Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CSA Box: Buttered Leeks

I've mentioned before that I get a CSA Box at the start of every week.  I have to consciously be eating the vegetables (usually daily) or I end up with some very soft parsnips (that I have in my crisper right now) or a bunch of leeks I don't know what to do with.  Lately I have been eating only one vegetable at a time (for no particular reason) and sometimes one bowl of vegetables for a meal like a bowl of beets or parsnips or delicious buttered leeks. Leeks taste a lot like green onions but this dish doesn't taste like a bowl of onions, thankfully.

I added some thyme seasoning to it.  I put a lid on the pan to retain more liquid produced from the steam. It takes 15 or so minutes.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

The People Factor by Van Moody

After twelve pages of notes I am finally done reading 'The People Factor' (by Van Moody). I'm behind on reading and doing a review* for it but I really wanted to absorb the material and read every chapter to get the best information I could to present to you here.

The book is a relationship book to help you choose the right people in your life to surround yourself with whether that is work life or personal life.  This book was lengthy (fifteen chapters) and a third of it unnecessary to be honest.  A problem I noticed in his literary style is that he almost says 'look for friends with integrity - they are the best' and then in the next chapter there are the negatives of what he said previously i.e. 'avoid friends that don't have integrity'.  Cut those things out and you have a really well written short book full of insight.  The book in general is worth your time to read or at least the 'Relational Reminders' he included at the end of every chapter and the process of going through your answers to the list of questions he also wrote in.

Ok - to be honest I am not one that has the best relationships.  I am a suspicious person.  I am introverted.  I over think.  The words 'that person does not deserve my time' has come out of my mouth.  I do think I give everyone a fair chance and there is not one type of person I enjoy talking to but I do hold grudges in the name of 'justice'.  I consider few people close friends.

Keep in mine that I read this book from that perspective and some things affirmed my behavior.  Such as:
A friend won't allow you to become complacent.  They hold you accountable to your dreams.  
A friend (to have in your life) will have an unwavering commitment to truth.  An absolute refusal to compromise on values.  A complete dedication to pure motives.  A passionate and consistent pursuit of excellence.  
Stay away from mediocre people who are satisfied with where they are, who they are and what they are doing. 
A friend refuses to allow you to settle for mediocrity.  

If someone mentions to me a dream that they have (go back to school, get a different job, get back into the gym, eat a vegetable once in a while) I am always quick to encourage.  I am not satisfied with the people in my life if they are continually making excuses for why they haven't done something that they want to do.  I want people in my life that absolutely refuse to give in to their bullshit excuses.  Why?  Because it allows me to be complacent and I am complacent enough already.  Honestly when a close friend makes excuses for behavior it directly affects me.  Besides, it is motivating to see someone achieve the desires of their heart, isn't it?

The list above are a few things that  things affirmed my behavior and other things caused me to think.  Throughout the last few weeks when someone mentioned to me a strained relationship they were having I would mention to them this book and a few of the things I was reading about.  Such as: you can't be friends with everyone; you receive the most from the relationships in which you invest the most in; leadership rises and falls on loyalty and relationships.  Many good things and good thoughts are in this book.

Back to my problems.

I am not perfect and this one self-help book won't change my thinking patterns.  It made me nod my head and agree stubbornly "damn right - I'm not hanging out with people who don't have dreams!".  But I am not oblivious to my loneliness sometimes.  Maybe I can let some non-dreamers in to my life and I can be the person to encourage them.

Whatever God has planned for you, it is great work in His eyes, and the place where He is taking you will require faith & boldness.  You will need people to inspire faith in you with their faithfulness.  People that will give you courage with their bravery. 

I am grateful for the people and friends in my life, yes.  But are there enough people in my life who are challenging me? Demanding my excellence?  Encouraging me to produce great work?  Questioning my motives or excuses?  I could use a few more of those people and I would value them as great and treasured friends.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Restlessly Eager

People keep telling me that I am an 'impatient do-er' and that I 'get things done'.  Someone even once told me that I was a bulldozer.  As in I would bulldoze anyone over to get to the end goal.  It is something when people keep telling you the same things over and over again - it really makes you listen.  Lately it has been either the same person telling me multiple times or multiple people giving me a rendition of: "you are impatient but you do stuff."

I am impatient.  I do stuff.  I am impatient and I get stuff done.  I am impatient and I strive for excellence.  I am impatient and I want the very best from others and I want the very best for others.  I am impatient and sometimes there is just no place for standing back and watching something not happen.

People also keep telling me that being impatient is probably one of my worst qualities.  That being impatient is something I should change, work on, fix.  I wholeheartedly, stubbornly, don't agree.  I don't want to fix my impatience.  While I don't want to be rude or unkind (or anything like definition #1 above) - and I am daily practicing the art of extending grace to friends or strangers (and accepting it from others over and over again) - I don't ever want to be patient when it comes to the things that matter.

I value definition #2.  I am restlessly eager.  I am restless when it comes to seeing 'Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven'.  I am hopeful when it comes to community work.  I am dedicated to the things I pursue - training, career, God, church.  If you choose to do something - why wouldn't you not pursue it impatiently?

Do I ever have to wait? Yes.

Do I ever fail? Yes.

Below is a list of a few of the things I think of, and have always wanted to voice, when people have questioned my impatience.  (Even I sometimes question it).

Practice Impatience - Become Restlessly Eager

1. Don't assume that you aren't ready to do something.  When you wait and wait and you are 'patient with yourself' to become ready it will most likely never happen.  Jump in.  Take the gym class, buy the art supplies for the new etsy shop, take the University night class.  Plan it out strategically and then just do it.  

2. There is no room for patience when it comes to goals.  Hustle hustle hustle.  Your goal isn't going to magically happen if you don't work towards it 'restlessly eager'. 

3. Beat procrastination by doing something in haste.  Cleaning my room takes me about 10 minutes of cleaning and 30 minutes of looking at stuff that I find on my floor.  See where I could practice some impatience with myself? 

4.  Pray and believe that God is already in the works to making it happen before you whisper "Dear...".  In my experience things can happen extremely fast if we have faith and understanding that it's not necessarily us that's making it so.  

5.  Beware of what makes your comfortable.  When I am willing to sit and wait for something to appear or to happen I am very complacent.  I am allowing myself to be comfortable with mediocrity, something not being finished or something not being started.  Being impatient is extremely uncomfortable and I think that's the way it should be.  Beware of what makes you comfortable - the same job, the same people in your life, the same things that never get done over and over again.  There are only a handful of things that should comfort you and being mediocre (or - not doing your best) shouldn't be one of them.   

6.  And possibly the most important aspect of being restlessly eager is to do what you can and then leave the rest.  But 'what you can' is a list that is far greater than you can imagine and that is not a scary thing but a wonderful thing.  What we can do is far far greater than what we assume.  But when it isn't - practice moving on.


Monday, June 2, 2014

CSA Box: Stinging Nettle Pesto

I had a bag of stinging nettles in my crisper for a week or so from my vegetable CSA box.  I was nervous to try and make something with it to be honest.  I imagined getting welts and sores in my mouth and down my throat while eating it.  But - I finally did it!  Apparently all you have to do is boil (or freeze?) the leaves and the sting (whatever it is) goes away!  The water from boiling them turned very brown (does this happen with spinach?) and it was really funky smelling.  After boiling for 5 minutes or so I added it to Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic.  I added quite a bit of olive oil.  Add less for a paste for breads and more for a sauce for noodles. 

Noodles can never really look that appetizing, can they?