Facing Life’s Obligations

If you’re anything like me, you really enjoy your freedom and independence! You also relish quiet downtime and enjoy your space [so much so that your dad bought you a sticker that says “I need my space” at NASA]. So if you’re anything like that, this blog may be for you. And, if you’re not like that…well, I hope you stick around anyway! Today I’m sharing about my struggle with obligation. I hesitate to share because a) it’s not fun to admit you’re having a hard time with something [Surprise! I’m human!] and b) this can be kind of a sensitive topic. It may not make any sense to you right now what I’m talking about, so let me lay some ground work.

My favorite thing about college was my freedom. I was the executive manager of my own time and decisions…THE queen bee if you will. When opportunities arose to hang out with friends or sign up for something new I would, and if I didn’t want to…than I didn’t! Simple. I’m very orderly and all about routine, but I have a wild twinge of spontaneity. So, I’m a bit of a free spirit at heart.

Being married though, I’ve been made acutely aware of this new feeling of obligation. It’s strange really. This feeling that life is no longer about me or my time frame…ouch…that hurts more on paper than I imagined it would. Suddenly, the obligation of adulting seems to suffocate the excitement out of me and stretch me  in far too many directions. It has made me feel really bound up at times.

So what is it about obligation? I looked up the meaning of the word and here is what I found:

  • Something by which a person is bound or obliged to do
  • Arises out of a sense of duty or results from customs
  • To bind or oblige morally or legally by a contract or promise
  • To pledge, commit, or bind
  • Morally bound, constrained
  • Indebtedness

Interesting huh? At its core, I think I really felt bound and constrained to unspoken expectations. Myself being the largest culprit, holding myself to an impossible standard of perfection. [This is something I’m putting a priority on addressing, because I can only imagine how crazy things will become once I take on the role of mom someday.]

My sweetheart of a husband always patiently listens to me as I think aloud analyzing and overanalyzing. If you’d over hear me chat about this with him it would sound something like this:

Babe! I want to be free to live life slowly…to see opportunities to minister. To be free to say no. To buy a new dress for a date without fear that one dress will put us over budget. Free to enjoy hard work and doing things for myself. To say I’d rather read a book than be around people. To be jealous for my your time, attention, and opinions.

Free to be independent. Free to sing and be goofy. Free to travel with my you more. Free to take a day to stay in my pjs and watch movies and tv. Free to completely turn my phone and computer off on occasion, going off the grid. Free to bake and experiment. Free to work out because I want to. Free to want to keep to myself sometimes. Free to be bold, share my opinions at other times. Free to set boundaries. Free to not pretend to be something I’m not around certain people. Free to give grace for myself and others. Free to speak blessing. Free to be confident. Free to just like reading God’s word and loving on Him. Free to have FUN! Free to BE ME!

A lot of the oppression of obligation is based on things I’ve seen or heard…things I feel like I HAVE to do or be, something other than me. It can come from movies, social media, or maybe for you it comes internally from your friends and family. I’m a bit of a people pleaser. I’d never want to hurt or disappoint anyone. Let me tell you though, feeling obligated to everyone and everything is exhausting!

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” – John 8:32

I really had to come to the end of myself. After pouring my heart out to God about this, He gave me some verses that really set me free. I’m not saying I’ve mastered this, but God is definitely leading me to a life filled with more peace and simplicity. We aren’t meant to live life comparing and trying to measure up to an impossible standard. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok to not be perfect 100% of the time…there is nothing wrong with you! So I leave you with this prayer that I prayed myself recently and some verses that set my heart at peace. If you’ve ever felt this way, know you’re not the only one! It’s the truth you know will set you free – freedom is yours to experience today. Sending my love!


“I love you Lord and know you hear my heart. I surrender right now my pride and the impossible standard I’ve been holding myself to. I surrender my desire to want to constantly please others and meet their expectations f0r my life. Please help me break the oppression of obligation that’s been suffocating me. Please help me to be selfless, but also have balance and not neglect my personal health and well being in the process. Help me to be more present in life. To not miss out on life because I’m so busy doing what I think I HAVE to do all the time. Please bring me balance, security, peace, and freedom. Amen

“The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners” – Psalm 146:7

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” – Romans 6:14

“Do you know that to whom you present yourselves slaces to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness.” – Romans 6:16

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Chris has made us free and do not be entangled (burdened) again by a yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

I will stand fast in the liberty which Christ has made me FREE and I refuse to be entangled again for a yoke of bondage.

Summer Eats

Summer is in full swing at the Liesmann’s which means early mornings, full days, late nights, and A LOT of boat time (and hey, I am 100% ok with the boat time!) Being on-the-go and on the boat a lot, it’s a lifesaver having healthy,  yummy snacks waiting for me in the fridge to snag on my way out the door. I’m all about those snacks! If you work a lot of hours like Kirby and I, you know that it CAN be a struggle to eat healthy, BUT it doesn’t have to be! When you find your time in low supply and in high demand, it can be difficult to eat right, but I assure you, it’s not impossible! With that being said, today I’m sharing some tips on how we make it work to eat healthy as well as some of my favorite summer snacks!

Rise & Sh-grind (because you should shine as you grind am I right?!): Breakfast

Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day! Never to be skipped!

For Him: Homemade, Frozen Power Wraps

Kirby needs something high in protein to start his day off right and something that will keep him full until lunchtime. These are SO simple and save us a ton of time. On Sunday evenings I brown 1lb of pork sausage or turkey sausage, drain and pour into a bowl. Add a small handful of shredded cheese and stir. Make some scrambled eggs with onion (I like the frozen chopped onion for the sake of time…and it keeps longer…AND no tears…YAS!) Mix the egg mixture into the sausage and stir. Buy a package of 12 burrito sized tortillas and evenly distribute the egg mixture onto each tortilla. Wrap them up and then wrap each individually in parchment paper. Put in a large zip lock bag and freeze! Easy as that! To make them you just unwrap from the parchment paper, wrap in a wet paper towel, pop in the microwave on defrost for 30 seconds and then 2 minutes on high.

For Her: Yogurt Parfait & Toast

I will indulge in a burrito every now and again, but my go-to is a yogurt parfait with cinnamon toast. Ladies, if you’ve never had the honey salted caramel Greek Gods Greek Yogurt you’ve been missing out! I dish a healthy serving into a to-go cup topped with Nature Valley Oats and Honey Protein Granola. If you can make your own…even better! I suggest this homemade coconut oil honey almond granola pictured to the left. Then I top it with a sliced banana or some strawberries. Right before I pop out the door I grab a slice of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread hot out of the toaster.

For Both: Water, Water, & more Water

In the hot, humid Midwest summers, water becomes your best friend. Not only is it super great for your body, but it’s essential if you’re outside for long periods to prevent dehydration or heat exhaustion, and nobody wants that! Kirby would never drink water because it would get hot on the boat. Bubba Kegs are our favorite in the summer! Fill them with ice and water in the morning and it will stay cold ALL DAY LONG. It’s the greatest. You can find them at Target and Walmart.

Grab a Bite: Lunch

Lunch is simple! Sandwiches, fruit, crackers, nuts, or leftovers. We have a mini fridge at the office that we stock with water and sandwich supplies. I also pack a lunch box in the mornings with fruit, string cheese, cashews/almonds, or whatever we have on hand. If I have time on Sundays, I will also prep rice/chicken meals for Kirby – he likes these as they are a bit more substantial.

Take Five: Snacks

Those who know me know that these are my go-to’s! Especially in the summer I crave snacks that are healthy, fresh, cold, and a touch of sweet.

  1. Energy balls
  2. Loaded Apple Wedges
  3. Frozen Banana Nibblers
  4. Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites
  5. Dark Chocolate Almond Bark with Sea Salt
  6. Granola Squares (Kirby’s Fave! This was courtesy of Lauren Mixon – check her out y’all if you’re in need of some workout tips: she is a Fit & Free Fitness Coach and just so happens to be one of my very good friends! Check her out on Instagram at @laurenmixon)

Muscle Pump: Protein, for you athletes out there…

This is for you athletes out there. Please know that it’s important to choose what’s right for you, your fitness goals, and your lifestyle, but in case you were curious this is what we use and like.

For Him: Kirby uses Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60 from GNC, vanilla flavored. He mixes it with V8 Tropical Blend Juice in a shaker cup and drinks it before he trains.

For Her: I really like chocolate Lean 1’s with peanut butter from Smoothie King. Recently I purchased my own to make at home. I’m excited to experiment with some different recipes and that I can use it as a meal replacement or as a snack during the day. In the past though, Gatorade protein drinks are my go-to when I workout.

Wind Down: Dinner

Sooo we aren’t so good with dinner sometimes. Getting off the water and home late at night isn’t the best time to make a heavy dinner (right before bed). However, we have been purchasing a lot of fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts. At the beginning of the week we clean, trim, and freeze part of them and marinate and refrigerate a few. When we get home in the evenings, we cook up one of these with rice/pasta, and a veggie (I really like kabobs on the grill). Easy and good for you. (Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices and marinades to prevent chicken burnout…it’s a real thing)

Sweet & Refreshing: Bucket List Recipes

I may not always have time to make big elaborate meals, but I do really love cooking. So, when I do have some time, these are two things I’m itching to whip up.

Peach Lemonade

Source: Cooking Light June 2012 | Serves 8 if using 2/3 cup lemonade per serving

In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of coarsely chopped peaches (3 to 4 peaches), 4 cups of water, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3 minutes. Very carefully, pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and let it stand for approximately 20 minutes.

If using a blender, take the center out of the lid and place lid tightly on the blender, covering the top with a kitchen towel. Blend or process until smooth. Pour into a large container and refrigerate peach puree for approximately 3 hours (or overnight).

After the peach puree has chilled, press the mixture through a sieve (a small fine grit strainer) into a large container, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. Pour peach juice into a pitcher and add 1 cup of fresh lemon juice (juice of approx. 6-8 lemons). Stir until combined. Taste and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to dilute if too concentrated.

Serve by pouring lemonade over ice and garnish with a peach wedge.

Peanut Butter Martini Mousse with Caramelized Peanuts

Source: Sweet Julia | Serves 4

[Special Occassion sweet – it’s all about moderation people! I think this would be the perfect cool, fancy desert to serve after having friends over for dinner after a hot summer day.]

Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Use a spoon to drizzle swirls of melted chocolate into the insides of 4 martini glasses. Refrigerate the glasses while you make the mousse.

For the mousse: In a large bowl, blend 2/3 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted), 1/4 cup whole milk, and 1-8oz package of cream cheese (at room temperature) until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whip 1 1/4 cups of cold heavy whipping cream into medium peaks (if the cream is cold it will whip faster). It should hold up its shape, but the curl is soft when you pull up the whipped cream with the whisk. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture with a rubber spatula.

For the caramelized peanuts: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and melt to create a caramel, swirling the pan to cook evenly. When it’s golden, a few minutes, add 1/2 cup of roasted, salted peanuts and stir well to coat. Add 1T of butter (at room temperature) and stir in. Immediately pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet to cool.

Spoon the mousse into the chilled martini glasses. Once cool, break up the caramelized peanuts into small pieces by lightly chopping or snapping apart with your hands. Garnish each martini glass with a piece of caramelized peanuts.

This blog stemmed from the place of me learning to adapt and find peace in the midst of any situation I’m in. This isn’t meant to show tell you how you must eat or live, but rather to show you ways that God has helped me be the best me in any circumstance.

I’ll admit I sometimes fall victim to feeling like a failure based on my own expectations for myself as a wife. To do it all! To work full time, be the healthiest and look good for my man, cook amazing meals, keep the house and everything else clean and organized. It’s a lot to juggle! God is helping me to be satisfied, to see things more simply, to give myself grace, and helping me to be fruitful, not busy. My husband always reminds me that we are warriors and not worriers, and in the Name of Jesus, we will fight to stay in peace – laboring to enter into rest.

We fight the good fight of BELIEVING who God says we are instead of measuring our worth by what others are doing. I don’t have my life perfectly figured out by any stretch of the imagination, but I KNOW if I keep my mind stayed upon the Lord, He will keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). He will keep me on track of being the woman/wife/daughter/sister he created me to be. Being a planner, I just have to let things go and let God lead me day by day. If you  relate to this, know that you are ALWAYS enough in God’s eyes! You’re doing a GOOD job. You are a warrior, not a worrier!

I pray that this post uplifts and refreshes you! Take a deep breath. Cooking is soothing for me haha, so if you’re like me, try one of these new recipes to try to make your days go a little smoother and healthier! Making small adjustments can help give you more zzz’s throughout the week and keep you feeling refreshed and healthy throughout the day! Though these things certainly help, you’ll never experience true peace or satisfaction without an intimate relationship with God. If you’d like to chat about meeting my very best friend in the universe and encountering true peace, shoot me over a message. Also, feel free to contact me if you’d like me to send you any of the recipes for any of what I have shared!


Living a Present Life

When you are laying in bed thinking of tomorrow, what comes to mind? I see life in checklist form. I make a physical or mental list and stick to it. In fact, it actually really bothers me if I have outstanding items left unchecked at the end of the day. I’m task oriented, what can I say? Continue reading “Living a Present Life”