Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cincinnati Adventure - Taste of Belgium

Taste of Belgium in Over the Rhine

Yesterday I had my "Cincinnati Adventure" - which means I have officially met my very first New Years Goal of the year!  The goal was to go somewhere I've never been, with someone else, trying something I've never tried.

My long time friend, Sandra, and I went to Taste of Belgium - a great place to eat in the historic neighborhood of Over the Rhine.  While this neighborhood used to be known as one of the sketchiest sections of Cincinnati, parts of it have recently been fixed up making it quite a conglomeration of folks.  One street might be the trendiest little place you've ever seen with urban shops, eateries, etc…and then 2 streets over you would think twice before parking your car on the side of the road.  I, for one, am quiet interested (and hopeful) to see how they merge these two worlds…I am hoping it's done well.

Taste of Belgium is quite the gem in Over the Rhine.  One of their specialties is the Chicken and Waffles dish.  I ordered those in addition to an amazing chocolate candied orange latte.  The meal was great, the latte was delish and the company was fantastic :)

Sandra sporting a sweet hat

Chocolate Candied Orange Latte

Chicken and Waffles

Taste of Belgium - right behind Sandra on the corner!

Cincinnati Adventure - Taste of Belgium and Chicken and Waffles!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Years Goals 2014

It's nearly the middle of February, which means I'm LONG overdue to type up my New Years Goals for this year.  They're not exactly difficult goals (and some are carry-overs from last year)...and perhaps calling these goals a yearly "bucket list" might actually be a better description.  I am excited about them, and I'm looking forward to getting started!

 2014 New Years Goals

1.  Read 10 books - 5 of these biographies, and some C.S. Lewis in there too

Radical by David Platt 
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
Uprising by Erwin McManus
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine D'Engle
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkenson
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Journey by Alfred Lansing (Biography)
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Biography)
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
No Longer a Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (Biography)
Love Does by Bob Goff
The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts (Biography)

2.  Sew a skirt or a dress with my sewing machine

3.  Be filled with the Fruits of the Spirit - no matter what life looks like - pray especially for joy and peace.

4.  Brew Kamboucha Done

5.  Go on 4 adventures - 1 International, 1 United States, 1 Ohio, and 1 Cincinnati.
Rules:  It must be somewhere I've never been to before.
I must go with at least one other person.
While there I must do or try something I've never tried before.
Completed - Cincinnati Adventure: Taste of Belgium and Chicken and Waffles with Sandra
Completed - International Adventure:  Inca Trail to Machu Piccu with Lindsey
Completed - U.S.A. Adventure: Creation Museum and Ziplining with Karen

6.  Get my piano tuned

7.  Run the Flying Pig half marathon in under 2's going to stay on the list each year until it happens :) FAIL :)  Perhaps next year....

8.  Go to one international adoption meeting.  Nope - this idea is on pause.

9.  Write 3 original poems for 3 different people - and then read the poem to that person over the phone or in person

10.  Finish Jason's table...
So...I have a bedside table that Jason was in the process of making for me when he died.  It's been in the garage for 9 and a half years now - just sitting there collecting dust - unfinished.
This year, I'm going to finish it.  And hopefully not chop off a finger in the process.


This is a pretty great list, huh?! This isn't exactly the entire list - but it's most of them.

ALSO - This year, I've decided to have a theme verse...
"She is clothed with strength and dignity.  She can laugh at the days to come."  Proverbs 31:25

I'm excited to live this out a bit better this year.  Because of Jesus, I am clothed with strength and dignity. ...and because of Him, I can laugh at the days to come...

And this year I will do just that.  

Something unexpected happened to me as the New Year rolled over.  And I seriously hate to say that it was "unexpected" because honestly it should be what I expect day in and day out in this walk of faith and grace...

...but regardless of my expectations or lack thereof, as this year as started, I have found that the Lord has washed his peace over me….he has reached down from on high and lifted me up.

I feel different.  Noticeably lighter.  I have a fresh covering of peace and joy.

Seriously, to be honest, I'm almost concerned about my lack of concern :)

I take it as a season of rest.  Beautiful rest.
It probably means crazy is coming….and well, I'm up for that too.  But for now I'll sit here with a renewed sense of God's peace, and I'll feel content.

So - 2014 is here, a new list of goals is in writing, and I'm ready to go.  Adventure is coming.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Year of Mac

Before I lay out my goals for 2014…I'd like to highlight one New Year's Goal from last year that turned out to be stellar - getting mac-n-cheese every Monday at Keystone Grill.

I planned to eat Mac at Keystone Grill every Monday I was in town - aside from a few misses, I was pretty faithful.  I could not have predicted in January how much fun I would have doing it and how many great conversations would happen throughout the year.   I had loads of dinners with many friends.  I loved getting a "Hey - can I join you for mac some Monday night?!"  There were lots of special times with many dear friends.  My friends Meredith and Marina even became regular mac-n-cheese eaters with me - and it's still continuing.

I knew I had finally "arrived" as a regular when Jeremy who works at the bar answered my phone call with "Hey Dani - what do you want this evening?!"  I looked forward to seeing his smile and saying hello each time I went in to pick up a carry-out order.

And my students - oh man were they into this goal.  On Monday mornings during our Community Time, one of my boys would excitedly ask what I was going to get.  And he would follow up on Tuesday morning by asking what I got.  I would describe the type of Mac dish I had eaten, while they oooooohed and awwwwwwed over it.  They loved it.  And as the year came to a close they excitedly asked "What's your goal next year going to be?"  (As if Mac-n-Cheese was the whole of my ambition through the year!)  So fun :)

Favorites of the year:
Jimmy Buffet - Hamburger in the mac with french fries on top
Smoked cheese with turkey and bacon mac
Black Beans and Bacon
Chorizo macs
Green Day Mac - Sun dried tomatoes, spinach, etc.

Most of all, though, I'm thankful for the time with friends, and I have loads of good memories from these times.  There's only been 3 weeks in January so far…and 2 of those I've already eaten mac at Keystone even without the goal :)

I have talked over mac.
Listened over mac.
Cried over mac.
and Laughed over mac.

My year of Mac.  What a Great Goal.  It'll be hard to top in 2014.

Mac with Linda

Marina and Meredith - regular mac buddies - still going....