Monday, April 13, 2015

Raising Self Reliant Youth, Part II

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - Part II

Welcome to Part II of II. Last week, in Part I of my short collaborative series on Raising Self Reliant Youth, you read about Challice where she shared about sodbusting the next generation and her vision for how she would like to see her family but shares her reality instead.  

You also read about Pastor Dennit Goodwin Jr., that shared about how we should nurture our resources to meet the needs of tomorrow and shared a lesson on doing

Lastly, Cheryl, a local mom to my area, shared how service creates responsibility but produces great rewards. 

This week and to conclude this short collaborative series on Raising Self Reliant Youth, three women will share their stories. Be sure to come back and share this two-part collection. Thank you!!

Tools for Life

"We have two boys—a four-year-old and a two-year-old. They are energetic & curious children who have a daily hunger for knowledge and experience…in fact, sometimes the hunger is so strong that I find myself running to keep up with their desire to try new things, acquire new skills, and grasp the adventure of life with both hands.

It was evident from the beginning that they were both going to learn and experiment whether we were along for the ride or not (just ask about the time our then-three-year-old decided to test what would happen if he used a plastic hammer on our family iPad). As a result, one of the ways our family has decided to embrace our boys’ curiosity is to nourish it through teaching the proper context and usage for “big” tools.  We no longer snatch away knives at restaurants or bring out the plastic toy tools when they want to mimic daddy in the garage—nope, we’ve started to instruct both boys on the proper ways, times, and places to use the real deal.  My four-year-old has a small block of wood into which he practices hammering real nails with a small, lightweight (but real) hammer. And my two-year-old participates in the kitchen frequently, using a butter knife to help me cut butter, spread jelly, or prepare his morning waffle. The key for us has really been teaching appropriate context (never use these tools alone, and always use them in their proper areas) and usage. Teaching and supervising proper safety measures has also been a huge part of allowing them use “big people” tools.

By introducing the appropriate ways to wield and use real tools at a young age, our hope is that we are able to raise our children with a respect for how to use and care for things that are more dangerous in “bigger” versions. We also hope to empower our kids to know that they can use the same sorts of tools that we do and accomplish the same results—they just have to start small. They need to be patient with the process of learning and growth. And it’s been worth it. Their confidence has soared since we’ve started giving them opportunities to use real tools in a proper context. They are frequently excited to help and participate. And if we’re lucky, it will be just the beginning of many empowering experiences in which they recognize just how capable they are. In fact…maybe someday they’ll be able to pass along that lesson to their children as well." 

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - with Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted Honey Bee
Stacia Guzzo is a work-from-home entrepreneur, a joyful mama of two, & a wife to her best friend. Her business, Handcrafted Honey Bee, creates customizable DIY skin care kits that are sold all over the country. She resides in Tehachapi, California with her family and two dogs, two cats, thirteen chickens, two beehives, and a growing garden. 

Inspire for Purpose

"Resilience, another term for self-reliance, is about putting your aspirations and dreams into action every time and all the time, even when you don’t know the how, what, who, where, or when. I understood the concept of resilience at any early age because often times I was told no, when others were told yes, I was given the least and often times did not have the tools I needed to succeed. I was often chosen last or not at all when trying to make my life better. I realized that resilience made me a stronger, tougher and wiser person thus propelling me to achieve my life’s purpose.

My parents always told me that dreams should never be dreams long; at some point they must become reality. If not, then you live a life unfilled and devoid of your purpose. They were always engaged and interested in what I was doing. They spoke positive words into my life and made me believe I was important, wanted and could achieve anything I wanted in life.

My action words that get me moving are Go*Be*Do. Without these words, I would not have been blessed to assist others. It keeps me pressing toward the higher goal, the end game and to be that winner that I was meant to be. I did this by giving back to the community by feeding, clothing, employing the homeless, empowering and motivating those in search of their purpose along with donating funds to help better the life of others. I have been able to touch lives, shift negative mindsets and change the world one person at a time. You can and you will too if only you continue inspiring others for their life’s purpose."

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth w/ Ceandra Baker of Inspire for PurposeEmpowered to Inspire, Minister Ceandra Baker has had a lifelong dream of motivating and inspiring people to find out what their purpose is and to put it into action, thus coining the name, "The Actionist."

She is the Founder of Inspire for Purpose and CFO and Executive Director, of Extended Hands Worldwide Ministries, a charitable organization. Graduating magna cum laude she earned a B.S. in Psychology and an M.B.A. in Project Management from Columbia Southern University. 

Through servanthood, her unique style of leadership has granted her the privilege to serve communities both domestically and abroad giving aid and counsel in areas such as: Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Poland, Cambodia, Vietnam, Italy, Singapore, Australia and Japan, just to name a few. These self-less acts, have been recognized by The National Association of Professional Women, honoring her as Woman of the year. 

Self-Reliance in Action

“Fostering independence in my boys and raising them as self-reliant children is very important to me. We do this through using Montessori-inspired techniques to teach practical life skills, encouraging them to do things themselves when they are able to and to try tasks themselves before asking for help, and I do this through providing my children with opportunities to serve others. I've seen with my own eyes that even a toddler can serve and how transformative service can be.

Raising self-reliant children is something I think most parents seek to do. Making service part of our children's lives improves their sense of self, their confidence and their independence. It makes them superheroes and magicians. It helps them understand that courage and consideration go hand in hand.

Wild Thing is studying community helpers at school. The school also recently made small collection boxes available to students to collect Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On a bike ride to the park the other night, we grabbed the box and put it in the wagon with us (boys on bikes and scooters, me pulling the wagon with a few toys). Halfway to the park, we saw people for the first time during our walk. Wild Thing jumped off of his bicycle, grabbed the collection box and ran right up to them and asked for help. He did this throughout our walk to the park and back home. After about an hour, when we arrived back home, we added up our funds and had $17!! I was so proud of him, and he was so proud of himself. He realized that he didn't have to wait until he was a grown up to be a community helper, he could be one now. He can use his own skills and abilities to help others.”

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - with Jennifer Fischer of Think Ten Media Group
Jennifer Fischer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. Her company, Think Ten Media Group, is also embarking on a dramatic series to highlight mass incarceration in the U.S. She has written about her experiences with her sons, Wild Thing (5) and Caterpillar (3), at The Good LongRoad and Multicultural Kid Blogs, with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and kid lit. 

If you feel so inclined and want to feel part of something empowering, watch Jennifer and Ramon's docudrama on The wHole - an internet series, you can support by way of sharing and/or donating to their campaign here through April 21st, 2015.

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

In case you missed it, please read Part I of Raising Self Reliant Youth (it published on 4/6 at 6:30 a.m. PST).  

Download my free eGuide when you subscribe to my newsletter and / or subscribe to my blog here to never miss a post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Raising Self Reliant Youth - Part I

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - a Collaborative Post, Part I

Welcome to Part I of II. This post was originally planned to be all inclusive but when I received the submissions, it was a no-brainer. I had to share their content over two posts. I didn't want to compress their content to fit my blog or it would have lost their voices and the overall feel would have been depleted. Part II will be available on Monday, April 13th. 

Let's get started...

Children. When you see them, what do you think about first? Do any of the adjectives in the above picture come to mind ... at all? Gosh, I hope so!

When you talk with children, you may ask them what they want to be when they grow up - isn't it peculiar how we are automatically (generally speaking) always looking to the future and hurrying along this stage in their life (whatever age they're in, you're thinking about the tomorrows). I know I do sometimes when I look at my son with admiration as I think to myself, "I wonder what he'll be like when he's 8 or 11 or 15?" But in our family, we do our darndest to focus on the present moments. 

Besides, what we do today, will have lasting effects into the future. Our children will always be our children but they will not always be young (or little). The shocker: They will grow up and move on / out but if you ask my six year old, he will live with me and his dad forever. And, how I know this reply could change when he's a teenager so I will remember these moments and cherish them. What we say and do today will echo for a long time. Let's work together in raising self reliant youth

Yes our youth needs us while they're young but as their care providers, we can encourage them to soar with the eagles and that whatever they do in this life, to do it with love and compassion for others. 

Convey Awareness | Self Reliant definition

Monday, March 23, 2015

Vegetarian Lentil Soup *GF/DF*

In January, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend and her family who had recently moved to the San Bernardino National Forest. She and I were headed to a regional training the day after. The night I arrived, it was windy and cold. Thankfully no snow because I don't own any snow chains and the climb to the top of the mountain was steep and long! The weather held off until the day after our meeting... whew!

Convey Awareness | Vegetarian Lentil Soup

The night I arrived, she was making a lentil soup. It tasted great! It was a hearty soup for a cold night. YUM!

Recently, I thought about making some lentil soup. First, I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of lentils and many beans because of their texture, and because of this, I made sure to thoroughly rinse the lentils before and after cooking and before incorporating them into the final dish. 

Without further adieu, here is the recipe! The recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free but not grain free, due to the lentils (legumes / grains) and the optional rice.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Turkey and White Bean Chili

Sometimes throwing something together just works. Ever have that happen to you on a regular basis in the kitchen? I'm happy to report that this is happening to me far more frequently and that's great for my family because the meals are coming out YUM-O!

This recipe is a cinch! It's gluten, dairy, and grain free. Very simple ingredients and you can choose the quality of your ingredients (dried, canned, fresh, etc). Since I only started working with beans in the last year, I'm still eating them from a can but if you're really good at soaking and preparing them from a dried status, go for it! =)

1 pound of ground turkey (no seasonings or added flavors)
3 large zucchini (shredded and drained)
1 medium red onion (finely diced; see note 2 for the tool I used; set aside)
1/2 to 1 full can of tomatoes with chilies (like this)
1-2 cans of white beans (rinsed and drained)
4 tsp cumin (like this)
2 tsp oregano (dry your own or like this; see note)
1 tsp salt 
1 tbs garlic (minced or 2 cloves finely chopped)
4 cups of broth (DIY here or choose a good boxed option like I did below)

Note 1: Save all your spices that come in glass containers. Remove the labels and reuse these for your own herbs that you dry out, chop, and store. =)

1. Brown the ground turkey and season it with salt, cumin, and oregano.

2. While turkey is cooking, prepare the zucchini. 

Note 2: You can use any food processor or if your knife skills are up to par, you'll dice the zucchini by hand. I use this (it's the mini) but when I have a large batch without paying attention to random sizes, I use this. After chopping zucchini, use a mesh bag and remove most of the water content. 

3. Add the garlic to the turkey and cook for a couple minutes before adding the zucchini. 

4. Cook zucchini for 3-5 minutes. 

5. Add tomatoes with chilies and rinsed beans. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes. 

6. Add the broth and cook on high. Stir as needed. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and partially cover the chili allowing the broth to reduce. 

7. If you want there to be some broth left, cook for 25-30 minutes. Cook longer (about 45-55 minutes) if you'd like no broth to remain. Stir as needed. 

8. While broth is reducing, prepare your red onions and set aside. This will be your topping before serving. 

The chili has hints of kick and the onions lighten the heat a bit. My husband likes to add rice to the chili for added filling and satisfaction. I think the turkey & white bean chili tastes great on its own. You decide. Make it and let me know what you think it needs or if it is just right. 

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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