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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

December 17, 2020

Create Your Own Cookbook and Mr. Non-Compliant’s Favorite Vegetable

Those of us who attended the Zoom “Amazing Cookie Bake” had a delicious time baking our cookies. My cookie press was missing its piston—a critic

December 10, 2020

We’re Baking Cookies Together… Sort of

I’m baking cookies this coming Saturday morning, and I’d love for you to join me! Through the magic of ZOOM, we are all gathering to bake and soci

December 2, 2020

So, the Marshmallows Caught Fire…

Thanksgiving Day is but a faint memory, as we fast forward into Advent and the season of Christmas. It was quiet around the Slager home, until the mar

November 25, 2020

Cookies, Carrots, and Giving Thanks

Here it is November, and everything is still pretty weird. I find it hard to believe that we’ve almost blown through another year, even though it se

November 19, 2020

Are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, they have lots of redemptive qualities. They are among the most important food crops on the planet. Alt

November 12, 2020

What to Make for Dinner When the Power Goes Out

As I was writing this, my power went out. It wasn’t just a flicker. It was a full OUTAGE in our local area. Concerned that this could linger into th

The Art of Slowing Down

“Sometimes you have to go slow in order to go fast.”

How many times have we heard this phrase?  This thinking has been cited by many; however my quote today is from Chris Brady in his book A Month of ITALY Rediscovering the Art of Vacation.  This is a great read about family, Italy, food, travel, and the art of slowing down.  So much of our life is spent going as fast as we can to get to the next event, job, task or soccer game, that we lose sight of today.

Yes, we all have commitments and schedules and responsibilities.  These have a tendency to rule our lives.  The challenge lies in breaking the cycle of crazy to enjoy the moment.  I have watched loved ones get so caught up in the stress of day-to-day life that it caused illness.  The best antidote?  Slow down; take a vacation; RELAX. 

If you are at the breaking point, schedule some time away somewhere.  There are so many great getaways not far from home, no matter where you call home.  Make a plan and go.  It doesn’t need to be Italy and it doesn’t need to be for a month.  Although, that would be delightful!

Even as you go through the day, schedule some time to sit outside and bask in the warmth of the summer sun, take a walk, or sit on your front porch.  Look around and simply enjoy being.  Slow down, and see what a difference in makes in the grand scheme of your day, of your life.  Have you ever heard anyone at the end of their earthly existence wishing they had worked more? 

“We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.”  Georges Duhamel

Much Ado About Tulips

I am in a quandary.  Recently I learned that the proper way to care for tulips is to dig up the bulbs once they have finished blooming and the tops are beginning to dry.  (Which is right NOW!)  Yes, dig them up.  Every last one of them.  Then the bulbs are to be stored in a cool, dry place so that air can circulate around them over the summer.  To be very proper, one should put the various colors together and label accordingly.  When fall arrives, take said bulbs and plant them again.  I was told from an authentic Dutchman that this is what authentic Dutch folks do.  This technique would explain why the Dutch are known for their amazing tulips.  They really work hard at it! 

Ok, so back to my quandary.  I carry around a very authentic Dutch name.  Translated, Slager means “butcher,” which is probably why my family will have no part of ever becoming vegetarian.  I get that.  But, this tulip thing is an overwhelming task to say the least.  Do I go along with proper gardening practices because of my last name?  My dear husband reminds me how much we all enjoyed the gigantic tulips that I freshly planted last December.  Breathtaking they were!  I tell him that in my family (Irish, German, Slovakian mix) we keep adding new bulbs every year and it works out just fine.  Then I get “the look.”  

So, while I discern the tulip dilemma, I will plant some annuals that have been waiting so patiently for the rains to pause.  I believe that somewhere between the dirt, weeds and worms, I will find my answer.    

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Less Really is More

It is gardening time in Indiana.  I love it!  My tulips have just completed a beautiful round of glorifying my yard and even my husband commented on their brilliance.  Never mind that it was a temperate day last December when I planted the bulbs.  Yes, the rest of the neighborhood was hanging their Christmas lights that day, but I was not intimidated.  Perseverance pays. 

As I prepared to plant my annuals and vegetables, I decided that some extra nutrients were in order to have a successful growing season.  I loaded up on lots of organic matter and some fertilizer that said “twelve-twelve-twelve” on the front.  A Master Gardener (which I am not) friend of mine suggested some “ten-ten-ten” to help my vegetables thrive, but the “twelve-twelve-twelve” was what I found, so I figured it must be better.  My non-gardening husband agreed with that thinking. 

Fast forward to today.  It has been about three weeks since I planted some of my annuals.  With each plant, I added the fertilizer and the organic matter to the dirt.  Some of the plants look happy, and a few are now dead.  Gone.  What went wrong?  In some cases, the plants are neighbors!  How could this be?  Turns out, according to the expert gardeners (again, not me) I overdid it with the nutrients.  The soil was simply too rich for those little flowers.  I now know that I should choose one or the other, not both.  Some lessons are tough.  In this case, less is more.  I do believe that this thinking is best in many situations.  Seems to me I say those same words every December when we hang our Christmas lights.  Happy planting…

“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”  Wendell Berry    

Feeling Stormy? Experience Growth!

 

One of the really cool parts about our humanity is our ability to feel…so much.  Like, the warmth of the sun on a summer day in July, and a cool breeze off the Lake.  Or, the soft rain on our skin when we get caught in an April shower, just before the flowers bloom.  We love the feel of happiness, when a day just seems to roll along in the right direction.  Those moments when everything seems at peace in the world, or our world, at least.

One of the toughest parts about our humanity is our ability to feel…too much.  When our child gets hurt in the game and is out for the season or someone makes a remark that cuts through our heart.  Nothing goes our way no matter how hard we try.  Illness zaps our energy and causes every bone in our body to make itself known.  The thunderstorms of life have the potential to drown us. 

So, what do we do?  Such a blessing and a curse, to feel, really feel, life.  Wouldn’t it be sweet to just savor the good parts and let the rest go?  It would, for a while.  But how would a great day in our eyes make itself be known if we didn’t have a less than great day to compare it to?  We would never appreciate what it is to be well, if we are never ill.  And I am absolutely positive that after a few months of winter, I appreciate my crocuses much more than a person who can gaze upon the beauty of fresh blooms all year.

We experience duality for good purpose.  It is the only way we can grow as individuals and become who we are truly meant to be.  Adversity builds character and creates a foundation that has the potential to become unshakeable, if we allow it.  We don’t have to like it, merely embrace it for our good.  Oh, and equally as important, for the good of the next friend we are able to help through the storm. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 NIV