the dailies : 9.30.11

daily word: Friday. That sounds like a wonderful word of the day. Especially since the word for yesterday was Lame…the only word for a day in which one falls asleep on the couch at 7:30pm (hence the lack of a dailies post). Seriously…what is wrong with me?

On a more serious note, this is the verse that has actually been on my mind today, thanks to another great podcast from Living on the Edge: “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:11

daily sweat: AH-mazing yoga class yesterday morning; quick walk around the block today.

daily dish:

PB&J oatmeal bar with a banana for breakfast, leftovers for lunch:

A lentil burger from the fruit and salad company, along with half of a slice honeycrisp apple…a variety which I’m basically head over heels in love with. I can’t wait to get more at the farmer’s market on Sunday! Dinner will be featured in too much detail in a future post…it was that good. There was pie involved.

daily mile:

Day 24: mecca (I miss this place)

Day 25: not being an island (I’m still working on this)

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the dailies : 9.28.11

daily word: “Life is not an emergency…life is dessert – too brief to hurry. You don’t wolf it down.” Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

daily sweat: An hour walk on the “cross-country” setting, and let me tell you, it felt like I was walking across the country. Across the Rockies, to be specific.

daily dish: The phone rebellion continues. But it might be to your benefit, since there’s nothing too exciting to report, as promised. EXCEPT…tonight I discovered that blending a dollop of chocolate peanut butter with a frozen banana and topping it off with whipped cream and M&M’s is just about as delightful as life gets, conservative dessert-wise.

daily mile:

Day 23: of provision and penalties

the dailies : 9.27.11

daily word: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.” Romans 11:33 – 36

daily sweat: I had an orientation to the weight room today at the gym. I think I will also have an orientation to new muscle pain tomorrow when I wake up. I’m also taking a beginner’s yoga series at breathe, which was probably exactly what I needed to stretch out my overused/undertoned non-muscles.

daily dish:

I had pictures but my phone/email is rebelling and won’t deliver them. So here’s the rundown:

Beautiful breakfast on the canal (thanks to an early morning workout!) with an Ezekiel muffin with sunflower butter, banana slices, and triple berry jam. A nectarine and a handful of fall-colored M&M’s in between, and then lunch was leftover pizza, string beans with hummus, and chocolate chips with dried cherries. Dinner was on-the-go before yoga: a peanut butter oatmeal square, banana, and iced caramel macchiato. And then an apple and more M&M’s to top the night off!

Oh my word. That’s so boring without the pictures/anything new. I’d take it all out but since I just made the effort to jot it down I’ll leave it as is, but tomorrow I’ll try to put something especially exciting in the mix for you to make up for the lameness today.

daily mile:

Day 22 : taking time to learn about the story

the dailies : 9.26.11

Please forgive the absence of dailies postings for the past few days – lots of work and weddings! Including one traditional Vietnamese wedding during which I consumed deep fried pigeon for dinner. I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t have wanted to see that show up on the daily dish.

As for today:

daily word: “I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” – G.K. Chesterton

daily sweat: 6. Mile. Run. FINALLY!!! It felt great, too. And improved my outlook on the world in general for the rest of the day. I always forget why I run until I have a day like today. Now if only my memory weren’t so short.

daily dish:

breakfast:

I’ll always love this breakfast: oatmeal with peanut butter and sliced bananas. There really isn’t a more comforting, fortifying way to start the week. Especially since I used up the last of the Cinnamon Raisin peanut butter from the oatmeal snack squares, so it was especially good this morning!

lunch:

Loved this meal too! Lightly dressed salads (balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil) have been a recent go-to favorite. I made the oatmeal snack squares again yesterday but this time I was craving PB&J Larabars so I made the squares with chunky peanut butter and dried cherries. Worked like a charm! I also concocted a new creation: pumpkin banana frozen yogurt. Kind of. Here’s what went into the food processor:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 a container of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger

Once that was blended, I added a bit of brown sugar to the top and finished it all off with some granola. It was SO good!

dinner:

Roasted vegetables over brown rice. A fall classic (even though it was 80 degrees today). I also snacked on some things at work (juice bar) and had a nice big apple waiting for me in the fridge (I like them cold) when I got home. Perfection!

daily mile(s):

Day 17 : (part II) (not) eating animals

Day 18 : west coast collage

Day 19 : island (mis)happenings

Day 20 : papa’s got a brand new fan

Day 21 : skill sets, ceramics, and brain exercise

Day 22: stopping

 

beka stays in rochester : the list

My bible has become a paperwork filing system. I blame it on the free space in the bulletins for note taking (come on, I’m just following instructions!). Usually my notes pertain to the actual subject matter of the sermon, but occasionally I veer from the straight and narrow and start jotting down groceries and to-do’s and then find the lists 8 months later when my bible is so stuffed full of paper that it threatens to outweigh the Encyclopedia Britannica. Which makes cleaning it out kind of fun because I enjoy the trip down memory lane, especially when I found a goldmine like I did this weekend.

Laying silently in hiding in between Wegmans receipts and packing lists was a piece of paper torn from a notebook. I don’t think I wrote the note in church, but somehow it ended up in my bible and I’d forgotten all about it. It was from May 2010 when I first started thinking about where I wanted to go after Admissions. The title? (Because I’m that much of a freak…I title notes to myself…)

“Things I Would Love in a Future City”

And they were, in no apparent order:

  1. Ability to walk/bike/public transportation
  2. Temperate seasons
  3. Good food with lots of variety
  4. An artistic side
  5. Lots of natural beauty
  6. A good church
  7. A meaningful job
  8. Year-round produce
  9. Open air markets
  10. A great supermarket
  11. Friendly people
  12. Doable distance from home

(Let’s just sidestep the fact that a quarter of these revolve around food, and that I wanted a “good” church, but a “great” supermarket. I should be ashamed.)

I remembered the locations I had in mind when I made that list: North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, maybe even Wisconsin or Colorado or California. Never (NEVER) did I think of Rochester when making that list. It wasn’t even a consideration.

And yet, here I reside in Rochester for the indefinite future. What could possibly be seen as a boring alternative to the other places I was dreaming of is in reality the fulfillment of everything I was hoping for in a future city:

I recently biked to a friend’s house in the city and then biked to CVS on the way home. I routinely walk around the neighborhood and to all of my favorite restaurants. (1)

Far be it from me to label Rochester’s seasons as “temperate,” but I’m truly a Northern girl at heart. I love the cooler seasons most: fall will always be my favorite with winter’s white canvas as a very close second. I wouldn’t mind if spring would hurry up and get here closer to March than May, but at least I live in a place with defined seasons. I love that. (2)

There’s a Word document on my computer with over 30 restaurants I want to try…and that’s just in the city, not even counting other places I’d like to visit in surrounding cities. Within a few blocks I have access to Mediterranean and Mexican, pizza and pasta, subs and sushi, fresh-baked bread and fresh-brewed coffee. I literally want for nothing as it pertains to the availability of favorable cuisine. (3)

I practically live right next to the Genesee Center for the Arts, where I hope to take lots of classes someday. I’m also within a mile of the George Eastman House, one of the most reputable photography museums in the world. There’s also a culture of creativity in the city, with musicians and photographers and artists of all kinds collaborating on local events, both scheduled and impromptu. (4)

A few weeks ago I ran up to the Cobb’s Hill Reservoir. I was so struck by how beautiful the loop was, especially the view of the city from so high up, and by how close such a wonderful sight was from my apartment – less than one mile. I’m also daily delighted by the tree-lined streets of my neighborhood, the Canal path that lies right outside of the gym I go to, the pretty shift from summer to fall that is taking place right outside of my window. And that’s just in the immediate area, it’s not even taking into account all of the other nearby wonders, most of which I haven’t even begun to explore. (5)

I’ve said multiple times that if there were ever a church that would decide my geographic location, it would be Northgate. I’ve never loved a church so much! I’ve been going since I started working in Admissions, but I’ve never gotten involved because my feet were always on the edge of leaving, always waiting for the opportunity to bolt. Now that I’m here to stay I can’t wait to get involved and actually be part of the church community, something I’ve never really done in earnest before. (6)

When I wrote down that I wanted a meaningful job, I never would have imagined I’d be doing what I’m doing right now. I was thinking more along the lines of Guidance Counselor or Magazine Contributor or Photographer. Jobs with capital letters. I’d still love to do those things, and more, but I couldn’t be happier with my current mix of jobs. I love working at the juice bar at a yoga studio; it combines my love for health and nutrition and adds in the bonus of amazing coworkers. And I love, love, love nannying. I adore spending time with the kids (we’ll talk about this more soon in a future post) and devoting “working” hours to shaping little lives is an investment that matters to me. And of course, working as a photographer’s assistant on the weekends is a fantastic learning experience. As far as meaningful employment goes, I’ve been blessed with much more than I originally hoped for. (7)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love food, but I especially love fresh, local food. I do wish that we had more of a winter selection of local produce, but I also enjoy knowing that food around here has concrete seasons. It makes savoring every last nectarine that much more special. It makes me anticipate local apple cider and berries and squash. Sure, I could get all of those things on a regular basis from any supermarket, but waiting until they are in season is truly a gift. Everything tastes better and is appreciated more. (8)

The Rochester Public Market was voted America’s Favorite Farmer’s Market in 2010. It’s an impressive array of local EVERYTHING – produce, flowers, pasta, meat, eggs, honey, crafts, and more. And if that weren’t enough, there are so many smaller markets throughout the week, including two within a mile of my apartment and two more that I happily travel a few extra miles to attend. (9)

I live 3 miles away from the Pittsford Wegmans. Enough said. (10)

Friendly people are occasionally lacking in the North. We can blame it on the long, harsh winters, perhaps. Maybe all of the Vitamin D makes people in the South more cheery. But within my own circle? I have more wonderful friends than I can count. I’d be heartsick to leave any of them behind. It’s a rare blessing to have so many people you love be so near. (11)

I-90 and I are BFF’s. We’ve traversed more miles together than I’d like to count; the number is literally in the high thousands when considering about a dozen 400 mile round-trip excursions every year for the past 7 years. And while the sections of construction never fail and the radio stations never improve, the distance from home is just about perfect. I’m able to go home easily whenever I need/want to, and vice versa. As much as I’ve talked about moving out of state, I really don’t think I’d like being much further away than I am right now. For starters, my mom says too many funny things and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that. And my dad and I have too much fun on the water and on the road to be too far away for those things to happen. And there are still people growing up that I want to be nearby to see. With the move to the city, I’m even closer to home, so now it only takes a solid 3.5 hours on a long day to get from one place to the other. I love being able to go back and forth. (12)

So, to review, I got everything that I wanted in a future city, and so much more! On my original list I forgot to include a fantastic library system, ample opportunities for serving the community, trails/pathways for running and biking, and entertainment options, but Rochester has surprised me with all of those as well, along with an ever-increasing number of additional items.

We’ve talked about this before, the ability of God to do immeasurably more than anything we could ask for or imagine, but it’s resoundingly true in this case. I’m not just happy in Rochester. I’m content, abundantly blessed, and finally at peace with staying somewhere, which is basically a miracle. It makes me all misty-eyed, to be honest. To think that I’ve been given so much, and I almost dismissed it all just because I’m a compulsive bolter? It makes me so thankful for a sovereign God who knows me better than I know myself; for a faithful father who will put me exactly where I need to be no matter how much I kick and scream.

I love Rochester.

(Unlikely, unforeseen and undeserved.)

inspired : 9.25.11

Another happy Sunday (but really, aren’t they always happy when the Packers win?), after another very full week! Maybe busy weeks produce extra inspiration, because I really love a bunch all of this week’s items:

SO happy for the Bills, and so glad I got to watch the 4th quarter! love this moment. love photography.

also love: sports writers on twitter. but when it gets to be too crowded, Quickish is great for succinct, witty updates.

balsamic brown sugar vinegrette? heck yes!

could not love these photos more

could not love this commercial more

the epcot international food & wine festival. it’s on the bucket list.

this fall i (finally) want to make homemade granola, and i think this recipe looks like a winner!

these engagement pictures, especially the ones with the string of lights…so beautiful.

i’m making this overnight oatmeal tonight, but just plain so i have a base to add to for breakfasts all week. i’ll let you know how it goes!

beka stays healthy : pumpkin pie oatmeal

I love fall flavors. If I ever got a tattoo, it just might read, “I love fall flavors.” Pumpkin, of course, is the epitome of autumn’s culinary delights. And while I don’t like pumpkin pie (which I realize is highly offensive to most Americans…but what can I say?! I had a traumatic childhood pumpkin pie incident and I haven’t been able to get on board with it since), I do love anything else pumpkin. Example: yesterday I blended Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin and added some cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and topped it with granola. It was heaven in a bowl. I’m also a fan of pumpkin muffins, cupcakes, whoopie pies, lattes, coffee, pancakes, etc. Basically if it comes in a pumpkin flavor and it’s not a pie it will be on my plate or in my basket in the very near future.

So naturally it follows that I’d try to incorporate pumpkin into my favorite dish of my favorite meal: oatmeal. What I got was this:

It’s the closest I’ll be getting to pumpkin pie this season.

Here’s what happened:

  • I cooked 1/2 cup Old Wessex Scottish Oats in 1 cup of milk
  • When it was about 3/4 of the way done I added 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin, 1 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp of ginger
  • To top it off, I added about a Tbsp of chopped walnuts, some craisins, and a sprinkling of brown sugar
  • When I reheated and ate it a few days later, I also added some extra milk and a banana, just because I like the flavors/textures both add
  • This method made 2 servings. If you double it, I’d double check the spices. I made one batch with way too much cinnamon and I think the trouble was due to doubling.

Give this a whirl! It’s so easy and satisfying it’s sure to become a fall breakfast staple. And try the same ingredients but with Greek yogurt as a base – just blend everything but the toppings in a food processor. It’s SO good!

I think I need a new non-breakfast pumpkin endeavor. Any ideas?

the dailies : 9.22.11

daily word: Is there a bible verse for “And God blinked, and it was suddenly Sunday”? Because if so, I could use it right now. Work and weddings are the name of the game until Sunday, at which time the name of the game will be church, groceries, and then 12 hours of football. Can’t wait.

daily sweat: 3 mile run this morning, but hoping for something longer next week. I miss the days of long runs!

daily dish: Another day, another lack of documentation. What’s the deal?! The pantry is running a bit low right not, so most of today’s meals were of the “use it up” variety. I.e. salad containing anything about to expire. And bananas on everything because I definitely bought too many this week.

daily mile: Watching the video in this post makes me so happy.

Day 17: (part I) sleeping in seattle

beka stays committed : mornings

I love mornings. Waking up to a sunrise, deciding what to eat for my favorite meal of the day, spending some time with the Lord, enjoying the quiet calm before the day starts in earnest. Mornings are without a doubt my favorite part of the day.

Coincidentally, my least favorite part of the day also occurs in the morning. It’s when the alarm clock goes off, long and loud, all too early. I love the result of the wake up call – all of the aforementioned goodness – but hate the actual waking up. Especially when the waking up is followed by working out. There’s just something about vigorous physical activity before the sun rises. It disagrees with me.

However, not being able to blog or read or spend time with friends in the evenings because I still haven’t gotten a workout in and have to spend time after work at the gym also disagrees with me. And while in the moment I may not like getting up early in the morning to exercise, I sure like it a whole lot for the rest of the day when I feel healthy and accomplished and free to do whatever I wish with the rest of the day.

So recently I’ve been attempting to rise at the unholy hour of 5:00am to get up and get moving for either a 5:45am class (if you’re wondering, Body Pump and yoga are the only classes crazy enough to be offered pre-sunrise). But the sound of the alarm is often followed by the sound of excuses. This happens basically every single morning, and is basically the only thing that says consistent in my workout schedule. I try to talk myself into thinking that it’s better to sleep in instead, that I can do it at my favorite time of day: later, that no one in their right mind gets up at 5am voluntarily.

Those excuses were shot down this week while I was reading Quitter by Jon Acuff. Here’s what he had to say in a chapter about hustling for your dreams:

“If you wait until night to work on your dream, you will often spend the whole day gathering up material for excuses on why you shouldn’t do what it is you feel called to do…Your day rolls toward night like an excuse snowball barreling down a hill, packing on more excuses with every rotation.

Do you know when you have a lot fewer excuses to claw your way through? In the morning. Nobody wakes up and wants to balance their checkbook. Few can return phone calls at 5am. There’s nothing good on TV, and watching shows you’ve TiVo’d before the crack of dawn feels a little weird. The only excuse you have to deal with is being tired, but that’s one you can work through over time. Or forget working through it over time. Go to bed earlier.”

OH…the truth!

The truth is that right now my dreams consist of doing all of the things that I wasn’t able to do over the summer due to scheduling conflicts. Things like running and blogging and reading and cooking more than once in a blue moon. And the truth is that I despise getting up at 5am; like, I concretely hate it. I audibly groan when I think about it, with increasingly frequency as the time draws closer. But I really love the result when I follow through.

Last Wednesday was the epitome of the reason why waking up early in an effort to live the life I want to live is so worth it. After a great yoga class I headed to the section of canal that’s on the way to work. This is what was waiting for me:

It was literally a perfect morning on the canal – fog hanging over the water, sun streaming through the trees, just a little on the chilly side. The perfect setting for this:

http://bekagphotography.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/2011-09-14_07-30-17_539.jpg

Breakfast on a blanket. Bible and a book. Big ole iced coffee. Love it.

And all because I got up a little earlier than I “wanted” to. But what I really wanted? To do yoga and be outside and eat a good breakfast and have some quiet time before work. That’s what kicked in after just a few disgruntled moments and lasted all day long.

A much better deal.

Hopefully, with this in mind, my commitment to mornings will be an actual commitment and not just a “when I feel like it which is about once a week if I’m lucky” commitment.

I’ll keep you posted!