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Am I An Alcoholic? Guest Post from Wendy P. Miller

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One of the biggest blessings in being involved in the writing community is that I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with several amazing, amazing people. These people aren’t just writing buddies– they are supporters and readers and critiquers and developers and plotters and generally wonderful friends.  And most of all, they are incredible writers, using the gift of words to create stories that entertain and teach and challenge.

I’m honored today that my friend, Wendy Paine Miller, is stopping by the blog to share with you some of her thoughts about what is behind her newest release, The Delicate Nature of Love. Wendy’s writing is word-art, and I am so excited that she’s here with us today. Read below and let her words challenge you about a topic that touches so many.

From Wendy:

Am I An Alcoholic?

This is the question my main character in my latest novel, THE DELICATE NATURE OF LOVE, grapples with. I have an opinion about whether or not Emma Gates is an alcoholic. And I’m willing to bet many book club members will be sharing their opinions while sipping cabernet and sampling goat cheese.

Emma is a grieving widow. Wine has become her go-to when it comes to numbing her feelings. I don’t want to give away my thoughts about whether I feel Emma is addicted, but I will share a bit about why I gravitated toward this topic.

Addiction runs in my family. And I like wine. I like fruity mixed drinks. And with a hot pizza or a delicious chili recipe, I like to swig 312 Goose Island beer. Occasionally I ask myself the hard question: Do I like this too much? Because when I say addiction runs in my family I’m not talking six degrees of separation, I’m talking more like .14 degrees (about the same blood alcohol level several of my family members would hit at any given moment).

I remember suffering through a tragic season in my life when the idea of checking out—sanding down all of my depressed feelings to the point of numbness—sounded ideal. So I drank. A lot. And it did feel great. For a night. Then those feelings resurged and I was met with the weight of what I was going through twofold. And thankfully, I didn’t make a habit of tossing back the bottle. But this is exactly why I work hard not to judge those with addictions. I get the pull. The only difference is that I’m able to stop. I’m able to make a different choice. They aren’t. That doesn’t make me better. It just means the gene didn’t sneak into me.

Forget our country running on Dunkin’ as the slogan suggests. I’m convinced most of us have grown accustomed to running on whatever the five o’clock hour has to offer. In the first scene of DELICATE, my main character, Emma, finds herself facing a similar predicament Pink sings about in one of her songs. She’s looking for herself sober. She’s lost sight of who she is without her trusty wine bottle.

Because addiction is something I’ve grown to recognize, I care about others recognizing it in themselves and confronting it.

I think it starts with…

Accountability—asking the hard question, not just of yourself but asking loved ones who know you well to tell you what they think.

Awareness. Paying attention to when you say when. How many is too many for you? How generous of a pourer are you?

Finally, this might be the hardest one yet.

Honesty. It’ll always come back to this.

Does the topic of addiction hit close to home for you?

Wendy Paine MillerWendy Paine Miller is a native New Englander who feels most alive when she’s laughing, reading, writing, or taking risks. She’s authored eleven novels, including The Delicate Nature of Love, The Flower Girls and The Disappearing Key. Her books have prompted thought-provoking conversations at book clubs all across the country. Wendy lives with her husband and their three girls in a home bursting with imagination and hilarity. Connect with Wendy on her website.

 

 

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Why Those Who “Can’t”, Teach

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I’m not the best athlete in the world. I’m not the greatest singer or the most amazing artist. I’m not a well-renowned historian, nor have I written the next great American novel. I have not discovered the cure for cancer and I probably won’t ever dance with the Moscow Ballet.

But love what I do.

I’m good at it.

I love how it makes me feel when I work hard, accomplish my goals, and master my craft.

I may never be famous for it, but I have to do it. It’s part of me.

And that part of me must be shared.

I teach because I can’t do anything else.

I can’t do anything else. Nothing else fuels the passion in me for the craft that I love– nothing fuels it like sharing it.

And so I teach.

I don’t do it for the money or the time off, or the late nights spent working on lessons or creating new ways to help you learn.

I do it because maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that what I love, you love, too.

I teach because I want you to love.

I teach for the moments when your eyes light up because a fire has been sparked within you. It’s the same fire that burns in me.

I teach for the smiles, the laughter, the joy– my reactions to your learning, shared with you at your own accomplishments.

I teach because my heart aches for you to engage– for you to develop a sense of self through the discovery of doing what God created you to do.

I teach because it’s fun.

I teach despite the naysayers– those who give voice to the idea that teaching, in any capacity, is easy.

I teach despite the laws, regulations, and codes that tie my hands, rendering me to often feel ineffective.

I teach despite the long days, constant training, and never-ending paperwork.

I teach because I love.

I love my craft; my area of expertise. But more than that, I love you.

I love it when you are a blank page, ready to be inscribed with the knowledge you will need to conquer the world.

I love it when you are a closed book–difficult and moody– you challenge me, and I never back down from a challenge.

I love it when you respond to what I’m teaching– when I see you growing and changing before my eyes.

I love it most of all when you realize that I do what I do because I love you.

I want you to grow.

I want you to find what it is you are passionate about.

I want you to work harder, be better, achieve more, and do things– things I’ll never do.

I want you to be better than I could ever be.

I teach because what I love requires that to be brilliant at it, I love those who want to learn.

And so I push myself. I push myself to be better and faster and stronger and smarter– for you.

I push myself to do more and be more and achieve more so that you will be greater.

I continue to learn and develop new techniques and master my craft for the sole purpose of sharing it with you.

But I remind myself that you are not me.

You might not love what I love. You might not respond to me the way I hope.

You might not understand that when I look at you, I see a person perfectly created by a great and mighty God.

But I will continue to teach you, praying that this God-given passion that drives me gives me the opportunity to show you a glimpse of what I love, and if nothing else, let you know that you can be passionate about something–anything–too.

Above all, that’s what I want you to find–something you are passionate about.

So passionate that you must share it with someone else.

So I teach because, by the grace of God, I can.

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8 Pinterest Dinner Recipes I’ve Actually Tried–Healthy and Family-Friendly

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Pinterest has become my go-to for new recipes, but so many of them are tagged with “this is the best recipe I’ve ever tried!”

They can’t all be the best, can they?

Now that I’ve tried a few of these “best ever” recipes, I can honestly say, no, they can’t.

But some of them were good. Really good.

To help you navigate the labyrinth (and genius) that is Pinterest, here are some of those yummy recipes that I’ve actually tried and what I (and my family) thought of them.

These recipes are healthy and family-friendly. Sorry this list is a little heavy on the Mexican food side– my family loves Mexican & Tex-Mex so I’m always looking for good recipes in that category.

Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken

sweet-hawaiian-crockpot-chickenRecipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 3/5 stars. I made this using half of the chicken it called for so I halved the other ingredients, too. I was super-busy that day, so I started it in the crock-pot late and it didn’t get to cook for 5-6 hours. The chicken was done, but it probably would have been even better if I had let it cook all day. My fault. The chicken was good. Plenty sweet– you could actually cut back a tad on the brown sugar. I served it over rice with a pineapple rings and a green veggie on the side.

Smothered Chickensmothered chicken

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 5/5 stars. This was yummy. I left off the mushrooms for my husband and oldest son and kept them for myself and my middle son. We all agreed that this one could stay on our menu rotation.

Tomato-Corn Biscuit Pie

tomato corn biscuit pie

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 4/5 stars. I loved this recipe. It was light and delicious– perfect for a summer meal. However, the biscuit was a little thick. I almost wonder if this recipe wouldn’t work with something more buttery, like crescent rolls. I’m going to try that next time. There will definitely be a next time.

Bada-Bean-Bada-Boom Mealbadabeanbadaboom

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 4/5 stars. This was a fun way to get my boys to eat tuna without realizing it. It’s so much like a Tex-Mex dip that I served it with tortilla chips for dipping and a small green salad on the side. My boys also loved saying the name of this meal. 🙂

Ravioli with Salsa Black Bean Sauce

ravioli with black bean sauce

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 3/5 stars. This one was SPICY. Next time I’ll need to cut back on the chili powder and cumin and definitely not add the red pepper flakes I threw in for fun. (Duh.) The next time I make this, I’m sure it will get 5/5 stars.

Oven Baked Chimichangasoven baked chimis

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 3/5 stars. I had never cooked with chipotle chiles in adobo sauce before, so I put in the entire can. I almost killed my children. Yeah– it was that spicy. Even after I tried to cool it by mixing in some sour cream and adding some grilled corn, it was eye-watering hot. My 4 year-old drank 3 cups of milk and 2 glasses of water after only a few bites. (How was I to know? The can was tiny!) Next time I’ll use just a bit or I’ll substitute with a can of tomatoes & green chiles. With toned down heat, this recipe could be deeeee-lish.

Healthy Baked Salmon Nuggets

salmon nuggets

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 5/5 stars. My husband and I don’t care for seafood, so it’s a wonder that my boys seem to really like it. I tried this specifically for my oldest who loves salmon, and I enjoyed these, too! They are a super-yummy and healthy substitute for store-bought fish sticks or chicken nuggets. Give these a try for sure.

Quinoa Black Bean Burgersblack bean burgers

Recipe HERE.

Pin HERE.

Hale Household Review— 5/5 stars. This recipe was DELICIOUS. Add a little ranch dressing on top or some salsa and mmmmmm… everyone in the house enjoyed these.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. To check out what else I’m pinning, be sure to click on the Pinterest icon on the right side of the blog and follow me!

Share with me: Got any delicious and healthy family favorites you care to share?

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