Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Recipe Success!

Last summer, I instituted Sunday Night Dinners, in which I decided to try new recipes in an effort to practice my severe lack of cooking skills and feed my poor college student brother. With the busyness of both our schedules, it really only lasted for the summer. Now that summer is here again, I am hoping that we'll be able to re-institute Sunday Night Dinners again!

The other night, my sweet friend Lindsey came over, and she was my guinea pig for a new recipe I wanted to try. I was really proud of how it turned out, and she said she loved it! So I thought I would share the recipe-don't be nervous by the extensive ingredients list. It was fairly simple to make and most of the preparation could be done the night before. I served it over a bed of herb and butter rice and loved it. I will definitely make this recipe again. Bon appetit!

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

Tilapia Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 (6 oz) tilapia filets

Mango Salsa Ingredients:
1 large ripe mago, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp. minced red onion
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl and pour into a reasealable plastic bag. Add the tilapia filets, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

2.Prepare the mango salsa by combining the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tsp. of lemon juice, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Prehear an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. (I don't have an outdoor grill, so I used by George Forman and it worked just fine).

4. Remove the tilapia from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the filets until the fish is no longer translucent in the center and flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the filets. Serve the tilapia topped with mango salsa.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Battling Seeds of Discontent...

I’m not sure when it happened or how it happened. And I really need to spend some time analyzing where I am so that I can know/understand where I need to go from here. In recent weeks, tiny seeds of discontent have slowly crept in, and I need to figure out (fast) how to combat them. I know my own heart and how quickly/easily I can develop a complaining spirit. I think I have been fighting it for a long time, but this morning it finally sunk in and I can’t hide from it anymore. It has become increasingly more difficult to go to work. I have never really been excited about my job (other than the fact that I have one), but I have been somewhat nerdy and enjoyed learning a new subject. And while I have not even scratched the surface of what I could learn in this industry, the initial learning curve has slowed, and now…well, now it’s just plain boring and seemingly trivial.

I think the routine of my job is starting to grate on my nerves. I have had to do a lot of “baby-sitting” of grown professionals, and that can definitely wear on a person (especially a person who tends to lack patience and compassion). And while the studying has helped me learn the lingo of the insurance world, I have pretty much reached my limit and just don’t want to study anymore. I struggle with motivation to study (which is a BIG problem since I have a really important exam coming up in 11 days).

More than once I have sat at my desk and wondered to myself, “Is this really what I am doing with my life?” I feel like that statement is a bit more dramatic than things really are, but it’s still a battle nonetheless. While what I do is important to my clients, I could really care less about insurance programs in the grand scheme of my life. So what do I do with that? The difficulty comes in knowing that God placed me here- I have no doubt of that fact- but then trying to understand how I can best glorify Him in a job that I am not particularly enjoying right now. I realize that the actual insurance tasks of my job don’t matter to Him; I understand that how I do my job (with excellence and diligence, working as unto Him rather than men) is of more value to Him. And even more importantly, how I treat/interact with my clients and co-workers is what really matters. I have had more opportunities to share my faith and the love of my Savior in this job than in any other. So when I struggle with the list of tasks before me, I try to remind myself of that and focus on doing my job to the best of my ability, and also praying for opportunities to love those around me.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am incredibly grateful for my job and am not planning to leave anytime soon. The Lord provided in a way I didn’t even understand at the time, and I have no doubt that this is the place that He has called me to for right now. There’s nothing wrong with my job, nothing specific is going on. I love the people that I work with, and I appreciate the opportunities I have been given. I have blogged countless times of how much I am grateful for a fairly standard schedule, which allows me to have more time for other ministry opportunities. God has continually blessed my work with this company, and I am constantly surprised at how how He chooses to work in my heart and even use me for His purposes as I navigate (as random as it sounds) the corporate world of insurance. But when you spend 40+ hours of your just gets old.

So why all of a sudden the struggle? Maybe it’s just that I am tired. I have been running at full speed on empty for about 4 months. So I am sure that hasn’t helped. I am just burnt out, which is always the time the enemy seems to sneak in to try to wreak havoc. Maybe since I just celebrated my one year anniversary with the company, I am just starting to get restless. Staring monotony in the face is a little scary. Maybe the high of being employed again has finally worn off. I remember how difficult it was to be without a job, and I remember promising myself that I would never complain about going to work again. I didn’t ever want to lose sight of what a gift it is to even have a job. And yet, we are all so short-sighted and forgetful…These could all be normal things that I am just going to have to work through. But as those seeds of discontent have surfaced, I have to figure out quickly how to combat them so that I don’t lose sight of where God has me and what He desires for me- whether that means staying in this job or not.

I have prayed for a heart of contentment, for a willingness to put aside my own plans for my life and trust God with His plans instead. I want to be able to find joy in whatever it is that He calls me to, to make the most of every opportunity He gives, using those opportunities to serve Him in ways that honor His name. If that means that I live that through my current job, I want to do that. If you think about it, I’d appreciate prayers :)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

California Dreamin!

So California was really fun! My meetings went really well at the beginning of the week; now that I am no longer a newbie (like I was last year) and have a little more experience, I have a little better knowledge of what I am doing. Which really helps! Presentations went well, all of the meeting attendees seemed to enjoy their stay, and I even got to enjoy an evening of karaoke (hilarious!) and a scenic bike ride with co-workers/clients.

With clients

The whole group- my main client had to leave to be with her family as soon as we arrived, so we decided to take a group photo to let her know we were thinking about her.

At the top of a cliff on our bike ride

Once the meetings were over, though, the fun began! Laura flew out to meet me in California, and we enjoyed a fun girls weekend. It was such a blessing to just relax, enjoy the beach/pool, and spend sweet time with Laura. I am so grateful for the opportunity to extend my stay and enjoy the beautiful weather. It was definitely a much needed break from the craziness of my schedule. It was a great way to celebrate the end of various commitments and get a breather before I hit the books to study for my CPCU exam and head to Nicaragua!

 The view from our room :)

Doheny Beach

Sweet Friend!

We had to put our feet in the ocean just one more time...and we got soaked!

Laguna Beach

We visited a sea lion rescue/rehabilitation center

Sushi Laguna :)

Boat Tour on the Clemente

Out on the boat- it was a little windy...

We saw dolphins out on our boat tour- there were literally hundreds that surrounded the boat!

At the airport- it was a great weekend, but we were ready to head home to Texas!


Monday, May 17, 2010

California Here We Come

I leave for California tomorrow, and I couldn't be more excited! Several months of planning and preparation will finally pay off and come to a close. These trips for my job are always exhausting, mainly because I have to be "on" for practically 15 hours a day. We only host the meeting portion for a regular 8-hour workday, but as a client manager, the "work" doesn't really stop as we continue the day's activities with cocktail hours, client dinners, etc. I'm not complaining- I love this part of my job. It's the small (and rare) taste of event planning I get. It's more of a clarification that I am not going to California to play- at least not for the first part of the trip ;) But even just being outside of the office and doing something different is refreshing. It breaks up the monotony and helps me enjoy my work just a little bit more.

So after all the work is done, Laura comes and we will be enjoying 3 days of uninterrupted beach and hang out time! I am SO looking forward to a girls' weekend with this sweet friend. We've both had such crazy schedules lately. Ok, let's be honest. My schedule has been crazy and Laura has been patient haha. So this will be a great way for us to celebrate being done with various commitments and just spending time catching up. And the thought of laying on the beach for a few days doesn't hurt either ;)

I really wish that Nicki could be there too; it would just complete our trio. But we'll just have to wait until August for some time with her in San Antonio!

California, here we come!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

3 Years Later...

Ok. Before I go any further, I cannot take full credit for this post. My sweet friend Nicki blogged about this first. And to be honest, I had completely forgotten what the date was- oops. That being said, Nicki reminded me that...

3 years ago today, I graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration from Baylor University! I can hardly believe that it's been 3 years. It feels like yesterday...

I remember how excited I was on graduation day, and how completely relieved I was. It was definitely bittersweet to leave the university I had grown to love. It had been a long journey, and graduation was the culmination of 4 years of a lot of hard work. Looking back, I can say that I probably pushed myself more than I should have and had too much unnecessary stress. I was the dorky kid who studied way too much- haha. But I am so grateful for the time I had at Baylor. It was such an immense blessing to even attend, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to study at such an amazing university. I am grateful to my parents for all of the support and encouragement they gave me during my time at Baylor; I know it wasn't always easy, but they loved me throughout the process and I am so thankful.

Sweet Friends at Graduation Time!

I am so grateful for the experiences I received at Baylor. From my business classes and the college group I was a part of to working in the dorms as a Community Leader and the trips to Prague and D.C., I am thankful for all the incredible experiences the Lord allowed me to have. I think I am most grateful for the relationships I built along the way. Part of me is sad that I did not fully realize how important that was until after I left Baylor, but I am glad that He has shown me the value since that time. Whether it was the relationships with the girls on my hall, the people in my classes, the friends in community groups, or my co-workers, I praise God for the people he placed in my life along the way. And I praise Him for the people He has kept in my life, even 3 years later...

I recently started reading through my old blog. Not really sure why, just wandered across it the other day and decided to read through where I was starting about 4 years ago. It's always interesting to read through old journals/blogs; it's amazing to see how the Lord works in different ways at different times. To see where you have been and where He has brought you since then is such a sweet blessing. And it's such a good reminder that He's not through with me yet...

Overall, I look back on my time at Baylor and smile; I smile at the incredible blessing it was to study there for 4 years; I smile as I remember fun memories that I had (almost) forgotten about; I smile at my ridiculous blog postings of how stressed out I used to get; I smile at the things that used to mean so much to me and how my priorities have changed over the years; I smile at the friends the Lord blessed me with; I smile at the sweet time I had with the Lord during college; and I smile at how much the Lord worked in my heart during that time, but most importantly how much He has worked in my heart since then.

I really love Baylor, and I will always and forever be a bear... sic 'em ;)

It's fun to look back on that time, but I also look forward to the next 3 years. I am excited to see what He has in store for me next :)


Friday, May 7, 2010

Early Morning Wake Up Song

I woke up this morning with this song on my heart. Not a bad way to start a Friday :) We sang it in BSF last night, and the Lord was gracious to wake me up before my alarm. I have to confess that it's been increasingly difficult to wake up early to spend time with the Lord; not because I don't want to, but simply because I am exhausted. Some mornings I've had to adjust my time with Him to a more friendly hour than 5:30am, but I miss that sweet early morning time with my Savior. So I was really grateful when He woke me up this morning instead of my alarm. I am looking forward to my schedule slowing down so that I can be less tired to wake up/be motivated that early.

My Lord and my God is such a wonderful, merciful Savior who faithfully loves His own!

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we've hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we're falling before Your throne