Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Bit of Poetry

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees
all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers;
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!

As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle —
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone.  
He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me —
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all:  
but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. 


Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Tho' much is taken, much abides; 
and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven;

that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

                                                -  Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Meal

Another one of my favorite, quick, go-to meals during the week is a twist on the simple grilled cheese sandwich.

 Pepper-Jack Cheese Panini
1/2 a pepper
1/2 a red onion
Pepper Jack cheese, thinly sliced
2 slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil

Pour 2 tbls. olive oil into a medium frying pan. Slice peppers and onion thinly. Saute sliced peppers and onions in olive oil on medium heat until onions are transparent and peppers are soft and flexible (about ten minutes). Transfer peppers and onions to a plate or bowl.

Sweep one side of each piece of bread around the pan to oil. (One side of each piece should be lightly covered in olive oil.) Lay one piece of bread flat in pan. Cover with one layer of thinly-sliced cheese. Cover cheese with sauteed onions and peppers. Add another layer of cheese. Add final piece of bread (oiled side up).

Cook on medium-heat, pressing firmly occasionally with a large spatula. Once cheese has begun to melt and the bottom-piece of bread has begun to brown, flip quickly.  Continue to cook, pressing firmly on occasion with spatula.

When cooked as desired, enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

"Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." - Henry James

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday Linkage

Happy Friday!

Laura Miller of Salon wrote an provacative response to an article I shared a few weeks ago.

One of the book reviews over at Cardus was also an insightful commentary on the problem of beauty in a fallen world. I think I'm going to have to add these books to my reading list!

I'm completely enchanted by the writing of William Deresiewicz at the moment. His article "Solitude and Leadership" made my week and possibly my month.

Seth Godin wrote a pithy post on excuses this week.

Simple + Pretty and Lemon and Lavendar are my recent blog finds.

This list from Hula Seventy was inspiring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bookish Tuesday

What are five impactful non-fiction books you have read?

Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation 

Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation

 A great read for any young adult, Father Fiction thoughtfully discusses finances, relationships, and careers.

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

I read Margin during college. It permanently altered the way I viewed and prioritized time and rest.

A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning (Isi Guides to the Major Disciplines)

A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning (Isi Guides to the Major Disciplines)

A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning is a quick, inspirational read about the Great Books for those dedicated to a life-long pursuit of learning.



A series of essays by a journalist who was there, Fire transports readers out of their comfort-zone to scenes of chaos all over the globe.

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Surprised by Joy is an autobiography and the story of Lewis' journey to God.

Your turn! Include your list in the comments or on your blog, linking back here. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Meal

I love trying new recipes and expanding my food repertoire. There's just one tiny obstacle: the reality of time. In reality, I have a job that generally requires me to leave my before 7:45 in the morning; during a typical week I don't ever get home before 6:00 and often walk in the door after 7:00. 

This is not an unusual dilemma.....most of my friends, acquaintances, and colleagues also work (or study) between 40 and 60 hours a week.
I refuse to eat dinner out for the sake of time. If I am spending time with friends over a meal, fine. But I have fully boycotted eating out or relying on fast food simply to save effort. Among other reasons, eating out tends to be both less healthful and more expensive than cooking. 

So how does one balance a desire for healthful, beautiful food with the reality of a crazy work week? Building an arsenal of quick yet healthful recipes takes time, but there are many healthful, creative, lovely meals that can be prepared with a minimum of time and effort.

For a while, Mondays around here will be dedicated to these kinds of recipes. I'm determined to build my repertoire and I hope you'll share in my search! For now, I'm going to share one of my go-to week-night meals.

Pasta with Veggies and Basil
1/2 a bell pepper
1/2 a red onion
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
Mozzarella cheese

Fill a small pot with hot water. Add 2 tablespoons (all measurements are approximate) of olive oil and stir. Let the water come to a full, rolling boil and then add pasta. Let the pasta boil for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Wash and chop the bell pepper, red onion, and fresh basil leaves. Place the chopped vegetables and basil in a medium frying-pan with about 1/8 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with garlic and pepper. Saute on a medium-low heat until onions are transparent and peppers are pliable. 

Meanwhile, chop tomatoes. Place in a cereal-size bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the bowl. Add sauteed vegetables. Stir. (The vegetables and pasta should be hot enough to melt the cheese.) Enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day. Although it is a less-promoted holiday than Mother's Day, in a world in which the role of fatherhood is often undermined, an opportunity to recognize the importance of the men who helped shape us should not go unrecognized.

I've been blessed with a wonderful father. Over the years, my dad has taught me, shown me, and introduced me to so many things. My dad and I are imperfect people with an imperfect relationship. Learning to interact with my dad as an adult daughter is a tricky road, one which requires a great deal of grace and humility from us both.

But at the end of the day, despite our differences and the occasional clashes of our equally high-strung personalities, my dad has played a monumental and irreplaceable role in my life. His support and encouragement have kept me going when I wanted to quit. His convictions shaped me. His courage has inspired me.

From him I learned how to do the dishes, how to drive a car, how to ride a longboard, how to change a car's oil, how to shoot a gun, and how to grill fish.

Dad taught me how to embrace the unexpected, to refuse to settle for the safety of the familiar, and to boldly venture into the unknown. From him, I learned the importance of honesty and generosity and self-discipline and hospitality.

From my dad I inherited a love for the sky, the oceans, and the mountains, my occasionally reckless nature, and my sometimes-bull-headed ways.

And so, in honor of the man who raised me, held me, prayed for me and loved me and who taught me to value independence, goodness, integrity and truth, here is a list of 25 lessons I've learned from my dad:

  1. Grill fish hot and fast.
  2. More costly doesn't always mean better.
  3. But sometimes it's just smarter to pay someone who knows what they're doing.
  4. Store extra water.
  5. People, time, and independence are worth more than money or accolades.
  6. Showing up is 70% of success.
  7. Wear gloves, helmets, and eye protection.
  8. Water is the world's greatest cleaning solution.
  9. Never settle for less than excellence.
  10. Sometimes life needs to be a little cheesy.
  11. Read actions, not words.
  12. Change your car's oil regularly.
  13. Never borrow money.
  14. Practice.
  15. Be persistent.
  16. Let men be men.
  17. Give.
  18. Save.
  19. Invest.
  20. Guests feel welcome when the host is welcoming, regardless of food, setting, or decor.
  21. Keep a U.S. atlas in the car.
  22. Take responsibility.
  23. Sleep and food will solve 80% of your problems.
  24. Be gracious.
  25. Be kind.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Friday Linkage

    Friday....Saturday...whatever. It's finally the weekend and in between doing chores, running, errands, relaxing in the back yard, and seeing friends and family, you should check out the following links.

    But before you do, subscribe to the blog feed using the buttons in the upper right part of the page!

    It was a crazy week, but in the midst of it, I read quite a few articles worth sharing.

    Business/Time Management/Self-Improvement/Leadership articles:
    All Things Foodie Related:
    Articles on Faith/Lifestyle/Society:

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Bookish Tuesday

    What are five powerful *classic* novels that you would recommend?



    Bleak House 

     Vanity Fair (Barnes & Noble Classics) 

    Either include your list in the comments or write your own post about your list and include a link back here! Feel free to be brief and concise or to elaborately explain your list.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    The Times They are A'Changing

    Summer is fully upon us in all of its sticky, muggy glory. When I sighed with relief this morning because temperatures were only predicted to be in the 70's, I knew this for sure. In preparation for the sunny hot days ahead, I spent some time this weekend preparing my car for the new season.

    I keep a number of supplies in my car during the winter months in anticipation of an emergency or unexpected situation. However, it's important to keep one's car appropriately stocked during the summer months as well. Here's my list for my car's summer kit:
    • Water. This is a must. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are realities. Lack of water can turn a simple delay or minor breakdown into a dangerous situation during the hot summer months. In addition to keeping a bottle or canteen on hand and within easy reach, store a gallon or two in the trunk of your car or behind a back seat in case of a real emergency.
    • Flashlight. 
    • Food. Store a few simple non-perishables like granola bars and dried fruit.
    • Shoes. I travel to and from work in shoes that will be simply useless in an emergency. Keep an extra pair of comfortable sturdy shoes in your car.
    • Clothes. The long, sunny, summer days mean that impromptu outings and random adventures are bound to occur. I keep a change of casual clothes in my summer kit along with a pair of flip-flops.
    • Giant Beach Towel. A giant beach towel can double as a picnic blanket or a wrap on a cool evening.
    • Overnight supplies. Getting stuck somewhere overnight unexpectedly is no fun. But the inconveniences of a breakdown or emergency can be alleviated by keeping a few simple overnight necessities in your car. A toothbrush and some soap can make many inconvenient situations more comfortable.
    What are some supplies on your summer car kit?

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Sunday Inspiration

    "A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."- George Eliot

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Review: In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado

    I recently completed Max Ludacdo's In the Grip of Grace (Word Publishing, 1996), in which Lucado examines the Biblical concept of grace.

    Lucado uses metaphors, examples from real life, and his easy-going narrative style to show his readers their need for grace, the firm reality of God's grace, and the implications of God's grace in a believer's life.

    In the Grip of Grace: Your Father Always Caught You. He Still Does.

    Lucado's book is a great reminder and an approachable read. The concrete explanations, clear analysis, and terse writing style create a work that is comforting, convicting, and memorable.

    I found the last section to be the most powerful. After discussion each person's need for grace and the concrete reality of God's offer of grace, Lucado turns to the practical implications of grace upon a Christian's life. He poingnantly demonstrates what it means to live a grace-filled, grace-giving life in perhap the most convicting section of the book.

    As an aside, I occasionally found the writing to be a bit repetitive. Sometimes I also found it hard to connect to the style, which often seemed to lapse into Lucado's speaking style. Overall, though, this book is a wonderful reminder of the importance, power, and beauty of God's grace.

    Favorite quotes from In the Grip of Grace:

    "The problem is not that God hasn't spoken but that we haven't listened."

    "All of life is a gift of grace...and the call of grace is to live a gracious life."

    "Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness is born. But where the grace of God is embraced, forgiveness flourishes."

    "You will never be called upon to give anyone more grace than God has already given you."

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Friday Linkage

    I am ready for Friday. Need I say more? I am ready to sleep in, cook something that requires an attention span of longer than 12 minutes, read, lie in the sun, and do all of those other wonderful things that a weekend offers.

    While you are relaxing this weekend, check out these links!

    David Masciotra's "Living with a Literary Sensibility" in Relevant Magazine provocatively looks at life as literature...and literature as life. His thoughtful article addresses old questions and raises new ones.

    Also on Relevant, David Condolora provides insight on the background of a familiar hymn in "A New Lesson from an Old Hymn."

    I have enjoyed following "Thirty Days of Summer Entertaining" by Reluctant Entertainer recently.

    Booking Through Thursday is a simple blog with a minimalistic theme. Every Thursday, a new question related to books is published. That's it. Reading through the old questions is inspiring and fun!

    I can be highly critical of elaborate wedding cakes. However, the cakes in this post at Let Her Bake Cake were just lovely.

    What did you read this week?

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Of Goals and Dreams, Part II

    There's a delicate balance, then, between the pursuit of long-term dreams and the daily plod of short-term goals. Tangible short-term goals are a vital part of the successful pursuit of long-term dreams. But there is always a danger that the flurry of today's goals will obscure tomorrow's vision.

    Here are a few tangible steps one can take to maintain a balance.

    1. Vision Board - I have seen this used successfully in a number of different ways. Ultimately, a vision board's purpose is to provide a visual reminder of one's long-term vision. Some people use vision boards for individual projects.Others create vision boards that reflect their vision for their entire life or for a specific period of time. Right now, my vision board consists only of a cork-bulletin-board covered simply with a few quotes and my book list. Expanding it is one of my summer projects!

    2. Purpose Statement - Donald Miller and Michael Hyatt both swear by this method. I have never tried it, partially because I suspect that for a verbally-oriented person (like me), writing goals down may simply be repetitious, since I find it easier to write lists than to act. Part of me is just too lazy.

    3. Mini- "Bucket Lists" - Creating lists of tangible, large steps that cover a year or a couple of years can be useful. I have a few different kinds of mini "Bucket lists" (for cooking and reading, for instance) and have found working that using these lists is quite motivating and effective. To be useful, these lists should encompass enough time and acitivity to actually force you to exert a substantial amount of time and effort, but they should also be small enough for you to track tangible progress.

    4. Assessments - Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Where do you want to be in 30 years? Are you taking steps today to get yourself to those goals? Constantly assessing your specific long-term desires and then analyzing your present situation, actions, and priorities forces you to keep yourself accountable. This is an area in which trusted friends can be helpful. Share your goals with them and see if they think you are progressing towards those points.

    Have you tried any of these methods? How did they work for you? What other methods do you use to maintain a balance between pursuing your long-term dreams and short-term goals?

    Read Part I of this series.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Bookish Tuesday

    What were your five favorite childhood books? 

    1. A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett

    2.Betsy, Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

    3.Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

    4.Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

    4.Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

       Your turn! Include your list in the comments below or in a post on your blog, linking back here.