December 8, 2013

Snowy Days & Dreaming of Adventure

Today has been spent in a time of snowy dreaming. After walking home from church in a beautiful snow fall - I used some rotting apples for a baked apple oatmeal. While the aroma of baking apples and cinnamon wafted through the kitchen – I periodically glanced up from my computer screen to see soft snowflakes falling. I spent this afternoon baking and dreaming. 
In this season of waiting and anticipating, it is fun to imagine future adventures and future goals that I want to achieve. My friend just sent me her New Years Resolutions and 2014 Goals. I haven't sat down to intentionally think about my 2014 resolutions and goals, but I was reminded of The Day Zero Project. It's a website I started using in 2010 to track goals that I wanted to achieve and things I wanted to do. 

The first list I made was 101 things I wanted to do in 1001 days. That list was started in January 01, 2010 and concluded on September 29, 2012. It included things like Study Abroad, apply to BVS, become a vegetarian, make a sweater for myself, and kiss someone on New Years Eve. Spoiler alert: all those things happened! I didn't finish everything on that list, but I completed over half of it. Some things are still left to do like plant a tree, go ice skating, donate my hair, and attend a peace rally. 

The next list I'm working on is called Me and My Young Adult Life. It started September 12, 2012 and is currently slated to end June 14, 2016. I chose my 26th birthday, because that is when I will have to start paying for my own insurance and that seems like a pretty adult thing to do. Some things I hope to do are Pay Off my Student Loans, hike the Appalachian Trail, donate my hair, cook a whole meal for my family, and WWOOF in Europe. It's all coming in stride. My current adventure is BVS, Elgin, Community Living, National Youth Conference, Cooking new recipes, and sometimes hanging with small children. 
Speaking of cooking, here's the finished Baked Apple Oatmeal. And the next adventure looks like driving in this snow to enjoy some appetizers and Christmas movies at a friend's house. 

What are the adventures waiting right outside my door if I but only opened my eyes to them?  

December 2, 2013

Knitting | Katniss Cowl

Who didn't LOVE Katniss Everdeen's cowl/vest that she wore in the opening scenes of Catching Fire!? Pretty much everyone. After I saw the movie last week, I searched the internet for patterns. The piece that Katniss wears in the movies isn't knitted, but a woven piece. So mine is super "inspired by" - but not intended to look exactly like the original.
I worked off of two different patterns from Ravelry. This one for the bulk of the body. The original pattern is made for a SUPER small person. I adjusted it a little for my size, but some of it was left to the imagination.
I wore it to the office this morning. It doesn't exactly scream rebellion against the Capital, but it will be a fun piece to wear this winter. It's SO WARM! 
The second pattern I used for construction of the neck. I morphed it, created a different shape, and left a little opening for fun. 

So, I realized this is the second fictional thing I have knitted - 

What fictional thing should I knit next? 
Doctor Who Scarf?


My family came to Elgin for Thanksgiving this year. It was so sweet for them to come out to visit me - since this will likely be the only chance for them to come see where I will have spent two years of my life! 
They took a Sunday morning to cook breakfast for my housemates and myself. (Lillie and I stayed away from the sausage gravy, but I think my meat-deprived housemates appreciated it!) They made homemade bisquits, sausage gravy, eggs, and fried potatoes. Homecooked breakfasts are amazing. 
We journeyed to Chicago for a brisk day of walking and exploring. We found the Bean, ate some amazing falfal at Sultan's Market, visited the Christkindlmartket, and rode the Metra to and fro.
Thanksgiving Day was relaxed and wonderful. I made Mac & Cheese, while Mama made mashed potatoes, broccoli, salad, and of course TOFURKEY. We streamed the Macy's Day Parade from my laptop. Then finished the day with an evening of Scattegories and Awkward Family Photo. I could play Scattegories all day every day. 
Other random adventures throughout the week included: celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, traveling through time and space on the Tardis, going for walks around the neighborhood and finding a fairy door, and Lou Malnati's Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza! 

I miss them so much already. But I'll be journeying home in just under 3 and half weeks to spend Christmas in Virginia. 

November 21, 2013

Wild and Precious Life

Summer Day 
by Mary Oliver 

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


What do I plan to do with my one wild and precious life? 
No pressure. That's what has filled my mind recently...what I am I going to do with my life next? I go through anxious spurts where I research a plethora of options - all down to where I will live (like looking for an apartment or roommate, when I don't even have a job or prospects in a certain place). I am crazy. It makes me absolutely crazy for a few days. My most recent crazy spurt was deciding whether I should start a graduate program next year. 
I'm not convinced that I should. I look at the debt I've acquired from UG and I'm not convinced that my next step should be to start a graduate program to acquire more get a 40+ hour/week job that can pay go on life insurance by the time mine runs out at 26...I'm not convinced.
I'm not convinced that an MSW is my next step. If it was - I wouldn't have so much anxiety about it. I would know...and I don't know. I'm content with the idea of moving onto another place and seeking out a job that I will enjoy - no matter what it is. I want my next step to make me happy. 
As I come off of a few days of crazy...I am remembering that it is this moment that I cherish. It is this moment that I live for. I make plans and scheme, but it is ultimately God whose plans will come to fruition. I will continue to seek the things that bring me joy - planning an incredible youth conference, reading about the Appalachian Trail, eating with my housemates, running at the Y, and searching for little joys in each day. 
THIS is my one wild and precious life. 

November 15, 2013

Comfort and Cosby Sweaters

We took our BVS House family Christmas picture this week! While, I won't spoil it by sharing the picture just yet, I will say - it featured us wearing some delightful Christmas sweaters! However, by parading around the office wearing our delightfully, wintery warm sweaters there were quite a few references made to Cosby Sweaters. So, I didn't really know the reference, although I had seen the Cosby show way back in the day. After seeing a clip from High Fidelity, I Googled "Cosby Sweater". Naturally. 
I need that Sprinter sweater in my life! Better yet...a Thrower Sweater!

I wouldn't say I have a "Cosby" Sweater. Although, I did have a cherished hunter green Horse sweater (that I would WEAR if it was in Elgin.) Oddly enough, it looked a lot like this sweater that was on a runway. Weird. 

I love crazy, colorful sweaters. I think they are one of the most fun things about this cold, overcast season. They keep us warm and provide a bit of color in this drab season. 
Today, I found ANOTHER Fun Run! There are too many of these kinds of things. Are they worth it? I have never done a fun run - like the color run or zombie runs (this actually doesn't sound fun, that sounds absolutely horrifying). Anyway, the Ugly Sweater Run is a thing. It's happening this weekend apparently. For $44 you can run through the streets of Chicago in a crazy/ugly Christmas/Cosby sweater and running outfit combination! 

Maybe I'll just go on a run in my Christmas Sweater...and running tights. Oh, how frustrating that these things have to be sectioned off into socially appropriate $44 races. What gives?

All this talk of Sweaters reminds me of the Weasley Sweater I made almost three years ago. What!?
This thing is HUGE. Granted I was huger when I made it, but this thing is definition of "over-sized" sweater. Love this huge, comfy, cozy, crazy thing. 

Do you have a Cosby Sweater? 
If you could display anything on a sweater (combs, sprinters, & horses!?) what would it be? 

November 14, 2013

Joining Bloglovin'

I'm joining the likes of Bloglovin'! 

Are you on Bloglovin'? What do you think? 

November 12, 2013

Scrabble with Scripture: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Scrabble with Scripture
For devotions a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to use my (homemade!) Banangrams set in the devotion. I decided on reading Psalm 139, which is one of my favorites. I invited those gathered to listen to the words and be present to what images, feelings, or phrases jumped out at them. Then I invited them into a space of building a crossword together based off of those images, feelings, or phrases. It was simple and short, but the texts and the words were rich. 
Psalm 139, The Message

1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

November 8, 2013

This Moment // November

APPRECIATIVE of Kansas sunsets and the skyline silhouetted in the background.

DRINKING coffee again after a summer of feeling like I was perpetually having a heart attack.

EXCITED about the NEW news coming out around NYC 2014 in the next couple of weeks. :)

FEELING melancholy about the changing seasons.

HOMESICK for colorful mountains, beloved people, and the sun setting at 8pm.

LAUGHING from the delirium of 12 hour car rides, inside jokes, and hilarious teenagers.

LISTENING to Branches, Head & the Heart, Rend Collective Experiment, & anything Jacob Crouse writes.

PUMPED that my family will be in Illinois in less than 17 days!

READING everything I can about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

REALIZING that there are only two more weeks until I see my crazy, incredible family!

WALKING around the block to pick up leaves and admire them as they fall. It's the little things. 

October 20, 2013

How to: Make Peanut Butter

  • Roasted peanuts without shells  
    • salted, unsalted, honey roasted - any flavor will do!
  • 1-2 T Vegetable Oil

  • Food Processor
  • Knife or Spatula 
  • Measuring Cup & Tablespoon
  • Container to store finished Peanut Butter 
1. Pour desired amount of peanuts into a food processor. 
2 cups of peanuts equals about 8oz (1 cup) of peanut butter. 

2. Grind the peanuts until it looks like peanut butter powder. You might have to scrape the peanuts down the side of the processor at this point.

3. Add 1-2 T of Vegetable oil. Continue grinding and scraping (it may take a few minutes) until mixture looks like this:

4. Store in container with lid. You can choose to refrigerate it or not. 

For some reason, I was really intimidated to make homemade peanut butter. This is SO silly, because it is one of the easiest things to make! And it tastes so delicious!

I found peanuts at our local Woodman's that were already roasted and without shells. You can probably find them at most local food or bulk kind of stores. I bought 1 lb for a $2.09, which equals about 20 oz of peanut butter. Peanut Butter can cost as much as $3.00 for 16oz! Plus, your paying for extra sugars when you buy a store bought brand. I also use less homemade peanut butter than I would store-bought because of it's consistency. It goes great with homemade bread

Have your tried making your own peanut butter? What things do you prefer to make from scratch? 

October 18, 2013

Seeking Intentionality in the Kitchen

Pilgrim's Bread from More with Less
Lately, I've been a seeker of "intentionality" in the kitchen. This year is Year Two of learning how to make meals and cook for others, but lately I've been exploring how to take the time to make foods from scratch. Most of our weekly meals are from scratch, because it's so much cheaper to purchase individual ingredients and take the time to put them together yourself. I've been exploring how to make bread, granola, sprouting alfalfa, and now peanut butter. Just call me a BVS Homesteader! No, don't. I have no idea what I'm doing.

These things take time to make. I took almost all of Sunday afternoon to make bread last week. Alfalfa and Mung Bean sprouts take 4 days to fully sprout. Making peanut butter requires a little more planning than reaching into the cupboard to grab the jar. They take patience. Bread takes time to rise. Seeds take days to sprout. Food processors are loud and require lots of grinding from whole peanut to peanut powder to peanut butter. Making things from scratch has been a testing of my patience.

Peanut Butter
Banana + Sweet Potato + Oatmeal Muffins

I like to think that I am a patient person – slow to anger and willing to take time or wait things out. However, I also know I struggle with both of those things. I have a quick tongue that can react out of spite or I’m become tired of talking and what things to be settled already. Baking bread has been the most obvious practice in patience recently. The oatmeal bread took more waiting that the Pilgrim’s bread. The Oatmeal Bread requires me to combine boiling water with oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter (a delicious combination!). Then I have to wait for the water to become lukewarm, so that I am able to add yeast without killing it. Then I must knead the bread and wait for it to rise. Then I "punch" it peacefully down and wait for more rising. Then I can place it into bread loaf pans and place it in the oven and wait for it to bake.

Oatmeal Bread from More with Less
Baking bread has become a wonderful way to multi-task while waiting for water to cool or bread to rise. The 20-40 minutes in between activities leaves room for conversation with housemates around the kitchen table or letter writing to loved ones. Waiting invites space for relationship. Waiting is sacred. We wait expectantly for Christ’s arrival each advent, the Israelites waited in Babylon, and we wait for 40 days for Jesus’ resurrection each Easter. I wait for bread to rise and fill the present moment with living.

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

September 30, 2013

New Personal Record!

Last week, I reached a New Personal Record! I have slept over 8 nights in ONE BED! This is the first time that this has happened since BEFORE June 7th!

It was an amazing season of travel. I have encountered so many wonderful human beings in so many different places! In January, I committed to tracking all of the mileage that I traveled in 2013 year, because it will likely be the most I've ever done in one year.

Since April, I have traveled...
5,604 Miles in a Vehicle (Going to and fro!)
7,258 Miles by Plane
9 Plane Trips (6 layovers)
1 Train Trip (Miles-
12,297 Total Miles acquired since Labor Day

Which brings my 2013 total  miles (so far!) to...*drumroll*
28, 607 miles! 

And my 2013 breakdown is as follows!

Miles by Car: 10,402
Miles by Train: ~642
Train Trips: 1
Miles by Plane: 18,128
Plane Trips: 26, (including layovers)
Total Miles Traveled: 28,607

For living in an intentional community, that is a ridiculous number of miles! Most of those trips were spent traveling by myself. All of my plane trips were alone, except 2! What!? Maybe half of the road trips were alone (especially this summer), but I've also had great times with CoB young adults in a huge diesel van, driven to Kansas with some wonderful workcamp ladies, and spent a week in the car with Grandma Irene!
I am looking forward to being back home for several weeks before hitting the road again. It's good to run, make bread, and be in the same bed for more than a fortnight. Here's to travel, great views, and memorizing eleven airport codes by accident!

August 31, 2013

A Reflection on my Workcamp Summer

This is a reflection I shared at Chapel a couple of weeks ago. It's fairly unedited, but stream of conscious is my blog style anyway. :)

It was like pulling teeth to prepare for today. Two weeks ago at my ECHO workcamp, I was thinking about…what am I going to say in Chapel about workcamps? What am I going to say about 8 straight weeks of serving, playing, cooking, planning, driving, coordinating, flying, leading, and laughing? And maybe I should offer an apology, but I haven’t had time to fully reflect on the stories and the people and the places and well…this reflection might feel incomplete. I honestly didn’t know how to talk about it…it felt like squeezing an elephant into a mouse’s shadow. So…it’s an experience I’m going to be processing and coming to terms with for months and probably years to come.

I'll remember...
Places like Koinonia Farms that has been living into creating the Kingdom of God in Southwest, GA (amidst racial tensions in the 1960s), places like ECHO farm which is demonstration plot for those working to create sustainable, efficient farm solutions to hunger around the world, places like Brethren Housing Association which has been hosting Brethren workcamps for the past 20 years, places like New Community Project which is working to live faithfully and sustainably with people and the earth, places like Innisfree Village which allows those created differently from us to live happy, productive lives…

I'll remember...
People like Chris Cronin of Wings of Eagles Ranch, who teaches equine therapy for young people with mental and physical disabilities, she has an amazing Jonah-like story of faith and opened up her ranch and her heart to us that week…people like Dennis Saylor from Brethren Housing Association who, along with his wife, have fostered over 54 children in 25 years…people like Bonnie from Innisfree Village, a kind resident who invited us into her home and fed us popcorn and homemade lemonade…Willie from Innisfree Village, who has autism, but was patient with my campers and helped them assemble cutting boards on a rainy day. “Symmetrical is good. Not symmetrical is good, too. Creative.” He would say…People like Tom Benevento who taught my youth how to make almost anything out of bambop...People like Jhon from ECHO farm who shared about his journey from Columbia and being an illegal immigrant for 13 years…People like Jenn Hosler who manages the Brethren Nutrition Program in Washington City Church of the Brethren and is the sweetest person I have ever met…

I'll remember...
Campers like Timmy who asked, “Why did they kill John Kline? He was trying to help everybody. Why did they have to kill him?”… Campers who share that they’ve wanted to end their lives, but didn’t…Advisor Gabe who tells jokes like “Why did the bicycle fall over? Because it was too tired.”…Campers who plan worship and morning devotions and make it their own…Campers who really just want to chop down some banana plants with machetes (who wouldn’t!?)…Campers grieving over the loss of a church youth and choosing to come to workcamp anyway…Matt who boldly asked to play tennis against a Special Olympian Tennis player (and lost!) …Advisors who can’t function without their morning coffee - or evening coffee (that’s where I put my foot down)…A whole group of Koinonia workcampers joyfully rocking hairnets for food safety…Playing word games with campers in the hot Florida sun while pulling weeds… Campers like Jenna whose goal was to take over 2,000 pictures during her workcamp week, and succeeded…Campers crying on the final morning saying good-bye to all of their new friends…Campers who are already planning an NYC workcamp reunion…count me in!

And I'll remember...
After a week of fellowship, service, prayer, worship, and play – one of my workcampers reflected that this week was so unlike anything at home. The people and the friends she had made were different from her peers at school. She was devastated to be leaving such an uplifting environment with so many wonderful friends. 

And that’s something to be proud of Workcamp program. In our booklet it says, “expect things to be different than they are at home” and that’s not always bad. Each week is a recreating of what we think the Kingdom of God is…sharing, fellowshipping with strangers who become friends, serving those around us, forgiving each other, understanding those different from us, playing four-square, being grateful before each meal and throughout the day, worshipping morning and evening and moments in between. If only the world could be more like workcamps.

July 28, 2013

This Moment | July

APPRECIATIVE of the humidity. Really y'all - it holds up my hair.

CONTEMPLATING the differing opinions of Brethren youth on peace, violence, and justice.

EATING raspberry, dark chocolate M&M's. All. The. Time.

EXCITED about a workcamp reunion next summer at NYC 2014.

HUMBLED by the sites, smells, and sounds of the U.S. Holocuast Museum's Permanent Exhibition.

MISSING all of the people that I've met each week - can't I just keep them with me forever? There's a hole where all my workcampers week left with exceptional human beings.

LAUGHING about the fact that I thought the Aloe Vera I've been carrying in my first aid kit all summer was hand sanitizer. I discovered Day 5 of Week 7 - in fact it is NOT hand sanitizer.

LISTENING to a man play French Horn in the D.C. National Airport. Addams Family Theme, Yankee Doodle, Down by the Riverside...

PUMPED that my checked luggage weighed in at a mear 42.5lbs instead of a hefty 50+ like the last two times. Peace out 20+ lb air mattress.

REALIZING that this time next week I will be in Elgin again. For a little bit...before leaving on a plane for Colorado.

WONDERING what exactly I'll pull from this summer to talk about in Chapel in two weeks. 

June 21, 2013

This Moment | June

ATTEMPTING to be productive for work even though I am "home" in Weyers Cave for a day and half.

CONFUSED about the way that car rental companies work. Really? Pushing my rental pick-up back one day makes it not available? How does that work? 

EATING waaaaay too much Klines Ice Cream. Three visits & three flavors in 5 days! 

EXCITED to be attending a CoB Annual Conference Brethren Family Reunion after missing the last two years. 

FALLING asleep easily at 11:00 every night and rising at 7:00am every morning. Sleeping in...what is that?

GRINNING from ear to ear looking at pictures from the past two weeks. I am in the thick of my workcamp season and these youth have been amazing! I am so jazzed about the next 6 weeks! 

HUMBLED by the hospitality of the people that I am meeting and seeing every day. 

LAUGHING and enjoying the silliness of two awesome, red-haired boys. 

LISTENING to new music. Hmm! My workcamp went to a live concert for Harrisonburg's The Royal Dans, Sew, and Ears to the Ground Family Band. The Royal Dans is just delightful and we didn't get a chance to hear the last two bands, because of bed times. :) Also, Joy Kills Sorrow's most recent EP. 

PACKING and doing laundry for another two week journey to North Carolina! In my mind I'm packing, in reality I'm avoiding it. 

REALIZING that "going home" has changed its meaning and feeling kind of melancholy about it.  

WONDERING if making more to-do lists is just another form of procrastination. I downloaded Todist onto my phone! This is going to be dangerous...
I thought this might be an easy way to document what I'm feeling and experiencing from week to week this summer. 

May 11, 2013

To Mama

from you I have learned...
Thriftiness is a virtue and you shouldn't be ashamed to rock second hand clothing. Ever.
Gardening is good for the soul.
It's important to take care of yourself and know your limits.
If you want to do it - do it.
If you're unhappy - you have the power to change your circumstances.
Laughing is the best medicine & quoting favorite movie lines help.
Even if you don't know the lyrics you should sing anyway.

for you I am grateful.
I am grateful for...
Your support, advice, and shared laughter.
I am grateful for inherited compassion and soft-heartedness, with a touch of no-nonsense.
I am grateful for an up-bringing close to grandparents.
I am grateful that you've let me fly, while trying to keep me close.

It's a blessing to know and have you as my Mother. I am so proud to know such a fantastic woman and even more proud to have learned the ropes of womanhood from you.
Happy Mother's Day! 
 For Mother's Day, I embroidered this for Mom. 
It's really only my second big embroidery project. I'm such a novice, but really enjoy working with this medium. Little people were really fun to design and create. 
Lillie, Mama, & Me
I "stumbled" across Psalm 139 last week when I really needed to read it. Verse 13 is one of my favorites. Mama, thank you for so carefully carrying me for 9+ months and then carrying me along for 22 years more. 

I love you, Mama. 
PS - Let's go shopping for a cool frame from Goodwill when I get home! 

May 2, 2013

A Year from Now...

Base Image // Source
May has me thinking about transitions. There's something about the fresh spring air that proclaims newness and change. The Head and the Heart is one my favorite bands and they have a song that embodies change, transition, and missing the people that make you: Rivers and Roads. I love the song, but it's one that saddens your heart to acknowledge the truth behinds its lyrics. 

been talking bout the way things change
and my family lives in a different state
and if you don't know what to make of this
then we will not relate
so if you don't know what to make of this
then we will not relate

While a year ago things were very different from where they are now, I am thankful for the way things change - for the seasons and the passing of time. Grateful for the friends I've made here and there, even though they're gone away. I just don't want to think about this time next year, knowing I'll be parted from even more lovely people along the way. So, I'm not thinking about a year from now. I'm thinking about right now. Soaking up spring with the people here.

Rivers & Roads til I reach you.

May 1, 2013

Protein & The Vegetarian

One of the most common things I hear about when I tell people that I'm a vegetarian is: PROTEIN. I hear, "How do you get enough protein?" or "I've thought about becoming a vegetarian, but I don't think I'd get enough protein?" Honestly, where does this obsession with protein come from!?
The Protein Myth in America
Protein is IN. America has an obsession with making sure they consume enough protein, but most Americans consume too much protein. The National Center for Health Statistics found that most American men consume about 101.9 grams and American women consume about 70 grams a day. That's almost twice the protein intake recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board.

Consuming too much protein can be bad for your digestive systems. Most Americans sources of protein come from over-consumption of meat products, which can be high in saturated fats. Leading to risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Excess protein may also lead to kidney and liver disorders and osteoporosis1.

Kids, Popeye ate Spinach remember!?
How do you get enough protein? 
Despite common belief, protein is not only found in red meat, poultry, fish, and other animal byproducts (milk & eggs). Protein can be found in2:
  • Dry Beans & Peas
  • Tofu
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Grains
  • Vegetables - spinach, greens, corn, broccoli3
  • Fruits - cherries, papaya, banana, avocado, apricots, prunes4
However, it is true that most complete proteins are found in red meat, poultry, fish, and other animal byproducts. Many vegetables and grains contain incomplete proteins, but when eaten together create the same effect as a complete protein. For example, rice and beans both contain different, but complimentary amino acids so that when eaten together (or in the same day) they work to create a complete protein.

According to the CDC, as a woman who is 22 I should consume about 45 grams of protein a day. Obviously, this can vary a bit depending on one's body weight and physical needs. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.

Adding Up the Protein
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt - 11gm
1 T Sunflower Seeds - 1.5gm
1 Banana - 1.3gm

1 Carrot - 1gm
1 Cup Raw Spinach - 1 gm
2 Piece Multigrain bread - 8gm
2 T Peanut Butter - 8gm

1 Cup Black Bean & Quinoa Chili - 9gm
1 slice Homemade Cornbread - 3gm
1 cup Roasted Sweet Potatoes - 4gm

Total: 47.8gm

Above is a typical day of eating for me and I easily achieved the protein intake that I needed without eating any meat. All of the grams of protein were calculated using Livestrong's MyPlate feature.

No Meat Athlete is a great resource for active, athletic vegetarians. They are a great community of committed vegetarians with lots of great articles about eating a vegetarian diet. I'm kind of obsessed with them. 

Sources (not already linked above)
1: "The Protein Myth: Why You Need Less Protein Than You Think" by Jessica Jones, MS, RD
2: "Protein" by
3: "Vegetables with Protein" by
4: "Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables" by

Praying through Hymns | Touch the Earth Lightly

I heard this song in Chapel and instantly fell in love with it. This is also the second song I've posted with words by Shirley Erena Murray - I kind of have a full-fledged crush on her hymns. So beautiful! It's a wonderfully appropriate hymn for spring time as the earth is waking up again. Touch the Earth Lightly is a beautiful hymn and I hope to embody it's words and spirit. 

Our little plant babies are starting to grow!

Touch the Earth Lightly 
Words by Shirley Erena Murray

Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently,
nourish the life of the world in our care:
gift of great wonder, ours to surrender,
trust for the children tomorrow will bear.

We who endanger, who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures that live,
we who would foster clouds of disaster,
God of our planet, forestall and forgive!

Let there be greening, birth from the burning,
water that blesses and air that is sweet,
health in God's garden, hope in God's children,
regeneration that peace will complete.

God of all living, God of all loving,
God of the seedling, the snow and the sun,
teach us, deflect us, Christ reconnect us,
using us gently, and making us one.

Enjoy the Earth Today!