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I’ve been slacking again on blogging. My b. But I’m hoping my explanation will make it all worth it.

As some of you may know, I published my first novel last November, and ever since, people have been asking me what my next one will be. Well, the idea struck me a few months back, to write a short story compilation. This is for several reasons. One is that I personally love short stories and love writing them, and studies have shown that readers are trending that way, so I’m not alone. Another reason was that I honestly can’t pump myself up to sit down and write another novel right now. I know everyone’s life is busy, but mine is at a point where mentally I don’t even know if I can write something longform that’s worth someone’s time.

So, I decided to have fun, and hope other people can have fun too!

My next book is a collection of short stories, entitled I’m Terrified of Everything, It will be a compilation of stories that I’ll release individually and digitally every week. When they’re all completed, I’ll put them together into Volume 1 of book, which will have both physical and digital copies.

So, without further adieu, here is the first book in the series, The Woods Are Calling: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011Q27BMA?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I hope you have as much fun with it as I did with writing it.

 

I love this blog and my readers for so many reasons. Too many to list, but mostly for the sake of understanding. I have restarted and abandoned Ramblings more times than I can count. Sometimes I thought it was for good, but then I’d get encouragement to keep blogging, so I’d start back up again.

Over the last few months, my life has changed in lots of ways. Great ways, but lots of changes, resulting in a lack of time to give heartfelt blogs, let alone COOK! But I gave myself a pep-talk and reminded myself of what’s really important in this life (aside from the ‘golden rule’ of course): Our HEALTH! We only have this one body, and we should strive to take care of it as much as possible.

Now, don’t think that I’m jumping in with both feet and cleaning out all of the possibly GMO foods in my cupboard. I’m not an all-or-nothing person. I’m a person who just strives to make good decisions and to be the best person I can. But I know that sometimes  I want Popsicles or McDonald’s french fries. That said, one large fry a week isn’t going to kill me, and I’m learning that as long as I focus very hard on my health as a whole, everything will be just fine.

So, with all of this said, I’m going to strive to help everyone out with #MeatlessMonday recipes as often as possible (and hopefully more, but I’m learning to not put too much on my plate). I don’t judge meat eaters at ALL, I just know that I can’t afford expensive meat regularly, so, I’ve chosen to go with no meat. That’s my choice, and you are completely free to make yours (that’s why I also try to include options for meat lovers!).

And if you do make these recipes, I’d LOVE to hear about it! Tweet me pics @NatalieSaar and let me know how it goes!

Blessings

 

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Lately, I have been taught a lot of lessons in a short amount of time. But one of these has been more outstanding than the rest: I have no control over my life.

I’m not a control freak, in fact, I’m far from that, but I like to know what’s going on. I’m a planner, and I have a solution to every situation that can arise. However, I’ve learned that it is impossible to plan for everything. Impossible. We’ve all been thrown a curve ball here and there, something completely out of left field that we didn’t even know could happen.

When this inevitably occurs, what I’ve learned is that God, or whatever it is that you believe in, has the situation under control (personally, I believe in Jesus, and I’m happy to talk to anyone who has questions, but I don’t like forcing anything on anyone. Belief is a personal choice and should be treated individually as such. That’s just my opinion).

For me, I could never imagine the precise way that God has orchestrated my life recently, which made me realize, I need to give up complete control. There’s no point in even trying, when it is so clearly orchestrated, that I can’t even begin to fathom why God would spend so much effort on me.

Now, that also doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and do nothing, waiting for life to happen. In fact, before writing this blog I made six To Do lists for my current projects.

Giving up control means continuing on with what you think you are supposed to be doing, but being open to variations, instead of letting them stress you out and make you anxious. I’m the type of person where an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment dinner plan can throw off my entire week. Why do I let that happen? A chance to connect with a friend can derail my plans for the week? How does that make sense?

Well, I’m here to tell you that God will derail the plans that you have for yourself, and you need to let it happen.

BUT I’m also here to tell you that if you’re like me, and you need control, you can still have it… over yourself. No matter what you’re dealing with, every day you can control how you react to situations. Maybe it’s an unexpected bill, and you’re not sure where the money will come from. Just trust in the ultimate plan, and control how you react to the situation. Maybe it’s a tantrum from your boss that causes you to stay late and miss yoga class. Again, you can’t control your boss, but you can control how you let the situation affect you.

So, this week, I challenge you to be controlling not of other people or situations, but of yourself. This week, try not to complain a single time about anything, or maybe you need to control giving into your impulses. Whatever it is, know that you can have control, while surrendering at the same time.

 

“The storm may rage without, but it cannot affect us if there is peace within.” – James Allen

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In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a BIG James Allen fan. While his diction is, shall we say ‘classic,’ what he has to say is right on.

Over the last year, I’ve grappled with my anxiety a lot, but this meditation guide has without a doubt helped me become mentally stronger and overall more loving, understanding, kind, and patient.

You can buy the book for 99 cents on Kindle, James Allen’s Book of Meditations. Or, I also found this link for you too http://james-allen.in1woord.nl/daily.php

Either way, if you are trying to be the best version of yourself, it’s worth the 2 minutes a day!

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It’s Monday, January 5, 2015, and do you know what? I have broken some of my resolutions (but my resolution to floss is still holding strong! Mom should be proud). I didn’t work out on the 1st; in fact, I barely even left my bed. So, that whole, “Attack the day” resolution: not happening. Also, I ate four gobstoppers, two Twizzlers, and a handful of potato chips, so, that whole “strict diet” thing is done with.

Psych!

I’m here to tell you that even if you’ve broken one or all of your resolutions, it’s okay! The idea that we can suddenly wake up one morning as a superior version of the person we were at 11:59pm 12/31/14 is silly! Give yourself some grace, and understand it’s a process. The point is to learn the process, and eventually it will become ingrained in your life.

And to show you real numbers about how NOT alone you are in achieving your goal, here’s a study done last January by University of Scranton, and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology:

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As you can see, you are FAR from alone in breaking your resolutions! But as the chart says, people who at least made them are more likely to achieve their goals than people who didn’t. So, you’re already getting a head start, even if you did just eat an entire tub of peppermint ice cream because it’s seasonal and I can’t have it until next year!

You still have 360 days to make this the best year of your life!

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I have been fortunate enough to call Los Angeles my home since 2010, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I don’t care about the smog (maybe that’s because I grew up in Riverside county), or the traffic. I just love everything this city has to offer.

So, this year, I’m trying to do some things I haven’t done, and really didn’t even know existed. Like, did you know you can kayak in the LA River (did you even know there was a non-disgusting part of the LA River?!)? And who knew that all of those days I was driving home, I was passing the largest section of the Berlin Wall on the west coast. Oh, and West Hollywood’s park has a rooftop tennis court (because everything is more fabulous in WeHo than anywhere else, and that’s a fact).

This made me think about how everyone has different opinions on what the best parts of this city are, so I put together a list of what different people think you should see in LA, so you can make your own decision. For example, you may not be interested in visiting Escondido Falls (treacherous, but worth it. Just bring the right shoes), but maybe you’re interested in trying a Mai Tai from the place it was invented (Tiki Ti’s, in case you’re wondering, and I highly recommend it!).

And if you’re not from LA, I encourage you to see what your own city has to offer! People constantly seem to think that another city has more to offer them than their own, but have they really explored it? I know I haven’t.

Your LA bucket list

EYE ON L.A.: BUCKET LIST FEATURES UNIQUE ADVENTURES

 L.A.’s ultimate bucket list: Long Beach author pens ‘100 Things to Do in Los Angeles Before You Die’

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I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a happy new year! I know, this is cliché, but so what! I truly wish you the happiest of new years!

Imagine if with each passing 365 days, we were happier than the ones before that. We’d all continually be the happiest versions of ourselves!

Sure, life throws us all curve balls, and we often have to wake up every day and choose to be happy, but that’s my wish for you. I wish you the strength to choose happiness in 2015, no matter the circumstances. It is possible, and I know that you can do it. Believe in yourself and the strength you have.

I know my big resolution for 2015 is to have more self-discipline, whether that means not eating a cupcake, making it to the gym no matter how tired I am, or finishing everything on my to-do list before going to bed.

I wish you luck with all of your resolutions and goals as we all bravely enter a new year!