Saturday, August 8, 2009

meet the family

So now that I have reached my last week with YouthWorks, I figured it was about time to introduce you to the people I have worked and lived with for the past three months.

(Brad, me, Sara, Johnny)

(Sara, Brad, Matt, me)

Chicago 1 & 2!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

beefy lessons

Every week I have the splendid opportunity to brown about 35-50 pounds of beef for our sloppy joe and taco meals. Let me tell you this has not been one of my favorite parts of the summer, especially since the meat we buy is 27% fat making for endless amounts of grease. I’ve figured that by the end of the summer I will have spent at least 40 hours browning beef. Let me tell you, this has not been a highlight of my summer. However the amount of time I have spent in the kitchen in this manner has provided space for some good thoughts and lessons. So I thought I would share with you a few...

Beefy lessons

•Never buy beef that is 27% fat. If you must wear an apron to avoid lots of grease stains.
•Turn up the music and sing it out. As much as I disliked the meat days, it many times provided me with a chance to escape—not having to worry about anyone else being around, turning up the music of the hour, and singing.
•It’s all about perspective. I’m an introvert, so many times browning the meat would give me space to take a step back from whatever else was going on around me to get some perspective and clarity on things.
•Don’t take yourself out mentally. I am a pro at this; as my mom says I’m my own worst enemy. It helps to identify when those negative thought cycles start and shut them down before there is a chance to take yourself out with negative thoughts.
•Talk to God out loud.
•In the words of our generation, 'just dance, gonna be okay, da-da-doo-mm-da.' But really, it's a release, just dance it out.
•Don’t use a metal spatula on a non-stick pan; it will scratch up the stuff that makes it non-stick.
•Put a fan in your kitchen. Standing over an oven for hours can get a bit toasty.
•Don’t give people the space to do it alone. I hated the fact that I had both of the meat meals, yet one of the most encouraging things is when one of my fellow staff members would come in and ask if I needed help with anything. Though often the answer would be no, just the notion that someone is there and ready to help provides a huge source of encouragement.
•If you are cooking for masses of people, get someone else to do the dishes. I’m so glad that we had students on site to take care of the dishes after dinner.