Eat Less, Feel Stuffed

How? Make a larger variety of dishes for each meal.

Our norm is meat-vegetable-starch. Protein with a salad for color. Maybe ice cream?

When I took a look at Japanese bento, I saw the huge mix of multiple dishes and strong flavors that one wouldn’t necessarily expect to see on one plate. As Just Plain Marie (author of Cabin Full of Food) has written in her blog, our own culture used to serve many more side dishes to stretch supply among large families and farm hands.

Watching the detailed meals prepared in Japan had me thinking they must spend four hours a day just cooking it all. Soup, broiled meat, rice, pickles, savory this and that – it looked as detailed as a Thanksgiving menu.

Or a DIY potluck that you have to figure out for every. Stink’n. Meal.

This is how it can look at home. (I’ve been aiming for four or five dishes a meal, but tonight was Shabbat.) Peaches, pickled okra, beet root, jalepeño poppers, leftover chili, leftover beanie weanies, buttered garlic cauliflower, and broccoli. I had eight dishes with a wide spectrum of flavors in one meal – and I ate less. (Even went gluten free without thinking about it.) Seriously, try it! One dinner spoon full of each thing, and you may find you feel stuffed!

Burrito night, I lined up a spoonful of olives, a spoon of spicy meat, a spoon of pintos, one of corn, and a dollop of plain yogurt on a tortilla. I normally would have eaten two large burritos of everything mixed together, but not this night. Going through one item at a time made me too full to finish the tortilla at the end.

One perk is that if you have something unhealthy, it is moderated by the other, more healthy dishes. There isn’t the guilt of eating a full, unhealthy meal of mac n cheese.

If you only have one serving’s worth of your favorite leftovers, you can still serve it to a family of five. All those small things threatening to go to waste – clear them out of your fridge. Just a spoonful is enough to give each person if there are several other dishes filling them up as well. Dig out the strong spices, the bitter lettuce and horseradish, sweet preserves, fresh veggies, pickles, get the potent cheeses. Eat up the fresh fruit before it can go bad.

Try FRYING your salad. It’s tasty and easier to eat more vitamins in fewer bites. I think bitter garden lettuce tastes far better this way!

And the cooking time? I thought I would be spending a full hour fixing meals like this, but it is actually the same 20-30 minutes I regularly spend on our meal prep. There’s only one fresh dish you have to fix, and the rest is digging out leftovers from the fridge or jars from the pantry.

So what do you think? Complicated? Going to give it a try? Or are you accustomed to “see food” nights to clear the leftovers?

A neighbor, Paul Kohler, RIP, used to eat his salads fried. “Makes it stick to your ribs,” he said. It’s a tradition in Japan, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked it up from his Japanese employees back in the day. Anyone else know stories about him?

I fried bitter garden lettuce with garlic, chili powder, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Turned out to be pretty good!



People are sheep by nature. Maybe instead of telling them to stop being what they are, we should start pointing them to the Good Shepherd.

Let His staff be their discipline. Let His rod be their defense.

We can’t do this on our own. We were never meant to.

Keep telling the truth; but maybe we should be working with God-given design, and not against it.

Which Oils Do I Take Traveling?

We’re going on a trip! It will be so good to see close friends we haven’t seen in over a year! But it’s also been a while since our family has stayed overnight anywhere. Which brings me to the title question.

I can’t take my full arsenal of oils with us. Which ones should I take, that can handle anything that happens?

My keychain oils case limits me to eight or nine choices, which is sensible enough. This ought to do it. Valor, Stress Away, Copaiba, Endoflex, Ginger, Thyme, Eucalyptus Radiata, Frankincense, and Helichrysum.

Never again forget something important using this packing method!

Valor, for anxiety or rough sleep.

Stress Away, to put on the A/C vents to help calm the car crabbiness.

Copaiba, labeled “teething” because we put it on babies’ gums to help soothe teething. It doesn’t do a bad job of helping adult headaches, either.

EndoFlex, my daily thyroid support.

Ginger, for nausea and car sickness.

Thyme, for my ankle that’s still healing from a strain.

Eucalyptus Radiata, for stuffy noses. This particular Eucalyptus is the best one for babies.

Frankincense, for anything and everything. This was my first aid when I had that ankle incident that left me scraped and swollen. Very glad I had it!

Helichrysum, for anything Frankincense can do, but without the stinging sensation on open cuts.

Packed and ready!

What oils do you take with you on long trips?

P.S. I’ve just got to slip one more bottle in my purse. We can’t go anywhere in the summertime without Citronella!

Dear Mama, Who is Going on a Trip

Torah Portion: Phineas

Numbers 25-30, II Timothy 1-4

This one can bother people.

A man ran after two sinners and killed them. He and his offspring were blessed for it. What?

What made this right? What’s the difference between holy zeal, and personal vengeance against people who don’t fall in line – when the person avenging is obviously a fallen sinner just like everyone else?

In a different context with a different heart, the exact same act would have been murder, and Pinehas would have gotten the death penalty himself. No blessing for him and bad repercussions for his posterity.

Our children deal with this confusion sometimes. Touching certain objects, taking charge of certain tasks, and saying certain things, aren’t always the right things to do, depending on the context. Even if the parents are as consistent as humanly possible in their rules, jerking their siblings’ hand away from toys isn’t the same as jerking the same hand in the same manner away from a closing door. They have to learn to hear the parents’ instructions in the moment.

Adults deal with this seemingly grey area, as well. Withdrawing from gossip or unhealthy conversation may be the way to honor YHWH, or it may be a cover to rationalize spiteful, self-righteous behavior towards others. Which is it? When is the same behavior right or wrong?

Back to Pinehas… no, we need to go back further.

King Balack was afraid of Yisrael, and hired Bilam to curse them to ensure his victory. It didn’t work. YHWH had blessed them, and curses could not come against them. The Enemy tried another way. If Yisrael could not be cursed by others, they could be persuaded to curse themselves. They whored physically and spiritually, inviting the corruption of the flesh they were supposed to keep set apart, and dabbling in idolatry, turning back on the covenant they made with YHWH.

Covenants were more than contracts. You couldn’t call it off. When one party betrayed a covenant, it was death. Both parties walked between divided animals or over a threshold running with blood to signify the severity of their agreement. (The Passover blood on the door lintel made sense.) In Israel’s case, though, YHWH took on the whole responsibility. When he made the covenant with Abraham, he put Abraham into a deep sleep, and only His Own presence passed between the pieces. Abraham bears some consequences, but YHWH bears the ultimate price.

So when Yisrael had reestablished this covenant and then cheated on The LORD, the nation was not completely wiped out. His grace pardoned anyone willing to cleave to Him again. He took on the responsibility. Eventually, He would come down to pay the ultimate price on behalf of anyone willing to join this covenant.

The camp was still holy, though, and holiness consumes the evil in its presence. Plague broke out and thousands were dying. In Numbers 25:4&5, He declared the penalty to put an end to the evil threatening to ruin Yisrael beyond recovery. If they failed to survive now, the promise to Abraham would be broken and there wouldn’t be the bloodline promised to produce the Messiah.

Even in the face of this destruction, Zimri flaunted his sexual immorality in the face of his brothers as they were dying. He was part of the cause of their demise and had no heart to stop. He hated his true God and his brothers. Cozbi was just as heartless.

Phineas saw all of this, knew what YHWH commanded of him, and obeyed. Because of his zeal, the plague ended, and no more was added to the 24,000 death toll.


The lesson I see this year is that as much as you familiarize yourself with the Word, the rules, the principles, or the theology, obedience to Yahweh at every step is dependent upon listening to His voice in that moment. We can’t figure Him out; he is infinite. Like any wise teacher, He only tells us what we need to understand as we need it. We get our daily bread, not a winter’s supply for us to try to ration ourselves. Obeying by spirit alone can lead us astray. Obeying by truth alone makes us our own gods. We must obey both in Spirit and in Truth.

Read the Word. Learn all you can. Yet as you live out today, listen to our Heavenly Father closely, because He understands the context in ways His children have yet to grasp. Trust Him!

Healthy Look

I thought that if you do any makeup, you have to do it all. If you use concealer, you have to use foundation all over, then blush to add the color back, the eye color, and so on and so forth. Using makeup at all meant doing a whole “look.”

By covering acne, I was making my acne worse!

A full look wasn’t usually worth the time, and was too much for my taste anymore. For trying to look natural, I was using a lot of product.

When I quit applying makeup every week, my skin became healthier and clearer!

But there are times I want to pamper a bit, hide the sleepy mama eye bags, and look a little polished.

Then Justine encouraged my personal taste. Click the link to view her video.

French Makeup and Hair

Apparently, the French are focused on skin HEALTH and just a little high quality makeup with maybe a classic red lipstick. If you look like you’re trying, it’s too much.

Oh, that approach is right up my ally!

So I use a baking soda and raw honey facial scrub as needed, rinse my face and apply tea tree oil twice daily, drink enough water, use my homemade beeswax chapstick, and my skin looks fine. When I skip this routine, it shows! After a rough night of motherhood, I apply Savvy Minerals foundation under my eyes as a concealer. If I want more polish that day, I use foundation to even out facial blemishes and apply Savvy Minerals’ lipstick to top it off. That’s it!

Missing half a night’s sleep shows no matter what. However, you might not have noticed I had massive red zits that day or that I was wearing makeup at all!

Click here to learn why I had to quit popular makeup brands and switched to Savvy Minerals.

So what’s your taste? Complete look, minimalist, or au natural?

You Won’t Get it Right

Doing everything right

Is no guarantee

That everything will turn out right

You can try to communicate as transparently as possible.

You can trust everyone around you.

You can give them every benefit of the doubt you can think of.

You can apologize for everything you see you’ve done wrong.

You can be kind.

You can let a lot slide.

You can keep your mouth shut.

You can struggle to beat down your temper.

You can throttle your pride.

You can choose to smile and see the best as your soul is bleeding internally.

You can respond to evil with good.

You can take the hits and try to speak gracefully.

You can ask questions and try your best to understand the other parties.

You can give them their space.

You can submit despite the fear and confusion.

You can speak honestly and calmly.

You can deal with your anger before you sleep.

You can give every respect that is due and avoid displaying your rage.

You can forgive and give more chances.

You can follow all the advice you can dig up.

None of it matters.

There is no winning.

You will never be good enough.

Your Heavenly Father is the only Good. You doing everything right won’t make anything right. While struggling to lead a life as He leads you will not guarantee healthy human relationships, realize that’s not the point.

Doing everything His Way

Is only a guarantee

That you will be close to Him.