The Little Things

by Jen on July 22, 2012

Sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming. It seems that when things are good, they’re so good. You’re happy, work is good, everyone around you is happy, blessings and opportunity abound. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those times when you literally ask yourself if one more thing could possibly go wrong. And then inevitably, something else does go wrong. You question your path, your decisions and it becomes hard to trust your journey.

I have dealt with this a lot over the past nine months or so. Over the course of the past year, I have changed everything about the way I live my life. In the beginning I was excited, hopeful and abundantly joyful and grateful for all of the good things happening. Then the shine wore off a bit and I found myself in the exact opposite place and was questioning the shift that had taken place and wondering if it was all worth it. And now I am ready to move forward again. I want to feel excited and sure about my path again. I want to feel fulfilled, set goals, smile and open myself up to new experiences.

When you’re in these cycles of emotions and life shifts (I just typed life “shits” ha!), it can be hard to be present in the every day. You’re either looking back and questioning things that are already done or looking forward and wishing for different things. Sometimes you just need to be in the moment and find some kind of happiness regardless of all the other things going on inside and around you.

So here are the little things that made me smile and made me happy this weekend.

The farmers market. And watermelons. Watermelons always make me happy!

Sushi at Cowfish with friends who I have admittedly closed myself off to a little bit recently but were there when I was ready to come out of my shell.

A tough workout (the infamous 300) at the gym with a fun and motivating group. I seriously would not make it through workouts like this without my awesome co-workers and fellow athletes.

After spending most of last week CrossFitting, I was able to squeeze in three yoga practices this weekend and it felt so good. The best part was free popsicles after today’s 90 minute hot, hot, hot class. I’ve never tasted something so delicious!

Sunday evening stroll with the furry one.

A home-cooked Sunday dinner. Stuffed peppers with a filling of quinoa, lentils, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini and seasonings. Topped with white cheddar and baked for about 45 minutes at 350.

It was a good weekend.

What “little thing” made you happy this weekend? 

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura July 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I completed my first 5k as a runner in 12 years!!!!!!!! It was a jam packed and insane Color Run so I got to take my time and even had to walk a bit, but it was the best! And I came home and signed up for another run in 3 weeks :)

Ps. wanna share the stuffed pepper recipe? :D

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2 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

hi laura – congrats on your 5K! that is awesome. they are having a color run here in the fall. would you recommend it?

as far as the peppers are concerned, i didn’t really use a recipe. just made it up as i went using the ingredients listed above!

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3 Bess @ Bess Be Fit July 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Jen—a little thing that ALWAYS makes me happy is when you comment on my blog! You should definitely know it always makes me feel good because I love you and your blog so much!

Let me just say my favorite quote to you that my mom always says to me when I’m struggling or having a hard time with things, “This too shall pass.” And it always does. Just take a deep breath and do your best to get through it, because that’s all anyone can ask of you and it’s all you should ask of yourself. Just do your best :) Everything will work out!

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4 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

bess – you are too sweet. i love following your blog!

that quote is simple but so true.

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5 Sana July 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Life is always changing and sometimes it is a little overwhelming but that is the beauty of it. Nothing lasts forever.

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6 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

sana – i love that thought “nothing lasts forever.” it’s beautiful and sad all at the same time.

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7 LaLa July 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Life is hard, especially when going through a divorce. You’re handling it all so well. Good luck to you!

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8 Leslie July 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

SO needed this today as life has been a little “all consuming” lately and it has been hard to focus on the positives. Thank you for sharing, love reading your blog!! (p.s. Way to go on the 95# front squat for the ladder workout a few days back…holy cow!! I did 60# and couldn’t walk the next day! Love it!)

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9 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm

thank you leslie – it wasn’t so bad when i was doing it but holy cow! i couldn’t walk for days either. it took all week for my poor legs to recover!

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10 Trust in the Lord July 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Hi Jen – I have been following you for a while now, and can’t help but finally leave a comment. I can SO relate to your blog, because I have also been in similar situations with similar feelings – and all in all, felt “lost” – but boy was I sure was seeking for something!! I was caught up in worldly things, and I believed that I could control every one of my behaviors, thoughts, actions, and perspectives. But over and over again, this failed to be true – and over and over again I convinced myself that I could just try a little bit “harder”. And believe me… it was EXHAUSTING!!!

However, I found my faith in God – and a weight has lifted off my shoulders and my outlook on life has drastically changed, forever! By putting my faith in Him to change the things I wanted in my life, I have relieved myself of that burden. I can now rest in the grace that God provides to all those who put their faith in Him. My affections have changed from things that once used to think mattered the most, to what God wants and says through the Bible. And it’s absolutely amazing what the Bible can answer for you and counsel you on… EVERYTHING!!! Some of my favorite and related verses…

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise to the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!” – Psalm 34:8

“For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.” – Romans 7:18

“For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace” – Romans 8:6

“The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” – Lamentations 3:22

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:6

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Matthew 6:33

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away and look, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28

“You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent on You, for it is trusting in You.” – Isaiah 26:3

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

“if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not from yourselves: it is the gift of God – not from works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes..” – Romans 1:16

Sorry – that ended up being A LOT! But it’s all just TOO good! :)

I now know that ultimately God’s will will ALWAYS surpass my plans and efforts. By putting Him first in everything, I am able to rest in the peace that in Him all things WILL lead to good!

I pray that this will reach in some way, and that you will continue seeking in the right direction…

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11 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

thank you so much for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful manner. these are all beautiful scriptures.

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12 Julie G July 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I love this so much… such thoughtful, eloquent and true words.

Eating grilled summer food outside with friends made me happy this weekend :)

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13 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

summer grilling and summer produce are the best!

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14 erin mcdermott white July 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm

ohhh! i saw my name on the crossfit board! thanks so much for encouraging me to go today. i loved it!

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15 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

i’m so glad that you enjoyed class. it was a crazy workout for your first time!!! you rocked it.

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16 Janine July 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Your blig makes me happy! Thanks for being so real and honest

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17 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

thank you! :)

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18 jaclyn @ justjac July 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm

watching the season finale of bachelorette tonight – lOL! :]
i like this post. i’ve felt very similar in the past nine months or so of MY life. i actually feel like i can really relate… even though i don’t know you. is that weird?

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19 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

haha – love that! such a guilty pleasure.

and no, it’s not weird at all! that’s why it’s so inspiring to all share our stories and experiences!

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20 jaclyn @ justjac July 24, 2012 at 2:07 am

agreed :D
ps – SOOOOOO happy about the outcome of B!!!! and…..have you ever seen her around town??

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21 Ali July 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for a wonderful post. I could really relate to this on so many levels… This past year has been extremely difficult and challenging for me. After ending a seven year relationship one year ago (July 11th was the day that it ended), I have struggled to find happiness, feel content, and learn to live a life that I can be passionate about and feel fulfilled. I have felt the extreme highs of regaining my freedom and the extreme lows of feeling incredibly lonely and vulnerable. You see I cut myself off from many of my friends throughout my relationship and from many of the things I truly enjoy in life (leading a healthy and active lifestyle) – these things were largely influenced by my ex. I have spent the past year really igniting my passion for running, exploring yoga and taking pilates classes. All of those activities have helped me immensely but I can’t help but still feel that something is missing from my life overall. Sometimes I am caught of guard by an incredible sadness that starts to creep in…

Anyway, I know that life is always a “work in progress” and that change is inevitable and we have to learn to deal with it. I have also tried not to be so hard on myself for feeling these moments of sadness a year after my relationship ended. In any case, thanks for sharing, it helps to know that I am not alone in the quest to find happiness day to day. :)

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22 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

ali – thank you for your honesty and openness. i am happy to read that you have been able to begin to lead a life you feel passionate about and do things that feel good to you. i do know all to well how incredibly difficult it is to face loneliness and to allow yourself to be vulnerable. i think it’s totally normal for you to still feel moments of sadness. you shared a huge part of your life with someone and when we have these big shifts in our life plan not unfolding the way we thought it would, it is sad but hopefully we can learn and grow from it and come out stronger on the other side.

sending you so much love, happiness and positive energy.

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23 Beth July 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

Those peppers look amazing. Can u please share the recipe? I want to make them!

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24 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

hey beth – i didn’t follow a recipe. i just made them up as i went using the ingredients listed above. hope that helps some!

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25 Charlotte July 23, 2012 at 12:18 am

I always appreciate the level of honesty in your blog posts. It reminds us all that life is cyclical and be it physical, emotional, both, there are ups and downs, highs and lows. Embracing each and being present is so important, you are right. Gotta go through hell at times to appreciate when it’s good….those small things definitely add up to boost a bad mood. For me, a lot of my mood depends on the quality of sleep i’ve been getting. I struggle with insomnia and it sucks when I can’t sleep in to fix being awake in the middle of the night. we all have something I guess! just knowing none of us is exclusively happy and we all experience bouts of bad moods and lack of motivation helps us to feel normal and bounce back.

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26 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

hey claudia – i have to remind myself all the time that no one is happy all the time and that we are all facing our own struggles, whether that is publicly or privately.

i have been focusing on taking care of my body so that my mind feels good. i’ve upped my sleep, improved my nutrition and am still trying to get my workouts in.

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27 pamela July 23, 2012 at 12:24 am

I love how honest you are about how hard it is to have faith and trust in our path and in ourselves. I think the key IS to appreciate the little moments.

We are living in a hotel in Jacksonville, NC for THREE MONTHS until our house is ready and I so miss living in DC and the power yoga there. This weekend I drove an hour to Wilmington for an amazing yoga class. And my 6 year old wrote me a note that said he loved me.

Thank you for this beautiful post!

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28 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

pamela – thank you for your kind words. i struggle with how much to share on my blog but i do want my readers to know that i go through ups and downs too. my life isn’t a pretty picture that i paint on my blog.

i can only imagine how challenging your current situation must be but i applaud you for being supportive and having a good attitude about it. i’m so happy to hear you were able to make a yoga class!

have a good week.

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29 Lisa July 23, 2012 at 12:24 am

Those stuffed peppers look incredible! I actually just bought peppers because I have plans to make some stuffed ones this week.
That workouts looks incredibly awesome!
I definitely relate to the highs of life being incredible high and the lows of life seeming so low. I think that is just how most people view things that happen in their lives. I need to realize more everyday is filled with positive and negatives, and to really focus on the good in life.
Thanks for being so honest in this post<3

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30 GM @ gmruns July 23, 2012 at 5:10 am

LOVE this post so so much. Its a nice reminder to not take the little things for granted.

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31 christy July 23, 2012 at 5:14 am

I know with where you live you have to deal with heat and the humidity. Any tips?

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32 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm
33 Alex @ fightcancerwithfood July 23, 2012 at 5:19 am

I know exactly what you mean, but I’m really glad that you’re reconnecting with your friends and feeling better. It’s amazing how much we can test our friendships when we’re feeling like shit, and yet the true ones are always there when you’re ready to come out the other side.

Summer FINALLY came to the UK this weekend! Sunshine makes me happy :)

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34 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

alex – it is so true. it’s that whole idea of hurting the ones who love you the most. i am so thankful for those who are supportive and loving!

yay for sunshine! it improves my mood so much too!

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35 Erica { EricaDHouse.com } July 23, 2012 at 6:36 am

I actually just wrote about my struggle with permanent happiness here: http://www.ericadhouse.com/in-pursuit-of-happiness/
In the end, I’m still not sure where I’m going but I’m stopping more along the way to enjoy the scenery.

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36 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

erica – thank you so much for linking to your post. it’s beautiful! i will share it with my readers!

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37 Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 7:46 am

My favorite quote: Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

I say that quote to myself all the time whenever I am feeling anxious or overwhelmed about something. You are strong and and will make it to the end.

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38 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

kimberly – that is a great quote. love it.

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39 Danielle @ clean food creative fitness July 23, 2012 at 7:50 am

I love that you are taking time to enjoy the little things! That is so important and something we so often overlook! I find myself getting stuck in that cycle a lot too of either looking back and worrying or looking forward and anticipating ahead, when really it is so important to just live in the moment!

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40 Dominique @ Free To Be Athlete July 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

Helping to plan utter chaos at my niece’s birthday party, holding a baby, reconnecting with an old friend, and coffee with a new friend all helped to make my weekend wonderful. Great post!

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41 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

loved our coffee date!

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42 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) July 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

This is usually the time I’d say something like it’s always darkest before the dawn, or some other quote, but I’m just going to send you hugs and say that I’m so happy you’re focusing on the little things that make you happy in the moment. Keep focusing on those and the list will surely grow! <3

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43 Whitney July 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

Jen- I encourage you to pray when you are struggling with things. You would be surprised how powerful it is and the answers you receive! When you have faith and trust in God there is nothing to be worry about and you will feel a sense of peace. It is truly amazing! :)

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44 Jen July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

thank you for the encouraging comment whitney. i appreciate the reminder!

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45 Tara July 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

I so relate to this right now. And, rather than smother you with religious quotations, allow me to share something my Great Grandmother always said, that I never understood until I was an adult : “Time and Tide wait for no man”. It sounds daunting at first, but it’s also inspiring and when I feel in a rut it nudges me to get it together and remember that NOW is life. :) Also, watermelon always makes me happy, too.

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46 Jen July 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

tara – thank you for sharing the wise words from your great grandmother. they are so true.

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47 Austin Michelle July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I love this post! The little things can totally get me through rough patches in life too. I’m glad you are finding ways to smile! The little thing for me this weekend was completing my AFAA group fitness test. I am not sure where I will go from here, but it one step closer to a job that I will actually enjoy!!

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48 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm

that’s so exciting! congrats! it’s a great step in the right direction.

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49 Liz @ Southern Charm July 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Going out with a friend I had never been out with yet! It was fun and different. I love getting to know people!!

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50 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

i love that too and i’ve been trying to get out of my shell recently and open to more social engagements!

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51 Kristy July 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

i spent time with my parents this weekend (at the shore no less)! lots of laughs and beer :)

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52 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

mmm…beer and the beach. perfect.

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53 Brittany July 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

my favorite part of this weekend was an early morning yoga practice on Sunday. i’ve been teaching so much that I’ve neglected my own time on the mat… it felt great!

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54 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

brittany – i totally feel you on that one. i was so thankful for time on my mat this weekend too.

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55 jennyv July 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I was able to celebrate my grandma’s 81st birthday with her this weekend — we went to the Farmers Market, for breakfast at a coffee shop and then out for supper with my parents and husband. She is such a comfort in my life!

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56 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

jenny – that is SO special! it made me smile. i am so grateful for my grandmother too.

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57 Alaina July 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Some of the things that are making me happy: iced coffees with vanilla soy milk, cooler days with no humidity, and knowing that by the end of next week our house will be insulated and plastered!! :-D

I hope things get better for you Jen!!

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58 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

i’m jealous of your cooler days with no humidity. we are dying down here! yay for house progress!

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59 Pam July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

The peppers look amazing.
Sometimes life does have shits (and shifts)!
I find I grow the most in difficult times. Learning to breathe and take it moment by moment.
Love your blog!

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60 Linda July 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I can so understand the cycles your are referring to and reading what you wrote really helps put it all into perspective. Sometimes I forget all the blessings I have in my life and go through periods of not feeling personally fulfilled and challenged which always gets me down. Then I’ll talk to my mom and she always reminds me of different things that I’ve accomplished in my life and when I reflect on those I start to feel better. The never-ending struggle to live in the moment is one I tackle everyday.
What made me happy this weekend was on Saturday morning I woke up early and met my girlfriends for a 9 mile run. After that I had errands to run and was on such the runner’s high. I felt such positive energy from everyone I came in contact with. It was such a great feeling!

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61 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

parents are the best and definitely some of our biggest cheerleaders. i’m so happy that you were able to meet your friends for a run. i also love working out with people that motivate me. it’s so fun to share the experience together and encourage each other!

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62 SD July 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Yeah for protein!! I’m going to make those peppers –they look so good! I like your protein kick!

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63 Jen July 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

me too! i feel good! :)

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64 Jenna July 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I think you are so inspiring and beautiful Jen. The most interesting part of life is the ups and downs, and it is how we handle them that shows our character. You seem to juggle every aspect of your life with grace and class. Keep your head up. I don’t even know you, but I’m so proud of you.

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65 Trish July 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

the weather here has been so miserable that it is hard to find solace in much of anything. It is hotter and drier than anything I have ever experienced. The summers here are usually pretty hard to take – hotter and more humid than where I grew up, but I have really worked hard to reconcile myself to them. And then this summer comes along. As I was moping around being miserable, I spotted my collection of Little House on the Prairie books, and glanced thru ‘On the Banks of Plum Creek”. The Ingalls family had 2 extremely miserable summers, and they had NO relief, no air conditioning, not even a cool drink of water. It made me stop feeling so sorry for myself.

And, in fact i do have little things to be grateful for. Because of the early spring, we got our tomatoes going earlier than normal, and are already enjoying them. We usually don’t get regular production until August. So, stop feeling sorry for yourself Trish, and start eating tomatoes!

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66 Valerie July 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Celebrating the little things in life always seems to help me too! Those stuffed peppers look delicious.

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67 Tara Deal July 24, 2012 at 4:58 am

Your stuffed peppers look tasty! I made some stuffed peppers this past sunday as well, and they are so great for reheating and eating at work!

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68 Lisa Kaiser July 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

A couple questions about those beautiful looking stuffed peppers!!!
What seasonings did you use? Do you brown the meat before putting it in the pepper? What about sauteeing the veggies before putting them in the pepper?

Thanks!

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69 Jen July 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

hey lisa – i did brown the ground beef first and seasoned it with salt and pepper. the quinoa and lentils were leftover from another dinner so they were already cooked. i sauteed the onion, tomato, garlic, carrots and zucchini in olive oil. i mixed everything together and seasoned with salt, parsley and basil. does that help? i’m sorry! i should have written it down!

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70 Lisa July 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Yup – Perfect! Thanks!!

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