfort, was rough. Getting old really is for the birds.

3. Drama, drama, drama. We’ve had a bit (UNDERSTATEMENT) of family drama lately, on both my and Mark’s side of the family. So that’s been fun. And by “fun,” I mean not so much. I’ve tried to tell Mark in the past that we’d be so bored without family drama. He doesn’t really buy it, and I don’t either. But I can tell you for sure that we have definitely not been bored in recent days.

First day of First grade

4. In the good news department (finally! right?!) Annalyn started back to school last week. She has been crazy excited for first grade, even going so far as to THANK ME on her first day. I asked her what she was thanking me for, and she said, “For letting me go to school!” Um, daughter? I love you. But there’s no way on God’s green earth I was going to make it one more day of I’m-bored-let’s-play-My-Little-Ponies summer!

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5. And not-so-tiny Baby Adrienne is sitting up like a boss these days and rolling over like a … what’s something that’s sneaky? Because that crazy baby keeps rolling over in her crib – and on the floor when I turn away. But when I try to get her to do it in front of me? She’s not playing. Go figure – I have two children with strong wills and opinions! She’s also eating baby food like it’s going out of style (yes, yes, she comes by it naturally), and shoving her bottle away almost every time I give it to her.

Seriously – any tips for getting a seven-month-old to drink her milk? Because she takes her bedtime bottle great but is completely uninterested during the day.

6. Last on the “things to tell you about my life” list is what I’ve decided is my favorite part of social media right now. Tweeting with authors. And by authors, I mean people I don’t actually know in real life who write novels that I do read in real life. (Because I have many friends who are authors of non-fiction, and though I love them – and tweeting with them, I’m talking about something different here.)

dani pettrey tweets

In the past week, I’ve had conversations on Twitter with Lisa Tawn Bergren (one of my first favorite Christian novelists from way back in the mid-90s day and, more recently, author of the River of Time series – that one about time travel I just mentioned?!) and Dani Pettrey (author of the Alaskan courage series and my newest favorite [Christian] fiction writer). I love that they responded to me; I love that they seem to care what I think about their books; and I love getting the chance to tell them how much I adore their characters. It’s just really, really fun to me, a major book nerd, to talk with the people who came up with the characters and stories so good they keep me up past my bedtime.

Okay, one more thing and then I want to hear about YOU.

Lysa TerKeurst has a new book out, The Best Yes. I’ll share more about her book soon, but you should get your copy now. Every dime she makes from sales THIS WEEK will be given to 99 Balloons, an organization that helps special needs kids. It’s an amazing thing she’s doing, and I know if you buy the book, you’ll be blessed by the book itself AND by being part of this campaign. You can buy it right here for $12.99.

All right. That’s all she wrote for today. Tell me: What’s going on in YOUR life right now?

Jesus Calling SALE at Dayspring

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Happy Monday!

Dayspring has a big sale going on right now (through September 1) that I didn’t want you to miss. All Jesus Calling items are 40% off with the code JCOFF40. You can get the original book, of course, but Dayspring also offers perpetual calendars, cards and more. You can see the whole collection here.

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I’ve been reading Jesus Calling off and on over the past year and a half, and every time I pick it up, I get something out of it. If you haven’t heard of it, Jesus Calling is a daily devotional with Scripture written as God speaking directly to the reader. I have the (in)courage edition – which is beautiful, and I like it because the referenced Scriptures are included in each devotional.

[However. That does let me be really lazy and gives me an excuse not to pick up my actual Bible. Which is why I'm also trying to read along with SheReadsTruth.com, too.]

ANYWAY. It’s a beautiful and handy edition of this devotional, and it’s only $14.99 with this sale (normally $24.99).

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Like I mentioned, the Jesus Calling collection has several different products – including some for kids. Last year, I gave Jesus Calling – 365 Devotions for Kids ($9.59 on sale) to each of my students at church.

And I just got the 365 Day Perpetual Calendar for Kids ($9.59 on sale) for Annalyn, and I’m excited to give it to her for her birthday. She loves devotionals, and since she can pretty much read this on her own now, this will be a great one for her to begin reading on her own. {I hope. I’ll let you know how it goes!}

So – if you’re in the market for a new devotional or a gift (Christmas will be here before we know it – ack!), hop on over to Dayspring for this sale today!

The Best Time Travel Books of All Time

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I read a lot of books. I do not read a lot of books twice. Actually, I read VERY FEW books more than once. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia (when I was a child) and the Percy Jackson series (when I was – OKAY FINE – last year), two of the only books that come to mind as second-readers both happen to be time travel stories.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for anything time travel. Sometimes – as in the case of Deja Vu, a less-than-successful Denzel movie from a few years ago – I even resort to drawing pictures to demonstrate how the story was or was not plausible.

Yep. Because time travel can be plausible. Mm-hmmm.

ANYWAY. If you haven’t heard, a new TV show premiered last weekend about time travel. Based on the very popular series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander airs on Saturdays on Starz.

Now, I’m a big wimp when it comes to graphic…anything. So shows on Starz – time travel or no, really great trailer or no – don’t fit into my regular television viewing schedule. I am slowly working through the first Outlander book, however. So far I really like it – but I’m only 100 or so pages in. I’ve read reviews that make me a little nervous about what’s to come…but then again a lot of people love this series. And, well, time travel.

Since I’ve recently read a few other books featuring time travel, I thought I’d do a little research. What I found was a great list of the time travel books I’ve read – and quite a few more I hope to read soon. And just in case you all are big time travel dorks like me, I figured I’d share.

[Side note: These may or may not be the BEST time travel books of ALL time. In other words I reserve the right to use blog post titles that are clever but possibly not quite 100% accurate. Possibly.]

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22 of the Best Books About Time Travel

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: A woman reunites with her husband after World War II, and they take a trip to Scotland…where she accidentally trips through a portal to 1743. I like the strong, sassy voice of the main character. Full review to come soon.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is a time travel love story. I read it a long time ago, but a few years after it was super popular. (And I haven’t seen the movie.) If I remember correctly, I loved it and hated it. Both. At the same time.
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King: A high school teacher’s dying friend shows him a portal back in time – and a way to potentially change history. Amy from MomAdvice recommended this one, and I checked it out of the library earlier this year. It was a huge book, really long – and I didn’t make it halfway before the thing was due. I blame that on the 8-10 feedings a day (and very few consecutive hours of sleep) that were happening then, and I’m determined to try this one again soon.
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton: A group of young scientists travel to medieval France. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s the one I’ve read twice. Except, actually, I’ve read it at least three times and plan to read it again this year. I don’t know. I just love it.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: Time traveling teens! Secret government work! WHY do I not remember more of this book?!? I know I read it as a child, but clearly I need to give it another read since I don’t remember much of it at all.
  • Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren: In the first book of the River of Time series, a teenage girl travels to 14th century Italy. I’ve read this whole series…AND own it. That way I can read it again when I finish reading all these other books on my to-read list!
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I read this book just a few years ago, when some of my co-workers at the ad agency and I formed a book club. I did read it. And it was good. I remember that part. But I cannot recall a single other thing about it – even after reading the book’s description three times. So – I got nothing.
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux: You guys. I just…I just can’t. When I started researching time travel books, this one showed up on everyone’s list. I even saw it called a classic…more than once. So I got it from the library. And I read it. (Then I remembered that I’d read it before. *sigh*) It is definitely classic romance novel – woman is sad, man from the past hears her crying and travels through time to heal her broken heart, blah, blah, blah. I debated including it on this list, but full disclosure and all…
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker: A teenaged girl’s grandma tells her their family has time traveling abilities. The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 is involved, as well as a serial killer murder and some time-traveling villains. I read this right after Adrienne was born and loved it – and am really looking forward to the sequel this fall.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: There’s a witch and a vampire and a book. And to solve their problems, they have to travel through time. So, okay, fine. When I first read this, I said I didn’t see what the big deal was. But then I read the second book. And I realized that even after I was finished with them, I kept thinking about them. So, obviously I liked them a bit more than I first believed. I have the third book in the trilogy from the library right now.

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And then there are the time travel books I haven’t read. Several of them are on my to-read list, and one is already on my bedside table. Others I may never read, but maybe they’re your cup of time travel tea. Or not. But they are about time travel. So. Here they are.

So – am I alone? Or do you like time travel stories, too? What’s your favorite?

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