a difficult task

“Our challenges may be new.  The instruments with which we meet them may be new.  But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old.  These things are true.  They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.  What is demanded then is a return to these truths.  What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

– President Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech, 01.20.2009

What an inspiring day for Americans and for the world.  I am so in awe of our new President and so excited by the hope that was palpable in the air today.  The above quote was my favorite segment of President Obama’s beautiful speech.  It really got me thinking about hard work, courage, difficult tasks and giving our all to achieve them.  It made me think of this amazing community that I am part of, and the goals we set for ourselves and tackle each and every day.  Not only have I witnessed fellow bloggers pursue and achieve personal health and fitness goals, I’ve seen them take those personal goals and turn them into quests to contribute to the greater good.  From HangryPants‘ December Food Drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, to Kath‘s Thanksgiving Challenge to benefit Heifer International,  to Meghann‘s recent commitment to raise $3900 for Team in Training.  We can all make a difference in the world in our own small ways, by taking on our own difficult tasks and giving our all to achieve them.   The character of this blogging community is strong and good, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

My own personal fitness goal has been proving itself to be very difficult for me lately.  I haven’t learned to love running yet, or at least I haven’t learned to love running in the extreme cold we’ve been experiencing.  But I keep getting out on the road, and I keep logging my miles.  I admit, a good part of the reason I am still training is because I started this blog, told you all that I would run this race, and now I feel committed.  Thank you for keeping me accountable.  If it wasn’t for you I probably would have quit last week, when the cold did keep me inside and forced me to take a week off from training.  But I got back out there on Saturday, and I got back out there tonight.  It was cold, I was close to miserable, but I logged 3-1/4 miles because I was thinking about President Obama’s speech, about the difficult task that was going to be so satisfying to my spirit when I cross the finish line of the 10-Miler on April 4th.  And I was thinking about you all, and how supportive you’ve been, and how happy you’ll be for me when I report about finishing my race.  And I also thought about the great comments I’ve received from many of you, telling me that you feel the same way that I do about running, and that reading my story has inspired you to train for a race.  Those comments humble me and make me realize that maybe I’m contributing a little something to the greater good as well.  So I’ll keep running, keep training, and will complete this difficult task.  And hopefully, somewhere along the way, I’ll learn to love running as well.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!  🙂  On to food…

Breakfast:  apple + dried cherry oats.  I decided to switch it up a bit, add a little variety to my breakfast and my blog.  But I have to say, I missed my mashed banana and my nut butter…  I also ate the rest of the apple that didn’t fit in my bowl.


This bowl contained:

  • 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 tsp vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 2 heaping tbsp of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup of dried cherries
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 of an apple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds

Its been awhile since I’ve posted specific directions for my morning oats and I had a couple of inquiries about it yesterday, so here’s a bit more of an explanation.

I use old-fashioned rolled oats, and cook them on the stovetop.  They only take about 10 minutes total, so I put them on while I’m making coffee and lunch, then sit down to eat them while downloading pictures to my computer.

  1. Bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil on the stovetop.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats and stir.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off heat but leave oats on burner.  This is when I typically add my mashed banana (highly recommended…it makes the texture perfectly creamy and sweetens without adding any sugar).  I also add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  4. Once the banana, cinnamon and vanilla are mixed in I remove the oats from the heat, pour into my bowl and add the toppings.

I’ve never tried making them ahead of time, but I think that would work better with steel cut oats.  Anybody have any thoughts / suggestions on making oatmeal in a larger batch for the whole week?


The hubb and I joined some friends and co-workers for lunch today to watch inauguration festivities.  There was a huge pan of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and baked beans, and it was all oh. so. good.  I was a bad healthy foodie at lunchtime.  🙂

Lunch:  two fried chicken drumsticks, some delectable baked beans and mashed potatoes.  And, of course, there were cookies.  I split one with my hubb.  🙂


Dinner:  a large [much needed] salad and some Amy’s Veggie Lentil soup.  After my frigid run, I just wanted something warm, satisfying and low-effort.  🙂


And another 1/2 a cookie…


And now I think I’m off to a hot bath with my book.  I may finally finish it!  Its been wonderful, but my book list is a mile long and I’m ready to move on to the next read.  Good night!


27 responses to “a difficult task

  1. I am SO feeling your thoughts on running. I too am trying to love running and want to become better at it, but it’s feeling so hard for me lately and its frusterating!

    Your cookies look SO GOOD!!!

  2. I love the blog community, too. Luckily, everyone has been kind and supportive to me as well.

    I’ve made oats the night before and brought them in a tupperware container to work/school before. I cook them as I normally would, but then before I reheat them in the microwave I add a little bit more water because they tend to dry out in the fridge overnight.

    – Heather

  3. I made your fig bars tonight! I loved them, but they weren’t a hit with the three and four year olds. Too many weird things. Oh well, more for me! Thanks, have a great night!

  4. I loved President Obama’s speech as well, and love your comparison to working together toward our individual goals fo health.

    Your eats look lovely as usual, and I really need to try those cookies!!

  5. Ooh, the C’ville Ten Miler! I was in the training program for three weeks last year. Then I realized I had anemia and dropped out. I’m so bummed that I never got to do it, so you have to run in my stead! Hahaha. 🙂

  6. I want to love running too! I had a minor foot thing done on Saturday so it hurts to even walk today (lets just say they had to take part of my big toe nail off so its hard to wear any shoe other than my brown crocs…and it snowed 2 inches in Chicago today). Hopefully I can heal quick so that I can start to train for the 10 Mile I want to run at the end of May.

    I am also so inspired today and just hope that the future really does turn around like Obama dreams that it can 🙂

  7. I WANT those oats!!!

  8. You bring up such a great point about the character of the blogging community and how it holds you accountable for your health and fitness goals. I feel so blessed to have become part of such a supportive and caring community.

    I have faith in that you will be able to complete the Charlottesville 10-miler on April 4th! Your hard work and dedication will pay off =)

  9. such an inspiring post! keep running girl, you can do it (yes you CAN 😉 )

  10. Bravo on the running. I think your runs are amazing in themselves, as well as your commitment! I get kind of discouraged, well not discouraged, but it’s tiring just reading about so many blogger’s running 8 to 10 miles, no problem! I gave up on running long ago, it’s so intimidating to me…so I appreciate your honesty, and I wish you the best of luck you’ll do awesome!!

  11. Today really was so inspiring. Gosh, it tears me up just thinking about it!

    Again, your cookies look extremely awesome. Straight out of a food magazine or cookbook!

  12. I’m glad our President encouraged you to finish your task! Running is just something that has slowly turned into something I love…I used to HATE it. I made up excuses to skip our training runs when I played college basketball. Its just in the past few years that I have grown to enjoy it.

    I wish I had some advice on the oats…I’d love to not have to cook them each morning myself.

    Thanks as always for your comments on my blog…you are right, we do have a wonderful community!

  13. This blogging community has been such a powerful impact in my own personal life as well! 😀

    As for the oats- soak them overnight and then it literally cuts the cooking time in more than 1/2. Mix all of your “bowl” ingredients- not the toppings.. Heat up your milk or water first and pour over. Everything gets so soft and perfect come morning, I actually find wayyyy more flavorful! Then reheat and top. OR …do you have a slow cooker?

  14. Obama is such a great speaker! At least now, for the next 4 years (at least) I will actually listen to the president’s speeches and won’t immediately flip the channel!

    yay for us accomplishing our goals. i can’t believe you run in the COLD – I’m too chicken, plus I have lung issues so its not healthy for me to burn my lungs like that – lol!

    hopefully my blog will see me to the end of MY 10 miler, and hopefully help take off 20lbs or so.

    happy rest of the week! I was dreading coming to work today, I just wanted to cuddle beneath my covers and stay WARM!

  15. Obama was articulate, inspirational and humble, as always. I’m so excited about his presidency!

    You are doing a great job with your running – you run in the FREEZING cold! Your character is surely being defined with every run. 🙂

  16. It was the support of the blogging community taht actually made me realize I could accept the challenge of rasing so much money for a good cause. It’s amazing the great support we all have. And I know you are totally going to kick but at that 10 miler and I am glad to show any support along the way. 🙂

  17. Good luck with your goals!! And hooray for delish eats 🙂

  18. I agree that the blogging community is full of strong, supportive people. They have become such and important part of my recovery. Good luck with your goals!!

    I make oatmeal in batches and then reheat with a little more liquid. It isn’t as good as making fresh everyday but it does work. I have also heard of making them in the crockpot but have never tried that method.

  19. i know how hard it is to drag yourself out for a run, esp in freezing weather when you don’t feel like it, and i’m so impressed that you’ve been keeping it up. you’re doing great and you’re right — crossing the finish line at the end of 10 miles in april will make it all worth it! 🙂

    as for oats … crockpot crockpot crockpot!! i do a big batch every sunday, and it’s sooo easy (process on my blog).

  20. Your oats remind me of rice pudding for some reason – yum 🙂 Warm and low effort has my name all over it!!

    I love your “ramblings.” What a great speech!

  21. I know how you feel in regard to the running. I just ran my first half marathon on Sunday. Throughout the past month and a half my training hasn’t been tip top…i felt like i was doing it just to get this race overwith….Well I will tell you this….when you cross that finish line…you WILL know why you did all that hard work and it is SO WORTH IT. You will feel amazing accomplishment and it made me so proud of myself. So keep pushing girl!

  22. I don’t like running any longer that 5k’s – they seem managable and I just try to beat my time. I am going to wait until it gets warmer though!

    And I do agree that blogging holds you accountable – I’ve only had fast food maybe 4 times (okay, not including when my hubby was in the hospital, but that doesn’t count! :D).

    I’ll be supporting you on race day!!

  23. I just wanted to say thank you for the recipe and keep up the great work training for the 10 miler! I have been having trouble too these last few weeks with the weather, so I feel your pain! I am not doing the same training program as you are, I am using a 10 mile program from runnersworld.com. I wish I had known about the group last year!

  24. i love the cookies.. they look so good!!! love your post, its so inspiring.. i read obama’s speech and my eyes were watering, and i had goosebumps.. soooo good! im really excited about the next four years!

  25. Cant wait to make those cookies! And its alright, I would hate running in the cold too!

  26. Hi there! I totally admire people who could live a healthy lifestyle and ingest healthy but scumptious meals. I read your blog although you don’t know me coz I really find it interesting. BTW, I changed my blog address to http://www.justsweeterthansugar.blogspot.com./ Feel free to visist ir anytime 😉 Thank you and keep posting 😉

  27. Pingback: bella terra: 2009 « bella eats

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