beka stays committed : apologetics

I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation in the past 6 months that didn’t start with “I’m sorry.” Sorry for what? Oh, you name it. I’m sorry I…

didn’t text/call/email/facebook/tweet you back

missed your birthday/anniversary/party/miscellaneous event

haven’t seen you in ages

am still working on your pictures

never blogged about my lunch

never blogged about your engagement

hit your vehicle

parked on the wrong side of the road

went 20 miles over the speed limit

am behind the wheel in general

forgot your name…again

am a mildly lame employee

made a (bunch of) stupid mistakes

didn’t do the reading for book study

missed book study altogether

was mean/rude/indifferent due to sleep deprivation

was mean/rude/indifferent just because

cancelled our plans

never made plans in the first place

look like I haven’t showered in the recent past

haven’t showered in the recent past

am altogether not together

OH…the insanity! While apologizing does come naturally to me and I (too) often do it without just cause, there has been plenty of just cause lately. Like…loads of it. I actually should be apologizing for the things I’m apologizing for. But I don’t know how to make it better. I’m the least amount of busy as possible for this juncture in life.

On Mondays I don’t work until 2pm. I thought that this pre-work time would be one of respite, productivity, gearing up for the week ahead. But it is in fact none of those things. It is in fact an 8 hour panic attack, in which I try to cram as much activity as possible, because I know that as soon as 2pm hits, I’m a goner for the rest of the week. There’s no free time in sight until Sunday. Last Monday I made a to-do list for the morning over breakfast. I felt that 34 items might be a bit overkill, so I stopped at 33.


Clearly, something needs to change.

And some things are. Here are the changes I’ve been putting into action to help me avoid an ulcer:

1 – I’m fully utilizing Google Calendar. By scheduling the regular to-do items that pile up if left unattended (weekly emails that need to be written, blog maintenance, cleaning, bills, workouts, etc) I can get them done throughout the week instead of continuing to list them on every day’s to-do list…and then leaving them at the bottom, undone for another day.

2 – I’m instituting a 5 item MAX daily to-do list. Every day, I’ll have a top five list of items that need to get done and can be reasonably accomplished within the confines of the day. For example, I wouldn’t put “overhaul blog typography” on a day when I’m working at breathe and working a wedding. There is realistically no time for that particular task on a day like that.I’m hoping that focusing on the five most important items to accomplish in a day leads to more productivity and less overwhelming panic at not knowing where to start or how it will all get done. Five is a compromise. I wanted to do a daily top ten, but I realized that realistically, it was still too much. So five it is. Better to get five things done than bits and pieces of ten or twenty things.

3 – I’m literally working seven days a week right now. I work Monday – Saturday at three real jobs, and in any spare time I can muster I’m working on photo editing or the blog. Neither photography nor blogging are “real” jobs yet, but I am hoping to turn them both into side jobs in the future. So any work that I can put into them is good work. And while it’s fun, it’s also work. Some time off is necessary. So I’m making a 1 hour/1 day/per month rule.

1 hour: I need to spend an hour a day doing something that is not work. It would be great if this hour could be spent away from my computer, since we’ve been BFF’s lately. It can be morning devotional time, workouts, flipping through magazines, anything – just an hour away from work.

1 day: I need to spend one day a month entirely NOT working. I haven’t spent much time at all traveling lately, even locally, so I’d really like to get out of my apartment once a month to explore a new place. Or even stay in my apartment and tackle some home improvement projects to make my nest a little nestier. Or, you know, watch an entire movie without doing 8 other things at the same time.

4 – PRAY. Oh, Lord, does this child ever need some heavy-hitting power of prayer in her life. I literally can’t do everything that I’d like to do in each day. But I’m trying…and that’s probably why I’m doing little segments of a thousand different things and never actually accomplishing much, except for continually decreasing how much I sleep every night. I also tend to decrease how much time I spend with the Lord when I get busy, which is antithetical to the cause. I know it’s the most important part of the equation (that equation being life) and yet I continually try to short-change my God time in favor of working on a few more to-do items. So I’m going to start praying about these things that make my eyes bulge and stomach churn with questions of how in the world it will ever get done. Specifically, I’m praying these verses from Matthew 6:

   25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The answer is right there, staring at me plain in the face from verse 33: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Seek first, not when there’s leftover time. Seek first, and all of the other things will fall into place.

I honestly believe that all of the things I’m doing right now are just what God would have me do. I believe that he’s put them into my life for a reason. So I really don’t want to throw anything overboard, like I did in August, I just want a better way to manage the inventory.

Will these new guidelines help alleviate some stress in this superbly crazy era of life? Will I be able to catch up so that I can start sentences with something other than an apology? Probably not 100%. But I think it’s better to try and make the craziness more effective and liveable than to just live in it and continue to have a respectable breakdown at the end of every week.

Busy people: help a sister out. I’m clearly not the only busy person on the planet, or even close to the busiest. So how do you do it? Do you have any suggestions or resources or words of wisdom? Please pass them along if so! My sanity would be so grateful.


inspired : 10.23.11

love these reflections from carpool queen

i think i might turn into a pumpkin soon…but i still want to make this

and these

starting to get excited for thanksgiving!

do the crazy thing

i really love big mama’s blog

the real life of a food blogger

the packers. the 7-0 packers. the headed into a bye week as the only undefeated team packers. (OH MY WORD.)

and, most of all, 15 points in the last 3 minutes to force overtime for the eventual win. it doesn’t get more inspiring than that. go tim go!

pin of the week:

pinned here


beka stays healthy : spiced greek yogurt muffin jars

Some days, I want a pretty layered breakfast in a Mason Jar. It feels like the right way to start a day.

Most days, I want other things for breakfast than items that typically go in Mason Jars. Like oatmeal. Or cereal. Or more oatmeal. But on this particular day, the item I had in mind was one of yesterday’s Pumpkin Applesauce muffins.

But how to combine the two? Other than sticking an unwrapped muffin in the bottom of a Mason Jar…which lacked some of the appeal I was going for.

Enter: greek yogurt and bananas. The ties that bind. Here’s how I wrangled this breakfast into a jar:


Spiced Greek Yogurt Muffin Jars:

  • 1  Pumpkin Applesauce Muffin
  • 6 ounces, weight Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1  Banana

First, I gave the plain greek yogurt a little makeover. I added a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and gave her a stir.

Then the layering began.

First, about 1/3 of a sliced banana. Then a layer of spiced yogurt. Then a hearty squeeze of honey, since plain greek yogurt tends to be a bit on the tart side. Then half of a Pumpkin Applesauce muffin, crumbled. Repeat layers once and top with the remaining third of the banana.

I discovered that the top layer was good, but the bottom layer was best. So letting this sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle and the muffin to soak up all of the yogurty, bananay, honey-y goodness would probably work well.


Muffins in Mason Jars. It CAN be done! Next up: oatmeal in Mason Jars. It’s so happening.

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

the dailies : 10.20.11

daily word: “I love Rochester.” I said it multiple times, in multiple contexts, for multiple reasons. But without a single flinch! It was true every single time. Who knew?!

daily sweat: 75 minute power vinyasa class to start the day off right! Love it.

daily dish: I was pretty much the happiest person on the planet when I came home to one of these at my doorstep:

That right there is an autumn trifle cupcake from Sugar Mountain Bakeshop. Molasses cupcake, pumpkin filling, gingerbread buttercream. It was so heavenly. I tried to get one a few weeks ago to no avail so I considered it a lost cause…until Lauren surprised me with this gem today. A kinder soul cannot be found. (Thank you, Lauren!)
Disclaimer: I did not eat this for dinner. I ate this and brussels sprouts for dinner. That totally equals the scales.
daily mile:

Day 45: autumn has arrived

(I still remember that walk. It was one of the prettiest sights I saw on the trip.)

beka stays healthy : pumpkin applesauce muffins

Little known fact: I spent a (very) short span of life as a card-carrying vegan. Mainly, I was interested in the health benefits and the moral and environmental effects. While I still think that the world at large would be a better place if we consumed less meat and dairy, I’m back on the omnivore bandwagon again. This is not to credit/discredit any dietary choice, because I think that there are valid arguments for all sides; but for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that supporting ethical farmers and enjoying a well-balanced diet is the right move. (And, let’s be honest: I really love Greek yogurt. And goat cheese. And egg salad.)

Even though I’m back in the land of milk and honey, I still like to whip out a few beloved vegan recipes because they’re so darn healthy. One of the things I wanted to conquer during my vegan days was baking sans dairy and eggs. I was usually unsuccessful. But when there were victories, they usually came from the pages of Veganomicon, the revered cookbook for all things vegan. These muffins are an adaptation from a similar recipe for applesauce muffins. I made about a million of them in a 6-month period. But this time around, I wanted to add in more fall flavors. Which can only mean one thing: pumpkin!

Here’s the ingredient list:

adapted from Veganomicon

  • ¾ cups Almond Milk
  • ½ teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cups Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ½ cups Canned Pumpkin
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • ½ cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1-½ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¾ cups Red Wheat Bran
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ cups Raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Start by combining almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute. Then, add applesauce, pumpkin, canola oil, and packed brown sugar. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl (or—if you avoid extra dishes like the plague as I do—the same bowl), sift together whole wheat pastry flour, red wheat bran (oat bran works too, but I like the color and flavor red wheat bran contribute), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (or if you’re part of the aforementioned lazy club, just stir). Fold in raisins (golden, regular, or get crazy and throw in some dried cranberries!).

Spoon into a muffin tin. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Then, working as quickly as you can, like your life depends on it, sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top of the semi-baked muffins. Adding them 10 minutes in ensures that they don’t sink down into the batter and/or burn. Once you’ve sufficiently pumpkin-seeded the tops of your muffins, pop them back into the oven at 350ºF for another 15-20 minutes.

These are great plain or with butter but they’re out-of-this-world amazing when spread with the pure love that is pumpkin butter. And over the weekend, I went all-out at Williams Sonoma and bought a jar of their Pecan Pumpkin Butter.

Best decision ever. I now have a new best (spread) friend. Sorry, dark chocolate peanut butter.

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

the dailies : 10.19.11

daily word: Who knew there was wisdom lurking in the pages of a Berenstain Bears book? From the hallowed pages of Too Much Birthday, “The important thing is that you’re going to be six for a whole year and it’s up to you to make the most of it – to learn, to have fun, to grow in every way.”

daily sweat: 3 miles of speed intervals and a very short (seriously – 1 km) row. And a life lesson in the locker room: someone told me I motivated her to work harder on her run because she was watching me run intervals! Who knew?! This was a complete surprise to me because I kind of feel like Phoebe when I run and am definitely not athletically inspirational. But it was a great reminder that sometimes being committed is beneficial to other people and not just me. And also a great reminder to verbalize gratitude to people and not just think it; a stranger totally made my day by taking 10 seconds to talk to me. What a great workout day.

daily dish:

I wanted something light for dinner tonight because I wasn’t too hungry and it was late so I didn’t want to get into an elaborate cooking/cleaning process…and then I remembered bookmarking today’s Eat, Live, Run post. For good reason…

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts! Which was also perfect for tonight because for some reason I felt the need to buy Brussels sprouts on the stalk this weekend at the farmer’s market…and have no idea what I’m going to do with over a foot of sprouts. Maybe freeze them? Anyways, I took some creative liberties with the recipe because I also had a red onion and some goat cheese starring at me in the fridge, so I threw them into the party in the pan too. SO GOOD.

daily mile:

Day 44: green machine

(How weird is it that exactly one year ago, I also posted about Brussels sprouts?! Not that weird, since I wax poetic about them all the time, but still…)

beka stays healthy : egg salad

This just in: I’m now a member of Tasty Kitchen! I’m pretty sure that finding/creating/posting recipes just filled the 2am-3am time slot of my schedule.

I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow the first recipe I added was for…egg salad.

Nothing says fall like egg salad, right?

Well..nothing says “I can’t finish a dozen eggs before they expire” like egg salad. Which is why on Sunday, I hard-boiled a handful of eggs that had seen better days and whipped up this salad:

(Don’t be alarmed at the quality and clarity of the above…I know you’re used to seeing sub-par cell phone photos these days, so please avert your eyes from the screen and adjust as necessary.)

Here’s the ingredient list:

  • 4  Hard Boiled Eggs
  • ¼  Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 1  Large Kale Leaf, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 dash Salt And Pepper

And here’s what you need to do to make the magic happen:

This really couldn’t be easier. Actually, if hard-boiled eggs didn’t resist the peeling process so stubbornly, it would be a lot easier.

Start by hard-boiling eggs using your favorite method. Once they have boiled and cooled, peel (and lament) and roughly chop the eggs. In a mixing bowl, add the diced red onion, chopped kale leaf, plain Greek yogurt, whole grain Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

(Side note: you can also invite chia seeds to the party. They’re jam packed with nutritional goodness and add a nice thickness to the salad. About 1/2 Tbsp works well here.)

And bam, a lunch is born. Store in a tupperware container in the fridge for as long as you feel is safe (which, if I’m the judge, is whenever I finish it).

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

the dailies : 10.18.11

the daily word: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  – Romans 8:38-39

daily sweat: working a 13 hour day = workout

daily dish:

Greek yogurt parfait with pear spiced sauce and granola from breathe…LOVE this!
daily mile: