popsicle mold

Have you ever noticed how everyone wants to speak into your life—give you advice, tell you how to do something, show you what they know? In a perfect world, this would be great but in reality, here’s the thing: advice is often wrong.

grapefruit cutting

The week before Tim and I got married, we were told the honeymoon would be nothing like we expected but probably bad; newlyweds don’t know each other at all; give ourselves some time and we’ll probably hate married life; the first year of marriage is the best; the first year of marriage is the worst; and we have no idea what we’re in for.

In the months since, women have told me marriage can’t stay sweet; we’re only happy now because it’s the beginning; we should have a baby; we should wait two years to have a baby; we should be having sex X number of times a day, a week; all women get sick of their husbands; we won’t like working together at home for long; etc. etc.

grapefruit

It’s not just people, either. There are TV shows and movies, magazines and books, advertisements, websites, Pinterest. The messages they give can be subtle or aggressive, obvious or covert: make more money! your house should be beautiful! this will make you happy! want this! buy this! be this! go!

What’s worse is that I’ve believed them. I’ve believed them and I’ve repeated them—to myself and to other people—growing this cycle of half-truth and lie by perpetuating opinions and ideas rooted in nothing.

orange

orange peels

But I had a lightbulb moment last week, the climax of many months, I think, when it hit me: just like choosing what to eat and drink during the week, in many cases, the one who chooses who’s speaking is ME.

Far from a victim, I am the willing subscriber to that voice of negativity, materialism, jealousy, despair. I seek out that person. I put myself in situations where that will be the norm, the perspective, the tone. I say those things.

But if it’s true that everyone is selling a message, one that I can swallow whole, it’s also true that I don’t have to take it—that in many cases, I can “guard my heart” in the same way I guard my body, being careful what I take in.

and mixing

fresh basil

raw honey

vitamix!

Saturday morning, pulling out a grapefruit for these citrus basil honey popsicles, asking myself whether to juice it or blend it whole, I asked Tim which would nourish my body best. Turns out that while both are good (and juicing might make a more typical popsicle), blending the pith and seeds and all adds the nutritional benefits of what’s essentially the whole-foods version of grapefruit seed extract, a powerful, disease-fighting ingredient shown to have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties; work against yeast; and combat many bacteria and viruses, including E.Coli. Once I saw that, it was an easy choice—I saw how it would help my body by giving it what is good.

drink at the table

You can drink it as a juice/tonic, at once bitter from the grapefruit pith and sweet from the honey, or you can freeze it in popsicle molds (ours were a wedding gift and we love them!).

citrus honey basil tonic

popsicles
citrus honey basil creamsicle

In our little household, while we ate popsicles this weekend, enjoying God’s good gifts of grapefruit, orange, basil and honey, pureed into bittersweet frozen form, I thought how easy it seems now, in our life together, to crave fresh fruit like this, how satisfying and sustaining and, good.

In the same way, I hope that the more I feed on faith-filled voices of truth and love and authenticity, the more and more they become the sources I look to to feed my soul and, more than that, that more and more they become my voice.





Citrus Honey Basil Creamsicles

Makes 8 or 9 2.5-ounce popsicles

Full disclosure: leaving the grapefruit and orange pith in the mixture gives it a slight bitterness, much the way eating grapefruit slices with the pith will do. As stated above, we chose to leave it in for the nutritional value, adding honey to cut the bite a little, but you could easily swap the whole citrus fruits with pure juice and have something very nice.

Ingredients:
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut in quarters
1 orange, peeled and cut in quarters
8 to 10 leaves of fresh basil
1/4 cup raw honey

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender (like a Vitamix or a food processor perhaps). Enjoy as a refreshing drink or pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Vicki

    What a cute popsicle mold! Marriage really is one of the greatest journeys in life. The journey will differ from couple to couple because everyone is different and every relationship is different. When you’re confused by all the “helpful” advice, think back to all the trips you’ve gone on. How many of them have been 100% hassle-free or 100% pleasure-free? Even on your best trips I’m sure there were a few snags. And even on National Lampoon’s Vacation (probably the worst road trip in history), there were a few sweet moments, like Clark & Rusty bonding. The point is marriage is like a never-end trip. You’re going to snags and sweet moments. But whatever path you choose to go down, you’re never alone in making that decision. :)

  2. Lan

    Spring is just around the corner and this is the most perfect thing to celebrate its arrival.

    what i learned a long time ago, in high school perhaps, is that advice should never be given unless asked. as a result, i am always mindful to ask if someone is seeking advice or just looking for someone to talk to. more often than not, it is the latter, they just want their voice to be heard.

  3. Madison @ Espresso and Cream

    Shanna – your writing is always so beautiful and honest! What a joy to read. My husband and I got married this summer and felt the very same way, as if we were getting all types of advice that ranged from good to horrible. Thankfully, we are making our own way in marriage and learning what suits us. And that has turned out to be such a joyful experience. Kudos to you for doing the same.

  4. Megan Gordon

    You have popsicle weather?! Jealous! You’re absolutely right…I think the messages become more powerful when you hear the same things from different circles of people. Then subconsciously I find myself thinking, “Yes, Sam and I shouldn’t work from home together. Our relationship will suffer…” In reality, I love having lunch with him and we’ve worked out a great ‘I’m in my office, you’re in your office routine’. We make our own ways, eh? Happy week to you and Tim!

  5. MaryAnn

    I’m thankful for the voices that speak God’s truth to me. It’s wonderful to read it in blogs, hear it from the voices of family, & receive it in text messages. All of these avenues have been a blessing to me lately. My mom unexpectedly died a couple of weeks ago & it’s been difficult for me to pick up my Bible. But the voices of some (who know me & my situation) & the voices of others (who are just faithfully speaking the truth in love – like you here on your blog) have all been instrumental in upholding my faith these last couple of weeks. So thank you, Shanna for using your voice to talk about food & also talk about other things, like God’s truth.

    1. Shannalee

      Oh MaryAnn, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. !!! I loved reading your comment and feel so encouraged by the way you are pointing to truth and faith even in the midst of what is hard. May God continue to draw you to voices of comfort and love and may He grant me the same faith that presses into Him.

  6. Kelsey

    Oh yes, everyone has “the answer,” everyone knows the path we “should” be on. I think people lack the vocabulary as well as the insight to express that they really just want us to be happy. They go about it in this twisted, annoying, finger-wagging way that totally misses the point. Shaun and I have been getting “advice” like the sort you’re talking about throughout the entirety of our relationship. I had to learn quickly to become “like a duck and let it roll off my back” as my mom always said growing up. And you’re right. YOU have the power to control your destiny. We’re all doing just fine.

    1. Shannalee

      Yes. And the thing is, some of these advice-giving people are right. When they are telling me, even in a finger-wagging way, what is TRUE, I need it (although, let’s be honest, the attitude can really damage the message). And I want that kind of advice, even when I don’t seek it out… but so so often advice is thrown around thoughtlessly without any real truth behind it, and that is what is so destructive. Don’t poison my heart with things that aren’t true like I should complain about my husband who is my best friend and the most faithful demonstration of love, you know? Ugh.

      I like what you said about rolling it off your back, and that is something I want to get better at. Taking what is right and letting go of what isn’t.

  7. Laken

    I loved reading this post. I’m finding that advice in all forms is something I think about a lot these days. There are a lot of people who want to give me advice about wedding planning and getting married and finding a house. Granted, some of it gets me down and makes me feel worried, wondering if things are really going to be like that. But also, I want advice. I’m craving it – I want to learn how to be a wife and to benefit from the knowledge of those who are doing it. I’m working on learning how to recognize and find balance between these good kinds and the not-so-good kinds.

  8. nicole

    This really hit home for me — I’m also a newlywed (Oct. 8) and it seems like nearly everyone has an opinion … thoughts to share …etc. etc. It’s hard to tune it all out sometimes, but I try to remember that every person’s experience is different; it helps!

    And this looks amazing; I’m bookmarking for Saturday-morning juice-making.

    1. Shannalee

      Amie, I’m so glad you stopped by to say hi because I just checked out your blog and love the focus on clean eating. So many great recipes! Excited to keep up with you and looking forward to getting to meet you in May!

  9. Nikkilooch

    This post is so beautiful and so true. My husband and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary and people were asking us if we are still happy. My first thought was, of course we are why wouldn’t we be. The world believes a lot of lies. That breaks my heart for them.

    Keep feeding your spirit and body good things. We were made for more than the world’s lies.

  10. Joanna

    Here I am, late to the party, as promised. But this post is so worth the late read and the late comments. I remember all the similar comments we received while we were engaged–and yes, still!–that left Brad and I boggled. Though guarding my heart (I love how you compared that to guarding your body) is still one of my biggest struggles, I try to do this: There is a very small group of family and friends who I trust love the Lord, love me, and love Brad. They also have taken the time to understand both of us and truly have our best at heart. These are the people who I listen to if they say anything about marriage or our relationship. They’re the same people who affirm and rejoice in our relationship and model an everlasting sweetness in their marriage, too. Other advice givers get a sweet smile and nod, but I release myself from any obligation to take to heart what they say.

    1. Shannalee

      YES. YES. I wholeheartedly agree with your take on this and am working (!) on that sweet smile and nod part (especially the bit about releasing myself from obligation to do anything else). Very wise thoughts.

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