Sunday, October 27, 2013

For the Love of Greek Yogurt!

I REALLY like Greek yogurt! It's delicious, and pretty good for you, too! I love foods that "sneak" health; they don't really taste healthy, but they still pack a nutritional punch. And they do so without my siblings turning up their noses at it (like they do to my favorite cereal and ketchup-on-bread addiction).  Here are a few reasons why I like it so much:
1.) I'm not a huge protein fan, but Greek yogurt "sneaks" in lots of protein without it tasting like meat (although turkey and chicken are growing on me). The vanilla flavor tastes like dessert, but it sticks with me a whole lot longer than a normal bowl of ice cream would.

2.) Speaking of flavor, there are so many options: From Key Lime and Strawberry to Honey and Coffee with Dark Chocolate chips (haven't tried this one but it sounds good!) there are lots of options. Sure, it means I spend forever in the grocery store picking out a flavor, but I love variety, and I haven't had a bad flavor yet! (Although honey wasn't my fave).

3.) The topping options are endless! Fruit, honey, peanut butter, chocolate,  and  raisins (Although Anna K. would beg to differ about the raisins) are all delicious options. Once again, so much variety!

4.) You can dress it up for a fancy dessert, or port it to a volleyball tournament. (I always eat a LOT of it at volleyball tournaments.) It's look is versatile too!

5.) You can add it to smoothies, substitute the plain variety in baked goods for sour cream, and even mix it with granola for a delicious breakfast. Get creative with it! It goes with the flow!

6.) Lastly, it tastes GREAT! That in and of itself is a great reason to eat something, especially in moderation. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013


 After a long day of school, work, and chores, the "Getting of the Mail" is an unspoken highlight of the day. (Although I think the ratio between advertisements and bills to actual "good mail" is oftentimes quite unsatisfactory.) Once or twice a month,  however, my day is made by the arrival of a magazine. I love a good magazine.  Glossy and inviting, relatable and engaging... sometimes it's nice to escape into its pages for a half-hour of innocent entertainment.  Or is it so innocent?

Amid the helpful,creative topics such as "Setting a Pretty Table for Thanksgiving" and "Healthy Recipes From Giada's Kitchen," there are some underlying messages that are confusing at best, and untruthful at worst.  I was reading an article the other day about the author, who had decided to "get off the dieting bandwagon, and  move on with her life." In other words, she was letting go of the numbers that were formerly defining her... scale number, calorie numbers, size number, etc., and was trying to find joy in something other than her appearance. Doesn't that sound nice??? And so... balanced compared to the extremes that our world seems to take regarding appearance? But yet, as I set down the magazine to get ready to go to a volleyball game, I glanced at the featured highlights on the front: "Got Belly Fat? We'll Convince You To Lose It," and "The Whole Body Anti-aging Guide." Hmmmm.

Later, I'm reading another article in the same magazine about how the author loves how good eating healthy makes her feel.  " It's not about how much you weigh or if you're as thin as someone else. it's about looking in the mirror and loving yourself. " Hmmm, interesting. Yet, only a few pages away, I find the phrase, "The thin life is the good life." repeated several times in a row.

Confusing? Well, at least to me, it is! Basically, I'm not supposed to love myself and be proud of the way I look at any weight/stage of life, as long as I don't have belly fat, wrinkles, or any other signs of being human. Easy, huh. (NOT!)

I was talking to one of my friends about a friend of mine who (a while back) had anorexic tendencies, and the first thing she said was, "We need to BURN all the magazines!" She was furious how magazines present ideas such as "The thin life is the good life," and other such hints that it is what's on the outside that really matters. She wanted to burn the magazines that she believed were at the roots of our friend's eating disorder.

Is it our culture's fault? I mean, they are the ones presenting some pretty blatant lies to us. BUT, magazines are in the business world. Oftentimes, they print what people want to hear. They print what the largest majority of people will buy, and apparently, since that's what they KEEP printing, most of us magazine-readers are interested. A lot of people, including myself, buy into the belief that "How you look makes you valuable."

It's a lie that, for a while, I haven't really questioned. I look in the mirror, and think I'm worthless thanks to what stares back at me. I look at my model-like friends and wonder why I'm so different. I've cried many tears wishing God would make me look like them. Because I want to feel valuable. I want to be worth the affection of others.

Most of you who I know are reading this haven't bought into this lie. But are there other, more subtle ones, that you might be believing? Maybe you think someone else is more valuable because they're a great friend, sibling, public speaker, parent, Christian, athlete, artist, musician, comedian, organizer, scholar etc. Maybe YOU think you're better because you are better at any of the above. I've known people who are prideful over aspects of their relationship with God, and people who are mortified that math simply doesn't click. Maybe you believe lies about God; that He doesn't mind sin, that He is angry at you, that He isn't good. You get the picture. We may not buy into the same lies as me, but as Christians, we are targets of Satan, and I'm willing to bet that you have, at some point, struggled with a lie.

The world does whisper many lies to us, but it is our CHOICE to believe them. I want to work on using my head, and the power Christ has given me, rather than my feelings, to figure out what's truth. What about you?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

There for Me: My Dad

My Dad, or Papa, as the Peterman kids call him, is definitely one of a kind. He's the  only dad I know who challenges his kids to jump in the pool WITH HIM when it's 46 degrees outside. As a matter of fact, I don't know too many others who have had intense muscle spasms in the middle of the night from juggling four hours the day before. And I'm guessing there aren't too many dads out there who put up a volleyball net the "right way" using a forklift and 1000 + lb concrete blocks to hold it down. He's definitely... unique.



Okay, unique might be an understatement.  (Please, no comment on our fashion sense (or lack thereof) 


He's an incredible story-reader/teller. (although he loves to add dramatic effect by telling giving away small story details very s-l-o-w-l-y.) I have lots of memories of snuggling in bed with him and him reading the same books over and over again. (Robert the Rose Horse is my favorite one that he reads. There's a horse in it that sneezes every other page, and my Dad has the best, bed-shaking horse-sneeze ever! It's impressive.


He has always managed (and sometimes combined) work/family time.
He always takes the time to do the "important" stuff (the above qualifies as highly important) with us kids. He works his tail off most of the time, yet still manages to be there for us.
He can also build-- I mean, co-build, a "structurally sound" gingerbread house. For him, it's not "just" taste that matters. :)  (There are most definitely right and wrong ways to build gingerbread houses.)

My Dad is one of the quirkiest, most interesting people that I know. But he's more than just his quirks and his habits.
My Dad has always been supportive. I still remember one time when he had just gotten home from a business trip, and had got to bed at about 5:00 a.m. In less than an hour, the alarm clock rang, and off he went to the JH state volleyball tournament. In between games, he slept sprawled out in the car. But he was there, supporting my every under-hand serve and lobbed "spike."

I still remember morning hikes we took with him every Saturday  morning at Warner park. But they were more than hikes! They were hours of hide-and-go seek, piles of leaves to be made and demolished, and teaching moments about why the tree bark was shredded from deer antlers. I still remember splitting Panera Bread Cinnamon Rolls run through the bagel slicer (so we could split them the "right" way-- his idea, of course.)  and sampling their "bear claw" on a whim. Once again, he was there.

I remember his many bloody toes from getting a little bit too competitive into tag in our small kitchen/living room. But he was there. I remember his gross "candy turkey" made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and lots of brown sugar and butter. (Mom was sick, and he thought us kids would like it since it had plenty of sugar in it. He was wrong. ) But he was still there.

Come to think of it, he still is there! He supports me (thought not vocally) at my games, watches all my piano recitals, compliments me on my cooking, and holds long debates with me. We "debate" over volleyball rotations, discuss the woes of physics, and argue about why I should/shouldn't be an engineer. (He wants me to be, but I don't think so!)

He isn't perfect... he's missed some games and piano recitals for work. He has occasional bad moods and stressful moments. But I love him to pieces, and in my book, he's definitely got a winning record.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Piano Post Part 2: Why Piano is Challenging

Okay, so now you all know why I love piano! And I truly do enjoy playing... some of the time. Oftentimes, though, I am challenged as well. Sometimes I'm not only challenged, but angered, because I can't get something quite right, or I am limited either physically or emotionally. I hate having limitations, and I HATE it when try really hard at something and I still can't do it. (In other words, sometimes it bugs me that I'm human. :) )

 One of my physical limitations with piano is my hands. They are small. REALLY small. I can barely reach an octave, which makes it really difficult to hit them accurately at high speeds. Oftentimes, I end up "smearing" my octaves because I have to stretch my hands close to the keys to be able to reach so that I accidently hit notes in between. Many times I have been frustrated with myself, even God, because my hands limit me from advancing and playing the music I would like to. But this is an "entitlement" mentality, isn't it? So often I am so busy shaking my finger at God for what He didn't give me, (bigger hands, smaller size, athleticism) that I forget to say "thanks" for what He did! And what makes me think I "deserve" these gifts, anyways? I mean, Jesus has spared me from hell, which is what I really deserve, and here I am complaining because he gave me small hands. Seems a bit ridiculous, yet so often I fall into that trap of focusing on what I don't have.

So, I'll try not to complain about the size of my hands, but I can't say it doesn't affect my piano playing. In about a week I am going to perform a piece for a competition that has a ton of octaves. Even though I have practiced fairly diligently since lessons started, the piece is not quite ready, because no matter how much I practice, I can't hit all the notes. I'm not expecting to do well, not because I'm worried about my memorization, but because I physically cannot hit all the notes.

Another challenge I've had with my hands is that they are weak, so I over-compensate by straining my wrists. My hand position is constantly in need of correction because I am too tense, which causes wrist pain. I have so much to learn when it comes to this.

One last challenge that I am hoping to overcome is the fact that I am a horrible performer. I play best when I am home alone and nobody is watching or listening. An adult mentor who is very dear to me has talked to me a lot about serving an Audience of One, (God) but I still get nervous when I am playing in front of other people, although it is getting better. This has caused me to freeze up in more than one performance, and skip whole sections of songs.

Some of these challenges are annoying, but I think that without them, piano would be boring! It is the challenges and the bumps that need to be overcome that make the victory all the more rewarding!

Question: What instruments, if any, do you play, and what are your greatest challenges and victories associated with them?