Just Because I Can, Doesn’t Mean I Always Do

I can make mozzarella cheese. I can make Gatorade. I can make bread, pie, bagels, and pizza.

Homemade Gatorade

I share all of these ideas and recipes with people here. It’s so much fun! I talk about ways to save time and ways to save money. I’ve figured out ways to put nutritious meals on the table in less than 20 minutes, letting people know that none of us ever has to rely on take-out.

But just because I know these things, teach these things, and have experienced so much good because of all these things doesn’t mean I always do all these things.

Does this mean I’m a hypocrite? No. This means I’m human.

How about you? Human much?

I bet you know a lot of great tricks for saving money and time. But if you’re like me, sometimes there simply isn’t time to execute the time saving strategies (does this even make sense?). Sometimes the extra few dollars we need to pay for convenience is worth it so that we avoid stress and overthinking.

Check out what I did a few weeks before Christmas:

bagel-basket

I bought four packages of bagels (without reading the ingredient labels, if you can possibly imagine). I bought four bags of different varieties of granola. I bought a box of instant oatmeal pouches. I put them all in a big basket in the kitchen and told my kids, “This is breakfast for the next few days. Make eggs if you want. Always eat fruit. Beyond this, I won’t be making anything for breakfast because I have too much to do before we leave for California and I’m trying very hard not to be a crazy mom.”

I felt no guilt over the extra expense and the extra sugar and white flour. (Okay fine, I did cringe just a little bit, but only for half a second until I remembered my purpose.)

Nothing is worth anxiety and stress – not even the occasional ingredient label I can’t pronounce. Not even the extra few bucks I could have saved making it all myself.

Do I know how to make bagels? Granola? Instant oatmeal packets? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s fantastic to have such great money-saving recipes in my hip pocket. It’s wonderful knowing I’ve done all I can to put the best of the best on the table for my family.

But it’s more important to be able to love my family with a peaceful heart. It’s crucial for my mental and spiritual health that I spend as much time as possible each morning in prayer and reading the Word. And just before Christmas, the priority of enjoying the season with my family meant much more to me than flipping whole wheat pancakes and serving them with homemade blueberry syrup.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean I always do. Just because it sometimes works, doesn’t mean it always works. Just because I could, doesn’t mean I should. Just because change is hard, doesn’t mean change is bad. Just because I’m doing it now, doesn’t mean I always will.

just-because-i-can

Our family is home now after over 57 hours on the road and two weeks away from home. Things are starting to settle back down (sort of, if they ever actually do). I don’t plan to make bagels anytime soon. But I bet I’ll find time to make a batch or two of granola.

No matter what, I’ll seek to make the most important things in life the highest priority, remembering that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I always should.

How about you? What are some things you (should) give up during times of additional stress and extra full schedules?

simplemeals300

Comments

  1. Jocy says

    Beautiful post and good reminder to take it easy. I have gave up making cheese crackers and tortillas. Maybe once all my kids are in school, i’ll make them again, for now i’m ok buying them =)

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  2. Rachel Dawson says

    Thank you for the honesty in the post. Many times as readers when we learn something new that you are doing it sticks in our heads that you continue to do these things and especially as we read archived posts, it’s easy to imagine that you are still doing everything you ever posted about. We have recently experienced some out of the ordinary health issues in our family and had to revert to packaged foods while seeking treatment for these issues. We are now in recovery mode after major surgery and seeking to readjust to life as we once knew it. It may take several more months before I’m back making everything from scratch like I’m used to but in the meantime, I’m ok with a little compromise. Thanks for the post. It has come at a good time for our family….and for me. :)

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  3. Jessica says

    Thank you for posting this. I know that at times I get caught up in the whole “but I can’t just buy this because I can make it” frame of mind when in reality, I’m not going to make it for one reason or another. It’s ok to compromise. Sometimes for a little while, sometimes for longer. And sometimes we just have to do what makes the most sense for us in our own particular situations. Do I wish I could consistently make bread from scratch? Yes, but it’s not reality. Do I wish I could make some bagels and English muffins and everything else on my mental to do list? Of course. I just don’t have the time!! So I make do with what I can do and realize that God will take care of the rest. Just because it isn’t “the best option” for my family doesn’t mean that I can’t do it. Sometimes you have to, so you do. And life moves on :)

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  4. Amie says

    Oh, I’ve struggled with this sometimes. I have a big age gap, so I’m homeschooling an 8th grader and 5th grader, plus I have 3 y.o. and 1 y.o. Sometimes I have to buy a frozen pizza because while I can make one with whole wheat crust and homemade sauce, etc, sometimes I just need to get food on the table with a minimum of time and dishes to do after. Thanks for the post. We do what we can, right?

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  5. Jenny says

    Love this! I have 6 kids and homeschool so I feel pretty busy when there’s nothing extra going on. We traveled over Christmas too and I gave up “school” a couple days to get things done and not go crazy! And house cleaning took a back burner. School starts again tomorrow here and I’m almost feeling ready. Even though the Christmas tree is still up! But I’m finally feeling caught up on laundry! Lol!

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  6. Jill says

    Storebought fruit snacks. In my purse at all times. Because the Terrible Twos (and Threes) is a real thing and sometimes we’re forced to be out and about and miss nap time and I JUST NEED THEM TO STOP WHINING. And fruit snacks – with their artificial flavoring and chemical coloring and God only knows what else – just does the trick and buys me some sanity.

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  7. says

    Thank-you, Laura, for another encouraging, guilt-relieving, “real-life” post! This is one of the reasons I appreciate you so much and continue to subscribe to your blog. I agree wholeheartedly with your approach to nutrition and overall health. Sometimes, as you said, we can add too much stress and time trying to make and do “healthy” things, when in reality a little compromise will allow us the breathing room we need. I also believe for the same reasons that we need not be “hyper” over what we eat. We all need to learn and practice balance in ALL areas of our lives, and exercise grace over guilt.

    Happy New Year!

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  8. Lindsay says

    Once again, being real, and letting us know that we’re not alone! I love this sentence: “It’s more important to be able to love my family with a peaceful heart.” That’s what it boils down to. Thanks, Laura.

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  9. Abigail says

    This is soooo encouraging! I’ve been sick lately and my sweet man went to the store and bought hamburger helper. (Gasp) He also made macaroni and cheese and rice for one supper, lol! By the end of the week our 3 kids declared daddy a better cook than mommy!! I pretended to have hurt feelings but really I was laughing inside! To make it up to me, he added green beans to the next meal cooked my favorite way, sautéed in bacon grease- about 2 cups of it!!! Anyway, I just took a big deep breath and thanked the Lord for a husband that can cook!!!

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  10. Tina says

    Thank you, Laura, for being real! You are such an inspiration and an encouragement! Have a truly blessed day!

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  11. Carol says

    Thank you for this post. I try to keep myself reminded of this and I appreciate you reminding us of this. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” :)

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