Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: daily update

Brussel Sprouts

I have unpleasant memories of sitting at the dinner table long after other people’s plates had been cleared while my Dad tried to coach, encourage, entreat and eventually threaten me to eat my veggies.  Brussel sprouts were one of those detestable food items which cost me precious TV hours and increased my time alone in my room.

Those little heads of cabbage would stare up at me from my plate, while their gag-reflex-inducing aroma wafted through the air.  Why anyone would want to eat them was a mystery to me.

So it was with trepidation that I sat down to dinner with friends in Brooklyn eight weeks ago and realized that nearly 30 years had passed since I last found myself staring at odd vegetable.  Here I was with new friends, in their home, with Brussel sprouts.   Would I eat them?  Would I gag?  Would I lose TV privileges and have to spend the next hour or so alone at their table with those sprouts?  And why are they named after the capital of Belgium?

Did you know that over time our taste buds change?  This is especially true when we are young.  One week a child may not like broccoli, but the next week they may love it.  Apparently, my taste buds have changed in 30 years, for now I like Brussel sprouts.  I ate them tentatively at our friends’ house.  And then, when I read how good they are for your body, how packed with vitamin A and C, fiber and other wonderful anti-cancer, pro-brain nutrients, I knew I had to give them another chance.

The big shock came when I was the chef for the Gale Family Mother’s Day Celebration and chose to put Brussel Sprouts on the menu honoring three generations of Gale Mothers.  One of the dishes I prepared was a time-intensive, though absolutely delicious dish with Brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar and bacon (this link will take you to a similar recipe) though I used pepperoni since I didn’t have any bacon on hand.  It went over really well with Mike and the women in my family.

Then last night Mike made a stir fry with red and yellow peppers and Brussel sprouts.  Home run!  Filling, tasty, and he even threw in two turkey meatballs.

All this to say that I think I’ve finally made peace with my old arch enemy the Brussel Sprout. Perhaps tonight I will try them with Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Resolutions

Resolution: a formal expression of opinion or intention made

Tis the season for resolutions.  And for the anti-resolutions camp to make some noise.  How many people follow through on resolutions made in January?  And why do we only make resolutions in January, as though one is not permitted to make a clean start on, say, October 26?  I know, new year, new start.  It feels crisp, and clean and new, and in the past I’ve put a lot of pressure on January!

Previous New Year’s resolutions including losing large amounts of weight in short periods of time.  I’m done with those kinds of resolutions, though I still long for some miracle pill/cure that will allow me to live without food boundaries and look like Heidi Klum.  I’m obsessed with the numbers on the scale.  When I awake each morning, I’m determined to work towards decreasing those numbers, but when an opportunity for indulgence arises, I leave my ascetic ways behind.  I long to find a healthy balance when it comes to my body, my weight, and the way that I eat and exercise.  But I’m NOT making a New Year’s resolution about it!

Instead, I’m going to resolve or “express an intention” for other positive steps:

1.  Floss daily.  OK, this is an annual New Year’s resolution for me.  I just can’t seem to get into the habit of daily flossing.  Good oral hygiene has been linked to a number of healthy benefits including reduced incidents of heart disease.  And who doesn’t want good teeth and fresh breath?

2.  Read the Bible in a Year.  Thanks to some friends in Texas, I have a community to read with!  We’re reading The Message version of the Bible, (it is written in common language and reads like a story) starting in Genesis and going through Revelation in 2011.  As a companion and introduction to each new book of the Bible, we’re reading Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters.  My friends are blogging about it, and inviting the online community to comment and get to know each other.  Click this if you want to check it out, or you want in.  It’s not too late to join us!

3.   Read daily. This is prompted by my friend Suzy who is championing reading on her blog Case for Books. In an entry on 29 December 2010, Suzy writes:  It is believed that the average person reads less than one book per year.  The average millionaire reads two books per week. Though my aim is not to be a millionaire, I do think reading is good for the head and the heart.  I love to read, and Suzy’s challenge to read for one hour a day is a great goal to shoot for, even if I fall short!

4.  Read blogs. I have great friends who are internet savvy, who blog and twitter and are linked in.  I do the same, but I have so much more to learn!  So this year I hope to read more blogs and learn to how to be internet savvy, using more pics and videos on our site.

These are some of the blogs I hope to follow more closely this year.  If you blog, or have a blog you love to follow, please let me know so I can add it to my personal list!

  • Jocelyn, a mom with three kids, is learning to “Dwell in Possibility” as she conquers her “40 Before I’m 40” list, and keeps me entertained along the way.
  • Kelly is unstoppable with her three kiddos, keeping track of “Our Family Ramblings” and informing me about great household products as well as cleaning and money saving tips.
  • Jenna stopped “Drinking to Distraction” and is writing about what she lost and what she gained.
  • Cathy is the Chief Conversation Starter at No Pressure Networking and helps independent professionals and organizations grow their business through networking and referrals.
  • Simply Rebekah” is all about being “frugal, green, and life in between”.  Stay-at-home Mom of one, Rebekah loves discovering helpful tips and passing them along.
  • I already mentioned Suzy’s blog, Case for Books.
  • I also mentioned Cici and Staci’s Bible reading blog.

I have lots of friends who blog.  Sadly, I can’t remember each one.  I’d like to learn how to manage the blogs I follow with an RSS Reader or whatever (obviously, I have a lot to learn!).

So there.  Those are some of my resolutions. I’m formally expressing my intentions to focus on just a few areas this year.

Procrastination

…to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Yes.  I’m procrastinating.  But I’m procrastinating from doing what I really want to do rather than from something distasteful.  I’m avoiding something that gives me energy and joy and makes me feel alive.

So why do I procrastinate?  One reason, perhaps, is tied to where I find my value.  Though I seldom admit it out loud, my actions often convey what I really believe:  my value is based on other people’s perception of how well I perform.  “If people think I did a good job, then I must be ok.”  “If other people think I’m a winner, then I really must be a winner.” Those phrases run through my mind.

I’m preparing to speak at a women’s retreat for Redeemer Hoboken Church on 5-7 November.  I’m really excited about the topic.  Whenever I talk about it, I get animated, talking with my hands.  I can feel the heat in my face as I radiate excitement.  There’s potential for this retreat to be really powerful.

So here I sit in front of my computer, with all kinds of ideas and thoughts swirling around in my head.  I’ve studied the Bible.  I’ve done a lot of research.  I’ve taken notes.  I’ve even started the rough drafts.  Yet I’m still resistant when it comes to refining these drafts.

This yearning for the approval of others is a big thorn in my side.  As a recovering (or not-so-recovering?) perfectionist, I can see how I often push things off until the last minute.  I mean, if my retreat talks are terrible, or I completely bomb, or no one at the retreat likes me, I can rationalize that pain away by saying “its simply because I didn’t have enough time to thoroughly develop my thoughts.  They would’ve loved it (or loved me) if I had more time to prepare.”

And so I’ve wasted hours of valuable preparation time by updating my ipod, stalking friends on facebook, writing this blog entry, making lists of things that need to get done around the house, then checking off some of those items on that list.  I’ve even watched a lot of TV, which is saying something because we just canceled cable and we only get NBC now.  Do I care about Sunday Night Football?  I didn’t until the other day when I could have been praying and writing!  There are very few urgent items in my life right now.  The fact that I have preparation time in my schedule is a gift that I’m squandering.

And here’s the kicker:  the retreat isn’t about ME.  I want these women to take their next right step to enjoy a healthy, vibrant, honest relationship with God!

But that’s the rub: I need that statement to soak into my heart.  Perhaps my next right step with God is to be honest with Him about my fears and insecurities.  It might be time to confess that I love the approval of others and believe what people say about me.  I use the word “confess” because God has clearly told me that He loves me, and that He’d rather die than live without me, so how can I toss that aside so quickly with a whiny “yeah, but…” regarding the opinions of others?  No one loves me as wholly as Jesus does.  He knows each bitter or blessed word before it is on my tongue. He perceives  my thoughts from a far. And loves me anyway!

If I totally “bomb” next weekend, does that mean I’m worthless, or a terrible person, or that I have nothing to contribute to the world?  Does that disqualify me from being involved in the lives of other people?  No.  And no.  And yes, I have “bombed” before.  I can think of a few speaking engagements that fell completely flat.  I’ve experienced both success and failure.  If I step out of my black and white view of the world, I’ll see that there were other times when speaking engagements were just ok.

So it is not about me.  It’s about God, and what He wants me to believe about HIM through this preparation time and then through the days at the retreat.  And when we are at the retreat, it is all about each woman there and what God wants each of them to believe about HIM because our thoughts, actions, behaviors and words flow out of what we believe about God, ourselves and the world around us.

Time to talk with God about what I believe.

Back Ordered

… that’s what it feels like. We’ve finally made it home to Orlando, and I have so many blog updates rolling around in my head. Many of those posts even have pics! But so much time has gone by that my posts seem like they are on back order. Hopefully I’ll get them up soon.

Minneapolis

I think I’m falling in love with Minneapolis.  Until God tells us something different, we are still moving to the City that Never Sleeps, but Minneapolis is a delightful surprise. Perhaps its the sunshine and the refreshing temperatures combined with the colorful autumn falling leaves that has me so enchanted.

Here are a few of my recent observations about the third most progressive city in the country:

  • It’s a friendly city.  People wave and say hello and smile at you as they walk by you.
  • There are lots of dogs in Minneapolis. Which leads me to believe that people love dogs here.  Every time I look out the window or go for a walk, I see people walking their well-trained dogs.
  • The lakes are gorgeous with well maintained walking paths.  Our first morning we took a nearly 3 mile walk around Lake Nokomis.  And yes, we smiled, waved and greeted all the other people as they greeted us!
  • People seem to really love the outdoors. We are not the only people out when we take morning or evening walks.  We’ve walked around one of the 10,000 lakes and walked to Minnehaha Falls.  We’ve seen older people, moms with jogger strollers, young people, families, individuals all out walking in this gorgeous weather in this gorgeous scenery.  Some people are totally decked out in sporty, all-weather gear, while others wear simple street clothes.  Seems like people just want to be outside.  And from what I hear, they like to be outside when it’s cold and snowy, too!  I guess you just need to dress appropriately.
  • Target seems to be a big part of this City. Target’s corporate headquarters are here in Minneapolis and every neighborhood seems to have a Target store.  I haven’t yet noticed a Wal*Mart around here!
  • There seems to be a strong “food” movement here. Lots of the restaurants we’ve walked or driven by advertise sustainable food or locally grown, organic  food.

Raising additional financial support to move to New York City has us traveling all over the USA, and this stop in Minneapolis has been a delight.  We’ve reconnected with old friends, met new people, and introduced the other to significant people from our lives before we married each other.  We’re in our fourth city of this 12 day trip.  Though Mike lived here in Minneapolis for two years and many of his friends and former colleagues live in the area, I also have friends here, so it’s been fun to make the introductions and hear people’s stories of growing faith and enduring friendships.

Amazing Faith

One of the highlights from our MI, WI, IA, MN trip so far was the two-session training seminar we led for a small country church in Iowa.    They advertised our event in the local paper so half of the 20 people who attended were not members at the host church.

Here’s one of the things that got me:  Two of the participants were elderly brothers… 95 and 94 years old! That they would come out to learn from two campus ministers who are less than half their age shows a humility, faith and teach-ability that I hope to evidence when I’m their age!

Farm Life

Though I didn’t grow up on a farm, I lived surrounded by farms in Central Pennsylvania.  I’d categorize my childhood neighborhood as “suburban” now that I’ve spent nearly a month at Mike’s parents’ farm.  This is rural. And this is the longest I’ve ever lived this rural.

One of the things I really appreciate about farm life is the way nothing is ever wasted.  Food scraps are fed to the cows, rather than thrown away.  There’s no sink disposal system.  If it’s edible, it goes to the cows.  If it isn’t, it’s set for recycling.  Most things fall into those two categories.

Here’s a short video I filmed on one of our first days on the farm during this visit.  Enjoy!

Ralking

“Ralking.”  It feels just like it sounds.  At least it does to me.

Mike’s family lives on a farm in north west Ohio.  The farm land is laid out in a grid pattern.  From one stop sign to the other stop sign is one mile, which means if I walk from their driveway to the stop sign, turn around and head to the other stop sign and finally return to their driveway, I will walk two miles.  Pretty nifty.  No sidewalks but little traffic make it a good “track” for exercise.

Last week I started walking and running those two miles and coined the term, “ralking,” in part because it sounds just like I feel while I’m doing what my dad would’ve called “my roadwork”.

Cornfields along my "ralk." Photo by Sarah Evers

Part of me loves the thrill of being outside in the early morning.  I get to watch the sun rise over the cornfields, burning off the morning dew and fog, shining through the open barn doors, and glistening off of tractors and spare farm equipment parked in the pastures.  Lowing cattle accompany the sounds of the irregular pounding of my feet upon the pavement and my raspy, ragged breathing.  Sometimes Roxy the dog will jog alongside me.  Then she gets tired and waits in the  grass by the cornfields  for me to come back.

I’m not a runner by nature.  It’s hard and it’s such a silly head game with me.  Yes, I’m discovering endurance, and as Jillian Michaels always says on the Biggest Loser, my body can do more than I think it can.

Some of my outrageous fears include having one of my lungs explode.  Why would that ever happen?  I don’t know.  Has it ever happened to me or someone I know?  No.  Another one of my fears is that I’ll run so far I’ll never be able to run that far again, so why bother even trying?  Does that make sense?  Of course not.  It’s part of my irrational thinking.

But several times a week I deal with my fears and irrational thoughts head-on.  As I tie my anti-gravity, negative heel sneakers, I think about how what I’ll accomplish at 7am is more than what most people do all day.  The appeal to my competition “strength” helps.  I take a deep breath as I step out the side door, wondering if the fresh cow aroma will make it difficult for me to breathe deeply.  It rarely does so early in the morning, and for that I am truly grateful.  After greeting Roxy and the eight or so barn cats who are waiting for their morning feed, I hit the road.  I run along the empty mile with tall rows of corn and the slowly rising sun on my right and low rows of soy beans on my left.  Sometimes I count the telephone poles and I often wonder about the people buried in the tiny, ancient graveyard along the side of County Road 16.

Irrational fears aside, my morning “ralks” are the best part of my day.