Speaking Your Mind

Random Sagittarian Bluntness: Speaking Your Mind

 
The one thing we have learned over the years, and after much trial and error is to find and never lose our voices. And in this post, I encourage you to do the same.

It’s often not convenient or pretty or feel good stuff when you stand up for yourself. That’s a given. But if you think you are saving a situation or saving someone’s feelings by not speaking out, it only gets worse. You are teaching disrespect. You are teaching them that you aren’t to be valued, that your words mean nothing and that your kindness is weakness.

The moment you put iron in your spine and say enough, is the only time things change.

This is something I really had to embrace over the years…and since I have, my peace is so valuable. That peace is more valuable than anything these days.

Saving needed confrontation only reinforces the belief in a manipulator that by coercion, tantrum, or flattery–no matter what–your principles have very low value. And they will continue to push until you break or give up, because that is how they learned to play people like a board game only they can win.

If someone steps on your toe and you don’t say “Ow”, they’ll just keep doing it over and over again with bigger boots on each time.

Trip them up by tying their laces with your truth in what is fair and what will be allowed and what you will not stand for today, tomorrow or ever again.

And sometimes that means putting an exclamation point where you normally put a period.

The people meant to love you, will love you for who you are and not what they can get for themselves from you. And if you worry about pleasing the latter, peace will be a hard thing to find.

BTW…remember to LAUGH
This video “might” at least make you smile?

https://youtu.be/92i5m3tV5XY

.
.
.

PEACE

MEDITERRANEAN ROAST CHICKEN WITH TURMERIC AND FENNEL

MEDITERRANEAN ROAST CHICKEN WITH TURMERIC AND FENNEL

MEDITERRANEAN ROAST CHICKEN WITH TURMERIC AND FENNEL

– from the Mediterranean Dish

the golden hue is obviously thanks to the ground turmeric.

But turmeric also provides the flavor base in this roast chicken recipe. The rest of the spices, along with the brown sugar; fennel; onions; and citrus, all kinda surround the turmeric building on it’s woodsy, earthy characteristics…

And coming together in this roast chicken dinner as in a perfect melody– slightly sweet, earthy, and comforting! Enjoy!

  • Author: The Mediterranean Dish
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar, more for later
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tbsp ground turmeric spice
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored, sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into half moons
  • 6 pieces bone in, skin on chicken (chicken legs or breasts, or a combination)
  • 2 Oranges, unpeeled, sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the marinade. In a large bowl or deep dish, mix together the first six ingredients: olive oil, white wine, orange juice, lime juice, mustard and brown sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the spices: turmeric, garlic powder, coriander, paprika , salt and pepper. Now, add about half of the spice mix to the liquid marinade. Mix to combine.
  3. Pat the chicken pieces dry and generously season with the remainder of the spice mix. Be sure to lift the chicken skins slightly and apply some of the spice mix underneath the skin.
  4. Add the seasoned chicken and the remaining ingredients to the large bowl of marinade. Work the chicken well into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (if you don’t have time, you can skip the marinating).
  5. When ready, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Transfer the chicken along with the marinade and everything else to a large baking pan so that everything is comfortably arranged in one layer. Be sure the chicken skin is facing up. Sprinkle with a dash or salt and more brown sugar, if you like.
  6. Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the chicken skin has nicely browned. Internal chicken temperature should be 170 degrees F.

NOTES

This roast chicken is best served with Lebanese Rice. If you choose to make the rice, go ahead and prepare it first according tothis recipe. You can reheat the rice later if needed.

 

Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta

Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali

Yield:1 pound of pasta, 4 servings

Level: Easy

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs

Directions

Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

 

 Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali

with the Food Network

How To Make Fresh Pasta from Scratch

How To Make Fresh Pasta from Scratch

~ COOKING LESSONS FROM THE KITCHN

 

Note ~ I don’t have a pasta machine so I roll with hand cut, pun intended 😉

In this guide, I’m walking you through every single step in detail, but in reality, fresh pasta comes together quite quickly. Mixing and kneading the dough takes about 10 minutes, then you let it rest for 30 minutes. You can use this resting time to pull together the ingredients for the pasta sauce. After resting, rolling out and cutting the dough takes maybe another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast you go and how many helpers you have.

Speaking of helpers, it helps to have a few. You can definitely do it by yourself, but it’s really nice to have an extra set of hands, especially if you’re hand-cranking the dough through a counter-top pasta roller. Whether working by yourself or with someone else, I find that you fall into a rhythm of rolling the sheets of pasta, cutting the noodles, and sprinkling everything with flour.

Ready? Let’s make some pasta.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Fresh Egg Pasta

From The Kitchn – via Emma Christensen
Makes enough for about 4 to 6 servings

What You Need

Ingredients
2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Equipment
Mixing bowl
Fork or dough whisk
Pasta machine (see Additional Notes for rolling pasta by hand)
Baking sheet
Clean dishtowel

Instructions

1. Combine the Flour and Salt: Whisk together the flour and salt with a fork in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Add the Eggs: Create a deep well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into this well. Whisk the eggs with the fork to combine.

Note: You can do this on the counter-top “Italian Grandmother Style” if you prefer, but I find it’s easier and less messy to do it in a bowl. For food-processor instructions, see below.

3. Begin Combining the Flour and Eggs: As you whisk the eggs, begin gradually pulling in flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Don’t rush this step. At first, the eggs will start to look like a slurry. Once enough flour has been added, it will start forming a very soft dough. Don’t worry if you haven’t used all the flour.

4. Knead the Pasta Dough: Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter. Begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again. It will be extremely soft at first, then gradually start to firm up. Once it’s firm enough to knead, begin kneading the dough. Incorporate more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to you or the counter. Slice into the dough with a paring knife; if you see lots of air bubbles, keep kneading. The dough is kneaded when it forms a smooth elastic ball and has very few air bubbles when cut.

5. Rest the Pasta Dough: Clean and dry the mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough inside and cover with a dinner plate or plastic wrap. Rest for at least 30 minutes.

Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.

6. Divide the Pasta Dough: Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and scrape the ball of dough on top (it will stick to the bowl; use a spatula or bowl scraper if necessary). Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel.

Note: The name of the game at this point is to keep everything well-floured to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the roller as you work. If the dough starts to feel sticky as you roll it, sprinkle it with flour. Also sprinkle flour on any pasta you’re not working (rolled, cut or otherwise) with and keep it covered with a dishtowel.

7. Begin Rolling Out the Pasta: Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting (usually marked “1”). Flatten one piece of dough into a thick disk between your hands and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat once or twice. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, and press it between your hands again. With the pasta machine still on the widest setting, feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers (see picture). Feed it through once or twice more until smooth. If desired, repeat this folding step. This helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked.

8. Thin the Pasta: Begin changing the settings on your roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll the pasta two or three times at each setting, and don’t skip settings (the pasta tends to snag and warp if you do). If the pasta gets too long to be manageable, lay it on a cutting board and slice it in half. Roll the pasta as thin as you like to go. For linguine and fettuccine, I normally go to 6 or 7 on the KitchenAid attachement; for angel hair or stuffed pastas, I go one or two settings thinner.

9. Cut the Pasta: Cut the long stretch of dough into noodle-length sheets, usually about 12-inches. If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping. If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. Toss the noodles with a little flour to keep them from sticking and gather them into a loose basket. Set this basket on the floured baking sheet and cover with a towel while you finish rolling and cutting the rest of the dough.

Note: I find it easiest to roll all the pasta at once before proceeding to cutting it into noodles. I sprinkle the sheets of pasta liberally with flour and overlap them on a floured baking sheet, covered with a towel.

10. Cooking, Drying, or Freezing the Pasta: To cook the pasta immediately, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta until al dente, 4-5 minutes. To dry, lay the pasta over a clothes drying rack, coat hangers, or the back of a chair, and let air dry until completely brittle. Store in an airtight container for several weeks. To freeze, either freeze flat in long noodles or in the basket-shape on a baking sheet until completely frozen. Gather into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Dried and frozen noodles may need an extra minute or two to cook.

Additional Notes:

Pasta Dough in the Food Processor: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined, then run the processor continuously until a dough is formed. Proceed with kneading and shaping the dough as directed.

Rolling and Cutting Pasta by Hand: It can be done! Divide the dough into four pieces and mimic the action of a pasta roller with a rolling pin. Roll as thin as possible, lifting and moving the dough constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Sprinkle the dough generously with flour and then gently roll it up. Use a very sharp chef knife to cut the roll cross-wise into equal-sized noodles. Shake out the coils, toss with flour, and proceed with cooking.

Green Sauce No. 4

Green Sauce No. 4

– via Bon Appétit

 

 Mixing lemon and lime juice, as well as a shot of apple cider vinegar, makes for a much more dynamic dressing than just one type of acid could ever achieve.

Ingredients:

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP

  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey, preferably raw
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • ⅓ cup sliced chives
  • 1½ teaspoons grated peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

 Pulse miso, lemon juice, lime juice, oil, tahini, vinegar, and honey in a food processor or a blender until miso is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Add cilantro, chives, ginger, and coriander and pulse until herbs are finely chopped; season with salt and pepper.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe by Alaina Sullivan
Photograph by Alaina Sullivan

I posted both versions (same just drafted differently), Bon Appétit’s AND the original source; because I like how BA goes straight to point with recipe AND the OS’s words about it. ENJOY!

The Greenest Green Sauce That Goes on Everything

– via Bon Appétit

BY ALAINA SULLIVAN APRIL 19, 2017

If there’s one thing I do to make my life easier during the week, it’s make a sauce. I fix a small jar’s worth, stick it in the fridge, and rest easy knowing that I’ve got a dependable, phone-a-friend lifeline for after-work meals. A sauce breathes life into humble rice and perks up roasted vegetables. It complements rich meats, makes salads sing, and completes a grain bowl in one swoosh.

There are a million ways to make an herb sauce; this is the version I’ve got on speed dial right now. It’s basically a combination of the ingredients I reach for most often (miso, tahini, honey) blended together with herbs into a single condiment. The result is tangy, vibrant—I may go as far as to say it’s addictive. The flavor is complex, but the process isn’t. If you have 15 minutes and a food processor, you’re there. And it’s very forgiving. I only roughly measure, and I’d urge you to play around and make it your own.

Begin by washing some herbs: a small bunch of cilantro and/or parsley and a small bundle of chives. Don’t sweat exact amounts. Trim away the tough part of the stems and then toss the herbs right into your food processor. Next, grate a knob of ginger (about a 1″ piece) and add that. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime, and add 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Add 3 Tbsp. miso (I like either sweet white or chickpea miso), 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. tahini, and 1 Tbsp. raw honey.

I grind up some coriander seeds and throw that into the mix. Pulse it together (to help control the consistency), and pour in a little water to thin it if needed; it should be pourable but not too runny. Season with salt and pepper, taste, add a little more of whatever it needs, and then put it on everything.

 

Crockpot Sausage and Cabbage

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Cabbage 

I’ve posted similar recipe already but there’s so many…with variations; meaning it’s really flexible…to your family’s preference or what’s at hand.  I always use kielbasa. Also, I didn’t use potatoes & i did add carrots.  I also use Better Than Bouillon (that varies with what I have also; ham base, chicken…VEGETABLES 😀 ) & a little sprinkle of brown sugar. ♡ The broth tastes SO good…I don’t need any mustard or vinegar, apple juice, etc.. Although that sounds good too (Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)…even some apple slices. For this time though,  I kept it simple & quick prep. Sharing the following recipe from “Simplify Live Love” ~

Oh…btw, I do have the “Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker” AND “Crockpot”, like them both.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cabbage, coarsely shredded
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds organic kielbasa
  • 1 cup apple juice or water works just as well, honestly
  • 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 large potatoes, diced
  • 2-3 large carrots, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Layer the cabbage, onion, potatoes, carrots, and sausage in a 5 or 6 qt. crockpot.
  2. Whisk together the juice, mustard, vinegar and pour over crockpot ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. (My crockpot cooks it faster than that – it’s usually ready after only 4-6 hours instead so prepare to adjust the time depending on your crock pot.)
  4. I’ve also cooked it on high for 1 hour and then on low for 3-4 hours when I forget to get it ready earlier in the day.

I love this recipe because it is quick, frugal and delicious. My crockpot is my work horse! If you’re looking for a good slow cooker, I highly recommend this  Hamilton Beach 6 qt version. I’ve had this slow cooker for a number of years now and have been very, very happy with it.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.It’s not TOO warm for this meal, well…to us ever, but for anyone…it’s a beautiful day!

.

.

.

Pernil Asado

Pernil Asado
 
The great PORK butt, it’ll never go away…for good reason AND… pairing it up with a Puerto Rican or Cuban marinade…MUY BIEN!
I prefer slow roasting in oven method (for the crispy skin), however…when it goes over 100° I’ll definitely be up for trying slow cooker method! So I’m posting both; Oven first 😉
Let me add …if you have the basics; lime, orange, garlic, peppercorns & slices of onions thrown in, it’ll be great. Goya seasonings are nice! I like the bitter orange adobo.
 With this along with rest of ingredients  (orange, lime, garlic,  etc.)…tasty.
from Chowhound adapted from Sofrito Restaurant NY

A long soak in a citrus-, garlic-, cilantro-, and oregano-infused marinade gives this Puerto Rican pork dish from Sofrito restaurant in New York a mellow herby flavor. Cooking it slowly wrapped in banana leaves ensures a juicy, moist roast. Serve it up with some rice, black beans, and sweet plantains.

What to buy: Banana leaves are often kept in the frozen foods section of the grocery store. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

If you can’t find sour oranges (also known as bitter oranges), use a mixture of half lemon juice and half grapefruit juice.

Game plan: Be sure to start making this a day before you want to serve it, as it needs 12 to 24 hours to marinate.

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup peeled and coarsely chopped garlic (from about 1 medium head)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 to 3 medium)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed sour orange juice (from about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the pork:

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt)
  • 1 large banana leaf, about 4 feet long and defrosted in the refrigerator if frozen
  • 3/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

For the marinade:

  1. 1Place all ingredients except the oils in a blender and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream until evenly incorporated; set aside.

For the pork:

  1. Combine the salt, oregano, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rinse the pork with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 to 4 horizontal incisions through the fat, cutting until you hit the flesh. Rub the pork all over with the salt mixture. Place in a large resealable plastic bag, add the marinade, and turn the pork to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  4. Cut the banana leaf in half horizontally and overlap the two pieces of leaf so that they roughly form a rectangle about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it on the banana leaves so that the short and long ends of the pork and the leaves match. Fold in the left and right sides of the leaves and roll up the pork like a burrito to completely encase the meat.
  5. Place the wrapped pork seam-side down in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid. Add the water, cover, and bake until the meat is fork tender, about 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Unwrap the pork, place it in a bowl, and, using two forks, shred it into bite-size pieces. If the meat is dry, add pan juices as needed and stir to combine. Serve with rice and beans.

.

 

Now … Slow Cooker Version…

Prep time
24 hours
Cook time
8 hours
Total time
32 hours
Pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that is slow roasted in the oven. This twist takes a pork shoulder and slow-cooks it in a crockpot until tender.
Author: Meseidy
Ingredients
  • 4 lb pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Rub pork with garlic mixture and refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. When ready drop into the crockpot on low for 8 hrs.
  3. Done! Consume with vigor.
Notes

No liquid needs to be added to the crockpot with the pork. The pork has enough fat to produce needed juices.

Recipe for oven roasted pernil: http://thenoshery.com/roasted-pernil-puerto-rican-roast-pork/

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

fettuccine-alfredo
– from Bon Appétit

Real alfredo should never (never!) include cream; the silky sauce is the result of an emulsion between the grated cheese, melted butter, and starchy pasta water. This is part of BA’s Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Ingredients:

12 ounces fettuccine or other long pasta
Kosher salt
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Transfer 1 cup pasta cooking liquid to a large skillet. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until melted. Whisking constantly, gradually add cheese, making sure it’s completely melted and incorporated before adding more. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce blankets noodles completely. Serve topped with pepper and more cheese.

Recipe by Carla Lalli Music
Photograph by Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott

Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

art-father-daughter-shadow-1024x709.jpg

Dealing with youth dental emergencies

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and with spring sports just around the corner, so are some dental emergencies. Dr Dean Stratman from 24 Hour Dental Care stopped by to tell us about preventing these injuries, and how to treat them if they do happen.

via Dealing with youth dental emergencies — Fox 59

♡ and here…it’s time for braces!

wp-1485716498224.jpg

15732268_10154343688218031_351551456814870517_o

.

wp-1485715748530.jpg

.

wp-1485717506210.jpg

.

wp-1485717467070.jpg

It’s not just hair 😉 it’s LOVE & that includes everything from nourishing the mind, body & soul. AND all that goes with that; from helping with homework, inside work… to “outside” work, and that certainly includes dental health. Not just for self-esteem & beauty, but also for their health that will affect them the rest of their lives; pain-free & ability-to-chew-food-well living.  😀

wp-1485717463489.jpg

.

wp-1485716059113.jpg

.

wp-1485716025846.jpg

X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

THANK YOU  BERT FULKS 

xplan-text1-2

X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery.  Yes.  Young people.  I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at least six months as they learn to overcome their addictions.  I’m always humbled and honored to get this time with these beautiful young souls that have been so incredibly assaulted by a world they have yet to understand.  This also comes with the bittersweet knowledge that these kids still have a fighting chance while several of my friends have already had to bury their own children.

Recently I asked these kids a simple question:  “How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?”

They all raised their hands.

Every single one of them.

In the spirit of transparency … I get it.  Though in my mid-forties, I’m still in touch with that awkward boy who often felt trapped in the unpredictable currents of teenage experiences.  I can’t count the times sex, drugs, and alcohol came rushing into my young world; I wasn’t ready for any of it, but I didn’t know how to escape and, at the same time, not castrate myself socially.  I still recall my first time drinking beer at a friend’s house in junior high school—I hated it, but I felt cornered.  As an adult, that now seems silly, but it was my reality at the time.  “Peer pressure” was a frivolous term for an often silent, but very real thing; and I certainly couldn’t call my parents and ask them to rescue me.  I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.  As a teen, forcing down alcohol seemed a whole lot easier than offering myself up for punishment, endless nagging and interrogation, and the potential end of freedom as I knew it.

X-Plan

xplan-text1-2For these reasons, we now have something called the “X-plan” in our family.  This simple, but powerful tool is a lifeline that our kids are free to use at any time.  Here’s how it works:

Let’s say that my youngest, Danny, gets dropped off at a party.  If anything about the situation makes him uncomfortable, all he has to do is text the letter “X” to any of us (his mother, me, his older brother or sister).  The one who receives the text has a very basic script to follow.  Within a few minutes, they call Danny’s phone.  When he answers, the conversation goes like this:

“Hello?”

“Danny, something’s come up and I have to come get you right now.”

“What happened?”

“I’ll tell you when I get there.  Be ready to leave in five minutes.  I’m on my way.”

At that point, Danny tells his friends that something’s happened at home, someone is coming to get him, and he has to leave.

In short, Danny knows he has a way out; at the same time, there’s no pressure on him to open himself to any social ridicule.  He has the freedom to protect himself while continuing to grow and learn to navigate his world.

This is one of the most loving things we’ve ever given him, and it offers him a sense of security and confidence in a world that tends to beat our young people into submission.

xplan-text1However, there’s one critical component to the X-plan:  Once he’s been extracted from the trenches, Danny knows that he can tell us as much or as little as he wants … but it’s completely up to him.  The X-plan comes with the agreement that we will pass no judgments and ask no questions (even if he is 10 miles away from where he’s supposed to be).  This can be a hard thing for some parents (admit it, some of us are complete control-freaks); but I promise it might not only save them, but it will go a long way in building trust between you and your kid.

(One caveat here is that Danny knows if someone is in danger, he has a moral obligation to speak up for their protection, no matter what it may cost him personally.  That’s part of the lesson we try to teach our kids—we are our brother’s keeper, and sometimes we have to stand for those too weak to stand for themselves.  Beyond that, he doesn’t have to say a word to us.  Ever.)

For many of us parents, we lament the intrusion of technology into our relationships.  I hate seeing people sit down to dinner together and then proceed to stare into their phones.  It drives me nuts when my kids text me from another room in our house.  However, cell phones aren’t going away, so we need to find ways to use this technology to help our kids in any way we can.

I urge you to use some form of our X-plan in your home.  If you honor it, your kids will thank you for it.  You never know when something so simple could be the difference between your kid laughing with you at the dinner table or spending six months in a recovery center … or (God forbid) something far worse.

Prayers for strength and compassion to the parents out there as we all try to figure this whole parenting gig out—it never gets easy.

I beg you to share this piece.  If this somehow gives just one kid a way out of a bad situation, we can all feel privileged to have been a part of that.

#xplan

Blessings, friends.

15732268_10154343688218031_351551456814870517_o

.

14448875_10154065606773031_5803696105520935810_n

.

13912532_10153942628298031_5446691583254797698_n

.

yesaan

.

Lily and Daddy
Lily and Daddy

.

Aunt Cari reading to Lily

.

justmeNlily