Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trip to the Lou-Part 1

View from the top... 


I <3 Southwest

Somewhere is Colorado

A sea of mountains! The only sign of civilization was a lone train track weaving under and over the snow. 

Not the best compositions, but it's the best I can  do.

I love flying. Is anyone else as amazed that something so large can lift off, stay up, and hover feet from the ground before landing?! I get so giddy during take off and hold my breath the last few seconds before landing. It never gets old. :)

I missed some great picture opportunities because I was forced to turn off my phone. The city of St. Louis was especially beautiful when I arrived... mist was rising from the Mississippi and a pale glow of yellow and pink softened the city's edge. Beautiful!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mind Your Health Mondays: Barefoot Running

After a couple weeks off, I'm back! I know it's technically Tuesday, but since I'm still up lets pretend its Monday. ;)

In March, some lovely ladies and I will be running our first half marathon! We've been training for it since September. About a month into our training  I injured my Achilles tendon. :( I didn't do anything to it, but here I am months later and I'm still dealing with a tightness and pain in the tendon. Rest relieves it, but the next time I run it comes back. After a bit of research, I came across a video that may explain why this is happening. The culprit: my shoes!

It astounds me that we've created shoes to help us walk and run more comfortably by forcing our feet to strike the ground completely opposite to the way they were naturally designed. I haven't picked up the Vibram Five Finger shoes yet (shown at the end of the video), but I plan to real soon! I'm sad that I'll have to abandon my expensive Nikes; they're less than a year old! But I'll keep them around for an "everyday" wear. Truth is, I find the Five Finger shoes creepy looking.  I'll keep you updated on the changes I experience with barefoot running.

Random fact: Jesus walked about 10-20 miles a day.

Until next Monday...Mind your feet! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

St. Louis, Here I Come!

I'm leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to visit friends and family in St. Louis! I wish Ryan could come with me. We seem to do a lot of traveling without each other. :(

On our flight to Vegas after our wedding.

I always look forward to going to the airport. I really don't mind getting there early because I get to people watch while I sip on my over-priced Starbucks. :) Flocks of people flying to a million different places for a million different reason. There's so much built up emotion you can't help but get caught up in it.

This past September I went to the airport to pick up Ryan from his trip home to St. Louis. As I waited at the crosswalk a woman in her sixties spoke to me. She was frustrated. She huffed and told me she never had to wait this long to cross the street. I nodded and mumbled in agreement. Then all of the sudden she gasped and tears welled up in her eyes. She startled me! Was something wrong? Eyes locked straight ahead she said, "I see him! There is he is! I haven't seen him in three months." Just then the gate was moved and we were allowed to cross. She ran to her husband and they embraced.

What love they had for one another! I was privileged to witness such a private moment. It made me think how, 40 years from now, I hope the love Ryan and I have will still be as bright and fresh as theirs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Of My Favorite Things

In my book, there is nothing better than a hand-written letter!

I remember one Christmas I made cards for each and every relative. I created a snow scene using paper cutouts and lots of glitter! It took me hours days to complete! I remember watching White Christmas while I worked and used "May your days be merry and bright, And may all your Christmases be white." inside the cards. So original, right? I think I was twelve or thirteen at the time.

This past fall I organized a craft day for some lovely ladies. I designed several cards and templates for the girls to use so that they could gift their friends and family with handmade, hand written notes of  thankfulness.

Here are my favorites: (Pretty much all of them except for two)

Gotta love stamps!

I drew those mushrooms!
Charcoal, Conte, White Charcoal Pencil

Watercolor and Stamps

I created this one for a dear pregnant lady friend. :)
Matching envelope too.  Remember, presentation is important! 

The only thing missing in my portfolio of hand-made cards is an owl... I'll have to remedy that!

"Let us all then leave behind letters of love and friendship, family and devotion, hope and consolation, so that future generation will know what we valued and believed and achieved." --Marian Wright Edelman

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mind Your Health Mondays: Milk

I've decided that every week I'll start off with "Mind your Health Mondays" I hope you find these posts interesting and resourceful! :)

I've learned some interesting things about milk this week from Jillian Michael's FB page.


 "A lot of of you are asking me about almond milk. Here's the rub - unless you buy organic, almonds are sprayed with 9 pesticides and some are GMO."

GMO= Genetically Modified Organism!
I bought Almond Milk last week to use as a milk alternative in my smoothies and cereal because it's a third the calories of 2% Milk and contains 50% of my daily Vitamin E (I feel like my nails have grown a ton this past week!) 

Blue Diamond Almond Milk              vs       Stremick's Heritage Organic Milk (2%) 

40 Calories/ cup                                            130 Calories/cup
3.5g Fat                                                         5g Fat
0g Sat. Fat                                                     3g Sat Fat
180mg Sodium                                             130g Sodium
180mg Potassium                                          0g Potassium 
2g Carbs                                                       13g Carbs
1g Fiber                                                        0g Fiber
0g Sugar                                                      13g Sugar   
1g Protein                                                    10g Protein
10% Vitamin A                                           10% Vitamin A
30% Calcium                                               35% Calcium 
25% Vitamin D                                           25% Vitamin D
50% Vitamin E                                            0% Vitamin E

As you can see, there are some huge difference but also some surprising similarities! :) 
Some things to consider:
If you're choosing to drink milk it's most likely because of the taste and the protein. But if you're using almond milk in your smoothies and cereal, you won't notice much difference in the texture, and you'll hardly notice a difference in taste. I would not recommend drinking it on its own. Also, if you're using almond milk in a smoothie you can add back the protein and then some by using a protein powder. Think you won't meet your PDV (Percent Daily Value) by replacing Milk with Almond Milk? Track it for whole day to see if you're under or over your PDV. My Fitness Pal is a great *free* website that will track your protein for you.   

My Berry Smoothie Recipe: (210 Calories)
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 cup Almond Milk
1 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Protein Powder
(If you desire a thinner consistency, add a little water)


"Starbucks debate:Soy Vs Coconut Milk.I've had these conversations w executives, but hearing from the public is what counts most! 90+% of soy in the US is genetically modified-HEAVILY sprayed w TOXIC pesticides which harm us & the planet. Soy blocks mineral absorption & is related to hypo thyroidism. Coconut Milk is non-gmo, has no pesticides, anti-biotics or hormones. It's great for the planet & our health. Weigh in!"

I've never tried Coconut Milk. Coconut Water, yes. I didn't care for it, but it's loaded with the good stuff like potassium. Potassium is vital to your health! Research it!  It's hard to eat the recommended 3500mg of Potassium a day so it's important to know the foods that will get you pretty darn close. Some potassium rich foods include: 1 Banana (522mg), 1 Red Potato (620mg) 1 cup Total Raisin Bran (280mg) 3oz Baby Carrots (270mg) 1 bag Popcorn (525mg), 1 cup Raspberries (240mg) .... So if you ate all of those items in one day you'd be at 2, 457mg Potassium! :)  

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Well, I'll admit it, I skim the genealogies when I read the Bible. All those hard to pronounce names just give me a headache. But there is a part of me that is simply wowed by them.

Usually when I come to a genealogy, like I did tonight, I think about the people during that time in history. These people valued their origin so much  that they memorized their genealogies! (What a task!) By doing this, they created a historical, cultural, and religious foundation for generations to come. This meticulous task gave Jesus historical credibility.

My aunt told me she once heard that in knowing where you came from, you better understand yourself. I think there's something to that!

Lately I've been thinking of a name for my future Etsy shop. Never mind what I'm going to sell, I'll figure that out later! ;) So backwards, I know. Throughout this process I've had to ask myself: Why do I create? What first inspired me to create? My first inclination were memories spent on the 3rd floor. My Oma worked on the 3rd floor. I say "worked" but there was a lot of play too. She did upholstery to supplement my Opa's job, but she also sewed and embellished some of my most favorite childhood clothes.

The 3rd floor, as my family and I refer to it, was literally the third floor of a house my Oma and Opa used to lived in. On the second floor you would see a door that, given the location and size of the door, you would think was a linen closet. But open this door and you would find a slightly spiral, narrow, steep staircase. When you reached the top, you would come out in the middle of a U-shaped flat. Long folding tables used for sewing, a piece of furniture waiting to be refurbished, fabric overflowing from the walls, and a window that looked out onto Lake Michigan. That's about all I remember, but it's more than enough. The 3rd floor was the place to be! I created my first sewing project there, first delighted in letter writing, fell in love with the story Ann of Green Gables, and it was while sitting in spiral of the staircase that I tattled to my mom that Oma let me shave my legs! (I was in fourth grade)

Back to my main point... I can't help but think that those treasured times on the 3rd floor spurred me on to my love of art, letter writing, and all things handmade. I know it wasn't just the physical space that had such an impact on me, but the time spent with my Oma. Hard working, creative, unstoppable- that's my Oma. Even with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she still manages to get up on a ladder to paint a shed; build birdhouses from scratch; sew and embroider handbags, pillow, and basket for my wedding; make and decorate hundreds of cookies for the holidays, garden, and make sure the birds have plenty of food.  And she does all this without grumbling or complaining, a true labor of love; thanking God for everything.

It makes me wonder: what if I knew more about where I came from?

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Owe Him

Last night at bible study we discussed a chapter from the book "My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself" by Susanna Foth Aughtmon. The lie we discussed was: "God owes me." I shared that what I feel God owes me is recognition. If I voluntarily pour out all my love, talent, and time into something I should be recognized! I'm not really sure what kind of recognition I expect from God, but I do expect Him to let other's know so that they can recognize me in his stead. Messed up, right? 

What do you feel God owes you?

More importantly, what do you owe God?

I'm not talking about what you can do for Him, or how much money you can give Him. After all, he's God. But, lets face it, we kinda owe Him.

He's created this planet I call home, the stars in the sky-I especially like the one that warms me on the mornings that I run, and lets not forget owls. ;) And He's given me the things that I love: Ryan, my dear friends and family, the Church, and the bloggers who inspire my creativity. He shows me grace upon grace. He died for me; He does so daily. Every lie, cruel word, malicious gossip, gluttonous act, and lustful thought; when I ignore those in need or condemn those I love... He dies again and I am forgiven. His death transcends time.

I owe God my time. Our time is one of our most precious gifts and I waste mine generously. Instead of giving God the "first fruits" so-to-speak, He gets the leftovers. :( It seems I've been practicing this a while because as surely as I repented of this last night, I'd forgotten by the morning. Luckily I was given a sweet reminder. :) Praying for new reminders daily. Speaking of reminders- tonight I set up my own accountability for my chronological reading plan on So from now on I should get e-mail reminders to stick to my plan.

To New Beginnings!

For months I've been following blogs. The commitment of those people have made all the difference to me. They've inspired my creativity and have challenged my work ethic, not to mention given me sweet moments of joy throughout the day! As for me, I'm committed to posting M-F. I'll be blogging about any and everything... recipes, interior decorating, arts and crafts, God, health and wellness, and just life in general. 

My big commitments for 2011 include:
1. I started the 1 year Chronological Reading Plan on 
2. I've been training with some lovely ladies since September for a 1/2 marathon on March 12th 
3. Etsy

Happy Reading! 

Sarah Jean