Recipe: Chocolate Banana Smoothie

I am in the middle of taking the October Unprocessed Challenge (a challenge to eat only REAL foods for the entire month of October.)  I have been drinking lots of smoothies this month, and I have discovered a new one that I love!  This  smoothie tastes great, and it’s made with ingredients I usually always have on hand.  So, when I plan to make another smoothie and discover that I’m out of yogurt or berries, this is usually what I’ve been going to.  It tastes a lot like chocolate milk to me, only without the added sugar!

chocolate-banana-smoothie-logo

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz milk (cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk…use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (preferably raw & local)
  • 2 Ripened Bananas, frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

 

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

This makes approximately 16 oz (2 servings)

February Wellness Challenge – Acts of Kindness

February Acts of Kindness Challenge promo

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what REALLY makes you happy?

When I asked myself that question last month while I was taking The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, my answers surprised me.  But, what didn’t surprise me was that HELPING OTHERS was on the top of my list.

If helping others brings you joy and happiness as well, I would love to invite you to join us in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge. I promise you it will be a rewarding experience!!

How the Challenge Began

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.   And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love during the month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.

When I first suggested the idea to my family two years ago, they were all really excited. I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but the real reward turned out to be the experience in itself. We took the challenge again last year.  This will be our third year, and we are all on board and excited about doing it again!

I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  Feel free to make up your own rules, or follow our guidelines:

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Prepare.  Print out this February 2016 Acts of Kindness Log for each member of your family.  Use it to record your acts of kindness throughout the month.  Also keep track of the acts of kindness performed toward you each day.  You might be surprised to actually see how many nice things people do for each other each day. 🙂  We put ours on the refrigerator so it stays in view and is easy to remember.
  2. Identify a Reward to keep You Motivated.  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves once you have completed the challenge!  In the past, we have rewarded ourselves by going out to dinner together as a family (something we usually only reserve for birthdays or special occasions.)  Come up with something that works for you and your family and that will motivate you to complete the challenge.  Don’t skip this step.  This is the step that keeps my kids motivated to keep going throughout the challenge.
  3. Spread your love!  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  Try to come up with something different each day.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is:  any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.  Also, write down any acts of kindness others performed toward you.
  4. Encourage each other and keep each other accountable.  Each day, share your ideas with your family members or loved ones who are also participating in the challenge.  Talk about the acts of kindness you performed.  Also, feel free to share your ideas and inspiration in our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group so we can continue to support and encourage each other and keep each other accountable.
  5. When the month is over, share what you learned from the experience.  Feel free to share your stories with us as well in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group.
  6. REWARD YOURSELF!!  Don’t skip this step, either.  For many of us, the real reward is the experience in itself, but make sure to recognize your accomplishment and follow through on the reward you set in step 2.

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love. It only takes a small act to make a big impact. Let’s make a difference together! “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge for inspirational stories and quotes each day, or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.  Learning how to let others help you might be just what you need to learn from this challenge…I know from previous years it was exactly what I needed to learn.Act of Kindness Aesop

RESOURCES

If you run out of ideas at any point during the challenge, this Random Acts of Kindness generator is fantastic!

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer. It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.  If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Random Acts of Kindness week is a 7-day celebration of kindness.  This year it falls on February 14-20, 2016!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.  

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

kindness mark twain

 

Book Review: One Month to Live

One Month to Live:  Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life

by Kerry & Chris Shook

One Month to Live Cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

The authors of this book founded the church my brother attends in the Woodlands, TX.  I am very impressed with Pastor Kerry’s sermons, and I thought the idea of the book was an interesting one.  What would I do if I only had one month to live?  How would I change the way I live my life?  I decided to read it and find out, and I’m glad I did!

Summary (from Goodreads)

What if you only had one month to live? How would you make each day meaningful? How would you relate to others differently? What would you do to make the rest of your life really matter?

With eye-opening insights and soul-inspiring truths, One Month to Live will challenge you to embrace the life God has entrusted to you and you alone, and to live it out moment by moment with wholehearted authenticity, honesty, and integrity.

Each chapter overflows with inspiring quotations, colorful true stories, and questions for reflection. The four sections, which can be read over four weeks, help you examine the core areas inside you that long to be exercised and expressed: how you’re made to live passionately, love boldly, learn from your mistakes, and leave a legacy that endures for generations after you’re gone. Complete with uplifting action points, each of the thirty chapters– one per day in a life-changing month–offers you fresh strategies for overcoming habits that mire you in mediocrity.

Open yourself to the challenge of embracing your mortality and being empowered to live each day engaged in being fully alive.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I really loved this book!  It is very easy to see that the authors are filled with God’s love, grace, and wisdom, and I am so grateful they shared it all with us in this book.  There are 30 chapters in the book (one for each day of the month), and each chapter presents a new concept and new questions for the reader to reflect on in their own life.  The authors provide examples from their own lives to help us better understand each concept, and I really enjoyed reading those examples.

It is no secret that we are all going to die at some point, but many of us do not like to think of that.  This book helps you to realize your mortality so you can identify your priorities and recognize what really matters in your own life.  It helped me to realize the importance of living intentionally so I may make the most of my time, fulfill my purpose on this earth, and make the difference I was sent here to make.  This book reinforces what really matters in life:  relationships.  Relationships are eternal, but everything else is temporary.

I would absolutely recommend this book!  Read it for yourself and find out what really matters to you.  If you only had one month left to live, what would you change about the way you live your life?

For more reviews on this book, check it out on Goodreads here.  Take the One Month to Live challenge here.

The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge is Now Available!!

Do you want to live a more authentic, peaceful, and purposeful life? Do you want to live your life to the fullest and use your natural gifts and talents to make the world a better place?  If so, I am SO excited to introduce you to my very first book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge!

The_31-Day_Self-Love_Cover_for_Kindle

This 31-day guided journal will help you learn to recognize your worth, identify your purposes in life, and develop the habits necessary to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  It is intended for anyone who is starving for a little bit of alone time, or anyone who is willing to dedicate a little more time to get to know and love yourself more. If you know anyone who could benefit from this book, I would be grateful for your recommendation. It is currently available through Amazon here.

Also, if you enjoy inspiring quotes or would like to follow my journey as an author, please “Like” my FB Author page Stacy Rancourt.

February Acts of Kindness Challenge 2015

The February Acts of Kindness Challenge is a challenge that I took on with my family last year.    It was such a rewarding experience that my family and I have decided to do it again this year!  I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  The guidelines are below.

aesopactofkindness

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.  And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love this month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.  When I suggested the idea to my family, they were all really excited.  I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but I know the real reward will be in the experience itself.

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

1.  I  have made this February Acts of Kindness Log  for each member of my family to record our acts of kindness throughout the month.  I printed it out for each family member and put it on the refrigerator.  Feel free to download and print it out as well if you would like to keep a record of your progress. 🙂

2.  Each day in February, each member of our family will perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is: any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.

3.  Each night at dinner, my family will share our acts of kindness with each other so we can continue to support and encourage each other.

4.  When the month is over, we will share what we learned with each other and take a vote to see how we want to reward ourselves!

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love.  It only takes a small act to make a big impact.  Let’s make a difference together!  “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may notice more acts of kindness being performed toward you.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.

RESOURCES

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer.  It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.

kindness mark twain

The initial blog post on this challenge can be found at Journey to Complete Wellness. 🙂

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share?  Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group.  Thank you! 🙂